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Trusting An Auto Shop


Rocky4

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I recently took my car to a reputable auto shop with an oil leak. I took it their in the morning. At noon they called back. My wife answered and I saw the look of horror on her face as she wrote $900 down and showed it to me. She then gave me the phone. They spent the morning looking for things on my car that needed repair. Tires, wiper blades, they said the power steering and brake systems needed flushed (something I've never heard of). The actual repair was under $200, but they said I needed to come back for another leak that they didn't have the part for yet. Is it common for shops to look for other problems? They just couldn't fix the leak? I f didn't feel like a customer as much as a source to mine profits from. There's a level of trust I just could not have with this mentality.

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Auto repair shops will always tell you what "has" to be done to get you safely back on the road. They'll usually also look for other stuff that "should" be done according to some schedule.

 

In most states, they have to explain it like that. But it's not always easy to know for sure whether the guy is BS'ing you or not. If the shop is busy, then they're probably not going to be trying to drum up extra business. If they're a shop that somebody you know recommended, that's also good.

 

Good luck.

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I recently took my car to a reputable auto shop with an oil leak. I took it their in the morning. At noon they called back. My wife answered and I saw the look of horror on her face as she wrote $900 down and showed it to me. She then gave me the phone. They spent the morning looking for things on my car that needed repair. Tires, wiper blades, they said the power steering and brake systems needed flushed (something I've never heard of). The actual repair was under $200, but they said I needed to come back for another leak that they didn't have the part for yet. Is it common for shops to look for other problems? They just couldn't fix the leak? I f didn't feel like a customer as much as a source to mine profits from. There's a level of trust I just could not have with this mentality.

 

A reputable shop should say... "We fixed the problem. It will be $198. We also found these major issues that we recommend you fix soon. Those will cost $450. Then there are some minor issues that will total $300 if you want to keep the car in top shape."

 

Sounds like these guys are looking to pad the bill by "changing fluids". I wouldn't go back.

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They were of of the very few ASE certified shops in my area. I guess an ASE certification doesn't mean much. I've had more bad experiences, than good with auto shops in general.

I once had a 90 Gran Prix that I couldn't get rear pads on. The shop I took it to wanted $700 to replace everything, so I removed the rear brakes! I later saw a class action suit against GM for that model concerning the issue.

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I think they hit women with this stuff more than men - and they probably had some sort of paper she signed ahead of time that authorized them to do what was "necessary." This also hits increasing numbers of males too since fewer of us have much mechanical background.

 

Another factor is the increasing difficulty of vehicle maintenance due to the way they're put together with various computers, modular manufacturing processes and cramming more "stuff" into smaller spaces. E.g., you probably can't replace a heater/AC fan by undoing four screws as you could in the '50s and '60s because you've now likely got a one-piece "part" that includes a whole batch of crap.

 

Problem is that if you get into this sort of a situation of overcharging and object, you're in for a lawsuit and "they" have the advantage of potential filing of a lien on your vehicle.

 

Kinda funny, I was told 30,000 miles ago on my Jeep that it needed new brake pads and probably new disks. I asked them to put it up on the hoist and let me look for myself since I was raised in a small town car dealership and "lived" in the shop from age five to 14. Naaah, they couldn't let me into the shop for liability reasons. My full-service gas station does let me into the shop and... gee, the disks and pads were fine and still stopping me quite well.

 

m

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Searcy nails what they should have done.

 

Gladly, the place I've been going to recently does just that.

 

They fix what they are asked to fix, and they've been dead on with their estimates, and at pickup time, they will say,.. "by the way, just so you know.." and they will explain what else should be done.

 

they definitely tried to pad it up. jerkoffs...

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Guest Farnsbarns

The OP is not very clear:

 

DID they hand you a $900 bill, OR did they "advise" you that your car needed $900 worth of repairs and maintenance?

 

This, if they've done the work you are not obliged to pay them, if they are simply suggesting it needs doing then fine, let them do what you deem to be a good idea.

 

With regards to flushing pas and brake fluids, they're correct. Both brake fluid and pas fluid (which is actually just ATF) are hygroscopic (unless it's DOT5.1 which is illegal over here as its highly inflammable). As it absorbs water from the atmosphere it becomes more compressible which is bad, once it is 3% water it gets really bad as that evaporates and introduces gasses which are very compressible, worse still, it can boil and cause brake or steering failure.

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The OP is not very clear:

 

DID they hand you a $900 bill, OR did they "advise" you that your car needed $900 worth of repairs and maintenance?

 

They asked before doing anything. It was under $200 for the oil leak to be fixed.

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This, if they've done the work you are not obliged to pay them, if they are simply suggesting it needs doing then fine, let them do what you deem to be a good idea.

 

With regards to flushing pas and brake fluids, they're correct. Both brake fluid and pas fluid (which is actually just ATF) are hygroscopic (unless it's DOT5.1 which is illegal over here as its highly inflammable). As it absorbs water from the atmosphere it becomes more compressible which is bad, once it is 3% water it gets really bad as that evaporates and introduces gasses which are very compressible, worse still, it can boil and cause brake or steering failure.

+1, A good shop will take care of your problem and check the vehicle over all for any other issues, but should just inform you of other situations and let you decide if and when you take care of them. Farns is 100% correct on the fluids, they do need to be flushed and replaced at timely intervals. ASE certification is just extra education that the mechcanic takes to find and repair problems, but doesn't teach morals. I've been going to the same shop for 20yrs and trust them completely. It also helps that I used to work on cars & campers. Might check with the local Better Business Bureau and see what shop they would recommend.

TC

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They asked before doing anything. It was under $200 for the oil leak to be fixed.

 

Then there is no problem here, ethics, moral, or otherwise.

 

You took your car in for a problem which they fixed for $200. In the process of that repair (or at least included in that price), they did a general inspection and ADVISED you of other issues that THEY think YOU should address. This IS what I'd expect from a "reputable" repair shop.

 

Now it's up to you to decide on what (if any) further repairs (or maintenance) YOU deem necessary, and economically feasible.

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Then there is no problem here, ethics, moral, or otherwise.

 

You took your car in for a problem which they fixed for $200. In the process of that repair (or at least included in that price), they did a general inspection and ADVISED you of other issues that THEY think YOU should address. This IS what I'd expect from a "reputable" repair shop.

 

Now it's up to you to decide on what (if any) further repairs (or maintenance) YOU deem necessary, and economically feasible.

 

 

So I take my care in to fix an oil leak, and they try to sell me a set of tires? $700 worth of extras? I wouldn't expect that much b.s.from a quick oil change place. Somebody explain to me what a power steering flush or brake system flush is.

 

I won't be going back.

.....and by the way, My local Grease Spot is fantastic. I don't get all the "step out here, I want to show you something" crap. They just change my oil and send me on my way.

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Guest Farnsbarns

So I take my care in to fix an oil leak, and they try to sell me a set of tires? $700 worth of extras? I wouldn't expect that much b.s.from a quick oil change place. Somebody explain to me what a power steering flush or brake system flush is.

 

I won't be going back.

.....and by the way, My local Grease Spot is fantastic. I don't get all the "step out here, I want to show you something" crap. They just change my oil and send me on my way.

 

I explained exactly why the non compressibles need flushing, in detail, a couple of posts up. The shop that change your oil and send you on your way are the bad ones. The guys that have done a free inspection and given you what looks like sound advice are the good ones.

 

Now obviously they get something out of it if you decide to get some, or all of the work done. It's mutually beneficial.

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I am all for the 'pro-active' shops that warn you of other issues [thumbup] There are plenty of places that can change your oil and not mention replacing the the oil pan plug that they stripped when doing it.... [scared]

 

I will take exceptions with joints that want to change your 'cabin air filter' when your vehicle does not have one !

Google is your friend in most repairs. I like to do and 'have done' much of my own maintenance with internet and Youtube tutorials and by the 'grace of God' got thru it.

 

There is too much 'sub-standard' work done today. Too much 'trickery'....You have to be responsible for educating yourself.....unless your a liberal, than let the taxpayers take care of it......and be happy,,,,,[laugh]

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As silly as it sounds, a flush of the brake system and power steering system isn't a "dumb" thing to do. 1st off on the brakes. Brake fluid, by nature, draws moisture. It will then usually get into the Master Cylinder & either the disk brake calipers or drum brake cylinders. It stays there and pit rusts the smooth cylinder. Also the fluid gets nasty with the water in it as well. Same with the Rack & power steering gear too. Also, at least around Iowa, it's common place to receive either at N/C or sometimes you pay for a complete look over. Ball Joints, wheel bearing play, brake pads, belts, tie rod ends etc. for any issues. If you've ever had a ball joint or tie rod end fail, you would not ever forget it if you live thru the crash!!

 

You don't HAVE to complete all the issues listed. But, if you went to the Dr. and he's checking your ears & hears something with your heart that doesn't sound like a good thing, do you want him to NOT TELL YOU THAT cuz he might be trying to drum up bidness?

 

Just say'n, it's your choice on doing the repairs and someone trying to "sell you" something really may be in your best interests (as long as it is the TRUTH with what they're telling you!!!). That's my take on it anyway. I don't always say yes, but at least I know and maybe can budget for the fixes or do them myself.

 

Aster

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I think they hit women with this stuff more than men - and they probably had some sort of paper she signed ahead of time that authorized them to do what was "necessary." This also hits increasing numbers of males too since fewer of us have much mechanical background.

 

I'd concur with this - which is why my wife doesn't take the car in! In fact last time I was in they hit me with the hard sell on tires - safety, danger, etc. The wife would've caved I'm sure, but I know I can get the same tires elsewhere for quite a bit less. And I never let them charge me for an air filter or something which I can do myself for a few $. Also, once it's out of warranty I usually do the oil changes myself for about half price.

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Surf...

 

I have something of an advantage. My wife's not in the shape she once was in, but as a farm girl, she likely knows as much about vehicles and machinery as a lotta the folks in average city auto shops. You should see her steam when one of her lady friends gets scrod (that's the pluperfect subjunctive <grin>) by some outfit here or there.

 

OTOH, she had a tale I think is marvelous testimony for some honest guys.

 

At the time she was a nurse and a younger nurse sought her out to complain about men. It was in Memphis. The young woman said her boyfriend and the mechanic at the shop were lying and she was livid about it. Seems the weather turned cold; there was some snowfall - and when she put on the brakes at an intersection, the car just wouldn't stop. Her boyfriend and the mechanic said the brakes were fine, but she was convinced they were lying because she was a woman they wanted to humiliate.

 

Luckily my lady did a decent job of explaining a bit of physics... <grin> Dunno what, if any, relationship the lady continued with either the boyfriend or mechanic...

 

m

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And, at least in Nashville/Clarksville area of TN they get some TERRIBLE ice storms. She must not have ever driven in anything below 32 degrees. [biggrin] We were taught ALL thst stuff in Drivers Ed classes and if you were in DE in the 2nd semester, you got a great taste for a good Iowa winter storm to go practice driving in.

 

Aster

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