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Car problems

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by spup1122, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Generally speaking, Sears is not a good place to have work done on your car. Most I would do at Sears is buy a battery.
  2. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    I didn't say what I meant very well. My apologies.

    What I meant was that when they change your brakes, they're already bleeding out brake fluid -- enough that they would have to go back and add some. Since that was the case, most places go ahead and bleed it all out and then top it off (refill it). And nobody should be charging you extra for that. It's been pretty standard on brake jobs for a long time now. That's why the brake job that used to cost around $120 a few years ago now costs nearly $200.
  3. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    2 things...

    Never pay for an air filter. Anybody who can open the hood of a car can change an air filter. A story. When I moved from the east coast to the west coast, I had a friend's father tune up my car and change the oil for me. After I moved, I had driven 4,000 miles and got a coupon for one of these quick oil change places... I think it was Econo Lube or Econo Lube and Tune. The oil change was $9, and the mechanic had a list of "recommended" repairs. There were a lot of things checked, but I will never forget a suggestion that I pay $49 to replace an air filter.

    Second - I usually don't agree with paying by credit card, but I think if you have a credit card for the company where you are getting your car fixed - i.e. a Texaco card for a Texaco gas station, a Sears card for Sears (and whoever said not to go there is right), a Firestone card for Firestone. The reason is if the station won't make things right on any problem, you can challenge the charge on your credit card and they might refund the charges if you are dissatisfied... happened to a friend of mine, and it happened to me.
  4. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy Active Member

    Dog, that makes sense -- we were talking about two different procedures. And I'd love to pay $200 for a brake job -- I just spent more than twice that, and it wasn't gouging either. Gotta love German car ownership.

    Gold, I tend to agree $49 to change an air filter seems a bit much, but it also depends on the car. I've seen cars that require a fair amount of labor to get the air filter in and out.
  5. I've found the worst thing you can do in car repair is go to chain places. I never go to chain places, especially dealers — unless I have a warranty — because I would say 80 percent of the time you're going to get better, more personal and honest service from a hometown mechanic.

    I've been going to the same guy for a couple years now and if something minor needs to be done, he'll ask me to stop by, show me how to do it and then ask if I want to do it on my own or have him do it.

    This also works because I'm pretty flexible with the guy. He had my car for about two weeks about a month ago because I had leaky gasket seals in my 99 Grand Am and was getting antifreeze into my oil. It was an all-day job to fix it and when he got going on it, one thing led to another that needed to be fixed. He still wasn't done when he found one more thing that needed to be fixed and he called me and said he was set to leave for his 4th of July vacation in 30 minutes but he still had about two hours of work to do on the car. I told him to go for vacation and get back to the car in three days when he got back. I had something else go wrong the other day and he slipped my car right in front of everyone else and got it done within an hour.

    A little give and take with hometown mechanics always seems to be the best thing for both parties involved.

    The other thing you can do is try to learn how to make small repairs. My step-dad taught me how to change brakepads, change oil and a few other minor things. Instead of paying $130 for a brakepad change, I pay $50 for a good set of brakepads and change them myself in 45 minutes. Best investment I ever made was the time it took to learn how to do small things.
  6. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Here's how much I love my mechanic, a local guy with his own shop and not a chain. Mrs. Doc, some guys don't know shit about cars either.

    Anyway, I take my 15-year-old baby in there figuring I'm soon to be out a grand. That's what it cost the last time I had this problem.

    So my mechanic says, "You remember we did this before?"
    "Yeah, like 10 years ago."
    "Right, but that thing has a lifetime warranty. So you just have to pay $100 for us to put the new one on."

    I had no clue it had ANY kind of warranty actually. He could have said, "That'll be a grand," and I would have said, "Here," but he didn't. And that's why he has more business than he can handle.

    I figure the crooks get it in the end, one way or another.
  7. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    Yup ... outside of family, there's very little more valuable than a mechanic who knows what he's doing and doesn't go for the throat every time the crook touches your vehicle.

    Spup, for a 12-hour trip, spring for the air filter beforehand. If it's dirty enough to need replacement, it will start paying for itself on a trip of that length.

    Keep a log of everything done on the car ... list "oil, oil filter, rotate tires" for routine maintenance or "tires replaced," "rotors turned" for more specific repairs. Keep the receipts ... with the owner's manual in your glove compartment or in some other out-of-the-way spot in your vehicle.

    Going to some chains - some - is a bad, bad idea. If you're a first-timer, the "you need a new air filter," "have you had your brake system flushed?" and every other routine slice of bullsh_t can come out of the counter person and/or manager, who is being pushed by some douchenozzle beancounter to push this crap on you.

    Also - unrelated to the thread but not the general topic - make sure you tell ANYONE messing with your tires and wheels, not to tighten those things with their air guns. Too many of these hotshots in too many places want to do that. If you have a flat tire, good luck getting enough torque on that wrench on the side of the road to get the tire off so you can get the donut/spare on. I had to help out a colleague once because of this.
  8. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    The last time I went for an oil change, they said the brake fluid was low and they don't top off brake fluid. They said if you do that it would damage the brakes.
  9. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    That's because simply adding can trap air in the lines. If they're properly bled, not a problem. If not, you could end up destroying the master cylinder.

    Now if you have a mechanic you can trust, then they can do that sort of thing. If you're at a rip-off shop, proceed with great caution.
  10. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    Honestly, I'd say write the editorial too.

    If a business cannot fulfill its promises, the public needs to know. That's our jobs as newspaper folks.

    Us newspaper people should at least make at effort to report and out every since one of these crooked mechanics. If any institution has the clout to end these scams, it's newspapers.

    If we make the effort to clean up these crooks  one shop at a time, eventually only the honest ones will be left.

    Which leads me to a point that really, really, really bothers me:

    In general, we're not doing our jobs. And that goes from the national level with the crooks in the White House to the local level with crooks in the mechanic shops.

    There's two reasons for this, with the first one being far and away the smaller one:
    1. The higher-ups. Newspapers now are almost exclusively corporation-owned who couldn't give a shit about the everyday person or any of their customers.
    2. Us, the people who produce the product: We're so god damn selfish, that all we care about is ourselves, whether that's wanting to cover a pro or college team or moving up the ladder for more pay, that we lose sight of the fact of what our readers want. (This is not just in sports. I'm also picking on the newsside folks who could be uncovering these crooked mechanics) People rarely buy a community newspaper for coverage of a pro or college team 60 miles away. That want quality coverage of their high school aged kids and their friends. (And when I say quality, I don't mean ego-boasting horseshit that leads to elitism in preps sports and away from participation) Yet, over and over again, we're sacrificing that good story because our ambitions lead us to writing that column or gamer from the college or pro team in the nearest big city that no one in our circulation gives a flying fuck about. I'm a preps writer at a small rag, and while I do occasionally get a bone to cover the pro teams, I'm concentrating most of my efforts on the local stuff. I actually have turned down several pro and college opportunities. Of course, I have ambitions too. A friend of mine who's on the verge of big time at a major paper told me that the best way up the ladder is to do a great job at your job, not someone else's job, and I truly believe him. This is a guy who got hired by a major metro to cover preps (and also backup the big boys stuff) right out of college, and he never did anything but community journalism before that. In fact, he'd almost brag that when he helped cover baseball's opening day, it was his first time in any major press box.
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    That is a great, great tale, Moddy.

    Damn, I love it when people are good to you and give you every reason in the world to be good back to them. Especially service people: mechanics, convenience stores, newspaper stands, janitors, waiters/waitresses ... people you might see every day or at least every week just going about your business, who make your lives immeasurably easier and better and happier. Good stuff. :)
  12. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Let me be the latest to echo this.

    I've been extremely fortunate to have three great mechanics since I graduated college, which is extremely valuable considering I drive hunks of junk (well, the current one isn't so bad, but the one before that...yikes).

    The current mechanic I have is the best. The best example of how good he is: My wife's car was basically dead but her uncle, who is Rainman with cars, said he thought she could squeeze another couple months out of it by getting a part replaced for $200 or so (I'm paraphrasing to the extreme here since I am a complete car idiot). We take it to the mechanic, tell him what her uncle said and ask if he can do this. He says I'll give it a shot and will call you when I'm done.

    He calls us back and tells us the car is beyond repair and to come pick it up to be junked. We get there and he says "Look: I could do that and it would only cost you $200, but the chances of something else breaking down on it between now and the time you get home is pretty good. And you'll be back in here, getting that fixed. This car is done. Don't pour any more money into it."

    This guy knew how desperate we were to keep her car on the road and how reluctant we were to start looking for a new car. He could have made a grand off us, easy, just fixing it enough to put it on the road.

    Another story: I drove my previous car for the last time late last year but, being the procrastanator that I am, I kept it parked in front of the apartment for months afterward. Finally, the landlord puts one of those "move or you'll have your ass towed in 12 hours" stickers on the car. The car is in no shape to run and I can't think of anything else to do with it, so I call my mechanic--who also does a lot of towing in our area for AAA--and leave a message for him saying hey, any chance you can take this for a day or two until I make arrangements to junk it. I figure he'll call me back and tell me to go fuck myself--totally understandable; it's 8 pm on a cold weeknight--but instead he calls me back in 10 minutes and says he'll be there in the morning but in the meantime I should wash the sticker off the car and move it to another spot because he's towed cars like this from complexes before and all he looks for is the sticker.

    Last one: My wife's car needed some work last month right before we went away for several days. We were nearly flat broke but we both had pay checks coming in during the vacation, so we'd be fine upon our return. I asked him if I could pay him when we got back and he was telling me don't worry about it before the words were even out of my mouth.

    And this guy is the busiest man I know. He's working 24/7/365...in addition to operating the garage, he mans the phones at night and goes out on AAA calls. And yet if you call asking to speak to him--and everyone does--he calls you back within minutes, almost without fail, and always within the same day. We're moving out of his immediate area in the next couple months but we'll still take our cars to him.

    I recommend this guy to everyone I know. As Moddy said, there's a reason guys like this get more business than they can handle (yet do).
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