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Beware of the car repairman.

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  • Beware of the car repairman.

    I recently made the mistake of taking my truck in to have my oil changed. I usually just change my own oil, but it is hot outside and on the concrete, and I didn't feel like it.

    I found a coupon for a $19.99 oil change.

    After 1 hour of waiting for them to change my oil, they came out to me and told me that they checked my other fluids and needed to change my radiator fluid, my power steering fluid, my automatic transmission fluid, my brake fluid, and my rear differential fluid. It would cost me $560 to do this.

    I said no way. Just change the engine oil and I would be on my way.

    They got mad.

    I had to wait for hours for them to finish changing my oil, because other customers were in front of me. Yeah right.

    Anyways, they finally finished the job, I paid the 19.99 plus taxes, and they gave me printout with nasty remarks about me refusing critical services for my car.

    I will never be back there.

    Anytime someone says they need to change oils which are not directly involved in combustion, I get suspicious of them.

    It is a way for them to run up the costs and cheat you out of a lot of money on needless things, and a good way to develop leaky gaskets when they are done with the job that never needed doing. I learned that the hard way with a rear differential that really never need its oil changed, but after they (a different company, several years ago) changed it, it leaked and then I had to have it repaired.
    The world's simplest C & D Letter:
    "I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me."
    Notice that I never actually mention or acknowledge the debt in my letter.

  • #2
    My husband was a master-certified auto/diesel technician for 10 years...these fluids *do* need to be changed, but not very often and in fact, quite rarely. Instead of opting out of these types of services completely, everyone should consult their car's manual and follow the recommended maintenance schedule I definitely wouldn't get these types of things handled at some shady lube place, but take it to a reputable mechanic.

    Power steering and brake fluid checks should be conducted at every oil change; you're looking for metal flakes or really icky looking fluid but usually brake fluid doesn't need to be messed with for 5+ years. These things aren't usually listed in the maintenance schedule. Transmission services would *ideally* be conducted every 100,000 unless you drive under severe conditions like you're pulling a load all the time. In that case, you might want to do it sooner. Changing a vehicle's fluids occasionally should be a part of the maintenance routine, but it doesn't need to be done a whole lot.


    • #3
      I would be suspicious too. Those coupons serve as a 'getcha in the door' hook, and they go from there.

      Memama is correct about the checking/changing the fluids at certain intervals, but if you are handy, and can read about the subject on the Internet, there is almost nothing that a lay-person cannot do--provided they have the time and equipment. Example: 'Hub has a 2004 VW Jetta TDI with an automatic Tiptronic transmission. Last year, it started being sluggish in shifting from first into second, and so on. He would have to let the car idle for at least ten minutes, wasting valuable diesel fuel, before the transmission would be warm enough to shift. It got progressively worse. The solution by any VW dealership was to change out the entire transmission--at about 3K.

      No thank you.

      So after joining a couple of VW forums, 'Hub learned how to change the transmission fluid. At about every other oil change, he drained about all the fluid he could--about half what the books say it holds--with fresh fluid. That helped the problem quite a lot. Then this February, he purchased the N92 solenoid, which all the forums agreed was the main culprit, and he and I carefully changed the part out. It took about four hours of actual labor, and careful planning on both of our parts. There actually is a set of pictures, step-by-step on one of the WV forums.

      All told, we probably spent about $200-300 total, on the part, labor, fluids, and all that--a far cry from the VW dealerships who will only change out the transmission, not FIX it.

      BUT, if you are NOT a 'handy' type of person, I do not recommend trying this. You might end up with a very expensive collection of assorted parts!
      Last edited by AngelinaCat; 08-26-2012, 11:14 PM.
      "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

      "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."


      • #4
        Yes, Mrs. is right. For years I change engine oil like this: Five minute oil flush running for about fifteen. Drain oil. Put one gallon of diesel or equivalent (NOT GASOLINE) and start and run for sixty seconds. (This flushes the valve lifters.). Drain, and do everything else. Then drop oil filter (ALWAYS change that filter), and replace. My car used only synthetic oil. Use what yours is called for. In FL I use only 10/40. for the heat.

        I once was told by a Master mechanic that I was damaging my engine/s. I agreed with him and simply stated that my last car only lasted 256K (when trans lost a gear) and my current one is heading for 220K going for 400K, then I'll think about the "errors of my way". LOL. Car runs great, still getting 40mpg. 'Hub
        If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.


        • #5

          Volkswagen does NOT work on their own transmission. They change them for about three grand. I fixed mine for about $70 and my time with Mrs. helping me. I posted my progress on a VW forum. Here is what that was and is for those who are interested. http://www.putnamcountycemeteries.or...Untitled_1.htm

          Beware of many scams in cars. Even VW will screw a customer's ignorance of the system. 'Hub
          If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.


          • #6
            I'm lucky that I have a terrific mechanic. He's a one guy shop, and I sometimes have to wait a week (if it's not an emergency) for an appointment, but he's good and very fair-priced. When my current car was still under warranty, I would even stop by and ask his opinion before I took it to the dealer. He will also use salvage parts sometimes for situations where a new part doesn't matter. I was reminded of how much I trust him after taking my car elsewhere to have the AC repaired (he doesn't do AC work.) The next time I opened the hood, I found bolts missing from the plastic piece covering the engine, and 2 tools sitting on top of the engine.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Pjmax View Post
              I'm lucky that I have a terrific mechanic.
              I am lucky enough to have a great shop that does my work as well. When you find a terrific mechanic or a great establishment for your vehicle repairs, it's a good thing.
              All information contained in this post is for informational and amusement purposes only.
              Bankruptcy is a process, not an event.......


              • #8
                I love our mechanics..and wouldnt trade them for the world. They're certified, hardly charge anything compared to the dealers rate of $90 per hour (our mechanics are still at $55) - and are just wonderful. Its hard to find a good mechanic thats reliable, but when you do - hang onto them for dear life!

                Sorry you had such a bad experience Going


                • #9
                  Unless you are a good mechanic or have deep pockets stay away from 1995-2000 Crown Victoria including police interceptor and taxis, also mercury marquis with 4.6 engine oh yes and mustangs. They rolled out the factory door with plastic intake manifolds, cheep ball joints, a transmission that shutters and window regulators that jam and need replaced.
                  Fortunately I was able to replace all of these things myself for just parts.

                  I researched on the internet for months about many different cars along with any problems they might have. Low and behold I come home with a 1997 Mercury 4.6 that I had not researched but was within my cash budget. Nice looking and nice to drive. Everything I read about the car came true as the months passed. I bought the car with only 64,000 verifiable miles on it. Fortunately the transmission just needed a can of shudder stop made just for this problem until I could upgrade the fluid from Mercon 3 to Mercon 5. I got 95% of the fluid out by using the torque converter drain plug and also dropping the pan.

                  I am 55 years old and never had to work on any of my cars as much as this one but now it is very nice.
                  Can you imagine what all that would cost at the shop?
                  Chapter 13ner


                  • #10
                    I was fortunate to find out that the mechanic 4 blocks from home has a great reputation. Doesn't try to sell more work than is needed. We've gone in thinking we needed one thing done and he tells us, "no, you don't need to spend the money to do that" and then fixes our problem for less than we expected. He could have taken advantage of us a couple of times and never has.
                    LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                    Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                    $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


                    • #11
                      Same goes for filters. I had a 2 year free maintenance package on my car from the dealership. It just covered oil changes and tire rotations, but they always tried to sell me filters. On my last visit they said my cabin air filter needed to be changed. I didn't know what this was. I went ahead and agreed to it, even texted my boyfriend to ask him about it and he didn't know what it was. I googled it later and found out it was a $7 filter and they charged me $25 to replace it. Plus I found a video online on how to replace it yourself. Basically it's right behind your glove box, unscrew a few things and it's right there. Lesson learned.


                      • #12
                        I know this is probably not what the manufacturers recommend, but I have found that any fluids which are not directly involved in combustion do not really need to be changed.

                        I drive my truck back and forth to Oregon every year, and all I change is the engine oil, the oil filter, and the air filter. Nothing else. I don't even flush out the radiator fluid. I just add new fluids when they get low.

                        This particular truck now has 136,000 miles on it and still going strong.

                        I plan on trading it in within a few years, and so, I don't want to put any extra money into it. They will only give me $1000 trade in for it.

                        Usually I do my own repairs, unless it gets too complicated. And you can bet I will never again hire someone else to do my oil changes for me.
                        The world's simplest C & D Letter:
                        "I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me."
                        Notice that I never actually mention or acknowledge the debt in my letter.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GoingDown View Post
                          And you can bet I will never again hire someone else to do my oil changes for me.
                          I will. Having a licensed/insured shop change the oil is a cheap insurance policy for a $13,000.00 motor IMO.
                          All information contained in this post is for informational and amusement purposes only.
                          Bankruptcy is a process, not an event.......


                          • #14
                            Back in 2004, I got my VW manual transmission clutch replaced for about $850. Evidently the 2001 models had an issue with it. My current 2003 VW has had no problem for 150K miles.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by frogger View Post
                              I will. Having a licensed/insured shop change the oil is a cheap insurance policy for a $13,000.00 motor IMO.
                              $13,000 motor! My whole truck isn't even worth that!

                              But seriously, it is easy to change your own oil. It's not rocket science.

                              And it would have saved me hours of waiting and then get scolded by the repairman that I needed to change a bunch of fluids that don't need changing.
                              The world's simplest C & D Letter:
                              "I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me."
                              Notice that I never actually mention or acknowledge the debt in my letter.


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