Service Department Horror Stories

I have a bunch, this is number one.
I noticed the car one of our secretaries drove was making horrible noise. She took it to a tire shop, they told her it needed a right rear wheel
bearing, but they couldn't do it. She took it to the dealer. They charged her $400.00 and told her they replaced the LEFT side bearing, as it was worse. Still had the same noise, took it back to have it fixed again. This is where I got involved. They told her they were going to give her a "discount" on the other side. As per my instructions, she smiled and said nothing. They got it done and presented her with a bill for $300.00. Wow, a 25% discount! Imagine the look on the service manager's face when she informed him she planned on paying NOTHING. Of course, they balked. She informed them that the original service order said to replace the RIGHT rear wheel bearing. The tech replaced the "other right" bearing. Since this was their mistake, they should have to cover it. It took them I while, but she didn't have to pay. Apparently, the tech either didn't read the service order, or pulled the car into the stall the wrong way and replaced the wrong bearing. This happens, people make mistakes. Where it becomes a rip off is when shop tried to cover it by making the customer pay. A lot of shops, dealerships and independents, will make the customer pay to cover their screw up if they can. IMHO, Dealerships tend to get away with it more than independents. She told me that normally, she would have believed what they told her and paid the second time.
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And a woman, an oldster, a teen, a minority, or anyone who present the appearance of having no automotive knowledge is a prime target. hate to say it but a white anglo male between the age of 30 and 50 is about the safest.... Education (even self education) is the key needed to fight back. Spike 1965 Ford Mustang fastback 2+2 A Code 289 C4 Trac-Lok Vintage Burgundy w/Black Standard Interior; Vintage 40 16" rims w/BF Goodrich Comp T/A gForce Radial 225/50ZR16 KDWS skins; surround sound audio-video.
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I had a T-bird I bought for my wife and bought the "warranty" with it. As the way things go, I only used the warranty one time. The TFI module died, with the deductable, it was a push whether or not I should just fix it my self. I took it in, expecting to pay $50.00 (the deductable) When I picked the car up, the bill was $150.00?? They charged me $50.00 to "set the timing?" and $50.00 to repair a broken plug wire. I told them that since the distributor had to be removed to change the TFI module, setting the timing was part of the job, and they were way out of line on the plug wire. The a**hole service writer said if I didn't pay, I wouldn't get my car. I gave him a bank card, telling him I was going to dispute the charges. I called the service manger later. We talked, he took the bill from $150 to $75.00. (the deductable plus $25.00 to fix the wire).
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My Pops who is in middle 70's likes to go to the Sears Automotive Centers for some reason, old dog, new tricks so lets not go there.
Anyhow one day he decides he needs some new meats for the Pop's Mobile and heads over to buy some that our on sale. They convince him that his front-end is all out of whack (more then likely was based I the tires I saw) and he pays to have the entire front-end rebuilt. The whole enchilada tie rods, ball joints, shocks ..etc. The bill comes to over a grand. So off goes Pops in the Pop's Mobile happy as a clam and he calls me to tell me how much better the car drives (probably only needed a front end-alignment) but Pop's is happy.
Fast forward eighteen-months and Pop's destroys one of the new front tires with of all things a railroad spike. So off to Sears he goes again for another new meat.
They come back out and tell him he needs a whole new front-end again. Pops says OK if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. They finish up and hand him is very expensive bill and he pulls out his nationwide lifetime guarantee that he got from the first job. He claims the ensuing conversation was rather heated. Needless to say while they might have got him the first time, he got them the second.
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Zombywoof

Si vis Pacem, Para bellum
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Sad, but so true. The only thing worse than some dealerships is some of the national tire centers. I knew a guy who owned a company that represented a number of prominent automotive parts manufacturers. His secretary had a problem with her Honda, the brake petal would slowly go to the floor when the car was stopped in gear, then the brakes would release. Auto Mechanics 101- defective master cylinder. She took it to the place where she had her oil changed, they assured her it only needed the master cylinder, the rest of the brake system was fine. She made the mistake of taking it to a Firestone store. The bill was positively HUGE. Included complete brake job, replace rotors, rebuilt calipers, etc. The owner of the company went with her to pick up the car. After a heated discussion, the bill turned into retail for the master cylinder plus labor. She never authorized a complete rebuild but they were going to try to make he pay for it anyway.
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I went to a Firestone for service many years ago. I would NEVER go to one again. Crooks thru and thru. Sadly, most chains are.

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wrote:

Well I used to go to a local chain called Merchants, which was pretty decent for a chain shop, or at least they had a good manager. Then they got bought out by a place called Tire Kingdom and replaced the manager. Place went to hell in a hand basket. I now go to the local Firestone because of once again a good Shop Manager. I've never been overcharged and he meets Internet prices on his tires.
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Zombywoof

Si vis Pacem, Para bellum
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Right ON, Pops! Far OUT!
My dad is 80 and if something goes wrong, out comes the Haynes and Chilton repair manuals (he's never been a mechanic) and if it's something he figures he can do, he gives it his best shot. Usually, he wins. If it's something he loses to, or something he figures he'll be lost with (either too much personal time or too much work) he'll take it to a shop. Unfortunately, for years, he took it to a shop that was really bad for messing up, over charging, etc. Some of his vehicles were nickel and diming him to death. He has 6 vehicles starting with a 1920 something tractor, up through his dad's International pu, to his Bronco, RV, and his newest purchase, and used late model Audi (high end model a senator's wife had and replaced because the fender got dinged).
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Spike 1965 Ford Mustang fastback 2+2 A Code 289 C4 Trac-Lok Vintage Burgundy w/Black Standard Interior; Vintage 40 16" rims w/BF Goodrich Comp T/A gForce Radial 225/50ZR16 KDWS skins; surround sound audio-video.
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My dad used to enjoy working on his vehicles until as he says he needed to be a licensed plumber & electrician just to understand everything under the hood. I pretty much feel the same way. I could do just about anything on a pre-smog vehicle, but slowly but surely got to the point where I was screwing more shit up then I was fixing and it ended up costing more in the long run in time, money & grief.
I still work on my Harley's, but there hasn't been much of a change in them in about a hundred years or so. Although my newest addition is fuel injected so other then changing out the precious bodily fluids I probably won't be doing all that much on it.
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Zombywoof

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wrote:

Get the impression that certain unions as well as the makers have no problem with the concept of eliminating all DIY/Shade tree mechanics?

That's why i ditched the 91 GTA and got the 65 Mustang. I can once again do my own tune ups, oil changes, brakes, etc. Of course, even there it gets a bit tight when it comes to getting rid of the pollutants. Got a neighbor I worked out a deal with though.
Spike 1965 Ford Mustang fastback 2+2 A Code 289 C4 Trac-Lok Vintage Burgundy w/Black Standard Interior; Vintage 40 16" rims w/BF Goodrich Comp T/A gForce Radial 225/50ZR16 KDWS skins; surround sound audio-video.
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Car: 1994 Taurus SHO 65,000 miles. Problem: Check engine light comes on for a couple of minutes, then goes of. Car runs fine. Day one: Took it into the local Lincoln Mercury store. (They are generally not as bad a rip off artists as the Ford store). Diagnosis: Bad Cam position sensor. Replaced, charged around $100.00 (50.00 parts, 50.00 labor Approximate) Day two: Check engine light comes on again. Take car back, they say "everythings fine" ??? Day three: Same issue, now the car is hard to start. Take back, still say "Everything's fine" Day four: Same issue, take car back, tell them I don't want it back until they fix it. after driving it around all day, finally truns on check engine light and is hard to start. Day Five thru TEN: Replace crank position sensor. Ignition module, do a BUNCH of wiring tests. Bill is $350.00, which I pay. Day eleven: Problem returns car almost impossible to start. Take car back again. They pull another SHO off the lot, swap parts around to attempt to find problem. No joy. I finally do some independent research on this. Learn just what exactally a cam positions sensor does. Day twelve: Tell me "We suspect a computer problem" Since this is the standard excuse I have heard before when the tech can not figure out the problem, I promptly explode. I tell them if I wanted to fix it by throwing parts at it, I would have done that myself. I remind them that the hard starting problems only manifisted itself AFTER they changed the cam position sensor. I stomp out of the place after telling them in no uncertain terms that I will not pay for a computer replacement. Day Thirteen: After cooling down, I go back expecting the worse and prepaired to apologize to the service manager. Servcie manager has a hard time looking me in the face when he tells me "You pointed us in the right direction with the CPS" Apparently they got a defective cam positon sensor from Ford. After getting another new one and putting it on the car, everything is now peachy keen. Since I had them also replace the timing belt, I have to pay for it and labor, but not for the crank positions sensor.
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During a summer model change layoff at a Dayton GM plant, I took a job at a garage in town.
Since I was only handy with tools but didnt 'know the drill' I only did the simple stuff like oil changes and the like...
The manager told us we were to do a suspension check on each car we had in the shop.. chech tie rod ends, ball joints etc. He showed us how to and what to look for.
Well, I did that on this early 60's T-Bird, and saw the idler arm had a lot of up-down play. I call the manager over and showed him it was more than an inch....he said, "that's good.. we'll advise him on that." I had to leave then and pick up the customer at his office.
On the way back I mentioned what I found and he just said:
"Well, i guess we'll have to discuss that, since they replaced it last month"
Uh-Oh!
I noticed about 10 minutes later the Customer was still in the office and there was a little shouting match going on. Then he and the shop owner left...I found out later they went up to the Ford dealer's service dept who assured the customer the idler arm was fine.
Well, I might have been a kid, but there was no way that was a new idler arm.
Anyway I was 'laid off' the next week.

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I worked with a guy who bought a new Lincoln Town Car. He used the local "Oil Can Henry's" for all of his service work. Never went anywhere else. One day, his brakes failed. Since the car only had 23K on it, he took it to the dealer. They found that someone topped off his master cylinder with MOTOR OIL. Pretty much had to replace everything in the brake system that wasn't made of metal. This included the master cylinder, calipers, hoses and anti-lock stuff. Oil Can Henry's denied everything. His insurance picked up the $3600.00 tab.

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