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Reputable Mechanics -- Separating Fact from Fiction

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,148
How does the "crooked" stereotype of mechanics affect your perception of your technician? Does a high repair bill automatically make you suspicious that you're being ripped off?

As with any type of business, it's likely that there are far more honest and competent mechanics than crooks, but how do you figure out who's telling the truth? Let's use this forum (suggested by 0patience) to discuss how to talk to your mechanic, why certain repairs or parts are recommended with your best interest in mind, and what advice is pure hogwash.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If I may interject a thought right off....thank you.....

    There is a basic conflict of interest between a modern mechanic and a modern car owner, that being that the mechanic wants to 'fix it right" so that he doesn't get a comeback or have to do a dreadful job over again; the owner wants to "save money" (naturally) and can't always see why you have to replace the clutch disk AND resurface the flywheel (looks fine to ME!) and rebuild the clutch slave cylinder (WHY? it's working!) and put in a new pilot bushing (do we HAVE to?) and a new throw out bearing AND use the part from the factory and not the one from Mel's Discount Internet Clutches.com.

    Modern car owners have to come to grips with the reality that car repair has become expensive custom work done by specialists. You don't argue with your dentist but you will with your mechanic, right?

    On the customer's side, the main problem is not dishonesty but incompetence, and it is very hard to judge.

    Licensing is for the most part voluntary. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but technically a 16 year old boy could open up a repair shop and fix your brakes, I mean legally speaking, if he got a business license, he could do that. Right or ???
  • driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,448
    all 8 specialty areas in my ASE exam without ever taking a formal course - I borrowed the books, studied a few evenings over a month, and tested.

    Granted, I've been around cars all my life and always have avoided hanging out with the shadetree guys who "don't mess with them computerized vehicles", but to pass these exams with a year and a half at WyoTech says a lot.

    I really respect the folks who have passed these tests AND possess several years of experience applying what they've certified on, though.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    so if I have klunking from the driveline or the left rear suspension, and I've checked on what is back there and what repairs and diag trees are involved, I like to think I have some insight into whether the tech telling me I need a new alternator and floor mats is sober or not.

    if there's a broken bolt on the spring mount, and they want to sell me a rebuilt differential instead, I now know what the reputation of the shop should be.

    not that I'm putting out a line of heavy repair manuals next month on absolutetruth.biz or anything, but if a repair procedure starts with, "build frame under vehicle chassis; remove driveline; remove welded rear frame members," it's also reasonable to assume that I don't want to pay that bill myself or play shade-tree with it.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Ok, I asked for this topic.
    Mainly because there has been alot of bad press for mechanics lately.

    A certain TV show had a segment last night on oil change places, but inferred that these were service centers.

    Some folks complain about their repair costs without understanding what the repairs or costs are. Why they should use certain name brands/OEM parts over aftermarket is one such thing. A book on the internet goes to state that folks can easily go with aftermarket parts for everything, when in reality, some aftermarket parts are known to cause greater problems than they help.

    My hopes are to help educate folks as to why certain repairs are so much, why certain things should be OEM parts and why you shouldn't believe everything you read about how the mechanic is out to steal your money.

    The mechanic is only the person working on your vehicle, he/she does not decide the costs of the parts or labor. They only fix the vehicles. Blaming them is like blaming a ticket taker for a bad movie.

    Some folks will have you believe that by reading a book, you will be able to tell if your mechanic is trying to rip you off. The only way you can protect yourself is to learn about your vehicle, which is why we are here.

    I have seen several people who were able to get things taken care of, because they educated themselves and learned here, what to ask and how to ask it.
    So, how can we help you learn?
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    You are correct. Anyone with a shingle (and money), can open a shop.

    In this day and age, the systems on vehicles are combined, so you may come in for a trans problem and the mechanic may tell you that you need an intake gasket. He is NOT trying to rip you off. He is in fact trying to repair the problem.

    There is alot of incompetence out there, there is no question about it, but there are also alot of quality shops out there, that do honest, quality work.
  • tigercat21tigercat21 Member Posts: 28
    When any one I know needs car work I always tell them to get a reference, don't just trust to luck that the place your going to is honest. Not that repair shops are any more crooked then any other business, its just that its real easy to fool someone on car repairs. Any kind of business is out to make money and with all the overhead a repair shop has, tools,employees,taxes,licenseing fees,insurance, rent,heating, etc., well when a business owner starts to get pinched he might try to make more on a job then is warrented. Stick to a place your family and friends trust and always mention that to shop owner. Myself, when I go for car inspections, I know theres not much money in it for the shop so I give him a tip, and for that small fee I've gotten a place I can pretty much trust.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Sometimes a shop owner can't win. I can remember, every time I tried to save a customer a few dollars, it would come back and bite me.

    That throwout bearing that looked and felt just fine, decides to start squealing two weeks later.

    Then there were the people..." It never did that before you worked on it"

    Nevermind, we changed a water pump and now the transmission is leaking.

    It's not easy trying to do a good job while keeping costs down at the same time!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,148
    When you're faced with a big repair estimate, is it reasonable to seek a 2nd (or 3rd) opinion? I always do with medical issues - if it's costly or painful, I want to make sure I'm hearing that I need it from more than one source. Is that insulting, even if I plan to return to the first shop to get the work done if needed?

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  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Hi Kirstie,
    Yes, it is absolutely reasonable.
    Anytime you are faced with a large estimate, there is nothing wrong with getting a second estimate. Be aware that you will most likely have to pay the diagnostic charge and sometimes a tow bill.

    If the mechanic is insulted, then you may want to explain to him/her, that it is alot of money, more than you can afford and you need to be certain of the problem. If they are still insulted, then you may want to find another mechanic anyway.

    As you stated, you would get a second opinion from a doctor, why not from a mechanic?

    2 occasions where I would definitely get a second opinion, are when it is extremely high and when it doesn't sound or sit right with you.

    I have seen alot of head gaskets replaced when the culprit was the intake gasket. Several of them had come to me for a second opinion and I informed them as to what I would recommend.
    Since I was unable to get to the job, I recommended that they take the info back to the original shop and ask that they confirm that it isn't the intake gaskets, as that engine happened to have a history of the problem. I supplied them the TSB regarding the problem and the shop did the work and the customer and the shop ended up happy.

    The shop was unaware of the TSB and after talking with them, they agreed to do some more diagnosis and found that the intake was indeed the problem.
    They were willing to work with the customer and information provided by a third party, so they ended up with a customer who now trusts them to do the right thing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Here's something to chew on Opatience.

    I was working on my "new" used car at a friends' dealership over the weekend. The place was shut down and quiet so it was rather pleasant. i took my time, removing and re-masting an electric antenna and replacing the engine compartment insulation. Two rather tedious jobs .

    When I was done, both jobs looked great and worked great. The engine hood was free of all old adhesive, and there wasn't a speck of dirt on the engine. All the pieces fit well and were trimmed neatly. the antenna worked perfectly and I put in a new fender seal to make sure it wouldn't leak water (like it did last time).

    My friend said to me "you know, you could never work here, because you spend too much time on the job. I could never bill for this amount of labor"

    Of course he was probably right, and I said "You could in a restoration shop, but not in a front line repair shop, that's true".

    So this is also an issue. The mechanic has to balance pride in his work with the reality of apportioning his time properly.
  • driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,448
    I've had to argue with folks over is "book" time vs actual time.

    Made up scenario: the alternator, or another electrical component is failing on your 3 year old Malibu, and you take it to a shop or dealership for repair. The technician tests the electrical system, starting with the battery, then goes to the starter, then the alternator, finding the alternator is doing the voltage tango.

    The alternator is replaced and you're charged $125 for the alternator plus 1.5 hours for labor, even though the entire job was done in 45 minutes.

    I've had people blow a gasket on this, and admittedly, it does take explaining.

    Chilton's and Mitchell's, let's say, allow 1.5 hours for the electrical system test and alternator replacement.

    The guy working on your Malibu is an ASE-certified Master Tech with 15 years of Chevrolet experience. That's why he got it done so quickly. That's also why he deserves the time the book says. His experience is to his, and your, advantage. He can do 1/2 again as much work as the other guys in the shop, earning more money than them, and also increasing profits for the shop.

    On the other hand, a beginner takes 2 hours to diagnose the problem, and only after confirming his theory with the shop foreman does he start on the alternator swap. A grand total of 4.5 hours is taken to repair the car. You're charged $125 for the alternator and 1.5 hours for labor, just like with the Master Tech. The young tech is at a disadvantage, and probably should be working under a mentor, but the customer certainly shouldn't be charged any differently becaue the job took 4 times longer.

    Just a thought to pass on, since many customers never look at a Chilton's guide and may not know what's fair - especially if they're trying to compare actual time worked to book time charged.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    I agree with you Mr Shiftright.

    But on the other hand, I know several mechanics who are very meticulous with their work and get paid flat rate and do quite well.
    Their work is high quality and I have them do alot of the overload work I have.

    It is a tough balance to do a quality job and quickly, especially when you have a shop owner or service manager breathing down your neck.

    In most of the shops I deal with, there are mechanics that have certain "specialty" areas that they excel in and can easily beat some book times, then other areas, where they can match the book times and finally areas that they struggle in that they may take quite some time past the book times. So, in essence, it all averages out.

    The thing for the customer is to see if the tech is adept in their vehicle and problem.

    More often than not, the young tech is paid hourly (fairly low wage), until he reaches a certain point. Then if he can't keep up, he loses out. The shop still pays him what the master tech got on the same job, even though it took him 3 times as long.

    Great Discussion!! :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    RE: Flat rate----an expert should be paid for what he knows, not just what he "does".d

    RE: A "good shop".

    You know how I judge a "good shop"? It's not the guy who brags he is "a perfectionist". In fact, I'm a bit wary of expressions of invincibility. It's like the guy who insists he is "honest" and you should "trust him".

    A good shop to me is one that STANDS BEHIND their work, even when something they do screws up (it happens).
  • driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,448
    I know that!

    Most of my techs have had one or two apprentices under them, usually paying the apprentice and hour flat rate from the master techs flat rate hourly pay.

    It works out pretty good when the apprentice and the master tech diagnose a problem together, or just pass judgement, like on a brake job - the apprentice is then left to do the repair, with help if needed, and the master tech can do his own work.

    I had a 15 year guy in Oregon with 2 apprentices, and they averaged over 200 flat rate hours a week - times were good for all.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Will decline jobs they know they aren't proficent at. Instead, they will point the customer in the right direction, referring them to a shop they know can do the job better than they can.

    I once had a shop BUTCHER my SU carbs on an old MG I owned. Otherwise, a great shop, but he really didn't know what he was doing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Sometimes work is hard to pass up though. The problem with SU carbs isn't that they are complex but rather that they are simple. They look like a piece of cake to fix. The shop sees "foreign car, simple problem" and gets GREEN EYES. But if you do one of the simple things wrong, it is so vital to the function that the device will hardly work at all. Sort of like leaving the strings out of a tennis racket. Once you fully understand what all 3 moving parts in an SU carb actually do, it's not a problem. A classic case of "knowledge is power".

    I really admire a shop that takes in "all comers". That must require a great deal of expertise and some guts.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Providing they are up to the task and have the right equipment.

    Then there are the shopss that only take on the "gravy" jobs. When things get difficult or they get over their head they tell the customers to take it to a dealer or something.

    In the case of my SU carbs, after that shop screwed them up, they told me that SU carbs were just junk etc. and tried to sell me some kind of conversion to a different carburator.

    a friend steered me to a different shop who had no trouble at all fixing my "junk" carburators and I had no more trouble!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, yes, switch to Webers for $1,000, and get maybe 3% more power at 5500 rpm and worse gas mileage. Great advice!


    I suppose it is possible to get good work out of a filthy hole of a shop but somehow I can't help but judge what is going to possibly happen to me by what I see when I look around. I don't expect a spotless place (sometimes that is also a bad sign, as there are shops that are "all show and no go") but when I see pieces of someone else's car all over the floor or bench, or parts being put back on a car that are uncleaned, I suspect a lack of pride in the work and this bothers me.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    RE: Clean shops.

    Mr Shiftright hit on an excellent point.
    Some shops are filthy, which sometimes indicates either a lack of pride or swamped to no end. Either way, usually isn't helpful for you.
    Other shops are so spotless, it looks like nothing has ever been worked on.
    Which means either they have a couple lot guys who clean and manicure the lawn or they have way too much time and the mechanics are doing the cleaning. Either way, you have to wonder how they afford to pay for all that.

    Remember that first impressions should not sway your judgement.
    As Mr Shiftright pointed out, the cleanliness of the parts that are being put on are very important. While some parts that are being re-installed may not be absolutely spotless clean, they should be pretty clean, not oil soaked or greasy. If you see filthy parts being installed, you may want to head to another shop.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    A half dozen of your year range and model sitting [dead and cannablized] in the grave yard of the shop may be a good indication......that the shop you have chosen is expert...in reawakening the dead.

    You see this all the time in specialty shops.

    We have 6 blown 90-92 Q45 that we paid $500-$900 for the parts for our customers who can't afford dealer new parts prices.

    No porters here the 4 techs and service writer take turns cleaning the Johns.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    Dad was a service manager for an award winning GM service dept. He had several "general mechanics" and a few who were amazing in a specialty. The "miracle workers" were top notch bumper to bumper, but it wasn't unusual for a car to come in that another dealer just couldn't figure out. One mech in particular was an auto transmission geru. He wouldn't be the fastest, but when he finished an overhaul you had a tranny that 1) wouldn't be coming back, 2)was better than the day it left the factory, and 3)was going to get more referral business than all the ads money could buy. Another guy could do stuff with carbs that was baffling. When he finished an overhaul, idles were smooth, starts on first crank, gas mileage where it should be, etc. In fact, Wayne had a standing annual vacation time during Speed Week at the salt flats where he was in demand from the racers. These were guys I grew up around. Might not have wanted some of them dating my sister, but I sure would want them making sure her car was safe and right.

    Oh, and the shop was scrubbed floor and all every Saturday morning. My first job. 12 stalls, took 3.5 hours, paid $2.

  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Many good technicans eventually and periodically get fed up with dealers [going to independents]only returning when they need retraining on models [especially BMW, MB, Audi, Infiniti, Lexus] as independents don't have access to factory schools or training modules.

    The problem is with piece work and the differences in hours paid for warranty vs, customer paid.......Ford has some of the widest descrepencies.

    There are 25,000 technicans jobs open at dealerships in US everyday, unfortunately 24,000 technicans just keep swaping around and dealers take what they can get.

    It really can't be about quality work under these conditions.
  • jwfbeanjwfbean Member Posts: 5

    We have a 1995 Saturn SL-1. It had a security system that would disallow the car from starting unless you pressed a special button first. We always found this security system to be annoying.

    We took a the car in for regular maintenance to a new mechanic. As part of the work order, we requested that the security system be removed. We picked the car up from the mechanic on Friday and did not drive it again until Monday.

    On Monday, my wife noticed the battery light was on. By Thursday, the car was dead. We arranged AAA to tow it back to the mechanic. Miles driven from Friday to Thursday: 87.

    The mechanic examined it and has concluded that the alternator is shot. Their technician disavows any responsibility for the problem, although on my end it seems entirely too coincidental that a mere few days after they remove a security system that was tied into the electrical system of the car, the alternator is completely dead.

    I could definitely use some help separating fact from fiction here. Is there anything we can do to prove that the mechanic was at fault? Or are we supposed to accept their explanation that it's just a coincidence?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    " It never did that before you worked on it"

    Any shop owner has heard these words before.

    It's easy to assume that the problem was caused by the removal of the security system and it's possible that it was.

    Coincidence? Perhaps, perhaps not?

    Is it a high mileage car? It's not uncommon for an alternator to fail around the 80-100,00 mile mark.

    I do question why your wife would drive it for FOUR days with the battery light on! I'm surprised it didn't quit sooner!
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    I agree with Isell.
    It is what we call a sinceyou problem.
    Since you worked on it, it started this problem.

    And I whole heartedly agree with the comment about why would she drive it for days with the light on.

    If the light wasn't on when you picked it up, then I would say the it WASN'T a problem with the work done. If it had been a problem with the work done, then the light would have been on right away.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I wonder what she would have done if it was the oil light?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I've also responded to this in another topic as the poster double-posted.

    Since the charge light was not on when the car left the shop, it's the owner's responsibility.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    If a careless mechanic accidently smoked the alternator and blew a diode it would have killed it immediately I would think and not later.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Now for the good news..... Saturn alternator failure because of oil contamination from an external head gasket oil leak is as common as bellybuttons with the SL1 engine. The car's due for a head gasket replacement if that was the cause.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    And please do NOT shoot the messenger!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Didn't like the advice, perhaps?
  • alcanalcan Member 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 Member Posts: 20,342
    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 Member Posts: 64,481
    Here's a real horror story just posted:

    padderwock "Maintenance & Repair Costs" Apr 24, 2004 1:33pm
  • swschradswschrad Member 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 Member Posts: 2,448
    or both...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    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".
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    And I decided to stay out of it. My gut feeling is that something stinks...BAD!
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    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 Member Posts: 20,342
    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 Member Posts: 1,712
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 2,242
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 2,448
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 64,481
    But what would you do if he had to remove the two good/used aftermarket belts to replace the one bad frayed one?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Whoever replaced the other two belts should have replaced the one that's bad now!

    Makes no sense.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    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.
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