Dealer vs. independent shop?



  • computertechcomputertech Member Posts: 1
    Let me say I am impressed by the responses I've read in this column. Good solid answers to the questions.

    I have a 94 taurus wagon with 250,000 mi.. Engine is still intact and runs fine. It is just starting to use a bit of oil. However the Trans finally starting giving problems with downshifting at hwy speeds (which I understand is typical of the ford trannies in the lineup) question is will a power flush possibly correct this problem or is it a complete rebuild?
    I could do the work myself, but time is of the premium, so will most likely take it to the shop for repair.

    Thanks for the opinion

    BTW -- Remarks about dealers apply to my field also -- repairing computers, Alot of scary dealers and techs out there.
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,211
    You might try one or more independent shops for a free opinion on the status of your tranny. My more recent experiences with dealership repair facilities indicate that they have no desire to spend any time at all without a fee. Many independents will look and listen, and then render a preliminary opinion without charge.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Whatever you do. Your Taurus has far outlived the average Taurus!

    I sure wouldn't spend much money on it at this point. It is not worth the price of a rebuild.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    First, dealers in my area do not rebuild trannies, all they will do is install a rebuilt one they obtain. Independent shops usually rebuild them.

    First try a drain and fill as it is more gentle to the tranny and may solve your problem, a couple of them may be in order as one gets only 50% or so of the fluid out. Flushes are very harsh on an old tranny.
  • driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,692
    in each of the three dealership service departments I've run, I've always had a transmission guy who opted to rebuild over installing a reman...first, your case is a known component, remans can come from a vehicle with 200,000 miles, as long as certain parts meet "specs"; the technician makes more money by rebuilding instead of replacing, and of course, doesn't want a chargeback, so does a good job; you don't have the resale value stigma of having a "reman" transmission in your car.
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    When I bought my wife's Honda while stationed in Europe, I took it the local german Honda dealer for servicing. Checkheft gepflegt, the germans call it. Never had any issues with the dealer other than they wanted me to bring my own oil and the recommended the Honda oil filter.

    Return to the states and I can't get any kind of service anywhere without the extra layer of sales crap.

    I take my Matrix to the dealer in Richmond. I want the first (5,000 mile) service. Manual calls for oil and filter change plus tire rotation and balance. Dealer wants to do some special things. I have to tell them to just do what the service book calls for.

    Move to Miami and I go in for the 15,000 mile service. Dealer wants to replace the air filter, do a coolant flush and some other crap. Again I emphasize that I wish to follow the service book. "Well, if you just want go by what the book says."

    I need to get the tires rotated again and I've sworn off the dealer. I go to a tire shop thinking I'll be safe. While I'm waiting, they call me out to show me some things. They show me my oil is black. They mention that the power steering fluid is black too. I am wondering why they needed to open the hood to do a tire rotation.

    Is there no place left that will just perform the requested service without trying to sell me a bunch of services that I neither want nor need?

    I know my way around a maintance bay having a background in Army maintenance. But it really makes me wonder how much they are able to stick your average joe and particularly the average jane for.
  • ljwalters1ljwalters1 Member Posts: 294
    I can certainly sympathize with you, but to provide some counterpoints:

    1. If you left and a few days later something went wrong b/c of black oil or black coolant or something, you might blame the shop;
    2. If it was something serious, you might be glad they pointed it out;
    3. Everyone's got to make a living ;)

    I'm certainly not a mechanic, but capitalism forces everyone to be a salesman to some extent.
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    I'm not sure what black power steering fluid is supposed to indicate.

    I know that the oil has 4500 miles on it. It is Mobil 1 synthetic that I put in myself. It's doing its job. I change it myself at the Coast Guard Air Station auto hobby shop.

    I don't know how any court in the nation would give me the time of day if I asked a shop to rotate some tires, and an hour later I had a water pump failure that I tried to blame on the shop.

    I don't have a problem with a shop pointing out potential problems. For example, I recently had the timing belt done on my wife's civic. I asked the independent shop to do the full belt service, oil change, and plugs. When I picked it up, the manager mentioned that the CV boots are long in the tooth and would likely fail soon. He told me what the service would be if done preventively and what a repair would cost if the joint itself became damaged after the boot failed. He didn't ask me if I wanted the full injector cleaner treatment or transmission flush.

    It is the pushing of services early and bogus treatments that annoy me to no end. It seems everyone has adopted the Jiffy Lube model of bringing 'em in for a simple service and selling them overpriced services of dubious value. I particularly fond of the "show them the dirty air filter" technique.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    You need to find an independent mechanic, and build a relationship with him. It will take a few visits, but they will take care of you in the long run.

    It is the same way in every service industry. I work for a large bank, and it is all about sales.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I decided to have the local dealer replace the front struts on my wife's 122K 1997 528i(the RF was leaking pretty bad). When I brought it in I asked my service advisor about doing the rear shocks and he said that they would check them, but that they were probably fine-the rear shocks tend to outlast the fronts by a considerable margin. An inspection confirmed that the rears were in good shape. It's refreshing to go to a shop that discourages unneccessary repairs.
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    Sometimes I think that is a function of how much you are spending in the first place. If you go in for a timing belt change to the tune of $500, they may be less inclined to hit you up for the fuel system cleaning than if you went in for the quickie oil change.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I agree that many shops take that approach, but this particular dealer has never tried to push any extra services or snake oil on me. I guess I'm pretty fortunate to have a dealer like that; their prices are reasonable and they do the job right AND on time.
  • musicrowmusicrow Member Posts: 2
    Does anyone know a good mechanic in the Nashville area for working on a l988 Toyota Land Cruiser
  • mcasillasmcasillas Member Posts: 2
    I have to repair a big dent on my Grand Am I was wondering if it is better to take to a dealer or find a local collision shop? If a local shop is better how do I find one that does a really good job? I just moved to where I live and do not know any good shops. Can any one recommend one in the Ecorse area in Michigan?
  • taxesquiretaxesquire Member Posts: 681
    can't say for sure, but I've had good experiences with collision shops. If you find one pre-approved by your insurance, starting a relationship now could help you in the future.
  • mcasillasmcasillas Member Posts: 2
    I did not think it was going to be that expensive to repair so I did not submit it to my insurance company. I did the damage myself (little expensive miscalculation). I got an estimate from a local shop the other day and they said is going to cost about $600-700 to fix, my deductible is about $500. My father thinks is too expensive. I am going to continue to get estimates and see what happens. The guy at the shop told me that if I go to the junk yard and find the fender it will be cheaper to get it fixed. The part brand new is $275. Thanks for replying
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    You move to a new area, and you want to locate a competent, honest shop for maintenance and repairs. What's the best way to find one?

    Host, this topic should logically be in the Maintenance and Repairs forum, but there's no way to add a new discussion in that forum at this time.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Go to one of the local Mom & Pop restaurants where the locals eat, for the breakfast meal, (not a chain if possible, preferably with age 50+ waitresses who call you "hon") and ask some of the old timers there. They will absolutely know.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,514
    to this a couple years back. The shop I used to go to had been run by two old guys who first started working together at a mega Plymouth/Dodge/DeSoto/Chrysler/Imperial dealership. Well, the last DeSoto rolled off the assembly line on November 18, 1960, so that should give you some indication of their age!

    I knew that eventually they'd retire, and in 2002 they did. The guy that took over the shop seemed cool at first, but suddenly started jacking up prices, pushing unneeded service, etc, so it didn't seem that much different than going to your stereotypical quickie lube joint where they try to take you for all you're worth.

    During the summer of '03, I found a new shop. One of my grandmother's friends recommended them, and always took her car there and trusted them. I gave them a shot when I had to get the coolant and belts changed on my Intrepid. They seemed pretty honest and down-to-earth, and I've been satisfied.

    I guess if you're in a new town, the best way to go is still word-of-mouth. Even though you're not going to really know anybody yet, you could still maybe ask your neighbors or other people you come into contact with regularly, like the mailman, cashier at a store, a regular waiter at a restaurant you frequent, etc.
  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    that the best independant shops are in mid sized towns/cities.

    In my experience, small town shops seem to charge more because they know they have the monopoly on that particular town. In other words, they know they can charge more, because the locals will pay it instead of driving out of town.

    In large towns where there are a ton of repair shops, they tend to charge more as well (plus push extra services). I think they do this because they don't care to build loyalty, they just want to get as much as they can at one time, because the customer will probably just go somewhere else next time anyway.

    I have found mid sized towns to be the best setting. I think this is because the town is still small enough for word of mouth advertising to be effective, but large enough for the shops to have to deal with competition.

    This is all just my opinion after having lived in small, medium, and big towns/cities.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Member Posts: 1,828
    As a person who has relocated across the country a few times, I find it very difficult to make ANY generalizations about repair shops.

    I have six different experiences here in Chicago that illustrate my point.

    My wife went to one local Ford dealership in a small town outside Chicago for a minor problem. They fixed the problem no charge. Great experience. On the other hands, I went to another Ford dealership the day that I arrived in Chicago with a stuck caliper and the guy tries to rip me off by replacing an oil pan gasket. (Their worst day was the day that I became fleet manager and cut them off from our fleet business.)

    I went to a Goodyear dealer who told me I "needed" a $500 brake job on by rear brakes. I declined as I did not seem to have problems with the brakes. I came back three month later and asked a different technician in the same shop about the rear brakes and was told they were fine.

    Everyone warned me about how bad pep Boys was in other cities. I have used the ones locally and found that they do excellent work, ON-TIME, and at very reasonable prices.

    In the one breakdown that I have had in 5 1/2 years, AAA towed me into a local independent shop. The prices were outrageous and it took forever for my vehicle to recover (g). However, a guy just opened a place next to work. I have seen the guy at all the car shows where he has a reputation for working on domestic classics. He does a nice job at reasonable prices.

    The best advice that I have is to ask around. People will tell you where they do good work and charge reasonably
  • asafonovasafonov MinneapolisMember Posts: 409
    You enter your location and optional preferences (car makes they specialize in, whether speed or cost of repair are more important) and get a list of rated mechanics. Three that I found with this tool (all in greater Minneapolis) have been excellent. Had to change shops as I moved between the city and suburbs a couple of times.

    Second best to reliable advice and recommendations from people you trust, of course.
  • observer22observer22 Member Posts: 41
    Couple of miles from downtown, immediately next door to a porn bookstore, at the rear corner of the lot, I found a hidden treasure.
    Two decidely unimpressive, rather small buildings operated by latins. One is a body shop sometimes also having a mechanic. Other body shops wanted $1800 to fix my little car, they did it for $850. Their since-departed mechanic changed the serpentine belt and master cylinder plus had a guy come out and service (but not replace) front brake rotors for $200. Several wrecked cars litter their lot. Later, I was rearended and the $2000 bodywork repair estmated at a very nice, very clean body shop was done for $400 at this latin-operated place. They painted the front bumper of my car (not damaged in accident) for an extra $150.
    Twenty feet away is a separate shop operated by different latins who don't do body work. They installed Brembo front brake rotors I bought at autobarn dot com plus brake pads they had a local parts store bring out. Total charge for pads and labor to install pads and Brembo rotors: $70.
    This same shop that did not do body work installed my pre-purchased plugs, plug wires and air filter for....$30 (6 cyl engine). They also GLADLY gave me the old parts in a bag when I asked they do it before they did the job.
    If you drive an American car, be good to yourself and your family and get some Brembo front brake rotors installed NOW. Improves braking performance by an amazing amount. $170 with free shipping (autobarn). Wise to also hunt on internet for 8 millimeter spark plug wires (usually available in many colors).
    Look in white pages of phone book under "latin" or "latino" as the first word for an indy auto gargage.
    All these repairs were done in 2005.
  • taxesquiretaxesquire Member Posts: 681
    I found one place by asking my barber. He knew a great place that was close to where I live - an independent shop operated by an army vet who was as honest as could be. If you in South Tampa and want the contact info, let me know.

    I since moved - not so far away that it is impossible to use his place, but it is a real pain in the neck to get there (I'm in Carrollwood now, if anyone's familiar with Tampa, FL) . Fortunately, when my car needed tires, I got a good feeling from one of the places I stopped - and I also happened to coincidentally speak with the manager. Their prices were reasonable, they were professional and did a good job. I made sure to always speak to that manager throughout. THis is a chain, by-the-way, called Allied Tires & Service.

    Afterwards, I started taking my car there for my oil changes instead of the dealership, and again, I only dealt with the manager. I think we have a good relationship, but until recently, I couldn't be certain they wouldn't try to cheat me. When I last dropped my car off for an oil change, I asked them to change the air filter. Not chek the filter - but change it. It wasn't until I was waiting to actually pick up my car that I realized I'd said the wrong thing - I wanted them to change the cabin filter! I would have totally understood if they changed out the air filter - after all, I told them to, but when I didn't see a charge, I asked and they told me that when they checked, the air filter still had a lot of miles left on it. That convinced me that I'd found an honest shop.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    The discussion on "Finding A Good Independent Repair Shop In A New Town" is dead under this topic. In fact, it seems the entire topic is dormant. Why not try making "Finding A Good Independent Repair Shop In A New Town" a new topic and see what happens?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    no legs. You come up with 5-6 suggestions and the topic is done. This way we integrate it into a larger area of interest.
  • emartin1emartin1 Member Posts: 1
    I have a Pontiac and my dad is always telling me to go to the dealer for service. I'm not so sure about the whole Goodwrench thing. I thought Mr. Goodwrench was an old bald guy. What do you all think?
  • glenonokaglenonoka Member Posts: 3
    I love my Chevy dealer. Always great service. It's Mr. T who you want to stay away from.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Member Posts: 1,986
    I'm gonna say, flat out, that I'm not much impressed by my local Lexus dealers' service bays. Always maddeningly polite, in the vein of Compaq's Bombay Service Center, and always ready with a loaner on tap, they are however no better at diagnosis or communication than any independent I've used.

    I'm still under warranty, so major repair cost isn't an issue per se, but minor costs can be documented as higher in all cases.

    In another thread, I explained that I had them do an alignment when the car was in for its 15K, the day after I had new rubber installed at Wheelworks. They charged $150 for the alignment, but hey, it was a convenience thing, and besides, they do Lexus all day long and should have a better handle on it than the tire shop, right? Turns out they sub the alignments and wheel repairs to a local shop. Who, you might well ask? Why, Wheelworks!

    Wheelworks charges $60 for the same alignment. So I could've left the car with the tire shop for another hour and saved the $90, which I did on subsequent rubber changes. Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, I run for the GOP nomination...

    Anywho, the years have left me rather inclined to use an independent for out-of-warranty. One caveat: the indy should specialize in your brand or a group of brands that includes yours, I think. Between new and out-of-warranty is a span of 3-5 years. My thought is that a good independent who specializes in a brand or group of brands will invest in upgrades or tech to be able to keep up to date on his or her bread and butter, so assuming a price advantage for the indy there's no compelling reason for dealership patronage. I'm inclined to think a decent Toyota specialist in the area can take care of my car every bit as well as the Lex dealer; I'll only miss out on a loaner. BHD.

    That's my inclination anyway. Dissent?
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    But why are you getting an alignment everytime you get new tires?
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Member Posts: 1,986
    Partly due to a change in rubber spec. - different mfr. with slightly different OD, but mostly because normal around town driving "impacts" your set-up over time. Potholes, railroad tracks, driveway entrances, speed bumps, small animals ;-), all have their own input, even if your local infrastructure is in fairly good shape (as ours is).

    A $60 alignment seems a small price to pay to get everything back to factory tolerances, or to a different spec, if you so desire. New rubber is roughly an annual event for me, and I've always had at least one corner slightly outside the range when I change.
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    I think I've had one alignment on one of my cars and that was 10 years ago. I think a lot of people ask for alignments when really all they need to get the tire pressures right.

    I've had uneven wear from improper inflation and unbalanced wear in Alaska from the weight of ice in the wheels. It's all fine until the thaw and then shimmy shimmy shimmy. Make you want an alignment, but it's really just the rubber.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Member Posts: 1,986
    Oooo, I'm compulsive on inflation! That's a seriously good point, capitano. The number of cars I see every stinking day with obviously under-inflated tires just scares the socks off me. Consider what other maintenance items they might be letting ride if they can't even feel it when a tire's down to 25 lbs or less.

    I'll stick with aligning every rubber change. With low-profile summer tires of comparitively high stickiness and low treadlife on a fairly sporting suspension, not only do you feel abnormalities with relative ease, they become visibly problematic pretty quickly.

    No inclement weather in this area, so I've never experienced the ice in the wheels. Is that under a cap on a steel wheel? Seems like with an open alloy it'd be pretty easy to spot.
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    Ice was from melted snow. I was driving an 89 Pathfinder. Anchorage averages 6 feet year of snow. It comes down around the first weekend in October and stays through March most of the time.

    I had a real short drive to work and I would take back routes that were rarely plowed to make it an 8 mile trip to at least get the engine to normal operating temperature (with a radiator blanket blocking airflow). I was driving in foot deep snow, sliding around having a blast. I had 31 10.5 R15 big M&S tires, but the snow was deep enough to get inside the rims. It would go slushy from the heat and then when I parked, it would freeze. Throws the balance off a little, but you don't notice as it is constantly melting and refreezing. Once the thaw comes in the spring, you think your entire front end is shot.

    On a somewhat related note, you could go to a car wash bay with garage doors and wash your car. When you opened the doors and drove out, it would freeze dry (no spots!), but then you'd have to break the ice seal around the door to get out when you got home.

    Those were the days. Now I am in Miami and can only dream of seeing snow.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZMember Posts: 5,066
    I have one of the 12 (well, not really) Lincoln LS's with a manual transmission. Back in '99 Lincoln sold several of us a bill of goods having to do with competing with BMW & Audi, but I digress. . .

    So, here am I six years on, needing some scheduled & unscheduled maintenance. The unscheduled bit is a clutch slave cylinder failure that became apparent last Friday. Since I had to put the car in for that, it seemed appropriate to have them do the plugs (which requires taking off the intake manifold & much else) & a few other specialized jobs.

    I've used an independent for our generic minivan to good advantage, but a Lincoln with a manual transmission doesn't lend itself to that sort of thing. The Lincoln dealership claims they have a mechanic who's actually seen (& worked on) a manual LS before, but talk is cheap. Either way, I'm confident there aren't 15 independents in North America who have.

    I'll get the car back tomorrow or Friday (it says here), so it'll be interesting to see how this all turns out.

    Stay tuned.
    '08 Acura TSX, '17 Subaru Forester
  • netwonnetwon Member Posts: 53
    Aligning every time... I use to do that until the service dept I freq started giving me print outs from alignment machine of the before and after. Needless to say the the spec sheet kept showing me before in "green" zone. So now I align every other. But hey everyone loves there automotive baby differently. Just curious if the tire shop you use gives you a before and after printout of your alignment condition and if so how "out" did you find the cars setup?

  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Member Posts: 1,986
    Yeah, I get the before and after.

    The last three times I've had one front outside (barely) of the factory spec. First time out it was the driver side, but that was on a brand change too; second was passenger and third was passenger. But you're correct, the variance was nothing to sell the farm for!

    I might be throwing away a little cash, but with low profile rubber that's fairly wide, $60 doesn't seem all that much for a tad of peace of mind.

    I'd still suggest doing the alignment with any change in brand or model of tire.
  • shel2shel2 Member Posts: 1

    I recently took my 98 Toyota Camry (65,000 miles) in for my annual inspection at my New York City Toyota Dealership . I was told that there's a leak in the power steering system, that I need to replace the rack and pinion steering in addition to other parts, that the repair will cost between $1500 and $2000. I was also told that I have to replace my front and rear suspension which will cost $3000. Are these charges reasonable for these repairs. I only authorized the power steering repair to pass my inspection. Can anyone recommend a Toyota dealership or independent in the New York City area that you absolutely trust that I can get a second opinion about the suspension work. Thanks. Shel2
  • netwonnetwon Member Posts: 53
    Hey Shel2,

    Not what the hourly rate quote is but the parts break down for OEM Toyota is as follows from Micheals Toyota ( have used before)
    * P/S Pump: 4 cyl 286.00 6 cyl 261.00
    * P/S Pump Overhaul kit (if they use this no need for new pump): 24.00
    * P/S Rack & Pinion: 4 cyl & 6cyl: 210.39
    * P/S High Pressure hose: 4 cyl 110.00 6 cyl 318.00

    So V6 cost all parts worst case 789.00 for parts. (not including fluid)

    Front Suspension:
    * Front spring (ea): 54.00
    * Front Strut (ea): 127.00
    * Front Wheel bearings (ea): 40.00
    * Front Wheel bearing seal (ea): 21.00

    Rear Suspension:
    * Rear Strut (ea): 152.00
    * Rear Spring (ea) : 55.00
    * Rear Wheel bearing (ea): 119.00

    Worst call front & rear suspension parts: 1018.00 (and you'll need a 4 wheel alignment.

    As for the labour make sure they aren't using the book time for each component. There is also I time quoted for a front P/S overhaul, and a front/rear suspension over haul. On my Corolla (01) it was 6 hours to do Strust & springs in all four corners. But if you looked up spring, then strut etc it works out to 14.5 hours.

    Hope that helps,

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,860
    $318 for a power steering hose? :mad:
    i here in nyc the repair shops like to steal your airbags too.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    On some German cars, a power steering hose is $600.
  • starmannstarmann Member Posts: 4
    I relocated to southern california about a year and a half ago ...i have a 2001 suzuki esteem....the nearest suzuki dealership is a 45 min drive away...not convenient...a friend recommended bill's quality auto care in simi valley..they do great work..prices are fair...and they know how to work on a suzuki. (they even offer shuttle service).
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    On some German cars, a power steering hose is $600.

    In that case, you just have to find a shop that makes up hydraulic hoses for heavy equipment and have them fit a new hose to your existing fittings. That's what most of the folks on the ///M Register do.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yeah, good suggestion!

    They'll make power steering hoses for you but not brake lines. So I always tell them that any hose they make for me is "hydraulic" but not for braking. They wink, I wink, job done.
  • scottie2scottie2 Member Posts: 1
    I'm disparate/puzzled or just plain confuse! I use the dealer for maintenance service always! They service oil/lub job battery, whatever is wrong if any, I've always used the dealership,you figure they know their cars;
    well for over the past 4 years and at 60,000 miles I have a multitude of probles! The dealer gives me this 21 point Silver package maintenance service special(performed every 4-8 months,which also include roadside & tire hazard protection!) Whoopie....

    It includes:
    5-1234516-Oil-10W30Q; 1-25010792 Oil Fltr; 1-110W Oil Addative for the engine and 1-203 Fuel Additive at the cost of $150.00 on June 29,2006.

    My car is a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire,4 door sedan, 4cyl eng...To make a long story short as possible; On 23 Aug, I filled my tank with gas,had a safety inspection, had it cleaned. I drove approximately 2 miles from the car wash then all the dashboard lights came on to my surprise; then they went off; No smoke,fire,file odors,nothing from under the hood,or out of the exhaust pipe so I continued on my way,(mine you I'm on the freeway) mainland call them highway! Then approximately 5 miles down the road all the dashboard lights came back on however this time my car cut off, the steering mechanism locked, the brakes locked and I was coming off of an exit going down hill. Praise God nothing was in front of me as I rolled downward into the main street, and nothing was coming up the main road! I tussled with the steering wheel to get the car on the side of the road. I waited a few minutes, turned the car on and it came on then cutoff. I waited again, this time for about 10 minutes, the car turn on, the dashboard lights was clear, so I drove off into the main street, two light up the street the car died and three angels came to my rescue... they push me into a parking lot, I called my insurance to have my car towed to the dealership; While waiting for the tow truck, something told me to pop the hood and check the oil gage... did, the oil was clean, but not to the full point on the dip stick which surprise me again. I remember noticing when the dashboard lights came on, the temperature gauge went from 225 to 260 then dropped to zero then back to 225 while I was driving until it locked on me getting off the exist.

    At the dealership, the customer service rep, said you have to pay $105 to put the car on the diagnostic machine, so we can fine the problem. Ok, of course I did, then the very next day, the rep called and said the Ignition Control Module went out and have to be replace, however, it's under 8 year manufacturer warranty, therefore, you meaning me wouldn't have to pay anything! YEAH,(my warranty expired 25 May 06, couldn't get extended coverage at the time of purchase/contract was offered 3 years or 36,000 miles that's it).

    Then on Monday, the customer service rep called and advised me that the modular was in, but they checked and the spark plugs needed to be replaced at the tune of $713 plus tax; I agreed for them to fix it; Then the next day, she called and said the fuel pump needed to be replaced at the tune of $611 again I said go head, however I asked why wasn't this detected on the diagnostic machine; she couldn't answer me! I also added please inform your mechanic to get it right, don't call me with more or additional problems with my car; The next day the supervisor called me and said we did a another check and found the cylinder head gasket, either has a cracked or you've blown a head gasket, estimated cost $1,112.00; do they have permission to remove it and send out to another company to check the problem, Price to agreeing to have this done; Well after they removed the cylinder their telling me I have a hairline crack in the engine wall where the cylinder goes inside,they can't repair it. I would have to buy a new one at the tune of $5500. or they can fix the head gasket at the tune of $2000. or I can have the car towed and pay $500. for what was worked on as far as the cylinder casket, I don't have to make a decision right now; Well by then, I had a splitting headache that wouldn't go away; I couldn't understand how all this could happen without any indication of a problem with my car.... Oh yeah, they told me that GM would pay the previous cost of $1,400 for the spark plugs and fuel pump, but they wouldn't pay for the gasket if that was the problem. I called a friend prior to giving them permission to take the gasket out of the engine for inspection, my friend told me to check the oil and if it look like chocolate milk shake then water got into the oil, probably from the radiator... I'm still puzzled, how can this possibly happen and the dealership is the only people who check the fluids and everything under the hood of my car and this goes unnotice.Yes I do realize car's have problems after a period of time, but all at once???? Can someone enlighten me....I think they forgot to do something when they performed there 21 point check, and then my car died 8 weeks later which caused a blown head gasket and who knows the engine could've had a hairline cracked when I bought it or due to all that was going on with the dashboard lights, the car over headed,the engine froze, and now I have multi problems! This is not my first car, it's my third new car from GM, with a balance of $8,000 and my fifth car since I've been driving over 30 years. I have never experience anything like this in all my years of driving! :sick, :cry: HELP! HAVE YOU? *^_^*
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    $713 for sparkplugs?!!!! You are being fleeced.

    Sunfires aren't greatest cars, but you shouldn't have these kinds of problems. If the engine problems are real and not just these guys taking you for a ride, then you should just get rid of the car. You're throwing money away trying to keep it on the road.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    You are paying Ferrari 348 prices for simple repairs on a four year old GM subcompact. The dealer is ripping you off terribly.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Somebody is messing with us?
  • capitanocapitano Member Posts: 509
    This particular sub board is hardly a buzzing with activity. Why post something like that here? I've seen enough stories on things like Dateline that show shops of all kinds ripping off little old ladies.

    Car pulls to the right? Don't check tire pressure, get new tie rods, struts and tires. It's the only way to be sure.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Somebody is messing with us?

    Perhaps someone from a higher elevation??? ;)
This discussion has been closed.