Repair Fraud?

Hi,
Recently I went for a car service and the mechanic replaced CV Shaft and Front Engine Mount for my 95 Camry. He charged $200 and $300 for
parts respectively. And the CV shaft is a remanufactured part. When I verified the prices on NAPA website they are charging far less. For example $85 for Front engine mount. Is there anything I can do?
Thanks
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welcome to the mechanic world on makin $$$ and quit your bitchin and deal with it!!!! and next time do it your self .
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basva wrote:

I fail to see any fraud. If you don't like what service techs charge, then do the repairs yourself - like I do.
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Nope.. It isn't fraud to mark up parts. Did he promise something that he didn't do?
Anyone would be foolish to leave a car at any garage or with any mechanic without getting some estimates on parts and labor, and without setting some limits.
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NAPA isnt paying rent and utilities, shop maint., and tool costs for the shop YOU picked to perform the work. i cant say if he is honest or not but i do know that a hefty parts markup is warranted to keep a shop going....im always happy to install customer suppied parts as long as they realize i will charge them %35 markup on labor quoted and wont warranty the part, just the labor...ive ran into many a situation where i replaced customer supplied bottom of the barrel rebuilts only to redo it at there labor expense. no one is happy in those situations...im always happiest when customers walk off after they hear the terms because ive found that the folks that want a $19.95 alt. installed will probably be back bitchin about every other problem they have like i caused it with 3 bolts and a battery charge.........kjun
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KjunRaven wrote:

While I certainly understand all the overhead costs of running a shop and having employees, what I don't like is having that cost arbitrarily applied as a markup on parts. Particularly if I'm just ordering one particular part from a dealer and they aren't providing any labor or shop time.
I'd really like to see basically three charges:
1. Parts and consumables at essentially fair market cost. 2. Shop time i.e. use of shop/lift/tools/etc. 3. Labor
Would just seem to be a more honest way of accounting for the actual costs to me. I'd still expect the labor cost to be fairly high since it would be the cost to the employer, not what the mechanic is actually paid (benefits, etc.).
Pete C.
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I would agree. The problem is that when you do this sort of breakdown, you find the labor cost and the shop cost cause customers to balk. Nobody out there wants to be charging $100/hr. for labour, because the customer won't pay it. So they juggle costs.
Some folks out there will also spend some bench time checking out rebuilt parts before installing them. I think it's fair to add this cost to the part cost, because it's time that needs to be spent because of the origin of the part. --scott
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Scott Dorsey wrote:

That's why I'd like to see the shop time separate. If the labor cost is just labor, it shouldn't be $100/hr unless you only work on exotics. I'd expect $40-$60/hr would be about right for most labor which should equate to $20-$30/hr for the mechanic. Shop time would be perhaps $20-$40/hr for shop bay, lift, diagnostic gear, tools, etc.
I balk at $20 for what I know is a $5 part, I don't balk at reasonable shop and labor costs. It's really a customer education issue. Perhaps a big sign in the waiting area with a industry average breakdown of costs so that the customers can see the real numbers. I've seen similar stickers on gas pumps showing the cost breakdown with the wholesale gas cost, taxes, more taxes, still more taxes and then the few cents/gal the retailer makes.

Perfectly valid time, although it should apply to all parts, not just rebuilt. New in box name brand parts have been known to be DOA before and a quick bench test / inspection as applicable can save a lot of headaches.
Pete C.
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And actually, you have it even nicer with a mechanic - most of them will let you bring your own parts that you can buy from whatever bargain bin you want, as long as they aren't going to be warranting them against failure. I've never been to a restaurant where you could bring your own food to be cooked...
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How could you possibly know what "most" mechanics allow?
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The analogy doesn't hold, because with food in a restaurant, the labour costs are being bundled into the total cost. You don't get a split out between materials and labour, in part because most of the cost of the meal is labour.
On the other hand, when you buy a bottle of wine in a restaurant, the only labour involved is the waiter or sommelier going into the basement and bringing it up to your table. So the markup on that should be much lower than on the food, which it is. Although it's still outrageous in some cases.... certainly much higher than the degree to which any mechanics mark parts up. --scott
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snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) writes:

Even higher is the markup of soda at most fast food places. From "Fast Food Nation" as quoted in <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/31/health/main326858.shtml
A fast food soda that sells for $1.29 costs the restaurant about ten cents, a markup of more than 1200 percent.
--
Ignasi.
(using SPAM trap e-mail address)
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<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> <html> <head> <meta content="text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1" http-equiv="Content-Type"> </head> <body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000"> Scott Dorsey wrote:
<pre wrap=""> The analogy doesn't hold, because with food in a restaurant, the labour costs are being bundled into the total cost. You don't get a split out between materials and labour, in part because most of the cost of the meal is labour.
On the other hand, when you buy a bottle of wine in a restaurant, the only labour involved is the waiter or sommelier going into the basement and bringing it up to your table. So the markup on that should be much lower than on the food, which it is. Although it's still outrageous in some cases.... certainly much higher than the degree to which any mechanics mark parts up. --scott </pre> </blockquote> ..."most of the cost of the meal is labour.''&nbsp; Not to put too fine a point on it, but on average the split is usually:<br> <ul> <li>25-35% food/beverage costs</li> <li>35-40% labor</li> <li>25-30% occupancy, interest, depreciation, taxes, advertising, linens, etc. (i.e., all other non food and labor costs)</li> <li>10-15% profit</li> </ul> which shows three things...<br> <ul> <li>food and labor costs are alot closer to one another than you might think</li> <li>if your total costs are on the high side (105%) you don't make any profit, which is one of the major reasons why so many restaurants go out of business in the first 5 years.<br> </li> <li>at only a 10-15% profit, most restaurant owners aren't millionaires :)</li> </ul> "...On the other hand, when you buy a bottle of wine in a restaurant, the only labour involved is the waiter or sommelier going into the basement and bringing it up to your table. So the markup on that should be much lower than on the food, which it is. Although it's still outrageous in some cases..."<br> <br> Either there are words missing/out of place, or I'm not getting the point.&nbsp; The markup on beverages is where most restaurants make significant money, wine especially because it appreciates over time.&nbsp; If you assign value based on labor cost then you're right, there's very little labor in selecting, uncorking, and pouring a bottle or wine, but assigning value to wine isn't done that way.&nbsp; Wine is bought and sold on its market value.&nbsp; A bottle of wine is a finite entity - it is one of the total number for that vintage; there will always be less and never more of that particular vintage...ergo, you can't make more of it and the retail price almost always increases.&nbsp; The wise restauranteur is the one who is able to stockpile large quantities purchased cheaply and then sell it 10 years later for outrageous profits.<br> <br> As far as the OP's egg, bacon, and bread breakfast analogy, I interpreted it in the context of the entire thread, and came away with - whereas in order to save money on auto repairs you can walk into your mechanic's shop with your own parts, however, the same can't be said for your local Denny's.&nbsp; And as such, you don't even think of complaining even when you know the real cost for that Gut Bustin' All American breakfast feast is much less than the total on the check, but you're quick to complain when the same situation arise with your mechanic (plumber, electrician, carpenter, et al).<br> <br> IMHO, to sum up what was best said by others is - you shop around for a good mechanic, when you find one stop shopping.&nbsp; Stick with him or her, because in the long haul you'll make out much better than researching, comparing, getting estimates, and wasting your own time every time you need a win nut tightened (sarcasm intended, if not apparent).<br> <br> FWIW, I apply the same sentiment to my barber and accountant.&nbsp; I found a good barber, then I moved.&nbsp; Now I have to drive an hour (one way) to see her and get my hair cut...sure hope my accountant doesn't move to Arizona like he's talked about...It'll be a long drive there from NJ...but, I digress...<br> </body> </html>
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Please set your news client to post in TEXT not HTML.
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Being a bit of a pedantic choad, aren't you?
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This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------080001030805090200000208 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Ryan Underwood wrote:

reposted in text
Scott Dorsey wrote:

..."most of the cost of the meal is labour.'' Not to put too fine a point on it, but on average the split is usually:
* 25-35% food/beverage costs * 35-40% labor * 25-30% occupancy, interest, depreciation, taxes, advertising, linens, etc. (i.e., all other non food and labor costs) * 10-15% profit
which shows three things...
* food and labor costs are alot closer to one another than you might think * if your total costs are on the high side (105%) you don't make any profit, which is one of the major reasons why so many restaurants go out of business in the first 5 years. * at only a 10-15% profit, most restaurant owners aren't millionaires :)
"...On the other hand, when you buy a bottle of wine in a restaurant, the only labour involved is the waiter or sommelier going into the basement and bringing it up to your table. So the markup on that should be much lower than on the food, which it is. Although it's still outrageous in some cases..."
Either there are words missing/out of place, or I'm not getting the point. The markup on beverages is where most restaurants make significant money, wine especially because it appreciates over time. If you assign value based on labor cost then you're right, there's very little labor in selecting, uncorking, and pouring a bottle or wine, but assigning value to wine isn't done that way. Wine is bought and sold on its market value. A bottle of wine is a finite entity - it is one of the total number for that vintage; there will always be less and never more of that particular vintage...ergo, you can't make more of it and the retail price almost always increases. The wise restauranteur is the one who is able to stockpile large quantities purchased cheaply and then sell it 10 years later for outrageous profits.
As far as the OP's egg, bacon, and bread breakfast analogy, I interpreted it in the context of the entire thread, and came away with - whereas in order to save money on auto repairs you can walk into your mechanic's shop with your own parts, however, the same can't be said for your local Denny's. And as such, you don't even think of complaining even when you know the real cost for that Gut Bustin' All American breakfast feast is much less than the total on the check, but you're quick to complain when the same situation arise with your mechanic (plumber, electrician, carpenter, et al).
IMHO, to sum up what was best said by others is - you shop around for a good mechanic, when you find one stop shopping. Stick with him or her, because in the long haul you'll make out much better than researching, comparing, getting estimates, and wasting your own time every time you need a win nut tightened (sarcasm intended, if not apparent).
FWIW, I apply the same sentiment to my barber and accountant. I found a good barber, then I moved. Now I have to drive an hour (one way) to see her and get my hair cut...sure hope my accountant doesn't move to Arizona like he's talked about...It'll be a long drive there from NJ...but, I digress...
--------------080001030805090200000208 Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> <html> <head> <meta content="text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1" http-equiv="Content-Type"> </head> <body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000"> Ryan Underwood wrote:
<pre wrap="">Agave <a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="mailto:idon' snipped-for-privacy@thinkso.com">&lt;idon' snipped-for-privacy@thinkso.com&gt;</a> writes:
</pre> <blockquote type="cite"> <pre wrap="">&lt;!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"&gt; &lt;html&gt; &lt;head&gt; &lt;meta content="text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1" http-equiv="Content-Type"&gt; &lt;/head&gt; &lt;body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000"&gt; Scott Dorsey wrote: &lt;blockquote cite=<a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="mailto:middi0j1f$aor$ snipped-for-privacy@panix2.panix.com">"middi0j1f$aor$ snipped-for-privacy@panix2.panix.com"</a> type="cite"&gt;&amp;lt;snipped&amp;gt; &lt;pre wrap=""&gt; </pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap=""><!----> Please set your news client to post in TEXT not HTML.
</pre> </blockquote> reposted in text<br> <br> Scott Dorsey wrote:
<pre wrap="">The analogy doesn't hold, because with food in a restaurant, the labour costs are being bundled into the total cost. You don't get a split out between materials and labour, in part because most of the cost of the meal is labour.
On the other hand, when you buy a bottle of wine in a restaurant, the only labour involved is the waiter or sommelier going into the basement and bringing it up to your table. So the markup on that should be much lower than on the food, which it is. Although it's still outrageous in some cases.... certainly much higher than the degree to which any mechanics mark parts up. --scott </pre> </blockquote> ..."most of the cost of the meal is labour.''&nbsp; Not to put too fine a point on it, but on average the split is usually:<br> <ul> <li>25-35% food/beverage costs</li> <li>35-40% labor</li> <li>25-30% occupancy, interest, depreciation, taxes, advertising, linens, etc. (i.e., all other non food and labor costs)</li> <li>10-15% profit</li> </ul> which shows three things...<br> <ul> <li>food and labor costs are alot closer to one another than you might think</li> <li>if your total costs are on the high side (105%) you don't make any profit, which is one of the major reasons why so many restaurants go out of business in the first 5 years.<br> </li> <li>at only a 10-15% profit, most restaurant owners aren't millionaires :)</li> </ul> "...On the other hand, when you buy a bottle of wine in a restaurant, the only labour involved is the waiter or sommelier going into the basement and bringing it up to your table. So the markup on that should be much lower than on the food, which it is. Although it's still outrageous in some cases..."<br> <br> Either there are words missing/out of place, or I'm not getting the point.&nbsp; The markup on beverages is where most restaurants make significant money, wine especially because it appreciates over time.&nbsp; If you assign value based on labor cost then you're right, there's very little labor in selecting, uncorking, and pouring a bottle or wine, but assigning value to wine isn't done that way.&nbsp; Wine is bought and sold on its market value.&nbsp; A bottle of wine is a finite entity - it is one of the total number for that vintage; there will always be less and never more of that particular vintage...ergo, you can't make more of it and the retail price almost always increases.&nbsp; The wise restauranteur is the one who is able to stockpile large quantities purchased cheaply and then sell it 10 years later for outrageous profits.<br> <br> As far as the OP's egg, bacon, and bread breakfast analogy, I interpreted it in the context of the entire thread, and came away with - whereas in order to save money on auto repairs you can walk into your mechanic's shop with your own parts, however, the same can't be said for your local Denny's.&nbsp; And as such, you don't even think of complaining even when you know the real cost for that Gut Bustin' All American breakfast feast is much less than the total on the check, but you're quick to complain when the same situation arise with your mechanic (plumber, electrician, carpenter, et al).<br> <br> IMHO, to sum up what was best said by others is - you shop around for a good mechanic, when you find one stop shopping.&nbsp; Stick with him or her, because in the long haul you'll make out much better than researching, comparing, getting estimates, and wasting your own time every time you need a win nut tightened (sarcasm intended, if not apparent).<br> <br> FWIW, I apply the same sentiment to my barber and accountant.&nbsp; I found a good barber, then I moved.&nbsp; Now I have to drive an hour (one way) to see her and get my hair cut...sure hope my accountant doesn't move to Arizona like he's talked about...It'll be a long drive there from NJ...but, I digress...<br> </body> </html>
--------------080001030805090200000208--
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<snip>

I'll point out where Mr. Underwood's brain meets the brick wall.
The bring your own eggs and bacon into Denny's analogy wasn't invented in this thread, it has existed for as long as I've been a mechanic (over 35 years) and as such, it IS the prevalent belief/practice in the auto repair industry. Parts are marked up because there is a time and labor element associated with their procurement, inventory and management. There is also a represented investment in having them sit on a shelf, i.e., if I put $10,000 in a bank, it earns interest, why shouldn't that same $10,000 tied up in parts give me a monetary return also? Any shop that foregoes making a profit on parts is run by a fool who is soon to be broke. Any shop that allows customers to supply parts is ignorant of liability and obviously lacks experience and hasn't considered what happens (lost time) when the part is wrong for the application, defective out of the box or needs warranty consideration at some later point. The shop owner gets to set the rules, and more importantly, he is responsible for maintaining control over that shop. Can't be done with customers like Underwood who cart in their own cheap crappy parts .
Those who bemoan parts and labor being listed separately have obviously never owned or run a business and are ignorant of possible tax laws, inventory control and basic record keeping. If a job was done three months ago and needed warranty, wouldn't it make sense for the shop to be able to refer to their records in order to determine exactly what parts were involved or what maintenance needs might be due? If you went into Best Buy and bought a DVD player, wouldn't you expect the receipt to _actually_ list the product and stock number, or would you be satisfied with a receipt that merely said; Electronic gizmo......... $150.00?
Anyone who has a problem with these two concepts merely needs to pony up to the pump, take the necessary classes, sink fifty or sixty grand into hand tools, another forty grand+ into capitol equipment and fix their own vehicle.

Very good advice. price shoppers (choppers) receive very little of my attention/time.

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aarcuda69062 wrote:

Um, the auto parts place down the street maintains a larger inventory, has employees who only deal with parts, and yet they still make a profit.
The local small garage has a smaller inventory and does not (usually) have employees dedicated to parts, and yet they need to charge from 2x-4x what the parts place down the street charges? Total BS.

No liability for customer supplied parts. The invoice states customer supplied parts, no warranty. They only have liability for the work they performed.

The shop owner does indeed set the rules, and if he sets them such that it drives away customers, he fails.

Um, no, I ran a business for a while, although it was a service business with no inventory to speak of.

Records and an invoice are not the same thing. There should be records for each time the particular customer has patronized the establishment, not just a mess of invoice copies with no way to cross reference them.

How exactly does that relate to a sale that includes services (labor) in addition to parts? Try purchasing a home theater systems *installed* from a retailer. Will that same DVD player that they sell uninstalled for $150.00 suddenly appear on the invoice as $300.00? Hell no, the parts will show the same parts price, and the installation labor line will show the labor cost. Anything other that this ranges from deceptive to fraudulent.

I in fact do this since I have been unable to find an independent mechanic or dealer that is able to do quality work and have it done when promised. Two examples of this problem:
Timeliness: Made an appointment a couple days in advance to have all brakes on my truck done, along with rear axle seals (5 min when you have the axle apart for the brakes). I told them that I would drop the truck off the night before so they would have it when the mechanic got in at 7am, and that it had to be ready for pickup by 5pm the same day. 10 hours is enough time to do this job several times over, even working at a very leisurely pace. I got back into town at about 4pm and called to check on the truck only to find that they hadn't even started on it. I of course went down, picked up the untouched truck, and ripped them a few new bodily orifices while I was at it. They lost that business.
Quality: Brought my truck in to the dealer to get the clutch replaced. Why it needed to be replaced is another story of warrantee fraud as a clutch should not die at 25,000 miles. My other truck at the time was at 165,000 miles on the original clutch. At any rate I picked up the completed truck (on time amazingly) and proceeded to drive home. Along the way I periodically heard a rapid clunking sound. I stopped in a parking lot to take a look, but without fully crawling under the truck I didn't see anything obviously wrong. When I got home I got on the creeper to inspect more thoroughly and found the the center carrier bearing for the drive shaft was not bolted to the cross member. The clunking sound was the U joint smacking the side of the fuel tank under the appropriate loading (forget whether it was accel or decel). It chewed a hole through the plastic fuel tank shield, but fortunately did not damage the actual fuel tank.

I know there are good mechanics out there somewhere, but so far I haven't found one.
Pete C.

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I guess it would be BS if a mechanic made the same wages as the parts droid. It would also be BS if the parts droid were the one who has to absorb the labor in the event that the part fails while under warranty, something that happens quite frequently. Do you know for a fact that this particular small garage procures their parts from the parts place down the street? Or are you comparing apples to oranges?

Something to make an attorney laugh.

If a customer is driven away because of something as inane as mark up or book keeping, he wasn't a desirable customer to begin with.

Is it the same in all states? was this discussion _ever_ qualified by a certain state?

In the auto repair business they are the exact same thing. In my business, they are the exact same thing as far as what the customer is privy to seeing (excludes my check book register and charge card statements, etc.).

Okay, how about we cover the extra labor needed on account of having to do extra book work by marking up the parts. Printing two copies of form X takes a lot less time (actually, no time) than having to generate copies of form X and form Y.

That point was addressing those who bemoan invoices that list parts and labor separately instead of doing the invoice as a canned job. The home entertainment market is a whole lot more competitive than auto repair, so using it as an example of why not to mark parts up falls short, not to mention that the warranty labor after the installation is a whole different animal. had it occurred to you that the labor involved in replacing a speaker with a blown voice coil is a lot less than (say) what happens if a timing belt or water pump fails?

Of course there is no possibility that the job ahead of yours ran into trouble, or that someone may have called in sick or had a funeral to attend, is there?

I'd have to think that this was the result of the mechanic being interrupted while doing the re-assembly, something which is a big problem in the industry. I went for a ride last fall with a friend who had just purchased a 1969 GTO, he had new tires mounted on the wheels and hung the tires and wheels himself (because he likes to putz), we got about 6 miles away and began hearing a clunking noise, the left front wheel had but one lugnut left. I guess it means that we're all human.

Problems occur in every aspect of life/business, it isn't the problems themselves but how they are handled that is important. Did you call the dealership and allow them the opportunity to correct their mistake, or did you handle it yourself and resign yourself to condemning them for what happened.
As for warranty fraud on a clutch on a new vehicle; I don't see how such a thing can exist. No OEM that I know of warranties their clutches, this is something that you agreed to at the time of purchase.
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aarcuda69062 wrote:

The garage should be procuring parts from the area wholesale supplier. They should be able to pass that part along at roughly the same price that it would cost from the local ACME/NAPA/Whatever quality parts place, and still have a reasonable markup on it to cover the small amount of handling cost.

Attorneys will litigate anything where they feel they will get paid, regardless of the merits of the case.

If said owner feels he has enough business to not be concerned with loosing customers due to deceptive invoicing practices and can stay in business then he must be in a good market.

It is substantially the same in all states, except perhaps for CA and MA.

Perhaps for auto repair businesses that are still in the stone ages. Basic contact/customer management software for small businesses is not that expensive.

If you're still doing "book work" that's where your problem is. With proper software you don't have to generate forms X and Y, you only have to enter the details of the work (parts/hours/supplies) once and then print the invoice. The customer record will store all the information.

I don't recall anyone complaining about that. My point was the receptiveness of excessive markup on parts to cover what should be included in the labor rate or listed separately as shop time. This is a deceptive practice to allow the posting of artificially low "labor" rates.

I never said not to mark up the parts, however that markup should be comparable to the quality auto parts store down the street. You should be purchasing the parts at wholesale cost and marking them up to retail cost, not 2x-4x retail.

Actually, I did stereo / VCR repair at a shop for a while and I can assure you that the labor costs are higher than you think. As for the blown voice coil, that is considered abuse and would not be covered under warranty anyway. Blowing your amp by shorting the speaker wires is also not covered under warranty.

No possibility whatsoever. The shop had my cell and pager numbers and could easily have contacted me to let me know they would not be able to meet the original deadline and to request instructions on what they should do. They also did not give any such excuse when I picked up the truck.

Certainly a possibility that the mechanic was interrupted, but it still shows the lack of a final QC review before taking the truck off the lift. It also calls into question whether they did a road test after the repair. I would certainly expect a once around the block after a clutch replacement and if they did that they certainly should have noticed the clunking. They were quite lucky it didn't puncture the fuel tank and send the truck up in flames.

I take it he didn't use a torque wrench. I just did the brakes on my truck and I used the torque wrench on every fastener that had a torque spec. listed in the factory service manual.

Both of the above stories were at the same dealer. The had a second chance and failed that one as well.

They aren't warranted for wear, but the certainly should be covered for defects in manufacturing. A clutch on a 1T truck should not fail 25,000 miles. My other truck did 165,000+ miles on the original clutch, and in this case the failure was not related to wear, in fact the problem was failure to release fully. Nobody made any claims that the failure was due to wear or abuse. At any rate a company that fails to stand behind their product when there is a clear manufacturing defect will get no further business from me.
Pete C.
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