I am fed up with car repair shops. To the point where I want to enroll myself in a trade school program so I can just repair my own car in the future. I believe it is the only way I will get honest and good car repair in the future. My experience with trying to get my van fixed over the last few months has been a lesson in how far the country has come from the days where you could take a man or company at their word and believe what they were telling you. Where they weren’t out to rip you off or nickel and dime you, but actually cared about you as a customer and a person. What happened to those days?
This all started in January when my van was making a squealing noise and we were about to head down to Disney World. I took it into Pep Boys, which I thought was still Big 10 Tires who I loved and trusted after years of service. Turns out they were in the middle of a takeover at the time, not that anyone let me know. They said they test drove the van and that the issue was the harmonic balancer. I made arrangements, got the part, brought it in and they proceeded to repair it. But then, they decided it wasn’t the harmonic balancer it was the power steering pump. I returned the old part, got the new one, took it to them and they made the repair. Why did I buy the part elsewhere? Because they wanted to charge me at least a $100 more for the part.
No sooner did I get in my “fixed” van to drive away, but the squealing noise was still there. I did a u-turn, came back and they went out to take a look. Turns out, they never test drove it to begin with. They simply turned it on in the garage, heard it was running rough, assumed that was the noise I was talking about and fixed the power steering pump because it was vibrating not because it was bad. They then claimed the squealing noise was the breaks which they wanted me to pay almost $400 for. Matt replaced them with $50 parts from the store later that day.
Fast forward and we noticed we were losing power steering fluid quickly. That’s right, they didn’t even fix the part correctly. We took it in and 2 hours later the leak is supposedly fixed. We will see. Meanwhile, another man who came in when we were there was given an estimate for $1195 over the phone when all he asked for when he brought his car in were breaks and possibly a bearing. Why do they feel the need to try and nickle and dime you? They got none of the man’s money. He came and got his car to take it somewhere else. I will never return there again either.
Then, we go into Sears for an oil change and tire balance yesterday. They proceed to check all our tires. The one woman questions the age of one of the tires and then proceeds to hook us up for a “free” alignment check. Never mind that I had an alignment done a few months ago. We decide to only get the oil change. When we are paying a man comes up and tells us two of the tires are rotted beyond repair. This is where I call bullshit. Three of the tires are less than a year old because we replaced them all at once. Only one could possibly be bad and they claim it is because of the age and not the tread. They also proceeded to tell me I needed an alignment. Again, I had just had one a few months ago. So now, a $23 oil change was going to turn into several hundred dollars. No thanks. We took the car and left. Miraculously, it is still running.
This is just the tip of the ice burg. I won’t get into the story of the man from Firestone who told us that the check engine light being on could be one of a hundred different things and we would need a $99 diagnostic check even though we had just had a free one done at Autozone and knew what the error code was. We called the Kia dealership, they knew the code right away and are taking care of it this morning. So far they seem very trustworthy and knowledgeable, so let’s hope we found someone we can trust. When did getting a simple issue with a vehicle fixed become so hard? Why do they feel the need to turn a $30 visit into a $1000 one? Be honest and start treating your customers right.