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Mar 21, 2007

Ingold Tire -- Car Maintenance Heaven


Ingold Tire in Durham continues to rock as the best place I've ever been for car maintenance.  Good service, unreasonably modest pricing, and very ethical people.

I have written about them before, but here is the latest list of praiseworthy thanks:

1.  Last month I drove over a brick and got an insta-flat.  I couldn't pull over for several blocks, so I naturally assumed that the tire was trashed and would need replacing for ~$70.  Took the car to Ingold Tire who fixed things pronto, and handed me an invoice for $25.  Huhn? $25?!  "We put a patch in it.  It's good as new."

Damn.  That was awesome.  It would have been so easy for them to have sold me a new tire, charged me a disposal fee for the old one, and then fixed the old one for re-sale at a profit.  But did they do that?  No way.  Not the guys at Ingold  Tire.

2.  Not long after, I found out that the sway bar on my van was missing a bushing.  The power steering had also been acting up, so I took the van back to Ingold Tire for a look-see.  Diagnosis? 

Bill:  Bad news -- everything is falling apart, and the badder news is that it would cost ~$650 to fix it all.

Me:  Damn.  That's more than the whole van is worth.  Should I fix it?  What would you advise?

Bill:  Tough call on a van that age.  You should definitely fix the sway bar bushing.  That's dangerous, and that'll be ~$125.  Other parts?  You can keep it running it you keep topping off the power steering fluid, but it's going to keep getting worse until it can't get better.

Me:  OK.  I'll fix the sway bar, but never mind the rest.  I'll just trade in the van when I get a new car.

Bill: Sounds smart to me.

3.  And today, the craziest thing:  I took my new (to me) car in for transmission service that was recommended by a reputable Chapel Hill garage that had done my pre-purchase check.  "You need to change the transmission fluid and filter," they said.  "Make sure to get the filter changed -- don't just change the fluid."

A little bit of web-research let me know that a standard transmission fluid change would be ~$110.  Add extra for a filter.  Plus tax and such, of course.  While I suspected it would be more convenient to go to a Jiffy Lube, I worried that a sketchy franchise* might charge me for the fluid and filter, but only change the fluid.  How would I know?

So... back to Ingold Tire where I knew I'd have to leave my car for a few hours, but where I also knew I would get the service that was promised.  As always, they called me when the car was ready -- earlier than promised (also as always).  Invoice: $56.26 including tax.  Huhn?!  What?!  Yep, that's what it was. 

Me:  But all the quickie places charge $110!

Karen:  I keep telling Rod we need to charge more...

Bill:  Do you want us to charge you more?  We could change our prices for you right now.

Me:  But what about the filter?  Did you change the filter?  Shouldn't there be more for the filter?

Rod:  Your car's transmission doesn't have a filter.

Me:  Oh.  Well I guess I'm glad you didn't charge me for one.  But still -- $56?!

Bill:  Look, are you just not going to leave happy until we charge you at least $100?

Me:  But... but...

Rod:  [Sigh.] We should have just sold you a filter.

This is why I go to Ingold Tire.


*In other news, I've read that Jiffy Lube has started a national "clean ourselves up" campaign.  In fact, 2007 may be the best year ever to bring your car to Jiffy Lube, since they're all on alert.  But not if you can go to Ingold Tire!

03:59 PM in Destination Durham, Reviews | Permalink


One time JL gave me an oil change for free, and I couldn't figure out why until I went somewhere else for the next oil change, and the mechanic reported that the plug had been stripped... apparently a common problem with the speed-plug-remover thingamabob tool they use. Never again! Local mechanics for me. Thanks for the rec!

Posted by: Valerie | Mar 22, 2007 5:31:44 AM

That's awesome, Phil! If only I could magically transport my car from Dallas to your fine mechanic's shop!

Posted by: Lisa | Mar 22, 2007 10:58:10 AM

Try cross-posting this to yelp.com. Yelp is the craigslist of reviews for local services, restaurants, hangouts, etc: coming your way like an elvis motorcade. Your comments on yelp reach more people, and also through your profile you develop a following that you can redirect to your blog.

Posted by: Dave | Mar 22, 2007 12:27:31 PM

I've had a similar good experience with Ingold. Unfortunately, it wasn't cheap, but they seemed so genuinely unhappy that they couldn't figure out a way around the high price (based on what my car manufacturer stipulated) that I left feeling okay about it.

Posted by: GK | Mar 24, 2007 8:30:47 AM

Hey Phil,
I live a stone's throw from Ingold, so the next time you're stuck there, give me a ring. I'll be happy to give you a lift to your next destination. Or we can do the food co-op and walk the block.

Posted by: Tori | Mar 25, 2007 1:51:34 PM

This is a little OT -- I've never used Ingold Tire -- but as many bad garages as I've been to, it seems reasonable to pass along the positive experiences. I've had particularly good, inexpensive service out of Bragtown Service Center on Rockway St. in Durham. It's near Durham Regional, but it's *not* the Shell station there: it's across Roxboro from there and down an easy-to-ignore side road. The other place I've been really happy with is Bull City Radiator. They do a lot more than radiator work: they seem like a full-service garage to me, but I think that's only for people in the know who they want to do the work for. The only drag is they're quite a ways out on Hillsborough Road. I can't remember if they're actually all the way to Orange County or not.

Posted by: Joseph H. Vilas | Mar 28, 2007 10:53:15 AM