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Not a rant but free advice

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  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Not a rant but free advice
Posted by plasticjunkie on Monday, March 25, 2019 5:36 PM

There are many unsuspecting car owners that fall prey to unnecessary repairs specially at the hands of the dealerships. There are just a few things I go to the dealer for and alignments is one of them, recalls is another and that is about it. I have a trusted local mechanic that is very reliable and honest so any issues I can't handle go to him.

I noticed slight wear on the outer corners of the front tires so off to the dealership to get things into spec. The service guy came back to tell me I needed new rear brakes and that the front axle seals were leaking. I told him that is very strange since I do my own brakes and those rear ones barely have 30K miles after replacing  the crappy factory ones that lasted only 20K miles. I also told him there are no oil leaks on my garage floor where the car has been parking for the last 6 years. The service guy looked at me with a surprised look and said "oh so you work on your car"? Yep, I said and told him to just do the alignment only. 

I got home and checked the rear brakes revealing them to be about 50% worn so i have another 30K miles to go. The wear indicators tell the story at a glance so no special tools are needed here to determine its life.

Then on to the seals so up front to investigate. There was a visible 'sweat' area under the seals but no fluid, no visible leaks. I wiped the area clean and rechecked it after a week's worth of driving and the seal area is clean and dry as a whistle. I asked my mechanic who said there was nothing wrong with my car and the sweat area is normal due to collecting moisture and road junk. 

Come to think of it, the dealer service guy never gave me the recommended estimated work order and the survey to rate him. I wonder why? LOL. Sorry but that almost $1,000 repair bill will not happen. 

Moral to the story, check yourself or get a second opinion from a trustworthy mechanic. 

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    June, 2018
Posted by E Baker on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 8:45 AM

Good advice. It always helps to either check things yourself, or have a knoledgeable friend check things for you.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 10:43 AM

You are fortunate to understand things about cars, that really helps in not letting dealers con us. I am mechanically inclined, but for some reason never really learned the basics about cars. So I can be a sucker.

I had an acquaintance who was the service manager at the german luxury brand dealer for the car I was driving some 20 years ago. He got demoted to the parts dept because he refused to sell unnecessary repairs. I had been skeptical of dealers before then, but I used to be a trusting soul and couldn't bring myself to believe they would cheat us. Now, the only reason I'll use a dealer is if I have to.

Not just about the above, either. After a couple or 3 new cars, I finally realized that as soon as the 'free warranty' runs out, all of a sudden at the next regular service, all sorts of expensive repairs pop up. Gee, what a coincidence. I can be a slow learner.

-Greg

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 11:15 AM

Two years ago I took my 1997 BMW Z3 to the dealer for an oil and coolant change. They told me that the car needed a new oil pan gasket. The cost--$1,100 !!!!!! So I asked why so expensive. I was told that engine needs to be lifted in order to provide clearance to drop the oil pan. I took the car to Ernie (he does work on my Highlander) and asked him to look at the Z3's oil pan gasket. He said that it is 'weeping' some oil, but it does not need to be replaced. He told me to have it replaced when I see oil on my garage floor. That was in 2017. There is still no oil on my garage floor. It is always important to get a second opinion for expensive repairs.

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 12:05 PM
My dad taught me a lot about fixing cars while growing up, so even if something is out of my skill level I still have an understanding what’s going on. With YouTube I’ve been able to jump out of my comfort zone and do more work on my vehicle and sure I’ve saved a couple thousand so far.
 
The thing that is happening now with some cars you need special tools only the dealer has to fix things. I had to get a water pump replaced and while at the mechanics gentleman brought in a 2018 Mercedes with a front headlight out. He couldn’t replace the light and neither could three other mechanics.  So I’m sure it cost him a few dollars to fix something you should be able to do on your own.  
  • Member since
    August, 2016
Posted by Keyda81 on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 1:20 PM

Only thing my vehicles get taken to shops for is alignment and inspections.  That is it.  Anything else either hubby or I can handle it.  We are capable of almost any job.

Convertible top replacement on 91 Cavalier-check

Heater core replacement on 2001 Blazer-check

Rebuild SBC 350-check

Rebuild Muncie M21 4 spd-check

Lol.  Plus there is a bunch of other stuff we've done.  Currently in the middle of a restoration on my Camaro. 

I took auto class in high school just so I didn't have to worry about getting ripped off by shops.  I have worked at Autozone, and Advance Auto Parts.  So I know my stuff.  It really helps to know.  I have a trusted shop I go to for inspections, and if he finds anything wrong he tells me.  He'll pass the inspection, and knows I will take care of it. 

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posted by mustang1989 on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 2:20 PM

You know, I spent over 20 years in GM Dealerships and in all that time I've seen the best of 'em and unfortunately............the very worst of 'em. Sadly, it's the worst of those that make the biggest impression on the general public's opinion of a dealer. I spent my entire time at dealers providing a service and that means to BE of service to the public. I'm not trying to come off as a "goody two shoes" but I do know what's involved in the earning of a customer's dollar and have always tried to treat folks accordingly.

   I've been a supervisor over a fleet auto repair shop at a local refinery for the last 5 years and through it all and in dealing with dealerships now on the "outside" I know that any business is only as good as its worst visible employee. I really hate it when I hear stories like this as it's a true discredit to those in a dealer (or any automotive repair business for that matter) that are good, hard working and honest people who actually know how to fix cars and trucks and who don't expect to get rich repairing them but to merely make a living.

                   

 

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:58 PM

When I was a kid I used to work on my own cars. There wasn't much to them. There was a lot of room under the hood. It was easy to get to spark plugs. Then this happened:

If something went wrong under this hood I would have no idea where to start Confused I can't even identify most of the stuff in there. I have no idea how they stuffed the engine et al in there.

  • Member since
    August, 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 4:53 PM

In the middle of brakes and shocks on a '78 GMC motorhome the other half bought.  What a nightmare in a glass.....$1200 for all the new brake stuff, $400 for the shocks, $325 for new front wheel bearings, since you are pretty much going to destroy them when you have to press out of the steering knuckle and off the hub to change the rotor.  They want $720 for the tool set to pull and press bearings on the front....yeah right.  Got a tech at the tire/alignment/brake shop that has done one before and has enough to do it.  going to cost me around $100-125.

Oh yeah a new water pump, alternator and master cylinder to go under the hood.  I'm paying a co-worker at the shop to do the underhood stuff, I'm not going to try and stuff myself in there.  Drivetrain is basically Tornado, 403 cid.  Front wheel drive coach......

 

But yeah, had my share of attempted rip-offs over the years.  Learned to do it myself by trial and error for the most part. Being a body tech with a raft of tools helps.

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 4:56 PM

JohnnyK

When I was a kid I used to work on my own cars. There wasn't much to them. There was a lot of room under the hood. It was easy to get to spark plugs. Then this happened:

If something went wrong under this hood I would have no idea where to start Confused I can't even identify most of the stuff in there. I have no idea how they stuffed the engine et al in there.

 

I hear ya JK. I owned a 55 Chevy hardtop a while back and did most of the work on it.

I replaced the fuel pump in 15-20 minutes and the radiator in about 30 minutes, no way doing this with the new cars. Replacing the fuel sending unit in my 55 was a snap, not with the current cars.

 

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 5:03 PM

I sometimes go to the dealership for an oil change. I could do it myself...but by the time I get the supplies...for a few extra bucks, I can just have it done. And, I don't have to get rid of the old oil. Anyway, last time I was in, they came at me with a laundry list of problems.

New brakes, all around (I do these myself, and it hadn't been 4-5 month since). Oil leak (NOPE). Need new front shocks (they were less than 6 months old....rears are long overdue, but no mention of those!). Wheel bearing (which I knew was needing) and, better than half the entire front suspension(which was all replaced less than 3 yrs ago). A few other nickel-n-dime items as well.

Took it to my local guy, all it needed was the bearing. After the last two I've done myself...I'll pay the $300 (much better than the dealership quoted!).

About a week later, the dealership mailed me a whole mess of coupons, all for the work that they said was "needed". Even after all the "great savings"...my local guy is 2/3rds the price.

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 5:37 PM

fermis

I sometimes go to the dealership for an oil change. I could do it myself...but by the time I get the supplies...for a few extra bucks, I can just have it done. And, I don't have to get rid of the old oil.

 

I do my own oil changes. Every time I’ve had it done at a dealership or tire shop they have either left the oil drain pug loose or over filled by 1/2 a quart! The guy at the dealer was telling me it was ok to be above the fill mark, I made him take the car back and correct it. Another thing about oil changes at quick service shops is they use bulk purchased filters that are cheap and low quality. No sir I do my own for as long as Im able to.

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 7:13 PM

Oh boy, great subject. I have too many horror stories to share. I will share one.

 A lady friend needed an oil change on her car. We took it to a new shop that I was recommend to try. The tech comes out saying the job is done, but you have a bigger problem. Your radiator is leaking and it needs to be replaced. Quoted me over $600 to fix it. I said no to the job and we will be in touch. I take the car to a trusted mechanic. He puts the car on the lift, and checks things out. He tells me yeah, there is a small drip but, I tightened the hose clamp and you are good to go. That was all it was... a loose clamp. In my mind, did the first place loosen the clamp to simulate the leak too?  I wouldn't put it past em.

I have many more such "hose jobs" that I could tell you about. Fortunately, I didn't fall for them. It's bad out there.

i

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Denver
Posted by tankboy51 on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 7:37 PM

I always have a dealership or a business do car stuff for us.  My dad did not know anything, beyond basic stuff.   Basically what could go wrong, not how to fix it.  He made plenty, so we would just have those who could fix it, do it.  I've been successful enough, so we do the same thing.  If they mess up the repair, they are responsible.  I helped a pal decades ago fix the brakes on his car.  HATED IT!  It was freezing cold and things would not come loose.  I did change the oil on my car once.  Never again.  Cheap enough to have Grease Monkey do it.  Cars are not my thing.  I just drive them, I don't know how they work.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 7:45 PM

At a certain point, my sanity demanded that I disconnect emotionally with my cars. 

I now drive a nice lexus with Toyota badges on it, fill the tank every few weeks, and near zero emissions.

I've given away my torque wrenches, bearing pullers and body tools. Floor jacks, stands, all gone. I used to rent stuff anyways, so no problem there.

 

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 8:58 PM

 

[/quote]

GMorrison

At a certain point, my sanity demanded that I disconnect emotionally with my cars. 

I now drive a nice lexus with Toyota badges on it, fill the tank every few weeks, and near zero emissions.

I've given away my torque wrenches, bearing pullers and body tools. Floor jacks, stands, all gone. I used to rent stuff anyways, so no problem there.

  

When I was in school in the late 1960's I worked summers at a factory that made gear/pulley/bearing pullers. One day I had to work on a punch press that made the "fingers" of the pullers. The superviser told me to keep my hands away from the punch press. I asked why. He held up his right hand. It was missing three fingers. He said, "This is why!" I worked my way through college at that place. I still have all my fingers. Get this. I went to University of Illinois. Tuition was $210 a year. No lie.

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: State of Mississippi. State motto: Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)
Posted by mississippivol on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 9:27 PM
Just finished fixing my 2000 S10 that I've owned for 17 years. Died on me a quarter mile from the house as I was going to work. Pushed her home. I replaced the distributor and the plug wires ( I messed up the wires when I initially replaced the cap and rotor), and she's up again. 214k on the odometer. I've replaced the alternator, water pump, fuel pump (pulled off the bed for that!), lower intake gaskets, fuel pressure regulator, heater core, a/c compressor. Feel like I forgot something! Rear main oil seal leaks still, creates great smoke from under the hood! The body is in great shape, no rust. I hope it can last a couple more years so I can teach the oldest lad to drive, that way if it ends up on a ditch, it won't be a huge loss, though I'd like to replace my 4.3 with one of those new Ecotec V6's that make nearly 300 horses, hehehe!
  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 10:06 PM

I believe you JK. I went to college in 1973, was working part time selling shoes and had a green Dodge just like Al Bundy lol. I paid my own car insurance with Allstate costing me a little over $300 a year with full coveragewith a $100 deductible. I also paid for my college semesters including books, had some money to put away and some to go out and spend. No student loans or debt. What the hell is happenning now with the cost of education?

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: West of the rock and east of the hard place!
Posted by murph on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 7:51 AM

I have all my servicing done at the dealer where I bought my new cars.  Never had an issue.  I've seen more dishonesty at local shops than at the dealership I go to.

Retired and living the dream!

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 8:06 AM
Gotta have people you can trust.Mechanic,HVAC Person,plumber,electrician and contractors.Always try to get references,Homeadvisor has worked for me.You can do all you can and still have problems.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: From the Mit, but live in Mason, O high ho
Posted by hogfanfs on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 8:15 AM

So, I should have gotten a second opinion when the guy told me I needed to replace the bearings in my muffler? I knew I should have just greased those muffler bearings myself. Big Smile

 

When I was a teen, we had a '65 Chevy Impala, and that was the platform my father used to show me how to maintain an automobile. However, now a days, these car are engineered that those skills no longer apply to most vehicles. Even the newer motorcycles (Cafe style) are engineered to be smaller and lighter, which makes it difficult to work on them. 

I really like wrenching on vehicles, more specifically motorcycles. I completely rebuilt, from the frame, up a 2001 CBR9292RR, which I used for track days. And loved every minute of it. 

 Bruce

 

 On the bench:  1/48 Eduard MiG-21MF

                        1/35 Takom Merkava Mk.I

 

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posted by mustang1989 on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 8:20 AM

Keyda81
Convertible top replacement on 91 Cavalier-check

Just out of friendly curiosity ...how long did that take you Keyda?  I remember those cars coming into the dealer. Convertible tops give me the goose bumps big time in the way of how much they .....er how much they don't pay.

I.E. --2011 Camaro convertible top assy replacment time=6.2 hours under warranty. It takes two guys to do it and takes a whopping 3 days to complete to get all the wind noises, water leaks and fit issues in check. Surprise That was a terrible design for "drop tops" and was part of the reason that GM went back to the drawing board in 2014 on them.

                   

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 9:29 AM

The majority of my bad experiences have been through dealerships. The smaller ones have not been immune but--the most trusted mechanics I have found has been with smaller shops. I had found several over the years.

 

Here are two more stories:

 

Again, in this case it was with a lady friends car. The car would not turn over ... the battery died. I purchased a new battery, installed it, bam-- it started. But--it was running rough. Not knowing what more to do we took it to a dealership. I tell them what happened and what I have done so far. Hours later, I get a call. "We are not sure what is going on but we think your injectors are bad." Estimate is $1000 or more, depending on what they find. I tell them to pack up the car and we will get back to them. I make some calls to friends and I was recommended to try a small shop that they trust. I call the shop, explain what happened, and what the dealer is telling me. With no hesitation he says, "it sounds like your computer needs to be reset. With that model car, if you lose power from the battery--the whole system needs to be reset." He says, it's an easy fix and to bring it over. I do so, and the car is fixed. I think he charged me $20. Um yeah... bad injectors. Pitiful. 

Another one:

I had a small Honda hatchback that in the dead of winter started to idle rough. It was so bad that I had to take it in. There was a small Honda Dealer nearby and I left it there. A few days later I get a call, "Your distributor is shot. It is loose and it needs to be replaced. Estimate... $1800. I call my Dad and he says to bring it over. We pop the hood, I reach for distributor cap and it is loose. Dummy me--I says--yeah look --it is loose. My Dad says, "yeah, hold on. Let's look closer." Further inspection revealed the distributor was fine. Yes, the cap was loose--but it was probably from the dealership monkeying with it. My Dad quickly figured out that we needed to install a new cap and rotor. It was a few dollars of parts. Bang! Car is fixed. 

I have many more. My Dad had several horror stories from an Olds Dealer that were  downright fraudulent. My Dad always ended up fixing it himself because he was onto their lies.

Now a days--I drive a Ford and thus far--I have had good service from my local Ford dealership. I had one incident that was suspect--but it didn't cost much--and I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 10:14 AM

hogfanfs

So, I should have gotten a second opinion when the guy told me I needed to replace the bearings in my muffler? I knew I should have just greased those muffler bearings myself. Big Smile

 

 

Hey Bruce I'm surprised they didn't tell you your gonkometer needed re calibration for an additional $300. Propeller

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: From the Mit, but live in Mason, O high ho
Posted by hogfanfs on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 10:38 AM

plasticjunkie

 

 
hogfanfs

So, I should have gotten a second opinion when the guy told me I needed to replace the bearings in my muffler? I knew I should have just greased those muffler bearings myself. Big Smile

 

 

 

 

Hey Bruce I'm surprised they didn't tell you your gonkometer needed re calibration for an additional $300. Propeller

 

PJ,

They did try that on me, but, I was wise! They also said my headlights were low on water. But, everyone knows a headlight doesn't take water, they take lighter fluid! 

 

 

Thanks for posting this topic. I can't imagine how many people waste money unknowingly on services they don't really need. It's a shame, but, I'm glad you knew better. 

 

 

 Bruce

 

 On the bench:  1/48 Eduard MiG-21MF

                        1/35 Takom Merkava Mk.I

 

  • Member since
    June, 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 11:37 AM

(1) Similar story with a Toyota Tundra. Place I normaly go for an oil change, they came back saying the surpintine belt was bad and it was caused by a faulty water pump. They said that during thier inspection there was a steady leak of antifreeze falling on the belt to cause it to go bad. They also said the belt tension pully was bad. For the changing of the pump, the tension pully, and the belt it would cost $1,200.00; telling me they have to take half the front of the truck apart for the pump. Keep in mind they just changed the surpintine belt 5 months earlier. I went to my trusted shop and it was simply a bad belt, the pump and pully was inspected by my mechanic and I and found to be good. After paying $78.00 for a new belt and labor I was out the door and had no problem since. I have not been back to the other place. 

(2) Another incident at the Toyota dealer for our van. It was in for a recall item. During the visit they indicated it needed new tires (they were still good but getting close to replace 25% left and still very legal). They were wanting to sell us the same run flats that came with it new for $1,225.00 . Those tires only have a 35K tread life and are not required items, but that is what they pushed. I went to a tire shop I trust in town and got top of the line Michelien Pilot 70K mile tires with lifetime balance and rotation for only $410.00 out the door (on sale). 

Bruce, and lets not forget about the blinker fluid for those turn signals(smile).

Your all correct in buyer beware. Also to shop for second opinions or competitive pricing. 

Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/350 USS Alabama - Staged

- 90mm Achilles Resin Figure - WIP

- 120mm SS Panzer Officer - Done

 

 

 

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 11:58 AM

Here is a good one: I have a 2004 Toyota Highlander with 175,000 miles. Great car. Last year I head a thumping comming from the right rear. I went to the Toyota dealer and they  said that the front right bearing needed replacement. Of course I said,"Don't you mean the right rear bearing?" They again said it was the  front. I approved the work because, well, they should know what they are doing. I picked up the car, drove it home and I heard thump, thump, thump from  the right rear. I brought it back to the dealer and they told me that the rear differential need to be replaced Bang Head. Soooooo, I took it to Ernie (local repair shop) who said the problem was the right rear bearing. He replaced the bearing and no more thump, thump. I took the old bearing to the Toyota dealer and said that I wanted a refund on the front bearing replacement because it wasn't necessary. They refunded my money in full and told me that the technician that worked on my car was going to pay for half of the refund????? I will never go there again.

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: NEVER USE PHOTO BUCKET - IT'S A THREAD WRECKER.
Posted by disastermaster on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 12:03 PM

Simply put, I have no use for "New" cars and the lonnnng strings attached to them..

http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL351/12291693/21864322/413446218.jpg  http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/modeling_subjects/f/3/t/134935.aspx?page=11

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 12:15 PM

JohnnyK

They refunded my money in full and told me that the technician that worked on my car was going to pay for half of the refund????? 

 

Which pretty much explains why their techs have no interest in doing good work.

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 12:36 PM

GMorrison

 

 
JohnnyK

They refunded my money in full and told me that the technician that worked on my car was going to pay for half of the refund????? 

 

 

 

Which pretty much explains why their techs have no interest in doing good work.

 

 

Not really. They have an incentive to do good work so that they do not get penalized for doing incorrect work. They also get bonuses based upon not doing incorrect work.

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