This page has some interesting Online auto repair stories about people trying to get others to fix there automobiles in exchange for money. If you are looking for information related to fixing your own car this can be found on my do it yourself auto repair tips section.
If you would like to provide details about a bad experience with a shop or a repair that took many visits, you can post it on the car repair story page. For professional advice on DIY repairs and a 4 minute video visit the page about online
auto repair information.
This is an example of how things can go wrong when you take your vehicle in for service. There are lessons to be learned from this next case study. The Lesson is everyone can save money on repairs. I have been providing technical support for about 5 years and this was one of my first success stories. A Doctor had taken her infinity Qx in for an intermittent lack of power and rough running engine. She contacted me through my website. The dealership had already charged two hours of check out time and said they had isolated the problem.
The service adviser called the doctor and stated the cars problem was in the ignition system and that the distributor needed replacement along with the spark plugs and ignition wires. The repairs totaled around $800.00. The doctor approved the auto repairs and the vehicle was completed the same day.
When the customer was headed home the vehicle started acting up the same exact way as before the completed repairs. The vehicle owner returned to the dealer and left the vehicle a second time. This time they had the vehicle for 3 days before calling with a new estimate. The dealer was now reporting that the fuel system was the cause of all the problems.
The dealer provided an estimate for a fuel pump, fuel filter and fuel pressure regulator totaling $1500.00. This is actually when the customer contacted me at my online auto repair web site. I then reviewed the case. What I didn’t like about this story was first they said it was the ignition system and replaced just about all the components in that system. And now they change the story and say the fuel system is the cause and want to replace almost all the parts in the fuel delivery system.
In most cases when you have a vehicle breakdown the problem can be traced to a single component failure. The chances of multiple parts failing at the same time are very rare.
In fact if a shop gives you a list of parts they want to replace to solve a single problem this should raise a red flag. Also note that when the manufacturer is paying for the repairs under warranty the standard rule is one part per complaint.
In this case the dealer was pulling out their car parts shot gun and replacing a total of six different components. The vehicle owner and me went through the standard online auto repair procedure emailing back and forth several times and then she asked me to call the dealer.
I spoke with the service adviser and explained who I was and about my online auto repair web site. I explained to the service adviser how the customer’s money was completely wasted on the first $800.00 repair and the parts replaced at that time were not properly diagnosed.
Then we started discussing the new estimate and I questioned why it needed 3 separate fuel system components. How did they know it needed a fuel pressure regulator? The adviser stated the fuel pressure regulator was needed to address a low fuel pressure condition.
Then I asked why is the fuel pump in need of replacement. The adviser stated the same reason that the fuel pressure was low. A quick lesson for you is that the fuel pump is mounted in the fuel tank and provides fuel pressure to the fuel rail, the fuel pressure regulator and then the fuel injectors so if the pump is not providing pressure, the other components cannot be tested. I explained this to the service writer.
The repair center agreed the fuel pressure regulator was recommended but not tested. At this point I demanded a complete refund of the first repair and only to approve the fuel pump repair after this was confirmed. He said he couldn’t do that. So I spoke the service manager and explained to him about my online auto repair web site.
was fascinated by my website Idea and agreed that the dealership did
not handle the diagnosis properly. But he was not in the business of
giving money back. So I took the next step up on the ladder speaking to the service director providing
all the details of the poorly diagnosed Infinity. I pointed out that it is the dealerships responsibility to train mechanics in proper diagnostic procedures and how failure to do so cost this loyal customer time and money.
After reviewing the case they decided to refund the labor and diagnosis charges
from the first repair and install the fuel pump at no additional charge. The owner was just paying for parts. We approved the fuel pump
and fuel filter replacement but not the fuel pressure regulator.
The vehicle was fixed and a fuel pressure reading confirmed good pressure at the injectors and no additional repairs needed. The customer was charged for parts only. The parts total from the two repairs was $900.00. The labor charge for the two auto repairs would have totaled $1400.00 to the owner, but not charged as per the negotiations.
The owner was happy about the problem being repaired and saving the $1400.00. I was glad to help, but wasn’t happy with the results. The QX only needed a fuel filter and fuel pump replaced to fix the problem. It got a distributor, ignition wires, and platinum spark plugs that it didn’t need. I did not get involved soon enough to prevent this from happening. The lesson learned is that regular people can save money on auto repairs.
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Here are 2 more (shorter) case study's that are strange but true. More great lessons about dealing with car repair shops are in the next
online auto repair stories.
This next link takes you back to more stories about automotive scams and rip-offs. I recently added a funny video to this page about the interaction between a mechanic and his customer (trying to lighten the mood). Go back to my page about auto repair.
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