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Why I hate dealership service departments

 
  #1  
Old 04-29-2019, 12:23 PM
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Default Why I hate dealership service departments

How about sharing the reasons why we avoid car dealership service departments? Crappy work or dishonesty? Or horror stories from the sales department are good too.
I've had too many bad experiences at dealership service departments and today I'm fuming from another.
My girlfriend has a Subaru Forester that has a recall for a brake light switch. This morning we dropped the car off at the dealership for the warranty work.
They asked if she wanted anything more done, such as an oil change. She said, "no". I understood her response to mean nyet, nada, nothing, Apparently the service guy has a different dictionary. I took her to work secure in the belief that they had no authorization to do any more than the warranty work. What could go wrong? Read on, my friends.
Since it's such a nice day I pulled out the John Deere and mowed the lawn. Good so far, right?
I didn't hear her call me because of the lawn mower noise. The dealership had called her to tell her that her cabin air filter needed to be changed. Since she couldn't contact me, she told them to go ahead and do it. When I found out, I was particularly pissed. Why the f--- are they looking at the cabin air filter or anything else? $59 to do something that they were told not to do because no other work was authorized. She told them not to do anything else besides the brake light switch. Don't do anything else, don't inspect anything else, don't touch anything else. How did they interpret "no" as go ahead and inspect whatever you think you can sell me?
Anyway, they had no business looking at anything. She didn't feel taken advantage of, but I did.
I buy her parts and I work on her car for free so when someone gets $59 for a 2 minute job, something isn't right. Maybe I should charge her $500 per axle for brakes. Don't worry, I won't. I don't blame her because they put her in a bad position.
I told her that I wanted to ask why they felt it was proper to check her cabin air filter. I didn't get the chance because she didn't share my anger so I wasn't allowed. If it was my car and my money, this would be a different story.
When we went to pick up her car she asked me to be nice (as our great American philosopher Archie Bunker once said to Edith, "I'm always nice") and I was as nice as I can be with smoke pouring out of my ears but I asked for the old filter and I got it.
Yeah, it's got some dirt on it, but that's not the point.
Aside from the brake light switch, they were told to do nothing. And they did something.
They did what they were told not to do and made a profit out of it. That is dishonest in my world.
If they saw a puddle of fuel on the ground due to a leaking fuel line, that's a different story. But a cabin air filter? That's cherry picking for cash.
It just pisses me off that these crooks play these games, especially with women. With so many young guys not knowing anything about cars, this problem is going to get worse.
Next time I'm giving them my contact number so they call me, not her.
 
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:40 PM
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The other side of this is that she would have most likely never thought to check her cabin air filter. My mother brought her VW in for oil changes twice at a dealer and they never checked the engine air filter. Turns out it was dirty and that was found out by an independent mechanic she went to for other maintenance.

I suspect one dealer charged her for an oil change and never actually did one.
 
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:46 PM
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When my brother's wife was in the hospital, he didn't have time to fix his own car and so when the check engine light came on, he dropped it at the Toyota dealer. They called and wanted $2,200 to fix it. The service advisor (funny title) gave him a list of five things it needed. Brother responded that out of the five, only two could possibly cause a misfire on one cylinder (we already knew the code). The service advisor replied that he'd need to check with the mechanic and call him back. Thirty minutes later, the bill was down to $1,200 for two things. Brother responded that of the two, only one could cause a misfire on one cylinder. Wound up fixed for $160 for a set of new plug wires installed. Yes, probably $30 in parts, but they started out fishing for $2,200.

Dealer knows its worth it to try because 99 out of 100 people are totally ignorant of how their car's systems function. They don't know enough to ask relevant questions. Further probably 9 out of 10 will just go ahead and pay it. Most people are very anxious to get their car back and go on about their lives. They're far too busy to come back to the dealer, pick up their car and take to another dealer or independent mechanic for a second opinion. That would take too long. Oh and if its got to be towed, forget it, they got you hooked.

But if you don't know anything about car repair, the only chance you have to prevent them from taking advantage of you is to take it to more than one shop, pretend you haven't already visited another shop and see if they at least come up with the same diagnosis. If you take it to three shops, get three lists, whatever one thing is common between the lists is probably what's wrong. Except of course the cabin air filter. They're all going to want to change that.
 
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:31 PM
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I've never found a dealership service department that is trustworthy when it came to out of warranty work. Never, and that's sad. They're paid and rated on cash taken in so there's no incentive for them to treat a customer fairly. Even warranty work is suspect when it's a job that they feel is not given enough work hours they prefer to talk their way out of it. If you don't know what they are doing to you then you are a victim and most people fall into that category.
 
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:08 PM
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Yesterday, one of our Jag Club members related his recent experience with a dealer; he needed new brake pads as they were squealing.

He was quoted in excess of $3500 for the job! Because, besides the pads, they wanted to change all the calipers, all the rotors and all the hoses. As he was a mechanic in the Army, he Knew what he needed, and ordered new pads from Rock Auto for $150, and changed them himself.
(';')
 
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:38 PM
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I grew up on the farm, rebuilt my first Generator (not Alternator) on our Oldest truck, DOT, when I was about 9.
They wouldn't let me enroll in Shop class in High School because I would have been the only girl, and my brothers would have been positively Incandescent!

My first summer job out of high school was driving a gravel truck off a crusher in a pit. First Shop Maintenance was the rule (Driver is the First Shop, responsible for checking fluid levels, tire pressures, watching gauges, taking truck to the Second shop before something died).

In college I was the only girl to enroll in Engines 101, to the great despair and everlasting shame of my mother. I Aced the class much to the chagrin of the 20 or so male students, many of whom thought it would be a Play Pen and blamed me for destroying the grading curve. I was young and lacked confidence so their attitude bothered me a little, but the Professors were quite supportive.

I went on to Transmissions & Powertrains, Brakes & Chassis (including alignment), Auto Electrical (where I did Not do well) and last of all, a Very comprehensive class in Paint and Body repair (that was my Favorite!), still the only girl in the program.

After I had completed all that, they made me Professor's Assistant in the Engines 101 Lab. I was more or less a Floater there, keeping new arrivals from doing something really stupid (like setting their car afire), answering questions, show them the easy way to do stuff. They were Just out of high school and many knew virtually Nothing about cars beyond driving, and some of them didn't do that very well.

By that time I was older than most of the students in that Freshman class (still all male), and although it was definitely a Male Dominated field, it was a Liberal and Forward Thinking institution. I was put in that position by the Head of the Department who had my back, so students treated me pretty well. They knew they Had to Or Else! This allowed me time to gain the confidence and skill I might not otherwise have, things necessary to successfully operate my own business.

So you can imagine with that background I have little trouble when I take Addie for tires or Trucklet (AWD) for rear struts, work I don't have tools to complete. Nix only sees the inside of a shop for things like Exhaust System Rebuild or Biannual Emissions Test. (My work truck Never sees the inside of a shop! Ever! The tire shop changes them Outside!) I do Everything else as I trust Very Few Professional Shops to touch anything I own, especially my Jag!
(';')
 
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Old 04-30-2019, 01:51 AM
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Default Dealer Rip Off

Time for a rant!

We've all been there, where a large bill from the main dealer is just mind boggling. Yes, we're sometimes too busy so by choice we take the car to the main dealer. Or sometimes we don't have the tools (like a 20T press), so need some assistance.

Originally Posted by LnrB View Post
Yesterday, one of our Jag Club members related his recent experience with a dealer; he needed new brake pads as they were squealing.
He was quoted in excess of $3500 for the job! Because, besides the pads, they wanted to change all the calipers, all the rotors and all the hoses. As he was a mechanic in the Army, he Knew what he needed, and ordered new pads from Rock Auto for $150, and changed them himself.
(';')
We all know that tracking down a problem involves sometimes checking individual items step by step. Garages just **** me off when they don't do that and automatically just swap out everything. Dealers are the worst for it - the Dealer's brake job above is a prime example.

With the cost of new cars under tremendous market pressure, the dealer's garage needs to make a profit. It pisses me of they target women and ignorant men, who won't question the work needed. I'm a rare case in that I demand to see the old parts that have been replaced, and even bring my voltmeter and vernier to check them. The Dealer also questioned me when I demanded to see the car lifted and inspect their work under the car.

My dad was in the restaurant trade, and when he went out to a restaurant, he would ask to inspect the kitchen before he ordered.

We are the customer, and getting a job done right at a reasonable cost, is what we want. The only time I would accept work done, if not requested, if there was a definite unexpected problem. I'm a realist, and things do go wrong on a car and garage accidents do happen. I've seen dents/scratches on my body panels due to garage mechanic with a screwdriver in his pocket leaning on a car or maybe dropping a spanner.

How many times has a car left a garage driving worst than when it went in? I once had a brake failure on a VW Golf GTI upon leaving the Dealer. WTF!

Sorry - rant over!
 
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:44 AM
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Typical behavior for most dealerships these days. And that is one of many reasons why the dealerships see our vehicles only for warranty and recall work. Everything else is DIYed or on rare occasions, indie shopped....
 
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:10 AM
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Back in the 90's, when SUVs were gaining popularity, a black SUV was parked in front of my neighbor's house. I asked the woman who owned it if she liked it. She said yes, and she just got it out of the shop with a repair bill of about $800. I thought that was quite a bit of money so I asked what they did. Her answer made my skin crawl. She said, "I don't know".
Now that I'm retired and little of what I do is urgent, I enjoy taking the time to do the best job I can, not the fastest. I see others wanting to see how fast they can do a crappy job.
And they do.
Here's another of my stories:
The Jaguar dealership where I bought my car gave me a two year warranty with 2 free oil changes. I took it in for an oil change and when I got it home I parked it in the driveway. Standing in the garage I noticed a spot on the driveway under the car. I crawled under the car and tightened the oil drain plug by hand a bit, then got a wrench and tightened it the rest of the way.
I called the service manager to tell him that I wasn't bringing the car back today, or ever, but his guys just screwed up an oil change.
Here's another:
My 1992 Ford Ranger failed emissions inspection in Maryland back when they actually sniffed the tailpipe. The NOX was high. The local Ford dealer told me that my EGR valve was bad. I figured I would buy one and change it. I couldn't find one for this vehicle. I took the truck to another shop and the guy there showed me the blanking plate that was where the EGR valve would be if I had one. The truck had no EGR valve, but the Ford dealership said I needed a new one. Marvel Mystery oil in the gas got me through inspection.
One more quick one:
I bought a used 2015 Hyundai Tucson two years ago from a dealer. It had some mileage on it so I thought I would check the brake pads. One of the wheel studs on the left front wheel was stripped. I went to the dealer and asked them what they did to the vehicle before I bought it. They did have the wheels off so they either stripped the stud (most likely), or found it and didn't do anything about it. Good news is they replaced the stud for free.
Too many gorillas working too fast at dealerships.
 
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:11 AM
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LnrB You definitely are the exception to the rule. Truth is that very few women are interested in mechanics in any way. I have been imploring my mother to learn how to check the oil level in her vehicle and she won't do it so I just keep an eye on it. I took three years of auto shop in high school and one or two years we had just one girl in the class.

If there is any profession that I gave the most money to throughout my life it is car mechanics. I calculated that for the money I gave them I could have bought a full garage with a lift and nearly every tool and machine imaginable and still had money left over. If I could do it over I would have went to a community college auto program after HS for no other reason than to learn to fix my own vehicle.
 
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by LnrB View Post
.... and all the hoses.......
Interesting that the X260 maintenance schedule lists brake hose replacement at 5 years. Never heard of that on any car as part of a scheduled maintenance.
 
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by AJ16er View Post
LnrB You definitely are the exception to the rule. Truth is that very few women are interested in mechanics in any way. I have been imploring my mother to learn how to check the oil level in her vehicle and she won't do it so I just keep an eye on it. I took three years of auto shop in high school and one or two years we had just one girl in the class.

If there is any profession that I gave the most money to throughout my life it is car mechanics. I calculated that for the money I gave them I could have bought a full garage with a lift and nearly every tool and machine imaginable and still had money left over. If I could do it over I would have went to a community college auto program after HS for no other reason than to learn to fix my own vehicle.
I know when I was in high school, women into cars were rare, and women into cars that could work on them was rarer. I'm class of 2005 and I was the only girl in my automatic transmissions class (only class I took, my dad taught me everything else). It's worse now; most guys will pay to have their cabin air filter replaced, or just run cars into trash and not maintain them at all.

My sister and I are somewhat opposite. She has blown up a Toyota Camry with a rebuilt engine in it; she managed to drive like an idiot OFF ROAD IN A CAMRY, get a small crack in the oil pan and proceed to drive it with the "red oil can on" until it stopped moving. I had my 00 XKR blow an oil cooler hose and puke ALL the oil in a few seconds and throw the light on; I put it in neutral and turned it off and back on but not started rapidly so steering lock wouldn't engage and coasted to the side of the road and got a tow home. Then I replaced $300 worth of hoses, did what I guess is a filter change and fill with oil job lol and was good to go.

My dad's family taught all the boys AND girls that you can learn to work on stuff or you can ALWAYS pay it out. Even if you later on choose to pay it out, you pay less not getting ripped off. This went to stuff like roofing, framing, electrical, plumbing, hvac, vehicle maintenance to full on restoration, etc. My grandfather said that you might be poor at some point and being able to do stuff yourself can make you just poor and without a bit of free time rather than homeless or without a car. I do side jobs really reasonably and honestly, and always have a backlog.

BTW - There are plenty of honest mechanics. When you find one, you'll know. There are plenty of awesome Jaguar techs on this forum who share their knowledge free of charge and are friendly to boot!
 
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 80sRule View Post
I know when I was in high school, women into cars were rare, and women into cars that could work on them was rarer. I'm class of 2005 and I was the only girl in my automatic transmissions class (only class I took, my dad taught me everything else). It's worse now; most guys will pay to have their cabin air filter replaced, or just run cars into trash and not maintain them at all.

My sister and I are somewhat opposite. She has blown up a Toyota Camry with a rebuilt engine in it; she managed to drive like an idiot OFF ROAD IN A CAMRY, get a small crack in the oil pan and proceed to drive it with the "red oil can on" until it stopped moving. I had my 00 XKR blow an oil cooler hose and puke ALL the oil in a few seconds and throw the light on; I put it in neutral and turned it off and back on but not started rapidly so steering lock wouldn't engage and coasted to the side of the road and got a tow home. Then I replaced $300 worth of hoses, did what I guess is a filter change and fill with oil job lol and was good to go.

My dad's family taught all the boys AND girls that you can learn to work on stuff or you can ALWAYS pay it out. Even if you later on choose to pay it out, you pay less not getting ripped off. This went to stuff like roofing, framing, electrical, plumbing, hvac, vehicle maintenance to full on restoration, etc. My grandfather said that you might be poor at some point and being able to do stuff yourself can make you just poor and without a bit of free time rather than homeless or without a car. I do side jobs really reasonably and honestly, and always have a backlog.

BTW - There are plenty of honest mechanics. When you find one, you'll know. There are plenty of awesome Jaguar techs on this forum who share their knowledge free of charge and are friendly to boot!
I was class of '02 and it's good to see Millennials into cars, especially the Jaguar marque. Ever watch Scotty Kilmer's YT channel? The Corolla driving soycucks are legion because "muh reliability."

I have found one honest mechanic from I lived in Chicago. He has a small shop and just works on word of mouth and I really like the guy. Problem is that he is quite far away from me now.
 
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 80sRule View Post
I know when I was in high school, women into cars were rare, and women into cars that could work on them was rarer. I'm class of 2005 and I was the only girl in my automatic transmissions class
I don't know how much of it is nature vs. nurture, but male and female brains are wired differently and we certainly do tend to gravitate towards very different interests. Every once in a while someone is born with an anomalous brain, but we unfortunately give our peers a lot of grief for being different. I don't know how your girlfriends treated you when you signed up for an auto shop class, but if a boy were to sign up for a class on doing floral arrangements he'd never hear the end of it.
 
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:05 PM
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Today I was talking about engine recall (of non-Jaguar car) to the dealer. I thought, while you are there, service my brakes too. I was told this requires Service B and quoted $450. What?! To take out pads, clean it out, grease pins, and sliders?!

I think I will be doing spite brake job myself this weekend. These days I prefer others to do the work, but considering the job will take me 45 minutes at most, this exceeds my billable rate.
 
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:41 AM
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That's only $10/minute, $60/hour labor.
Not bad!
Our local labor rate, advertised on the front door is $80/hour labor.
(';')
 
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by pdupler View Post
I don't know how much of it is nature vs. nurture, but male and female brains are wired differently and we certainly do tend to gravitate towards very different interests. Every once in a while someone is born with an anomalous brain, but we unfortunately give our peers a lot of grief for being different. I don't know how your girlfriends treated you when you signed up for an auto shop class, but if a boy were to sign up for a class on doing floral arrangements he'd never hear the end of it.
You definitely get some looks and catch some flack. I work in manufacturing IT as a software engineer for MES and FGI automation systems, which is very male centric; and you just kind of get used to it being the odd one out. I once worked as a developer for a Manufacturing Execution System and had a side job at Macy's selling Estee Lauder cosmetics, and turned down a side job selling guns at my gun dealer during that. It's hard to get to the mindset of just not caring what people think too much, but once you do get there, it's a mental load off. It was rough in high school though, but most people have a go of it in high school. That comment that high school is the best time of your life is crap; after college was AWESOME. Free time and money?!? Yeah!
 
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Old 05-01-2019, 12:15 PM
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https://www.whatcar.com/news/labour-...rvicing/n15437

I'm glad that I don't live in Reading.
 
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Old 05-01-2019, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 80sRule View Post
...It's hard to get to the mindset of just not caring what people think too much, but once you do get there, it's a mental load off. It was rough in high school though, but most people have a go of it in high school. That comment that high school is the best time of your life is crap; after college was AWESOME. Free time and money?!? Yeah!
This was my experience!
Once I got my diploma in my hot little hand, I was Out of the building Never to return!
(';')
 
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:27 AM
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When I was in Airframe and Powerplant school to become a licensed aircraft mechanic, there were only two women in the entire school. The instructors said that the women will be the first to get jobs. And that was in 1982, before all the affirmative action stuff really got going. With odds like that, I don't understand why more women don't go into fields such as aviation maintenance except the biggest reason of all: They don't want to. They just don't want to. When women complain about not making as much money as men, I tell them to do what I did. They absolutely can. But they don't want to. I shrug my shoulders and open a beer, as I have nothing more to add to the conversation.
A friend of mine is a lineman for an electric utility. I tell people that if they want to hang off a utility pole with lethal voltage in a blizzard on Christmas Eve, away from their families, they can make the money he does. It's that simple. Suddenly the money doesn't seem so attractive.
I once commented that the spread my ex put out for the family on Christmas Eve was nice. She replied,"We do this every year." I had no idea.
I didn't realize how much my job took me away from my family. That money doesn't come easily, at least in aviation. But it's there if you are willing to make the sacrifices.
OK, here is the saga about the 1995 Plymouth Grand Voyager. I bought it new in 1995.
My ex got a flat tire and the first AAA guy was having trouble loosening the lug nuts. A second AAA guy arrived and popped the wheel cover off with the molded (now scratched) lug nuts, and loosened the real lug nuts and changed the tire. The first AAA guy couldn't even change a tire. He should work at a dealership service department. He'd fit right in.
The van was a few years old and the air bag light came on. A Haynes manual wiring diagram showed me that the air bag was on the same fuse as the rear window wiper. I discovered that the wiper motor was causing the fuse to blow, so I accessed the wiper motor and disconnected the wires from it so that I could replace the fuse and have a good air bag. I couldn't find anyone who sold a new wiper motor.
I got a letter in the mail that there was a recall on the rear wiper motor. What a surprise.. I called the dealer, which was a half hour from home, and they said they didn't have any new parts, as they were being redesigned. I should wait a while and call back. Some months later I called and they had a part for me so I made an appointment. When I arrived they told me that they did not have a part for me. I told them they did have a part for me because I was told they had a part for me, that's why I have an appointment. They said that they used it for someone else.
(The sarcastic me would have asked if the person who got my part got it because they are more important than me, but I held my tongue. I ask people questions like that to make them squirm. And I don't accept their first answer as a good explanation, which makes them squirm even more. It's a conversation that I enjoy much more than the other person.)
OK, back to the van.
At this point I'm wondering why I didn't get a phone call to save me a trip to the dealership. That is inexcusable. Horrible customer service, an example of poor management.
I pretended to be more upset than I was and I told them that I wasn't coming back again to replay this day so as far as I was concerned, they could fix this in my driveway.
He said OK, which surprised me a little, but that shows how off balance he was at this point.
Side note: Now he owed me something, and the car was just over 36,000 miles which put it out of warranty so I said that if he fixed the air conditioning "under warranty", we'd call it even. He agreed to do that. They replaced the condenser. When I got the van back, they installed a bar in front of the condenser backwards, which had it smashed into the fins of the condenser. I removed the two bolts and reinstalled the bar properly. You had to be an idiot not to notice the obvious problem and the simple solution, so the guy who worked on my car was clearly an idiot. I just hope he's not breeding.
I moved from Maryland to New Jersey and went to another dealer to get the wiper motor replaced. When I dropped the van off, I told them that I had disconnected the wires at the rear wiper motor for the sake of the fuse for the air bag. When I picked up the van, I pushed the button for the rear wiper. Nothing. I went inside to tell them that the rear wiper didn't work, which was the only thing they were to fix. It was there for one reason and one reason only. Their answer was that the recall only required them to check the air bag light and it wasn't illuminated so they stopped there.
Yes, they were too lazy to push the button to make sure the rear wiper worked, and what I told them when I dropped the van off, about the wires to the wiper motor being disconnected, was like talking to a doorknob. I left the van and they replaced the wiper motor. Finally. I would have much preferred if they handed the motor to me over the counter and I changed it myself. It would have been easier for everyone.
Same van, with rear heat and air conditioning. The evaporator for the rear air conditioning had a leak so the dealership replaced it. They were done very quickly so when I got the van home, I removed the seats and pulled down the entire left interior sidewall. I was suspicious of what they did so fast. A plenum that is secured with three screws only had two installed. The drain pipe for condensation that should discharge overboard through a hole in the floor wasn't through the hole, it would discharge water onto the floor if left alone, causing a wet carpet and/or a rusted floor. I'm glad I checked it.
Not many people will tear their car apart after getting it back from the dealer to check their work, but I did and I didn't like what I found.
I have dealt with about a half dozen dealer service departments in different states for different manufacturers and I have not found one that I would let work on a kid's tricycle.
I think that they don't care about the quality of their work, that even if they screw up it won't show up for a long time so they don't care.
Once in a while it bites them but that's worked into the cost of doing business.
 

Last edited by stu46h; 05-02-2019 at 08:40 AM.
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DavidYau (05-02-2019)

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