Les Schwab Tires: Business Execution Hall of Fame

I’ve long been a fan of Les Schwab Tires since becoming a customer in Reno 4 years ago.  Perhaps it was the free tire rotations, the free fixing of flats, even though I had spent no money with them at that point.

Since then, Les Schwab Tires is my single source for anything related to tires, shocks, alignments, etc.

This morning, I decided that I needed the alignment checked on my SUV.  Where to go?  A few miles to the firm I grew up using in Santa Clara or drive about 15 miles to the Fremont Les Schwab?  The answer was easy.  I drove to Les Schwab.

I asked that they check the alignment,  rotate the tires and check the inflation and tell me if they thought my shocks were in proper working order.  I told them I had not been happy with the ride for several months.

  • To my surprise, I was told that I had arrived with 2 flat tires–both had foreign objects in them.  Price to fix?  $0.
  • The shocks needed to be replaced.  No big surprise.  California’s roads beat the heck of them.    You see, I replaced them 35,000 miles ago at a Les Schwab and, much to my surprise, they came with a lifetime, unconditional warranty.  They aren’t even charging me labor to replace them. Price to fix?  $0.  [By the way, Les Schwab told me about the warranty–I had no idea. They could have charged about $275 to replace the shocks and I would have never known the difference.]
  • The alignment was out.  Price to fix?  Less than $60.

Tires and shocks are a commodity business by any standard.  Many firms are in highly-commoditized businesses.  Les Schwab is a stand out in its industry.  What is your business doing to stand out in yours?

Les Schwab continues to exceed my expectations.  And, for that, I put them in my Business Execution Hall of Fame.   Congratulations!

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com


3 Responses to Les Schwab Tires: Business Execution Hall of Fame

  1. nc says:

    Uncompromising service and honesty…that’s why customers go back. Thanks for the info!


  2. Dennis Louie says:

    I have done business with Les Schwab since the 1970’s. In general, they offer good value and service. But each location is different.

    I made the mistake of informing one place that I lived on a gravel road while I was in for a tire replacement under warranty. Suddenly no warranty; eventhough it’s just the first and last mile and represents a small percentage of overall miles. Almost caused me to switch to Big O. Now I tell them I live on a dirt road — which is a more accurate description of my road because it’s only heavily graveled once a year for a few weeks and mostly dirt the rest of the year.

    Lifetime shock warranty is great, but wish they used better shocks. Had a leaking front strut and Tech said I needed to replace all 4. I said fine, they’re Les Schwab and have a lifetime warranty. Suddenly they only needed to replace the fronts.

    When the original shocks were installed, they didn’t re-install the boots on the front struts (that minimize dirt/mud buildup and exposure to water). When I was in to have them check the tightness of the nuts on the strut housing (causing a clunking sound going over bumps), I noticed the boot was missing. Tech said they probably disintegrated and fell off. That’s BS because I had checked them shortly before having the shocks replaced. The Idiot grease monkey kept poking a big screwdriver around the nut until a manager told him to stop already.

    Some locations are definitely better than others. Quality is variable due to turnover in techs and management.

    Tires – good, wish they offered nitrogen instead of air.
    Alignment – good.
    Brakes – unnecessary repairs, now prefer local independents
    Shocks – free lifetime replacement great, but wish they used better quality. Expect to have to pay for re-alignment.



  3. Delynn Clark says:

    My experience today at Boones Ferry LakeGrove location wasn’t great. 20 year old shocks bought at Lew Schwab in 93, all receipts, and I was told the warranty was only for the purchase price. Before I showed the receipt I absolutely need new shocks. After the receipt I only needed shocks if I was having trouble. So which is it? Anyway, LesSchwab started going downhill when Les died. Do not trust their warranty or their advice….too often it isn’t accurate. My mechanic is my go to guy now. Les Schwab has become untrustworthy.


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