At the mercy of the auto repair shop

When I was 16, I wanted to go to vo-tech to be an auto mechanic. Okay, I mainly wanted to go because I was boy-crazy but had I gotten my way, I would not be writing this post. Although I had the experience of working in an auto repair shop as a service writer, I am like many of you- when my car needs a repair I am at the mercy of the auto repair shop.

I get that it is a business, I do not have a problem with the fact that the price a shop pays for a part is not what they charge the customer. I get that. But my problem is that if you mess up my car and you try and cover it up, you have majorly ruined any bit of trust that I might have had for you. Not to mention - you pissed me off!!!!!

So, this blog post is for the local shop that I have frequented since the shop I worked for went out of business. I brought my car, my husband's car and my adult childrens' cars there on several occasions. We more than kept you busy with our older vehicles. I tried to give you the benefit of any doubt on many occasions when my husband felt you charged too much or did unnecessary repairs. Today was the final straw.

My husband drives a 1996 Grand Am. We noticed a leak visible from the radiator and I called to get an idea about how much it would cost. Having some knowledge, I fully expected that it would not end at the radiator, that possibly hoses may need to be replaced also. I was okay with this. I know you cannot always determine what the problem is until you start to take things apart. I was given an approximate quote over the phone, which the service writer insisted was the top cost. Again, I didn't hold him to it, I know how unforeseen things can occur especially on an older vehicle. So, not wanting to wait, I dropped the car off.

Luckily, only the radiator needed replacing- no other damage was found. Of course the price I was quoted went up by $150 because the service writer had "forgotten" that it was a GT instead of a regular Grand Am. Okay, I am understanding and accept it. Pick up my car (same day) and was told how it really was a big job, almost 5 hours of labor which he didn't charge me. Okay, thanks. Brought the car home.

When the husband checked under the hood to see the new radiator, he noticed a shop rag that seemed to be wedged above the radiator. Hmmm. Sloppy work? I have seen that before, even tools left in the engine.

Well, hubby tugs on the shop rag and it comes out but then, the radiator is LOOSE!!! Yes, vibrating back and forth loose. Seems that they broke a clamp that keeps the radiator in place and figured that "securing" it with a scrunched up shop rag would be an easy fix.

This is why auto repair facilities get a bad rap.

So how do you find a GOOD mechanic? I will tell you who NOT to go to- if you live in Central New Jersey, specifically the Woodbridge area, stay away from a family-owned business on Rahway Avenue. I despise liars!

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