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Discussion Starter #1
I think some mechanics have a trick. They'll be real nice to you on something small. Sort of makes you want to come back. So of course you do. Then they screw you real bad. I bought a wheel at Pick-N-Pull. It had an old tire on it. I took it to "______'s Tire and Auto" in San Jose California to have it removed. They did it for free!! AND threw away my tire if I remember right. I thanked them and the guy just said "well, next time you need tires, come to us". Actually, I had bought at least one set there before. So naturally I came back for tires next time I needed them. They do other repairs too.
Anyway, to keep this short (no details), they really screwed me over on my last problem. They're crooks!
AND this has happened to me before at another place. A different "set up" but it happened at TWO places.
It makes me suspicious of the muffler shop guy who found a broken part between two hoses that was sending exhaust fumes into the drivers compartment. I couldn't find the problem. He did. I can fix it. He did the hard part by finding the problem. "Can I pay you?" I asked. "No thanks. It's on the house" (or something like that) he replied. If I ever need any exhaust work, manifold to tailpipes, I'd go there. But did he set me up? I sure hope not. I'd like to think there are some honest mechanics.

Is this common practice? Do they have a name for it? "bait-trap- N screw"?
 

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I've owned my own business for the past 12 years (non-auto related) and have often wondered why these other companies that I compete with continue to do well while screwing their customers. I still don't know. We have refused to do anything other than the right thing for our customers and we all sleep well at night even though we are not getting wealthy doing so. When you figure it out let us all know.
 

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Hey, YOU need to KNOW who you are dealing with. There are tons of ways to KNOW/LEARN who NOT to deal with, OFTEN it's YOU that didn't do your HOMEWORK. Sure there are real con people out there, always been, always will be, so do your HOMEWORK.

DALE IN INDY
 

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I've owned my own business for the past 12 years (non-auto related) and have often wondered why these other companies that I compete with continue to do well while screwing their customers. I still don't know. We have refused to do anything other than the right thing for our customers and we all sleep well at night even though we are not getting wealthy doing so. When you figure it out let us all know.
I also wonder how my competition can continue to do inferior work and still stay in business. I'll loose money on a particular job in order to make the job right and I always sleep well at night. It makes life a lot easier when your work sells itself.

Sal AKA Cougar GEEK
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey, YOU need to KNOW who you are dealing with. There are tons of ways to KNOW/LEARN who NOT to deal with, OFTEN it's YOU that didn't do your HOMEWORK. Sure there are real con people out there, always been, always will be, so do your HOMEWORK.

DALE IN INDY
It seems like you're blaming me for getting ripped off. Maybe not?
My car broke down on a busy expressway during morning traffic. Stalled and wouldn't restart. It was sort of an emergency situation. I needed to get the car off the road ASAP. I had AAA tow me to the nearest place. They seemed OK from a previous experience. I told you about the free job they did for me. Why not take it there again???
 

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THe nearest place from a busy expressway is usually where they know they won't see you that often (you're not local), in my opinion.

With my first '68 xr7, i gunned the engine, and it started to really burp, and miss. The "nearest" garage mechanic said that it needed a 600$ valve job, maybe worse. Being young and broke, i declined and limped it home. Turns out i had blown a few spark plug wires, which i replaced myself...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
THe nearest place from a busy expressway is usually where they know they won't see you that often (you're not local), in my opinion.

With my first '68 xr7, i gunned the engine, and it started to really burp, and miss. The "nearest" garage mechanic said that it needed a 600$ valve job, maybe worse. Being young and broke, i declined and limped it home. Turns out i had blown a few spark plug wires, which i replaced myself...
I'm not local to you. I'm local to the shop. I pass it all the time. It's about two miles from my house. I wouldn't have had the previous good experience (that I wrote about above) there if it was some far away shop off an expressway where I don't usually go.
 

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No, YOU, ME, OTHERS, all need to do our homework when farming out work.

Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, but in general it isn't that hard to learn where the good folks are running their business.

If they have lots of cars on the lot APART, then that's a good sign they will start on yours, and then when someone comes in, well, the can't be truthful and say, WE ARE BACKED UP, they OVER PROMISE, UNDER PRODUCE.

Those along an expressway do learn that they can get more, and they know you won't be back.

I found my guy/shop from trusted friends.

Dale in Indy
 

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Personally, I had been in tthe trade for 12yrs before moving on. I would like to think I was friendly to everyone who walked in our door and tried to help them all! I did lots of thing for free to be friendly and to gain or keep a customer. It wasnt to screw anyone anytime but to make sure my client base were happy! It seemed to me when you tried to help a certian type of folks out and give a deal, they were suspicious. Thsi type of conversation is a two way street between the customer and mechanic (or any trade). When ever you need to part with your hard earned cash theres always a feeling of being "screwed". I know people get into emergency situations but you really need to look for someone you can trust and treat them right and I think it will be returned.
P.S My dad been in the business for 45yrs. In a small town you cannot be in business that long by screwing people! 65yrs old and still turning wrenches Mon thru Fri, 9 to 6ish ;)
 

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Never forget that this is people dealing with people. I have worked as a mechanic and have seen the good and bad in customers. I have been the customer and seen the good and bad in the business. One place my mother in law dealt with was highly recommended by friends and relatives. But shoddy work that I ended up having to fix left bad feelings. It can be such a crap shoot. I still do some side work on occasion to help out a friend, neighbor, or relative but I do not like to whereas I just do not want any misunderstandings to spoil relationships.
 

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Through experience, you'll find people you trust to work on cars. And remember, there are a lot of good mechanics around, you just have to find one, or several, you can trust. Then, stick with them, even if you have to drive across town.
I'll assume you have a '67-72 Cougar which are the main focus of this website. Compared to the modern cars, these older models are fairly simple. You might want to investigate auto repair classes at a local junior college. Cost would be fairly low and there could be some really good training.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Through experience, you'll find people you trust to work on cars. And remember, there are a lot of good mechanics around, you just have to find one, or several, you can trust. Then, stick with them, even if you have to drive across town.
I'll assume you have a '67-72 Cougar which are the main focus of this website. Compared to the modern cars, these older models are fairly simple. You might want to investigate auto repair classes at a local junior college. Cost would be fairly low and there could be some really good training.
My 70 Cougar is long gone :( I still like the old cars. That's why I come here. May buy another someday.
the car in question is a 91 XR7. I can do a lot of things myself. Diagnosis can be difficult for me. AND that's the situation with my current car. I'm mad that they didn't find the problem, but I still paid $220.00. It stalled and wouldn't restart. AAA Towed it to them. For two days they couldn't find the problem. They said I have fouled plugs and may need wires "BUT that's not what's making your car do what it's doing (stall, and not restart)". They admitted they were having trouble finding my problem. Later they told me it is in fact just plugs and maybe wires. They wanted $200.00 for plugs (and maybe wires too were included, but don't think so). I change my own plugs and keep records. They only have 7000 miles on them. There's no way it's plugs and/or wires. It ran too good up to that time. I told them (over the phone) that I'd do my own plugs and wires and for them not to do it. Guess what they said next? "Also, we test drove it and a heater hose broke. It will be $89.00 for it plus $40.00 for coolant". I for sure feel like they lied. I changed all the hoses myself when I did the water pump about 15,000 miles ago. The hose was fine.
I expressed my disappointment in them to the employee that I spoke with. I told him I feel like I'm getting screwed. That they failed to find my intermittent problem. I said that I feel like the problem will occur again after I change my plugs and wires. He said "maybe, but we can't diagnose your problem unless we first replace the plugs". I told him that I think that's incorrect and then he reminded me that I declined to have a new thermostat (old one is fine) installed along with the hose they say broke and that could be part of the problem too. Can you believe that?
 

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Well Larry, it's a bit of a mixed bag out there. By and large I think most shops want to do the best for thier customers, and be productive as well. If they want to remain in business, they have to fix the simple stuff to keep up good realtions/ Sticking a battery in/changing wiper blades....parts shops are doing that now. You have to stand out a bit to keep word of mouth going, Find a shop who treats you right - and they have a string of customers for life. Everybody at work always asks me who to have do thier stuff since I'm always working on someones and don't have the time....there are plenty of mom and pops that are very good out there. I'd go there before any big box shops - WITH the exception of high dollar work like trans rebuilds or engine replacement. Most national chains will back it with pretty good warranties (some are transferable like AMOCO) so it pays to check that out.
 

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I can imagine how you feel. It was something similar, way back in 1976, that did it for me. From that point on I was determined to do ALL work on my cars from simple to assembling an engine or transmission. Has worked well up till now. The 91 Mazda, I have, needs a new clutch and this is not a simple job. Since I know no one who is trust worthy the work hasn't been done now in 12 months. The Park Lane needs the C6 rebuilt which I can do but how do I get it out from under the car? With an automatic there are even less people I would trust and know none. So I drive it with the 2-3 slip for the last 5 years.

At least I have a muffler shop that I can trust implicitly in Concord :)
 

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I have had similar experiences, when I have to take stuff in. I feel like "they" do, things to hook you....One good job for a fair price, a second job for twice the money, and not so good a job....It's sad when it happens...
 

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as a mechanic i have had service writers and even my service manager set my customer and I up.

they would come in for an oil change. then after the customer goes to the lounge the service writer opens the hood to see what else he thinks should be done even without the customers approval. (belts, hoses or any thing that could be added to the r/o.)
the service writer would add this to the repair order and send it to me. remember the service writer talks to the customer, not the mechanic. that is what they are for,, to write the r/o so the mechanic can stay focused on wrenching. and in my case the mechanic rarely gets to talk to the customer.
i would do the work on the repair order. as written by some one else.
when it come time for my customer to pay the bill that is when we would all hear the yelling from the customer, and he is saying....
"i did not ask for that to be done, all i wanted was an oil change."
i have quit 2 differant jobs because of a service writer/boss trying to line his pocket with repairs not approved by the customer. (sic)
i was mad as heck that some one could run a place like that and implicate me as well.

i started to work out of my yard for a time and i never ever sent home an unhappy customer.
they would send freinds and relitives to the point i had to turn away work because i had all i could do and be fair to those that were there first.
and yes if i saw something simple that needed fixed while i was working on the car no problem and no extra charge.
this was not done to set up my customer it was done to show that i appreciate there business.

later on i stopped working on cars/trucks. now it is all hobby mechanics.
 

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Funny, I just had a patient in today who I know has a well known suspicion for professions doing extra work not called for. From an M.D., to accountants down to mechanics. He brought his car in for new tires at the Big O he goes to for tires only. They called and said he needed a brake job. This was right before he needed to make a long trip so he ok'd the work even though he has a long time mechanic. When he picked up the car he had a private talk with the manager. He told him straight out that he brings his two cars there for tires and "nothing else!" He got this job because time was tight but that he was never to do this again as he has his own mechanic. He happens to be in his 70's with a nice German accent as his father was conscripted into the German Wehrmacht in the later years at the age of 40. So when he talks to you like he did you know he is dead serious...:uhoh:

Should have heard his story about a Doc wanting to do a special prostate test...:mad:
 

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There are good and bad auto technicians everywhere. Once you find a good one, hang on. I was a service director for 8 years at a Honda-Acura dealer. I had 35 technicians and 6 service advisors. They all knew the rules, sell the client everything their car needs and nothing it doesn't. If I found a tech or service advisor padding a repair they were fired. We had all of the work we could handle doing it the right way. There's no need to rip off a client as it will cost you business in the long run. A good technician is worth his/her weight in gold and a bad one isn't worth crap.
 

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I guess the fact is that if you step back and look objectively, some guys may not think they are being dishonest by doing awhole bunch of extra work.. Ok I know that sounds like I am cutting them too much slack but let's take for example a 60 year old woman bringing her car into a shop and pretend she doesn't know an exhaust pipe from an air cleaner. She needs brakes... Mechanic looks and decides new rotors calipers, pads, lines etc are required. Is he ripping her off?

Back in the day on disc brakes you could change the pads and be done with it. Every few years you get the rotors turned. After a couple times having the rotors trimmed you'd replace the rotors.. I don't know if stuff is just made cheaper now adays but they make stuff to throw out instead of last.

My wife's car needed new brake pads and I take it in expecting a 100-200 dollar job.. guy gives me a quote for $900 and I laughed my ass off. He then proceeds to tell me that this and that need to be done.. I decided to run with this and downloaded dealer repair documents for that car with all recall, warranty info etc a dealer would use. I went back to the mechanic that quoted me and we determined that the $900 job wasn't necessary and $300 worth of work did the trick.

I guess after all this rambling what I was trying to say is I don't consider them all crooks, but we live in different times than 40 years ago and parts are just not made to last. Even the honest repair shops can "stick it to ya" once in a while without really intending to. The best defence is to arm yourself to the teeth with as much understanding of what you need. Sad as it is to admit, when it comes to my cars, leaving it "to the experts" so to speak, isn't in the cards.

I spoke with at least 4 different machine shops and engine builders in Calgary over the last 12 months about putting together my 408 for me. Before I did that I did at least 12 months of research on windsor based strokers. 3 of the 4 engine shops ended up feeding me such a heaping pile of BS within the first 5 minutes of our conversation that I crossed them off the list. The last shop came pretty recommended and I have tried to speak with them 3-4 times over the phone and they never call me back.. I'm going with them for 2 reasons. (A) They come highly recommended as doing great engine work (B) they are too busy to talk to me which means other people are obviously happy with them (C) I'm not in a terrible hurry :)
 

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Perhaps I was just young and didn't know anything...but it really bugs me today that even the simplest parts don't last...like windshield wiper blades. "Back in the day" say the '70's... I would put on a pair of wiper blades and never had to replace them again while I had the car. Now, I find that I am replacing wiper blades 2-3 times a year. What's with that???
 
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