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Do you trust your mechanic?

July 29th, 2005, 01:22 AM
No matter how much I know about cars, I always get scammed. One garage put GM brake parts on my Toyota Camry 4x4 because he was too lazy to order the right parts. Another one, while fixing a bushing, sent me home with a cut brake line.

The garage around here I trust is the Acura dealer now. They charge through the nose, but when my car comes out there is nothing wrong with it that wasn't there before. Of course, any man you talk to (some women too) are appauled by the mere thought of bringing a car to a dealer. The most frequent comment I get is, "You have to pay $1000 just to drive into the parking lot!" But my Acura dealer knows that I'm a poor student and if they do any extra work that I haven't okayed, they certainly won't be paid for it. It's a good angle. :D :evil:

So now, we bring our cars to Ottawa to get fixed by my mom's bf, who happens to be the most honest and most hard working mechanic I have yet to meet. And since we're family, we aren't charged labor. :highfive: So we pay the $40 gas to get there and back... I'm going to get my car on Saturday morning (with a new clutch!! When another garage remachined my tranny, they installed my brand new clutch wrong and it's been skipping ever since... :rolleyes: )

Oh, another good mechanic I met was in Pemberton, BC. There was a native guy who had a tiny garage, and I went in because there was a squeak in the motor. He popped the hood for less than a minute and told me it was my clutch bearing. :) He told me not to worry about it, and after that every garage I went to had a different explanation for the noise, but in the end he was right. He was great (and he didn't charge me anything). :)

Long story short, what is your experience with garages? Does anybody here have only good memories of car repairs? Has anybody here never been ripped off? Has anybody had horrible experiences?

I'm curious, because my brother and I seem to have horrible garage luck and I want to know if we're really not the only ones. :D

July 29th, 2005, 07:44 AM
MY EXPERIENCES ARE TERRRRIBLE, and I'm still looking for that HONEST garage.

1. I once took my Blazer to a mechanic because the heat wasn't working well, he quoted me $500 for a sensor. Sensor was $50. What did he think I was going to pay the other $450 for? His good looks???

2. When I first moved to Toronto, I bought a new car. Two weeks later the headlights quit. They apparently fixed it under warranty with an ongoing "cutting out" of the headlights. They quit again about 200 km's under end of warranty, brought the car in, they "fixed" it again, they quit again 63 kms OVER warranty, they said, "well, the car is over warranty, we can't fix it", um, no I said, this has been ongoing since I bought the car (with all documentation of them fixing it every time), they still wanted $900 to fix the problem. I told them to shove it, wrote their head office, and got them to replace the lighting switches (the original problem) free. I still get mad over that one.

3. Paid a certain Ford dealership $350 for a brake job. While driving on the 401, three days later, the brakes failed, with chunks of brake parts falling out all over highway. Nice, with my 2 year old in the car, we could have been killed! Had it towed to a small garage, where they pulled the brakes and rotors off, they'd NEVER been changed!!!!! We're STILL fighting them for our money back. Ford's answer? Well she must be hard on her brakes!!!

Needless to say, the hunt continues for someone who'll just be HONEST.

July 29th, 2005, 08:17 AM
I don't usually trust most mechanics, it is a business and they want to make money. I know a few. Because I just bought a brand new car a few months ago, I take it to the dealership. I don't like taking my car there because I feel it is a rip off. Why should I pay $40 for an oil change when I can get it done for $20?! I used to know a really good mechanic that I trusted completely. He has since moved and opened his own shop that is somewhat inconvenient for me so I haven't gone to him since he moved. But, I do have family members that still see him and think only highly of him and his work.

I have had some interesting experiences. Most of my family is in some form of mechanic work. Most small engine repairs or heavy construction equipment. My battery went dead and I called my cousin for a boost. He came by and tested my battery and said that I needed a new one. Fine. Took it to a garage on my way home from work. Told the guy that I needed a new battery. It didn't need to be tested since I had had it already tested and it was shot. What did he do? He tested the battery, came back told me that I needed a new battery and then charged me $50 for the battery test! I was like, huh, I told you that why am I being charged?! I was extremely pissed and never went back. Oh yeah, another garage screwed up my father's old van's tranny. He had to get a new one after they had done some repairs to his original one. It got stuck in 2nd on a country highway going to the cottage. He didn't have his tools in the truck and my uncle had to drive 1 1/2 hours to come to his rescue. They managed to do a temp job to get the van back home and into the shop where they replaced the tranny since it was their fault!

That's only a couple of stories that I remember off hand. I'm sure if I think a little longer I will come up with a few more! So, I only trust them to a certain extent. I usually already know what my car needs done before I walk in so they can't get away with too much!

I know that not all mechanics are bad. They have a bad rep, I do know a few that are good.

July 29th, 2005, 08:41 AM
my first choice mechanic is my bf, so obviously I trust him.

I drive a VW, and my bf knows VW, inside and out, so he usually does repairs himself so we save alot of money. (VW parts are expensive)

If it's too big of a job, and I have to go to a mechanic, I go to a friend.

July 29th, 2005, 09:35 AM
My Dad knows a bit about cars so he does all the brakes and small stuff like that. If its a bigger job we go to a mechanic, we have had great luck in finding awesome mechanics that dont ever rip us off. It helps that my Dad knows what he is talking about and looks really mean! We also only go to small shops, never a dealership or any huge chain mechanic shops. If its a huge job we tow the vehicle to my uncle. Its 4 hours away but only costs us the parts. He refuses to charge us a penny so we buy him a carton or two of smokes and gift certificates to red lobster!

July 29th, 2005, 09:39 AM
We haven't had to bring our car to the shop yet. We are getting a tune up, and some other things fixed in October though. We are going to hubby's dad's and he is going to do it for us. He is a mechanic!!!!

Rick C
July 29th, 2005, 10:31 AM
My biggest pet peeve is probably with car salesmen (sorry if I'm offending anyone out there) but I agree, finding a mechanic you can trust is right up there among the most challenging tasks one faces in life.

But I must say the crew I use at a Dodge dealership in Okotoks seem to give me what I need, tell me I don't need other things, have sent me home sometimes with a little tweak and no bill . . . . . and really, I'd have to say by and large I've come to trust them. To a point . . . as per the survey.

If you find a mechanic you come to trust never let him go. He's rare and a valuable person in your life.

Rick C

July 29th, 2005, 11:08 AM
I don't really take my car to the shop. The only thing I ever had fixed was the driver side mirror (I hit it off the side of the garage and it broke off), I just sat and waited for them to finish and then left. So it was pretty simple, not really something they could mess up.

I don't take my car to get my oil changed, my step dad does that. And I take my car to another shop to get the tires rotated where I have free rotations for the life of the tires. This is also where I took it to get fixed when I got a flat, but again not a whole lot they could screw up or scam me with there. Except I did bend 3 rims and had to get new ones (low profile tires suck when it comes to bending rims) and they tried to get me to order the expensive ones, but it didn't work. but other than that I haven't had a problem. Guess I'm lucky, but if it was something major that needed to be fixed my dad or bf would go with me and make sure they didn't screw me over. They know enough about cars they could help me out.

July 29th, 2005, 12:40 PM
It does really help if you're a woman to bring a big scary man with you... Even if he knows less than cars than the woman does, they still get better treatment...

I bring my own oil and filter for oil changes. They charge you through the nose for oil, so if you bring your own (I buy it at Costco) then it cost like $9 for the labor and it doesn't seem so bad....

August 1st, 2005, 03:39 PM
If I need work done that my hubby cannot do, there is one garage in town that I trust to do the work.

When I had a Pontiac Grand Am that was under warranty, I had to take it to the closest Pontiac dealership for repairs. They were total rip off artists. I had to have a new motor installed, and they didn't tighten any of the motor mounts; went through all sorts of trouble to get a cracked distributor fixed; got accused by the general manager of ruining the paint on my car in the hopes of getting a new paint job (it was silver and the paint literally peeled off the car in huge pieces). Once got charged over $500 for a tune up. Was so fed up with them after so many things that I finally wrote a letter to Pontiac explaining why I would never own another product that had to be serviced by this particular dealer, and how their customer service skills needed tuning up. I ended up with $1000 off coupon good towards any GM product. :evil:

Took my mom's blazer in to another shop to have the air conditioner charged and the mechanic took the liberty of replacing the condensor since he was a friend of the family. :eek: I don't think she ever paid him for that since he didn't ask anyone's permission. That same mechanic (who I worked for at the time) did some work on my truck that I knew from working in a machine shop would cause another part to fail (different wear patterns rubbing together spell disaster). When I asked him why he wasn't replacing all the parts, he said it didn't need it. I told him that I knew very well that it would cause problems and he told me that I didn't know what I was talking about. After his repairs, my truck wouldn't go 30 mph downhill with a good wind behind it. Problem - camshaft went flat from rubbing on the new rollers. Wow - I think that is exactly what I told him would happen - geez - would've thunk it?? He refused to fix it at no charge, and I ended up having to pay over $1500 to have the truck fixed correctly. I've never taken any other vehicle to him for repairs, and I never would.

August 1st, 2005, 03:58 PM
Well, it turns out that the transmission guys who did my transmission bearings and changed my perfectly good clutch for a new Honda one "while they were in there", buggered up my car. They didn't even put a HONDA clutch in. And the bearings are all shot too. Lucky for me my mom's man doesn't charge me labor because I would be broke for years to come. :o

He changed the clutch first and let us test drive it (this was before he figured out the bearings were shot) and it is like a new car. I forgot how easy and light Honda clutches were. It's going to be great when I finally get it back... The thing was, because the clutch release bearing was shot and the clutch itself was skipping, we couldn't hear the tranny bearings well enough to know they were dead. I feel bad because he has to take apart my tranny twice. :rolleyes:

So that's it. I'm done with mechanics. $1300 for a fake clutch and bad bearings? I just hope my mom can hang onto this man. :)

August 1st, 2005, 05:01 PM
i have a 92 carolla, it is not a computer car and i will never own a car with a computer in it, its the stupidest idea as only special mechanics can fix it.. also if you break down the average home mechanic cant patch you up till you get to the next town or cant get those things going with a pair of stockings or a screw driver, its more technicle and pretty silly..

my mechanics are my hubby first and if he needs help my dad is his offside. both are good mechanics, although i wonder about dad in his old age, my sister said the last job he did was a teeny bit on the dodgy side, now thats a worry.... and if they cant fix it well then i wil go to a mechanic,

BUT i have the mechanics manual for my car and before i let anyone touch it i study up hard on the potential problems or the problem, then i go to the mechanic armed with what i think it is and how to fix it, i definatly give the impression i know what im doing, and i have never been ripped off, if anything i have got good deals because i make my intentions clear, andi always stress how much money i have so anything over wont be paid for... tends to work as they know i have no more cash so dont bother....

my mum recently had her car fixed, but she took it to a mechanic called the KELLY BROTHERS andi laughed hard when her car broke down after.. any one who knows a bit of our history knows that the KELLY gang were the most famous of our bushrangers. so i think its really stupid to take your car to anyone who is named after them, duh mum... what a laugh that was a riot really....

and sorry to say it but FORD sucks and you can only expect the poorest and dogiest of service from them, hey they are carrying on the tradition of henry ford himself (an awful wife bashing man). in this family you dont own fords, its a sensitive topic as we dont like who henry ford was, we are mainly a holden family (you call it chevrolet i think), and holden always beats ford hands down so there, ford truly does suuucccckkkkkkkKKKKK.... :D my nephew always teases saying when he grows up he will get a ford, i tell him he would be disowned :p :D

August 1st, 2005, 05:07 PM
We have an auto parts store that will hook your car up to their computer and tell you what is wrong with it (for the ones who have the idiot light "Check Engine"). If my check engine light comes on, I go to them and they tell me what's wrong and then hubby can fix it! They will also reset the computer so that the light goes off.

I agree that a Chevy will always beat a Ford - in my book anyway! Don't you know that Ford means:
Found on road dead
Fix or repair daily
F'd over rebuilt Dodge

August 1st, 2005, 05:24 PM
found on road dead, bahahahahahah thats so funny, and oh so true. glad to see i have like minded here...

we race fords and chevys here called 'V8 supercar series' ford and holden/chevy are the biggest contenders so its a big thing, most ppl are either ford or holden ppl, very rarely anythign else, but of course the holden racing team always win and they have the best cloths, very nice, fords are just dumb and ugly :D :queen: :highfive:

August 1st, 2005, 06:12 PM
[QUOTE=kandy]We have an auto parts store that will hook your car up to their computer and tell you what is wrong with it (for the ones who have the idiot light "Check Engine"). If my check engine light comes on, I go to them and they tell me what's wrong and then hubby can fix it! They will also reset the computer so that the light goes off.

My boyfriend has always taken care of my car (s)..usually in my driveway, sometimes he has to take it to the airport where the majority of his tools are.
He checks the computer by simply using a paper clip, after the "service engine soon " light, coded command signals come up to show where problems are and what to do about them. All these are in a service manual for make/model of the car. He then resets the computer himself....all with the same paper clip. Not bad for a guy that doesn't even know how to turn a pc on.

The only thing scarier than a car computer to me is a car computer that quits...they are expensive to replace, but your car is much more efficient with one on board.

August 1st, 2005, 07:14 PM
Those computer things are not infallable either- I changed my spark plugs about 3 times after the computer said they were misfiring, when really it was the distributer cap that had a tiny crack in it and was letting air in. :rolleyes:

August 1st, 2005, 08:50 PM
I do trust the place where I bought my car - and my other vehicle was a gift from my dad (a Mustang) and I know the mechanic well enuf to trust him. I do get ppl more knowledgable than I to make sure tho!! So it's up to a point.