Why you should always get a second opinion

We’ve all had times when we’ve had someone tell us something that wasn’t… 100% right. There’s many reasons behind that from ignorance, lack of skills, up to something more malicious. I had that situation lately, and I’d like to share what happened.

To start off with, I believe that what happened with this incident was a lack of skill or understanding and not something that was anything more. I have not mentioned the companies involved because I don’t feel like that would do anyone any good at this stage.

The story begins with me being out on a nice little 4WD trip up to the Glasshouse Mountains area, which is relatively local for me. The trip was great and we all had a fun time. On the drive home I noticed that the steering wheel was way off-centre, and the car was just not handling right. My first thoughts were that I’d knocked the wheel alignment out, which can happen very easily sometimes. To get that fixed, I went to a local tyre shop to get a wheel alignment done. I did tell them what happened and to check if it was just that or if there was anything more sinister going on.

I got a call from them shortly afterwards. Apparently one of the bolts holding the lower trailing arm of my suspension had fallen out… and that had caused bending and breakages in the lower control arm and the bushes. That’s serious, and I mean “this car is extremely dangerous to drive” serious. When I got back to the shop they gave me the report which said that the bolt was not missing, but just bent, along with bending the adjustment tabs and other assorted things on the lower control arm. It was a bit of a different story, but I thought that maybe I heard wrong on the phone, because you never know. They didn’t want to fix it (it was a Saturday) so they couldn’t do the wheel alignment because of the problems that they found, so I drove the car way and left it at home trying to figure out what to do next.

After a bit of searching I contacted a local suspension place that would be able to look at it. It took a couple of days taking public transport and then I got my car to be looked at.

The suspension shop looked at everything in fine detail, and they found… nothing. They did the wheel alignment without an issue, and everything is all good. I’ve driven it for a few days now, and it’s all feeling right. I will give it a week or two to see if that changes though until I’m 100% sure.

So the difference between having to replace a high-dollar suspension component and only getting a wheel alignment is somewhere from $1,000 to $1,500 extra. So by finding somewhere else that could see any problems that might have been real has just saved me that much money.

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