One of the most stressful situations involving your car is the idea of finding a repair service. Can you trust the mechanics with your vehicle, and how reputable are they? Where do you go to find out how they will treat your property? Can they be trusted with something as important as one of your cars? Firestone Complete AutoCare promises everything you could expect out of an auto repair shop: tires, maintenance, and inspections.
The results were not what we would have liked, but if you’re in a pinch, you might still find your experience a positive one with Firestone.
Name Firestone Complete AutoCare
Services Routine maintenance (oil, tires, etc.), repairs, diagnostics, inspections
Number of locations More than 1600
Hours 7 to 7 Monday through Friday; 7 to 6 Saturday; 9 to 5 Sunday
Appointments Recommended for weekends
Firestone Complete AutoCare Pros & Cons
- Getting Your Brakes Checked
- Tracking Your Appointment
- One stop shop of automotive products
- Pricing for Oil Changes
Firestone Complete AutoCare
How Long Has Firestone Been in Business?
Firestone Complete AutoCare has been in operations since 1926. They boast a total of more than 1,600 store locations throughout the United States. One of their claims to fame is the Car Care Academy, which provides free lessons to adults who want to know more about basic car maintenance.
Firestone Complete AutoCare is partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to keep the children of America engaged with practical car understanding when they are outside of the classroom.
Firestone claims to recycle nearly three-quarters of the waste that they generate with their stores. This includes used tires, motor oil, and various other products.
They also made the switch to steel for wheel weights in 2008, making them the first major retailer in automotive to do away with environmentally harmful lead weights.
Scheduling Your Vehicle with Firestone Complete AutoCare
Getting your vehicle serviced with Firestone Complete AutoCare is similar to any other repair shop. You can try your luck with walking in for service, or you can schedule your appointment over the phone or online.
Typically, Firestone gets clogged with appointments on the weekends due to everyone’s schedule revolving around Monday through Friday operations.
While routine oil changes and tire rotations are easily done with a walk-in, appointments are needed for any more complex operations, including air conditioning servicing or state and emissions inspections.
We recommend booking any appointments online to save the trouble of trying to get someone on the phone. Depending on the staffing level, you may spend a lot of time on hold before one of the service techs can take a call.
If possible, bring your vehicle to your scheduled appointment fifteen minutes in advance. This way, you can not only make sure you’re on time, but you can determine if there will be any kind of delay.
If you schedule your appointment for the first available slot in the morning, there is also the option to drop off your keys the night before. Locate the drop box for the store and simply deposit the keys inside – just make sure you don’t accidentally include any unnecessary keys in the envelope.
Waiting at a Firestone Complete AutoCare
If you aren’t expecting a number of repairs to be performed and you have some spare time, you can opt to wait at the repair shop while your vehicle is repaired or given maintenance.
This is only recommended if you go for something routines like an oil change or tire rotation. These repairs are regularly performed, and the techs can give you an estimate as to exactly how long it will take before you are back on the road.
Don’t expect to find a luxurious waiting area inside a Firestone Complete AutoCare.
It’s still an automotive repair shop, and with it, you’ll find the usual staples of a national chain repair center for motor vehicles.
You might have the option for a free cup of coffee in the waiting area, and vending machines might also stand against one of the walls unless there are convenience snacks sold at the counter.
Inside a Firestone Complete AutoCare, you can find many different products available for your vehicle.
If you’re in the market for new windshield wipers, you can browse their inventory with brands like Rain-X kept in stock on the shelves. A book is provided for you to look up your vehicle’s make and model, narrowing down the options for your windshield and ensuring you don’t run into problems when fitting your new blades into their wipers.
Firestone Complete AutoCare specializes in tire sales, and the waiting room typically doubles as a showroom for their available inventory of tires.
The service techs probably won’t actively try to pitch you on a tire sale, but you might want to check to see what the specials are on a given day, as they can change from week to week.
If you don’t see a certain type of tire in their stock, you might be able to have it ordered and shipped directly to the store for no extra charge.
Tracking Your Appointment
If you find the need to get up and leave during your scheduled appointment, Firestone Complete Auto Care offers an app for you to keep track of the progress on your vehicle.
You can see exactly where your vehicle is during the appointment – if it has been taken into the garage yet, where it is on the service bay, and when you can expect to be able to pick it up.
While you can use the app to track your vehicle’s progress, it isn’t 100% reliable.
At times, the Firestone location may become crowded or backed up, and an update may not be available until your vehicle is complete.
The best option if you need to find out exactly what your car’s progress is would be to call the store yourself. If you need to make any changes to your appointment through the app, be sure to do it in enough time to not cause any problems with scheduling at the Firestone location.
Pricing for Oil Changes
Firestone Complete Auto Care offers a wide range of vehicle services, all of which can be found at any major automotive repair center.
Getting an oil change will not run you too much of a price, and if you check their website on a regular basis, you can find coupons that circulate throughout the year. We were able to print and use a coupon for a $24.99 standard oil change, right in line with the average cost at any other auto center that gives oil changes.
From here, the price will increase depending on the quality of the motor oil used in your vehicle.
Firestone uses several different grades and brands of oil. For synthetic choices, Pennzoil provides a few choices depending on what stage of life your vehicle has reached. Firestone uses Pennzoil’s High Mileage Vehicle blend if you opt for a premium service designed for engines that have seen their share of miles. They also use Pennzoil Platinum, a blend of natural gas and oil that doesn’t have the impurities you might find in other traditional motor oils.
Coupons are also available on Firestone’s website for premium oil changes that utilize Pennzoil, typically for around $10 off.
Getting Your Brakes Checked
Taking your vehicle to a Firestone Complete Auto Care location for brake services can get pricey depending on exactly what you need to have done.
Firestone will start with their standard brake service, which includes the installation of new brake pads or shoes, along with rotor resurfacing and a full inspection of all the components that go into your brakes.
This service comes with a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty that covers the labor, and a lifetime warranty on the disc pads and shoes.
Next in line is the same standard brake service, but this includes a fluid exchange. This process might involve bleeding the fluid from your brakes, taking out any air and fluid contaminants currently causing damage to your brakes.
Like the previous option, this service includes a lifetime parts warranty. There’s also the labor warranty, but it’s twice as long at 24 months and 24,000 miles.
Finally, there is the lifetime service. This includes everything in the standard service and adds brake calipers or wheel cylinders if they are required to be installed. The only limited warranty is for the drums and rotors, which will be covered for 12 months or 12,000 miles.
Everything else, including labor, installation hardware, cylinders, and pads, will be covered for life.
Costs for brake services will vary due to the amount of labor necessary being unique from car to car. The best option is to call your local Firestone Complete Auto Care and ask for an estimate. Coupons are regularly available on Firestone’s website, allowing you to take $60 off per axle on a standard brake service.
Don’t pass up the chance to save a few dollars, especially if you have to get an entirely new set of brakes in the process.
The amount of time you need for an appointment at a Firestone Complete Auto Care can change depending on your services.
A routine oil change with no added complications and any backups that result from other appointments should not take any longer than 40 minutes.
Getting your brakes fixed, or having new ones installed, could take longer. If you just need a pad replacement, you’ll probably be set to go in about one hour.
This can get tricky if your service technician opens up your existing brakes and finds other core components that need replacing. Should they discover an obscure part that needs a replacement, it might have to be ordered. And the delivery time could be anywhere from hours to weeks depending on availability.
If you’re planning for a state inspection, it would be good to have a rough idea of what to expect out of your vehicle.
If you are aware of certain symptoms, like noises or a specific warning light on your dashboard, ask the service tech ahead of time what it could mean.
State inspections can reveal tiny problems, like needing a replacement wiper blade, or a brand new catalytic converter, which might delay your inspection by weeks.
Should You Go with Firestone Complete Auto Care?
Firestone’s reputation for tire sales is much better than its reviews for auto service.
Common complaints about Firestone usually involve the service technicians attempting to oversell their services and stretch customers too thin on their ability to repair or upgrade their existing vehicle.
Once you find a Firestone Complete Auto Care location near you, ask them specific questions that demonstrate you understand the process of car maintenance. But don’t insult their intelligence when it comes to car expertise.
Offer your input on what you want out of your vehicle’s performance, and even if they try to sell you a product or service you aren’t interested in. You’ll get more out of the appointment if you hear them out instead of dismissing them completely.
While Firestone isn’t the most reputable and well-reviewed auto service company that you can find, it’s still a step up from hole-in-the-wall repair shops that double as used car lots.
Carrying the name of Firestone means that each service location must uphold a certain set of standards to operate under the name.
Our time with Firestone was exactly what we expected out of a national automotive chain: efficient and effective, but a little too erratic with pricing.
Print out whatever coupons you can find and hope that you get them on a day that isn’t too busy. Firestone works great for tire sales, and a quick and easy oil change, possibly combined with a tire rotation.
However, once you need something a bit more complicated, such as brake services or a state inspection, the potential to get more money out of your pocket becomes a little too apparent.
Use Firestone if nobody else is around, but if you know a more reputable auto service location, keep driving.
Featured Image CC4 John Phelan via Wikimedia logo, text and banner added