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Reputable Mechanics -- Separating Fact from Fiction

2

Comments

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,744
    Didn't like the advice, perhaps?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Well, you guys along with the pro's who frequent here know that peripheral damage can be caused by incompetence, negligence or dishonesty, but coincedences can and do happen. I recently overhauled a Quadrajet carb on an old Buick for a bad hesitation on tip in, and it refused to start afterwards. Had the carb off and apart again, then had the air horn off at least twice before deciding to check for spark (it drove in). Guess when the ignition module decided to call it a day. @#$%^&*!!! My only saving grace was that the owner, a friend, was there when it happened.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,744
    We were recharging the A/C on a Chevy Wagon when it just shut itself off.

    The guy working on it was puzzled when it wouldn't start back up.

    Turns out, it decided to jump it's timing chain right there!

    I got the " It was fine before you guys worked on it"

    We took it apart to discover the nylon timing gear was totally shot. It was amazing it had lasted that long. The chain was badly stretched too.

    When I showed him the worn parts he still insisted we must have "done something".

    I got to do the job for free.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    Here's a real horror story just posted:

    padderwock "Maintenance & Repair Costs" Apr 24, 2004 1:33pm

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  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I just thouroughly think that poor guy is being shaken until not only the wallet, but his fillings, fall out for redemption. IMHO sounds like pure scam.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    or both...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    I know. If you stuck up a 7-11 for $850 they'd put you away for 5 years. I hope the president of the dealership reads all this before the DA does and "does the right thing".

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,744
    And I decided to stay out of it. My gut feeling is that something stinks...BAD!
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    Folks,
    If a mechanic/shop recommends something to be replaced, don't immediately assume that they are trying to rip you off. They are doing their job.
    Most/some shops have a procedure that they follow for certain parts failures. If one part fails, they recommend replacing certain parts along with it. Are they trying to rip you off? NO!
    They are doing business. If you don't like their way of doing business, go somewhere else.
    To scream and yell that they are trying to rip you off is childish and counter productive and really serves no purpose.
    It amazes me that there are people that when suggested that they replace a certain part, immediately go into this frenzy of "Their trying to rip me off!!"
    Just say no thank you and move on to another shop.
    No big deal.

    Ok, I am ready for the bashing. LOL!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,744
    You either trust the shop/mechanic or you don't.

    If you don't feel comfortable, you should take your business elsewhere. The shop does not want you as a customer if you are the kind that feels you are being taken.

    There are certain jobs where it's just smart to replace other parts while you are "in there".

    You are having a leaking water pump replaced after 95,000 miles. Your shop suggests replacing the radiator and heater hoses along with the drive belts at the same time since they are original.

    A ripoff? Hardly! Just a good shop trying to save you trouble and expense down the road.

    Of course, some of these same people who suspect a ripoff are the same to accuse the shop of "doing something" when the lower radiator hose blows a month after the water pump job.

    After all... " It never leaked before YOU worked on it"!

    Sometimes you can't win!
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    The consumer only sees one side of the story most of the time. If they would stop and gather information, they would often find out that there is a point to some recommendations.

    And they need to remember that they are recommendations, not forcing them to do anything.

    There are many jobs that I have a list of things that I consider a MUST to replace. If a person comes to me for diagnosis, I diagnose and recommend parts to replace. If they say no, I say no problem, pay me for the diagnosis and take it to another shop.

    Am I trying to rip someone off? No, actually I am trying to cover my rear. If I replace the incidentals, then I don't have to worry about it coming back because the incidentals failed and having to tear into.

    If someone wanted to have lifters replaced, I would recommend cam and cam bearings (for those equipped with cam bearings). If they said no, they would go to another shop. I wouldn't do the work.

    Some parts that need to be replaced go hand in hand. Plugs, cap, rotor and wires are an example.
    Could the customer get away with replacing just one? Yes.
    Would it be smart? Not at all.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    flipped the brake pad right rear friday before last, before memorial day, called the shop at 5 pm and made a tuesday appointment. knew going in the rotor was scarred badly, that I needed one there. pads were "yellow" on all wheels, and I was at 57,000 miles, so had all four brakes padded and caliper, rotor, etc. work done, and the 60K maintenance done.

    no problem. nice, clean, pretty brake parts when they were done, and everything worked just fine with no noise, no sticking, no chatters, no nothing except smooth braking.

    until saturday afternoon. after 15 miles on the interstate, pulled off and went into several stores on several stops... last one was the home despot. came back to the car with the fiancee, hit the brakes to shift out of park, and the brake went down three inches... hesitated, and then right to the floor, boom. tried again, boom to the floor. a little crawling around showed the right front brake hose had blown big time, about an inch back from the caliper connection block (bosch calipers on exploders, so they have euro-style block fittings.) nobody I called stocks 'em. so called triple-A for a tow to a nearby station on their list, which has a fairly decent word-of-mouth.

    now, did somebody rotate that caliper over while working on the brakes, to kink an old hose and cause it to fail? very strong possibility. there is also a strong possibility that a 57,000 mile old, four-year-old hose failed all on its own. will mention it to the dealer, but not make a major case, for precisely those reasons.

    BUT the emergency brakes did nothing for me, despite being tight as a tick at the pedal. that is a big no-no, you should be able to lock your e-brake, set the car in gear, and not move. even when you run the RPMs up a bit, and I've run to 2000 and stayed in place. that is the law, those e-brakes should hold you in gear. and they did before the work.

    THIS I do intend to bring to the attention of my service manager, along with the full story, and that I do think they need to get back under there to adjust that brake properly because it's already paid for, and sign off that it works, and I will be right over there waiting until it is done.

    two possible comebackers on a job. one is possibly conincidence, possibly not, and it ain't gonna do me a bit of good to whistle about it much. so I won't. the other is somebody missed a step (or two,) and they need to make it good. should be a few minutes of labor that makes the tech get home a little late, so he doesn't forget it again. that I am going to insist on.

    the shop has been good for me, they have a decent rep, and I can go next door and get a spare euro hose-from-hell in case something blows up again, so I will be ready. I'm not ready to call colorado and see if anybody else is making tanks from bulldozers, and for hire.

    cars crap out, and ( ) happens, and nobody died from this one. it's why I have brakes and steering done by certified professionals, so I can sue 'em if I have to. I shouldn't have to, and they shouldn't screw up another one for a while after losing one of the new nice, clear, dry early evenings of spring to a foulup they made days ago.

    if the guy tells me I need two more brake hoses and a bowden cable for the e-brakes during that looky-loo, then I expect he will be red-faced enough to not want to be wrong again. that I can understand and respect.

    if they told me they need to rotate the brake light bulbs and rewax the stones in my tires, that is a whole 'nother universe and such will be pointed out as is required.

    and that would affect future patronage, and the guys know it.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,240
    On the early Olds 350 engine, circa '68, a sharp elbow hose went from the thermostat housing to the water pump. Around 30K miles, you could almost bet the hose was going to blow. When it did, the shop always recommended the retro kit (thermo housing with steel elbow and straight hose) and a water pump. The sudden pressure loss from the elbow hose blowing would take the seal out on the pump, causing a leak to start within a couple of hundred miles. Most times folks would take the "You're trying to rip me off" attitude. Then, when the pump would let go within the month, "What did you do to my car, it didn't leak til you worked on it, etc. At which time, once again, we would show them the service bulletin that stated the waterpump should be replaced along with a new thermo housing kit installed.

    But of course, we were just a bunch of crooks.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    there are all kinds of little interrelationships that allow one part failing to take another out.

    my brake deal turned out to include a seized e-brake cable, which let a rear caliper drag, which led to the early disintegration of one brake pad and loss of a rotor. both of the front brake hoses, by the way, were bad... one bulged and one blew... so had them both replaced today to prevent another little interrelationship like a seriously twisted frame in a ditch, which would cause all brakes to fail to track with each other correctly, among other things :(

    the dealer's guys left $360 on the table when they missed these items. the e-brake would have been spotted by an 8-year-old if the kid followed the service steps all the way through. but for God, could have put my fiancee and I on a table as well.

    so I would have been receptive to a second call from the service writer saying uh, we found something else, we really think you should have these fixed right away as well, and yeah, it adds to the estimate we already gave you.

    I can think of a few folks who would have set off NORAD's emergency channels if they heard it. but I read my manuals, and I used to take news pictures of accidents and the like, and being a cranky old tech type, I'd rather get the information and act than be shielded and be blindsided.

    have not been back to the dealer with the additional work I needed, but when I drift by, it will be on the order of, "say, guy, here's what happened last weekend. and you know, you should have caught at least the e-brake. you left $360 on the table, and left God to watch my back, and I want you to take that into the weekly service meeting. if there are eleven bullets on the service procedure, do all eleven. that's all, really."
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    a proper brake inspection, period - all four wheels come off, everything is checked, including the cables, the e-brake shoes (where applicable), and all the hard and soft lines.

    Brakes are an area where, as a service manager, I'd fire a tech for doing shoddy work. ONE incident could easily put the dealership out of business and me out of a job, so I take it personally...
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    so now I'm not going to use them any more, so they never wear, LOL ;)

    seriously, folks, I'm just not going to slow down for pedestrians :-D

    // slap, slap, slap \\ ouch, OK. whenever I get around to it, I'm going to call my service writer and get it done. had to take the cat to the vet today, which among some ancillary things to do around the place ate the whole day off in big bites.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    You do not have to have the work done. Son needed a belt htat was fraying, dealer rep came in said they wanted to repalce all three belts. I said I wanted to speak with the tech. I said that I inspected the other two belts and they looked fine, he said yes they do. then why replace them. He said, they are not OEM belts they are aftermarket and I don't like aftermarket belts. He said hey, I don't care I don't make any more moeny whether you replace them or not. Yea right, the dealer does though!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    But what would you do if he had to remove the two good/used aftermarket belts to replace the one bad frayed one?

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,744
    Whoever replaced the other two belts should have replaced the one that's bad now!

    Makes no sense.
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    Sorry, but I am with the tech on this one.
    The belts should be replaced all together.

    In most cases, the labor difference between one belt and all of them is rarely above .5 hour.

    It's kind of like replacing one radiator hose and not the other.

    Just my opinion.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    used to be in the nasty old days, you would have two or maybe three V-belts that drove most all the accessories... mostly because if you used only one belt with the air conditioning compressor in there, it would have a lousy life span. under those conditions, if multiple belts are needed to transfer power to one set of loads, you absolutely need to replace 'em all at the same time. otherwise, the new one will take all the load, being unstretched, and will break. that flips a wild belt under the other drive belt on that load, and fling it off as well.

    this happens late at night, or sunday suppertime, with the tow on, 30 miles from nowhere, on the second-hottest day of the year, in my experience. you don't want to be there.

    belts are not expensive. I'm with 0patience on this one, I've been there.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    "the longest journey begins with a single broken drive belt".

    Old Chinese proverb

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  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    All three belts were replaced at the same time to begin with and the inner one frayed for some reason but other two looked fine. So yes, had to remove the two good ones to get to the bad one. I did have all three done but the issue is that rather then be honest and explaing the situation and probabilities etc. etc. he simply says, hey, I don't like aftermarket belts.

    Of course at the dealer the belts are marked up 200% so that an $11 belt is charged out at $30.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    All three belts were replaced at the same time to begin with and the inner one frayed for some reason but other two looked fine. So yes, had to remove the two good ones to get to the bad one. I did have all three done but the issue is that rather then be honest and explaing the situation and probabilities etc. etc. he simply says, hey, I don't like aftermarket belts.

    Of course at the dealer the belts are marked up 200% so that an $11 belt is charged out at $30.
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    Ok, I misunderstood.
    And would have to agree that an explanation should have been given.

    If the belts were new or looked fairly new, there was no reason to recommend them.
    Belts are belts and there is not much difference between OEM and aftermarket, with some exceptions in the serpentine belt category. Some of the Ford OEM serpentine belts outlast aftermarket by far.
    Not sure why that is.

    Now, if we were talking sensors or electrical, then I would have to say that OEM is the only way to go, as aftermarket ones tend to have problems.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    on two fords using factory belts. changed to a gates serpentine, bingo, no issues.

    the OEM belts for both ford and GM look and feel like Dayton belts. the rubber is a little different, less grippy. so they're more slippy.

    do what you want, but I'm sticking with gates.
  • Can you help me find a good mechanic in Boston MA to take a car in to be inspected before I buy it? Thank you!
  • Can someone please help me? I am trying to buy a used car, but i ahve no idea where to bring it to be inspected before I buy it. It's a 98 Honda Civic EX with 80,000... it looks great and has a clean erccord but I want to be careful. I need to find a mechanic in Boston... Any advice?
    Thanks,
    Katherine
  • Do you sell Hondas? Where? I am looking at a used Honda and I need to bring it in to be insopected, it's a 98' Civic EX w/ 80,000 miles on it, I am desperately trying to find a mechanic in Boston - any advice?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,744
    If you get on Interstate 90 and stay on it until it ends, that's where you'll find me.

    And that's a LONG, LONG way to take a car for an inspection! :)
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