Okay, my '98 Mercury Sable with 116,500 miles on it clatters even with
premium fuel. Not nearly as badly as it does with Regular or Plus, but
it still clatters a little going up hills. So now it's time to take it
to the shop.
How do you recommend dealing with service writers? I have been badly
burned in the past when I had a vehicle that was getting horrible fuel
mileage, like 12 miles per gallon in a 4-cylinder. I'd go in for an
estimate. They'd say, "We're going to replace this part. Sign here."
I'd sign, they'd replace the part, the problem would still be there, and
I'd have to go back in and repeat the same process, shelling out more
money all the way down the line until I hit over $800 in four weeks. I
don't want to go through that again.
So here's my plan. I will "march" into the building and discuss it with
the service writer. He'll tell me they'll take a look at it and see
what they can find. He'll come back out and say, "Okay, we're going to
do this, replace that, and tune this. These are the parts we'll be
using and the labor involved." I'll say, "I'm not signing an order to
have those things replaced. I want to sign an order saying that the
work done is to "stop the engine clatter".
My reasoning? If I sign a work order to replace a sensor, give the car
a tune up, change the oil, replace the windshield wipers, and degrease
the outside of the engine, and vacuum the carpet, that's what I'll get
for whatever price they charge me. If the order I sign doesn't say that
they're fixing the engine clatter, I have no leg to stand on if the work
they do doesn't fix the problem, am I right?
I absolutely refuse to be raked over the coals like I was in 1996 when I
was dealing with a '95 S-10, and again in 1997 when I was dealing with
an '87 Taurus. Those were horrible experiences I don't want to repeat.
I have much more important things to do with my money than spending it
all on pointless replacement of parts that never fix the problem.
So what is your advice? How would you handle it?
How does one check the trouble codes on this car? I can't seem to find
any info on it online.