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Reputable Mechanics -- Separating Fact from Fiction

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  • Heres a question about honesty and integrity. Should a repair facility (dealer or otherwise) be upfront and honest about not knowing what is wrong with a customers vehicle? Or does playing "lets change the parts game until we get it right" seem justifiable? Should a customer get their money back when the part installed not fix the problem ????
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    That's a loaded question.
    Here is the problem. Most shops are upfront and honest about the repairs and try to make the repairs the firs time to the best of their ability.
    The problem is that some information isn't always made available to a lot of shops, so they may purchase an aftermarket part from a parts store and find out that the manufacturer updated the part to a new part later on. After they have tried several times to cure a problem.

    Not many shops "play games" as you put it. Because, to be quite frank, they probably wouldn't stay in business too long.

    Your last question.
    Should a customer get their money back when the part installed not fix the problem
    Depends. If you authorized them to replace the part. Then no. You should not get your money back.
    But it would be good business for them to not charge the labor on it.

    I've seen several instances that a person came in with SEVERAL problems that you had to fix one to find another and on and on.
    So that is something to consider.
  • Heres my case. Took my 98 mer villager in to a canadian tire garage to find out why my van was spitin-sputtering when warm. technician said there was nothing really wrong with the van other than regular maitenace.. I paid for diagnosis-injector flush, and I changed plugs/wires/throttle body cleanse/cap and rotor. Took it back and told them it still was acting up. They said it was the coil, they changed it and still no improvement, then they said oh you need to change the cat convertor so i took it out to have it done, pratically had to push it back to the garage...then they said leave it with us..a day later they said oh it was just a faulty wire. Ran ok for about 2 weeks..same crap again.....took it to a Ford dealer this time and they said it sounds like a sensor problem , they changed a o2 sensor still no change.. they finally did a ford diagnosis... oh it was a knock sensor.. paid big bucks again with no improvement....theyhad to call ford hotline for advice... they said to check for bad ground on ecm... i took it out and it was ok for 2 days and then it started up again. i took it back again to the ford dealer...they told me it was high resistance on the neg battrey cabel..so i took it out and changed that well the next day my van died on the hiway had to tow it to the Nissan dealer... After paying for a diagnostic 1 hr they said it was just dirt build up on the photo sensor on the distributor, cleaned it and it been fine ever since.... this crap cost me about 4 thousand before it was fixed, i feel i should of gotten some of that money back....
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    I paid for diagnosis-injector flush, and I changed plugs/wires/throttle body cleanse/cap and rotor. yes
    Took it back and told them it still was acting up. They said it was the coil, they changed it and still no improvement yes
    then they said oh you need to change the cat convertor so i took it out to have it done NO, cause the cat is easy to check to see if it is plugged ,
    pratically had to push it back to the garage...then they said leave it with us..a day later they said oh it was just a faulty wire. yes

    As for the Ford dealer, I would ask them why they were replacing sensors without confirming the sensors were bad.
    And when you say......
    so i took it out and changed that well the next day
    Are you having them do the diagnostics and you change the parts or what?
    If so, then you created part of the problem.
    If not, you paid for a diagnosis. Misdiagnosing the part and replacing it shouldn't really be at your expense.
    I don't know what Canada's laws are, but there may be a provincial govt consumer protection that can tell you what you should and shouldn't have to pay for.
  • autodrautodr Posts: 27
    Well, the thing is that "yesterday's mechanic" is exactly that... "yesterday's" mechanic and he would do well servicing "yesterday's cars". In yesteryears parts on vehicles were made to be repaired. But today, parts are made to be replaced. There are plenty of "yesterday's mechanics" trying to use yesterday's practices on today's cars. I know, because I often see them in my bay after "yesterday's mechanic" has tried to "fix" something that needed to be replaced.

    What is lacking, is not yesterday's mechanics... because there are still plenty of those scratching their heads trying to figure out today's cars. But rather there is a lack of "today's technicians" who understand today's vehicles and can accurately diagnose them.

    I suspect your experiences that prompted that post is from taking your "today's car" to "yesterday's mechanic".
  • autodrautodr Posts: 27
    Wow. Sorry to hear about that rough time you had. So, the tire store... who's primary business is under-car work such as tires, brakes, alignment, rims, and maint services like oil changes... couldn't figure out why your engine's control system, a complex electronic control system that requires special equipment and technical knowledge to diagnose, had a malfunction and couldn't properly run the engine. Honestly, I'm not sure how to express my degree of lack of being surprised. But I think it rivals that of my level of surprise for when Elton John came out of the closet.

    Looking at it from the tire-jocky's stand point, if the problem was somewhat intermittent... which is how your post reads... if he couldn't get it to act up in the relatively short period of time he had it (relative to how long you get to drive it) then what else is he going to do but look it over for past due maint? From the sound of it, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, and TB cleaning, that's pretty much to be expected of nearly any vehicle with some miles and age on it if they haven't been done in a long time. The only thing there is what was promised.... communication... if they said "this will fix your car"... then I have a problem with that against them. If they said something more like, "we'll we can't get it to act up, and don't really see anything wrong other than some maint issues that might or might not be the cause...." then they really just did the only thing that was in their power.

    When you took it back, they panicked and started guessing. You spent a lot of money there and they needed to do something to fix it. So they started reaching for straws. I feel like instead of reaching for straws at this point, they should have just said, "Look I'm sorry, but we can't really do anything more." That would have been the most upfront approach and at this point they wouldn't have done anything wrong. But the problem here is that they were probably more scared than anything that you'd start demanding for a refund of the... probably legitimate... maint work that they had just performed simply because it didn't fix your original complaint. So, at the very least, do you see what kind of a position they are suddenly in?

    Then the Ford dealer... MMmm boy. Of course you know you are actually driving a Nissan right? Well... part Nissan and part Ford. But the engine and electronics are Nissan. And of course it is the Nissan part you wanted a Ford dealer to fix. Granted, they are supposed to be ready to fix it because it is marketed as a Ford. But you are expecting a lot right there.

    I was working in a Ford dealer up to '93 and was hired over to a Nissan dealer.. why? To help them on the Nissan Quest, or so the service manager's idea was. The Nissan Quest and Mercury Villager came out in '93 and both sides of the fence were nervous about it. He knew it was half Ford and needed a Ford tech. I fit the bill. In '94 another Ford dealer (a Lincoln/Mercury dealer) hired me away from the Nissan dealer. Why? same reason only in reverse. Kinda funny isn't it?

    Anyway, the point is that every so many years car makers come out with a mix-breed vehicle that no one is prepared for, no one wants to touch, and no one has the equipment or experience to fix them... ever. When they are new, everyone is caught off guard and when they are old everyone has moved on and forgotten about them. Which bring me to the point I am getting to about the Ford dealer. They moved on, I'm betting when you're vehicle rolled in every tech there was praying he didn't get it and when one did the others pointed and laughed at him... seriously, I really mean they literally likely laughed "Oh.. I see you got the Villager... better you than me buddy... lol"

    I'm the only one in my dealer that is not afraid of them and actually kinda like to get one every now and then, and no one stands in my way for one either.

    You're bad experience at the dealer was likely due to the fact that... on that vehicle... the dealer was on the same, or close to the same, playing level as the tire jockys you just came from... only the tire jockys took all the maint away already. So, they reached for the only things they saw wrong, bad battery cables... ect.

    The Nissan dealer fixed it because, well, it has the same Nissan stuff on it that has been in place on other Nissans (most closely the Maxima) for years upon years upon years. For that problem on that vehicle, the Nissan dealer was actually the best choice. It was just another Nissan to them.. no fear, no surprise.
  • lhylhy Posts: 48
    I am looking for websites that provide reviews and ratings of car mechanics.

    I searched the Edmunds site for reviews of mechanics in my area (Oregon), but I didn't find any ratings.

    Can anybody recommend some other review websites?
  • jasonscarjasonscar Posts: 1
    I just bought a house in Romeoville where things are tight already and of course we have two cars. The 2007 Kia Sportage needs brakes and The 2005 Nissan Quest has windsheild wipers that aren't working. I can hear the motor working but they aren't moving. I think they got disconnected some how. I live in Aurora, IL right now and am moving to Romeoville, IL with in the week. Anyone know of a trustworthy mechanic in the area?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Both would be very common repairs that many places can handle.
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