NYC area: need good, honest mechanic/dealer

I want to take my '00 B5 to a mechanic or dealer that won't rip me off. I'm basically looking for someone who is knowledgeable, in depth,
about VW's (especially the 1.8T engine) and who is also honest. I don't need any major work now, but I want to have a qualified person check the car as I just bought it, and I am a firm believer in preventive maintenance. I don't have a problem driving it to NJ or CT, as long as they can perform the service while I wait (as I have no other way of getting home ;)
The reason I'm not just taking it to any dealer "listed in the book" is this: my front brake pads need to be replaced. I called Potamkin Volkswagen of Manhattan, NYC and, once transferred to their service department, I asked for a quote to "have the front brake pads replaced." Woman said "please hold," and after a couple of minutes came back and said "between $537 and $550." At this point I wanted to scream, instead I just said "thanks" and hung up. I'd rather throw my car off a bridge than give these thieves any business, ever. I then called Koepell VW of Long Island City (Queens), NYC. They quoted me $90 labor and $75 for the parts (front pads). This seems reasonable, considering it's the dealer itself. So I said "great, can I bring it in today?" The date was Nov. 2nd. They said "sorry, the earliest we can fit you in is the 18th." So once again, I said "thanks" and I hung up.
Thanks for reading, I hope you can help me. I can get the brake pads installed by almost any mechanic, but I will want someone to go over the car with a fine-toothed comb and that someone needs to be an expert in the ways of the B5 and 1.8T.
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You gave yourself half of the answer. I'd rather sell my car to the junk yard that take it to a dealer for ANY kind of repairs. A dealer in LA (where these prices are better than in NY) asked $300 only to take down the gear box (for a clutch job) and 5 days waiting. For clutch set he wanted $290. I had it done next day for $200! (with my parts) at a puertorican shop. And he let me watch him while waiting. I just wanted to be sure that he puts the new throw-out bearing. Never trust them. A freaking clutch set is less than $50 plus the bearing, german parts!
Especially that you don't need any work right now, spend a saturday driving around in Queens where it blends with Brooklyn. Look for any small shop which has VW repairs advertised. Walk in the yard and ask for the same quote all of them. I'd choose the one with the most VW's in his yard, price/speed & "the looks" of the place, comes second. This works only when you don't have a brand new car, under warr., like in your case. For front brakes the lowest price I've seen was $75, parts included. I can do the job in less than 1/2 hour with air tools. Remember, mechanics pay 20-40% less at the same part store you would buy them, and they know where to get the lowest price. Check first on Queens Blvd., but don't go to Jamaica! Best investment buy a Bentley, even if you don't plan to do your own repairs.
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/index.htm
Good luck.
BTW Potamkin is the shark of the sharks in NY. They say "because they're so big they can give you the lowest price" BS!BS!BS! Stay away ! Sooner or later you will need a part which only dealers stock or can order. Call dealers around, - parts dept. and ask for price. If they have to special order it for you, remember: no extra charge for that.
Duke Ionescu wrote: > I want to take my '00 B5 to a mechanic or dealer that won't rip me off. > I'm basically looking for someone who is knowledgeable, in depth, about > VW's (especially the 1.8T engine) and who is also honest. I don't need > any major work now, but I want to have a qualified person check the car > as I just bought it, and I am a firm believer in preventive > maintenance. I don't have a problem driving it to NJ or CT, as long as > they can perform the service while I wait (as I have no other way of > getting home ;) > > The reason I'm not just taking it to any dealer "listed in the book" is > this: my front brake pads need to be replaced. I called Potamkin > Volkswagen of Manhattan, NYC and, once transferred to their service > department, I asked for a quote to "have the front brake pads replaced." > Woman said "please hold," and after a couple of minutes came back and > said "between $537 and $550." At this point I wanted to scream, instead > I just said "thanks" and hung up. I'd rather throw my car off a bridge > than give these thieves any business, ever. I then called Koepell VW of > Long Island City (Queens), NYC. They quoted me $90 labor and $75 for > the parts (front pads). This seems reasonable, considering it's the > dealer itself. So I said "great, can I bring it in today?" The date > was Nov. 2nd. They said "sorry, the earliest we can fit you in is the > 18th." So once again, I said "thanks" and I hung up. > > Thanks for reading, I hope you can help me. I can get the brake pads > installed by almost any mechanic, but I will want someone to go over the > car with a fine-toothed comb and that someone needs to be an expert in > the ways of the B5 and 1.8T.
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Thanks for the heads up. I will definitely look for a place that knows something about VW. My problem is that after New Year's I'm leaving NYC for Miami, so finding someone here would be temporary anyway. All I really want is someone to look over the car (esp. the engine) and give their blessing. Oh, and the brakes ;) I can get Mintex pads for about $65 shipped (should be at least equal, although I suspect they are better-performing than stock, parts for which dealer wants $75) and probably get them installed for $50 - I already know a shop that can do this no prob. But before I leave, esp. before driving 1300 miles in 22 hours, I want to have the engine blessed.
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Duke Ionescu wrote: > I want to take my '00 B5 to a mechanic or dealer that won't rip me off.
I use a Russian shop in Sheepshead Bay (KR&S, 718-891-6626) They are not a VW "specialist", but they fixed a torque steer problem that a much bigger shop could not fix.
Eric
p.s. Stay away from the dealers. I went to a local dealer outside Philadelphia when my car started leaking coolant during a business trip, and they created all kinds of problems in and behind my dashboard.
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Eric Schneck said the following on 11/10/2003 8:25 PM:

Thanks. The problem is that I got the "midnight special" engine, instead of a normal engine, and I doubt regular shops know much about the intricacies of the 1.8T with it's special oil needs. And the dealers probably capitalize on this by ripping you off.
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I noticed that VW is always pushing Valvoline. The key of the mystery may be under this rug.
Duke Ionescu wrote:

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