New car repair shop expanding through central Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Between pothole repairs, engine troubles and basic maintenance, your car can cost you a fortune.

It doesn't take long to bust your budget or put you in a deep financial hole if something breaks.

"I've had several vehicle problems recently.  Right now I've brought my car in because I need brake pads and new rotors, and that's just the latest," said Lindsay Allen.

Lindsay didn't have good luck with her old repair place, so she switched to Belle Tire in Castleton, which is behind the mall and near Costco.  She's happy with the work they've done and that's why she's coming back.

"Because of all of my car problems, it's gotten kind of expensive, so I came in last week and had a good experience. They quoted me some more work at a good price and so I'm back this week," she said.

"I pick a place where I know I'm going to get quality work because I have two young kids and I've always got them in the car, so I want to keep them safe," Lindsay said.

There are countless car care places around central Indiana, and most people have found a shop they're happy with. Even so, the folks at Belle Tire are hoping you'll give them a chance if they need car repairs or aren't satisfied with their current care.

"We're open in Castleton, Avon, and we just opened in Greenwood. We also are planning new shops from Carmel to Lawrence so people don't have to drive far to find us," said general manager Michael McDonough.

Belle Tire started in 1922 in Detroit. They now have 108 locations in three states and are adding six more locations throughout central Indiana. Their name is also somewhat misleading

"Our name has the word 'tire' in it, but we are a full-service shop, kind of a one-stop shop. We do brakes, shocks, struts, oil changes, windshield wiper blades, everything except for transmissions and body work," said Ray Turner, director of retail operations at Belle Tire.

Many vehicle places offer services that are free when you go there, and that's something to look for when you're trying to stretch your dollar. At Belle Tire, for example, they offer several free services such as safety checks and free checks on alignments.

In order to stretch your dollar, their labor rates stay the same, regardless of the vehicle. In Indiana, those labor rates are $85 an hour with a 100% price guarantee. Be sure to check with your car care place or dealership to learn what the rates are and what the price will be for a repair before committing.

"We heard about this place on the internet, and it's a new facility so we came here to Castleton, but they're also building a new Belle Tire over by our house on the east side, so that will be convenient," said customer Chuck Stewart.

If you are looking for good deals, make sure wherever you go, they don't use substandard parts to keep costs down.  That may save you in the short run, but it can cause car problems down the road.

"We want to make sure you get all your name brands that your vehicle currently uses or what is recommended.  For oil changes you'll get Mobil, for example, and in tires we do Michelin and a host of other brands. For brakes and suspension, we all use known name brands such as Akebono," said McDonough.

They shop their competition weekly, matching or beating prices--much like big retail stores. That's key in today's marketplace. They also buy in bulk.  For example, the corporate office of Belle buys 200,000 tires per week for all their stores, allowing them to keep prices low. Other tire places in town do the same, which helps customers stretch their dollar.

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