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current hot rod: CTS-V
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Discussion Starter #1
...because I'm going to cram their "It Needs: X parts" list up their *.


I have fallen victim to an attempted rip off.

You might remember the thread from a couple weeks ago about all the parts the green Caprice needed to get through inspection.

Ok well here's what the garage said they had to replace, and here's what it actually needs. They said it needed rotors, front pads, and both rear axle seals. They totaled that to $414.95. I didn't let them touch the car naturally, no one else works on my cars.

Now here's what it actually needs: front pads and a new drivers side front caliper, the caliper has been holding the pads on the rotor some, hence why the pads on that side were worn enough to fail.

It does not need new rotors, the ones on the car are in great shape and have plenty of life left in them. It also does not need rear axle seals. I pulled the drums off, everything is dry, not a small wet area anywhere. hahaha

Total cost to fix:

-$17 for a caliper from Pep Boys.
-$14 for new front pads.
-Total cost $31

-The look on the owners face when I get done with him: Priceless
 

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Race it, Don't rice it!
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My opinion, after working on cars for a living in Mo. the shop doesn't under any circumstances want to take a chance of a wreck that you can sue them for nor do they want to take the chance of doing work that will return in a few weeks. no I doubt that you would do that if the fialed part wasn't realted but you may not understand the amount of people who do. Last week I had a call froma guy I changed clutched on a 4Runner. Six months down the road he calls and complians about the smell he smelled before the clutch burnt up before. He's kinda angry and very short about his 700 clutch install not lasting sixth months. Well after I take a gander at it I show him a oil leak near the valve cover that drips onto the exhaust causing a odor. He keeps pleading with me about a clutch burning up agian and replacing it for free. After sixth months my warrenty is used up know what I mean? I couldn't get him to understand he smelled the stink last winter because the dam windows were up when the clutch goes bad. This year the clutch has nothingto do with the odor but he has this accociated with a bad clutch. Anyway, He left mad and is now telling people I do crappy work and they shouldn't come to me. If I do it for free I'm losing money but get to keep the customer base Iv'e have now. If I don't I lose the customers. So I see shops up charge to make that money back. Heck, I do it on the side to support racing habits and not for all out money so I don't even have a real professional shop. This story is a little extreme but you get the drift I'm getting out. With so many shops around, The owners just can't take the risk of pssing off stupid customer base. All this comes at the price of the customer rates. I don't like anymore though that's what happens.
 

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current hot rod: CTS-V
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Discussion Starter #4
I understand what you're talking about Johnsongrass. I worked for a local garage for a little over a year, I know the whole deal. However I don't see how what you said connects to my situation, unless of course you think they should replace my good axle seals as preventative maintenance? And I know the reputation of shop that inspected my car. Many customers came to where I worked from the place I had my car inspected at because they thought they were getting screwed. On more than a few occasions they were.
 

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Come Home Safe Soldier
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PA is extremely picky on their state inspections anyway.That is where my van came from.I have a glove box full of recerpts from where the previous owner had all kinds of work done on it.
 

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RCastle said:
PA is extremely picky on their state inspections anyway.That is where my van came from.I have a glove box full of recerpts from where the previous owner had all kinds of work done on it.
Depends on where you go in PA, check out the pics in my gallery of what the inspection station let go :rolleyes:
 

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Come Home Safe Soldier
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Oldschool,I remember when you posted those.Did not know you were in PA.My moms husband got me the van from his sis in ??? PA. He said they were picky.We do not have state inspections here.Which is a big reason for a game called "Dodge the Muffler",it is always played on the Interstate at 75 MPH.Real exciting,especially when you have multiple players and it is on the center line.:thumbup:
 

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il enforcer
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Ghetto Jet said:
...because I'm going to cram their "It Needs: X parts" list up their *.


I have fallen victim to an attempted rip off.


That sucks Ghetto. The mechanic I get to do my inspections is honest. When he did my van he told me what was wrong ( front brake pad, U Joints and battery tie down ) . I went home and fixed them and he reinspected those parts and did not charge extra like he could have and every other shop did.
 

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First of all I would have to wonder why you even took it to a place that you felt had a bad reputation? I can't comment on the seals but brakes are a safety item and as you already may know some shops are overly cautious there. I worked for a shop where the owner wouldn't touch the brakes unless we restored the whole system, even if you just had the rears put on somewhere else last week and only needed fronts, we still redone the rears since we were the last ones to touch the system and the first ones liable if there were a failure. (even if we didn't address the area that failed) He was onced called in to be an expert witness in a lawsuit of failed brakes. The shop had done exactly as the customer had asked and not replaced some marginal parts that were recommended. The judge told the mechanic/shop that they are supposed to be the experts and should have refused the job rather than compromise at the customers request. He found in favor of the customer.
Maybe they saw something you missed on the rotors. There are other things besides thickness to consider like warpage and hard spots. Maybe they have had trouble in the past with combacks on rotors for brake pulsing due to hard spots. I've had that happen. Rotors are cheap and even Mecedes Benz recommends replacing them when you do a brake job.
All that being said, I would imagine the shops that do the inspections don't make squat on the inspections, the profit is from needed repairs and they may get a little pencil heavy with the estimates. Kind of like alignment shops. They sure can't pay for a $75,000 Hunter rack doing alignments for $39.95, it is from the front end work, needed or not, that they sell to people who come in for an alignment.
 

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Also I wanted to address Johnsongrass1's statement about the clutch. Even Toyota doesn't warranty a clutch on a new vehicle. We had a customer buy a new Tercel for his daughter (who had not driven a stick shift) I am sure she was probably didn't know the difference between 1st and 3rd and was starting out in the wrong gear. Anyway she fried the cluch the first day and the car came in on the hook with 248 miles on it and 2 days old. Guess who paid for that clutch? Not Toyota.
I had a regular (albeit suspisious and grumpy) customer bring a barely running Toyota motorhome in for a much needed tuneup. It had bad plug wires ect. and would barely run. I did a major tune up and had it purring like a kitten. A couple days later she was back in a huff. She said I ripped her off for the tune up because now it couldn't even go up a hill unless she shifted down to first. I always gave any complaints immediate attention so I washed my hands and grabbed a seat cover for a test drive. She was right it couldn't go up a hill but because the clutch was shot and slipping so bad that you had to use first to go up any grade at all. When it was sick there wasn't enough torque to slip it.
I should have caught it when I did the tune up and made notes on the work order I suppose. I got the clutch job after I patiently explained the whole situation, and saved a customer. She wasn't near as grumpy and suspicious after that either.
 

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Race it, Don't rice it!
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I don't see how what you said connects to my situation, unless of course you think they should replace my good axle seals as preventative maintenance?
I can't say anything about the seals other than perhaps it's the shops practice to suggestive sell. It works, but with already too high cost's I don't like nor agree with it.

As far as this 4Runner is concerned, I opted to do the job partly because I felt bad for the guy. The nearest shop to him. A well known and established shop in the middle of the city, quoted him 1100 for a clutch change. I knew I could get a OEM part for $175. $30 for the resurface. I was going to charge the guy 200 labor but I had this feeling that if I went too fair, I couldn't get his work because he wouldn't have thought is was a quality deal. It took me 5 hours to change the clutch when he pulled it in the shop till I dropped it off to him at his work. I charged $700, OR $99 an hour.(rediculous) That means the quoted shop was going to charge $250 for the clutch, $100 for resurfacing the flywheel, and $750 for 5 hours work or $150 an hour. Even writing this makes me mad. These damn shops now charging huge rates at the expense of the consumer because they know you can't do anything about it. This is one of the reasons I couldn't continue working on cars for a living. I always hated the up charge of 25 to 50 percent for parts. I could see paying for gas money to go get the goods but not when the local parts store delivers. All that get's invested is a phone call. Just another way to make more money.

Ghetto, this applies to you in the sense I think the shop is more or less trying to sell you something to make money. I don't the shop purposely screwing people but they screw people with legal but not moral up charges, telling you your wheel is going to fall off if you don't change the oil every 3000.

I thought of opening my own business when I'm older and can't keep my reflexes up anymore to stay competitive with dirt racing, but I'm sure that by charging reasonable rates, such as 5% on parts and $25 labor ( I make 15 an hour at my current position plus a percentage of my race winnings) My shop would be considered a bad deal because it's too low compared to other shops. Most consumers here think the more money it cost's the better deal it gotta be to the point that shops all can charge huge rates and getaway with it because it's now the "going rate".
 

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current hot rod: CTS-V
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Discussion Starter #13
willowbilly3 said:
First of all I would have to wonder why you even took it to a place that you felt had a bad reputation?
Well to be honest most of the local shops have a bad reputation in one way or another, but this one could make an appointment that worked for my schedule.

Sadly the three best shops to take your car around here have closed down in the last two years, that includes where I worked.
 

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Ghetto Jet said:
Well to be honest most of the local shops have a bad reputation in one way or another, but this one could make an appointment that worked for my schedule.

Sadly the three best shops to take your car around here have closed down in the last two years, that includes where I worked.
It's a tough business but there rings a hidden truth in your last sentance. It is real tough to please people AND make a profit in the business. And an industry where it is harder and harder to be an independant. I closed my last regular repair shop in 92. It just burns you out after a while. You can't hire good help and you can't do it all by yourself. I was spending 16 hours a day as the business hours were on the phome and dealing with customers and then lock the door and work until midnight as that was the only time you could give problematic diagnostics your undivided attention. Add to this all the lame arsed mechanics find out you are good and a nice guy so the bug you to do their thinking for them and send you all the problems. And the real technical stuff isn't where the profit is anyway. So the better you get, the harder you have to work for your money and you watch Sears and Midas take the cream out of the industry with halfwits for employees. I had very lttle success convincing people to find a good shop and let them do EVERYTHING, even your routine service. But most people do not like to spend money on the maintainence of their car and can't resist shopping around for bargains. Then think it is a big ripoff when the real shop wants 50 or 100 bucks for a daignostice test that requires enough outlay for equipment to put a kid through medical school. And if you don't get it right the first time you should do everything after that for free because you took their money. OOPS! sorry for the rant. I love the industry and I love dealing with people but a wise old ex mechanic told me you can make them trust you but you can never make them trust mechanics.
And on a side note. I made upscale log furniture for about 6 years and found that the more I charged the more people liked it. It was so refreshing to have people HAPPY to spend their money with you. That was a froeign concept.
 

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il enforcer
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71Maverick said:
PA is picky? Come to Jersey, I've seen fairly new cars fail, for stupid reasons. but atleast we only have to go every 2 years now
Here you only have to go when you buy a vehicle if there is no current safety ( they are good for one year ) Once you own a vehicle you never have to go again. You can also sell it to certain relatives and they will never have to inspect it. It makes for a lot of 2 year old cars that have totally hosed alignments and bald tires. Lets not forget the rusted to heck heaps that are on the road but are never inspected cause grampa joe had owned it since new 35 years ago.

willowbilly3 said:
Also I wanted to address Johnsongrass1's statement about the clutch. Even Toyota doesn't warranty a clutch on a new vehicle. We had a customer buy a new Tercel for his daughter (who had not driven a stick shift) I am sure she was probably didn't know the difference between 1st and 3rd and was starting out in the wrong gear. Anyway she fried the cluch the first day and the car came in on the hook with 248 miles on it and 2 days old. Guess who paid for that clutch? Not Toyota.
I
How the heck do you fry a clutch in one day? I bagged on my mustang for 10K+ before the clutch started slipping. Those Mustangs were not very good cars either not compared to how great a Toyota is supposed to be built.
 

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Did you try and start in 3rd gear with a puny engine by revving it up and smoking the clutch until it started moving? It doesn't take long in stoplight traffic when you do that.
 

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Come Home Safe Soldier
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I have seen clutches go real quick like willowbilly said.You put it in a higher gear than needed and smoke it..It will not wear all the lining off the disc,but it will heat the flywheel and glaze the friction pads.One the pads are glazed it is all downhill from there.I do not know of any one that warrants a clutch,due to the fact it is a wear item,that can last froever or two weeks depending on personal driving habits.
 

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"The garage I worked at went out of business"
"My car failed inspection"


1+1=?

Just thinking out-loud!
 

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Overcautiuous on the brakes? Maybe. Axle seals......fraud! If you had payed them to change the "leaking" seals, do you think they would have really done it????? I remember a few years ago when Sears was hosing all kinds of people for nonexistant problems and got sued. I don't know if Pa has a Bureau of Automotive Repair, but some states do, and they investigate complaints by running sting operations.
 

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Too many hobbies!
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Back when I was on the lube rack, the service manager told me to note any potential problems, so the owner could be advised, and scheduled.

What makes it fraud, is when a visiual inspection shows no signs of potential failure, yet the customer is made to think so.

Do you have paperwork, from the 1st attempt? If you do, I'd get an inspection, then take it to the Bureau, so that scam artist won't be allowed to steal from those less informed.

Only thing worse than a poor mechanic, is a crooked one.
 
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