bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/21/22 2:00 a.m.

To be fair this was my fault, because I had a vibration I could not track down, so I let it go for a couple weeks. Of course vibrations do not tend to fix themselves so the vibration chose to become a shuddering hammer on braking as I was on my way to the airport. I pulled off and found the left rear wheel was smoking and I could move it laterally about 4 inches. I called an Uber who arrived three minutes later and on the way to the airport I googled nearby shops. Found one and asked them to tow it and fix the wheel bearing during the four days I was gone. 

I called them the next day and the service manager said his "tech" had done an inspection and that he felt the noise was coming from the differential. I asked him to please have a look at the left rear wheel which was falling off. He called back and said the tech was sure the problem was the diff and no further inspection was required. I thanked him profusely for his good work and said I would be by to pay the bill and take my Land Rover away. I had my son meet me with a trailer today and as we drove up we could see my Rover sitting there with the left rear wheel cocked at about a 20 degree angle.  Back to fixing stuff myself. 

mslevin GRM+ Memberand New Reader
1/21/22 2:55 a.m.

Yikes, wtf? That sounds terrible. I always have a very tough time trusting new shops (hence, I DIY as much as possible). A recommendation from a friend usually helps, but not always.

thedoc GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/21/22 6:12 a.m.

I just lost an awesome shop, long and trusted relationship 

it is awful being at a new place 

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/21/22 8:03 a.m.

In reply to bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) :

Did you point it out to the service person?  Sometimes stupid needs to be stopped. 

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/21/22 11:30 a.m.

In reply to dean1484 :

I was getting on a plane, but I talked to the service guy and explained a total of three times. Once to book the Rover in, once to check in on what they were doing, and once more when he called back. I explained very clearly each time what the very specific problem was. On the third call he declined to look further and I did not try to convince him. By then I was not prepared for them to do any further work. In the end it cost me $380.00 for the tow and the shop inspection, and a case of beer for my son so it could have been worse. I have the bearings coming and I will do it myself today or tomorrow.

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/21/22 11:56 a.m.

With newer cars getting so tough to service and more reliant on computers it always feels like a crap shoot taking it to someone. My friend in the business has retired and no longer has access to scan tools etc. He can't even recommend a good place to go....

CyberEric Dork
1/21/22 12:39 p.m.

God this stuff drives me NUTS!!!!

Im with you man, I feel so anxious every time. I am at the point where, when I don't have the time/energy to do my own work, I have the best luck driving into a jiffy lube and telling them EXACTLY what I want done. They are humble enough to ask for my help often times.

Last time this happened, the tech came in and said he couldn't adjust the steering box as I had asked. But he was willing to have me come take a look. I literally came out there and showed home how to do it and even began the work. They charged me for the labor, not surprisingly, but at least the job got done. I basically paid for the lift, his hands, and the tools.

Too often other shops will charge me for a diagnosis that I don't need, then try to convince me either a) nothing is wrong, or b) it's something else entirely! 

Just fix what I asked you to fix!!!!

A good mechanic is worth moving for!


Streetwiseguy MegaDork
1/21/22 12:54 p.m.

My 85 Ford E250 quit at Brandon in about 1987.  Towed to Ford dealer, rented van to continue on my way.  Got a call a couple of days later. "The timing was wrong."


"It just was."

Pick up van, get to end of block, barely make it around the u turn and back on the lot.


"Oh look, the gear on the distributor looks rat chewed.  I guess we will find a distributor."

"And a camshaft?"

" Nah.  It will be fine."

17 miles east of Brandon...Bwahhh mooo coast...

Just fix it right, and apply a small dose of logic to your diagnosis.

dculberson MegaDork
1/21/22 2:35 p.m.

Ugh. I had my Roadmaster start overheating on my way home from Detroit once. Limp it back to the place I was staying and their tools were rudimentary at best. I knew it was the thermostat. So I called around and found a shop that could fit it in right away and let work know I was going to be late. I limped it to the shop and sat there for two hours. The manager comes out and tells me about all the diagnostics they'd run and that everything seemed ok so it was probably the thermostat. YOU THINK?? I sat there for another hour while they replaced it and paid $350 extra for diagnostics to tell them what I told them when I walked in the door. 

in hindsight I would have been better off buying a mechanics tool set and thermostat and doing it myself. Ahh well, live and learn. 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/21/22 2:48 p.m.

Okay, so I own a shop (Eclectic Motorworks), so here are two perspectives:

  1. We get a lot of customers who self-diagnose their cars and they are probably wrong 75% of the time.  Usually they're trying to treat symptoms and not solve the core problem.  I'm not saying it's right to "not listen" to the customer, but sometimes you get jaded.  GRM forum members are much better informed from "regular" people and sometimes it's hard to tell who's informed and who's regular.  On the other hand, if someone asks us to look at a wobbling wheel, we'll listen to that request and confirm it's wobbling before even looking at the differential.
  2. I fix old cars, not modern cars.  In most cases, I could fix a modern car but I don't have the time/desire to do it when my trusted modern car mechanic can do it for me.  I only buy a car that I know his team will service because that level of trust is so important to avoid problems like the ones stated above.  There are a lot of bad shops out there and it's hard to tell until you've had some experience with them. When you find a good shop, stay with them (and let them make a fair profit so they can stay in business).  My mechanic is always worried he's charging me too much because I'm in the "know" and I'm usually telling him he left money on the table because his team is so good and worth the price.
hunter47 Reader
1/21/22 3:02 p.m.

I had the same problem with the Subaru dealer trying to get my wheel bearings replaced. 
They were convinced it was the diff or transmission and even replaced the fluids for them before finally agreeing to replace the wheel bearings. 

02Pilot UberDork
1/21/22 3:22 p.m.

I dread having unknown people work on my cars, even though I really haven't had any major bad experiences (and a few that were pleasant surprises). I'm incredibly lucky to have access to a great shop for those occasions I can't deal with something myself. It's a BMW-specific shop, but most of my cars - and specifically my daily drivers - have been and are BMWs, so it's not a problem. They help me diagnose when necessary, but they're also happy to change parts for me (and often have me source them). If the owner ever retires I'm screwed. Hopefully his younger tech will take over when the time comes.

Driven5 UberDork
1/21/22 4:36 p.m.

Half of mechanics out there must be absolutely mystified and confounded by the entire concept of rear differentials, as countless people seem to have had all manner of noises and vibrations misdiagnosed as being a rear end problem.

Finding a decent mechanic seems to be like running a limbo contest. You keep lowering the bar, and they keep finding mind-bending new ways to pass underneath.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/21/22 4:44 p.m.

It's always stressful to go somewhere new. My wife took her van to a nearby shop instead of driving farther to the place we've been using for over ten years. 

The transmission had a shudder. They referred her to the dealer, who charged her an hour of shop time and tried to sell her a transmission. 

I fixed it with back to back drain and fills with synthetic fluid and an additive. 

It's such a concern, that I'm still using that shop that I mentioned first. That's despite the fact that they sent one of my cars home with $1500 in body damage, then had no idea what happened.

grover GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/21/22 9:44 p.m.

I just moved back to Jupiter/wpb and would love a shop suggestion if anyone has one. 

GTwannaB GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/21/22 10:04 p.m.

While they did not fix your vehicle properly, $380 for them to pick up up your car from the side of the road without you, look at your car, and keep it for a few days sounds very reasonable. 

Berck New Reader
1/22/22 10:56 a.m.

I'm with you.  I don't mind working on my cars, but I don't particularly love it either.  While I could certainly afford to pay someone else to do some of the work, I don't know how you possibly find someone you can trust.

My most recent experience was with a Ford dealer who did the head gasket recall on the wife's Focus RS.  The car had no problems when I brought it in for the recall.  They returned the car with it idling poorly and a check engine light on!  They said that they spilled coolant on an O2 sensor, and gave me the car back with the check engine light off, but it still barely idled and ran poorly.  They said it seemed fine to them and they didn't know what else to do.  At that point, I did some research and explained that they had almost certainly re-assembled the non-keyed crankshaft pulley (Why, Ford, Why?!?) slightly off and that they were going to take it apart again.  They did, and admitted that it was about half a degree off...

One of the only times a Miata left me on the side of the road, it was because a rubber coolant hose busted.  Why?  Because the shop that did the timing belt for the PO couldn't be bothered to remove coil pack so they could properly  reinstall the valve cover, instead wedging it in.  They nicked the valve cover gasket, and then tried to fix it with RTV.  Which left a very small oil leak that dripped right on that water hose.

I'm astounded at the poor quality of most repair shops.  I don't know how the non-DIY population keeps cars on the road.  From the questions friends and coworkers ask, I think the answer is they mostly don't!  I think this is a large reason that those of who do work on cars are able to get such good deals on cars that need just a little bit of work to keep them running.  I'm guessing it's also why rental car companies have decided it's more affordable to take new car depreciation every 30,000 miles rather than keep a car long enough they have to do any real maintenance on them.

ColoradoBob New Reader
1/23/22 1:14 p.m.

Other than going in for airbag recalls, I haven't taken a car to a shop in many years because I just don't trust them

We recently replaced the oil pan gasket on a 2008 Suburban 2500 we bought used.  The Carfax showed that a Chevrolet dealer had replaced the camshaft, which requires removal of the front cover.  For those that don't know, the front cover on an LS engine needs to be aligned to the crankshaft and the oil pan during installation and failure to do so can mean leaks at the oil pan and front main seal.   When we got to where the pan joined the front cover, we found the top of the pan and the bottom of the front cover weren't parallel and the tech had simply filled the gap with RTV.  The front seal wasn't even close to being centered on the crankshaft but somehow was only seeping.  Obviously this meant we had to remove the front cover and replace all the seals and gaskets, then properly align the cover when we installed it.  When we pulled the pan we found small blobs of RTV in the pan, some in the oil pickup screen.

Most people think the dealer will provide the best repair but at a price.  Clearly that was not the case here

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
1/23/22 5:58 p.m.

Jeepers, last time at used a dealer it was to do a warranty replacement of the intake manifold on my GTI.  Got the car back and made it to the end of the dealer's lot before something in the fuel system came loose and doused the top end of the engine in raw fuel.  Fortunately the engine was stone cold and I shut it down right away.  The service writer actually had the balls to give me crap for not driving it back into the building.  I guess I should have, and left it running so it would burn the entire writer's bay to the ground.  

docwyte PowerDork
1/24/22 10:21 a.m.

My favorite VW/Audi shop closed a few months back.  I'm at a loss now to where to take my cars when I don't want to do the work myself.  There are plenty of good shops around but none of them are particularly local to me.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/22 12:22 p.m.

This thread is why I take insult when someone calls me a mechanic.

Mechanics hang parts.  Technicians diagnose and repair.


And then you have qwikloob places where they forget to install half the fasteners for the undertray, or fail to notice that there are four clips that the undertray slots into before you start thinking about fasteners.

22000 mile Civic ruined by 5 minute morons.

Rule of thumb: if they write on your oil filter, stay away!

Berck New Reader
1/24/22 12:33 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Rule of thumb: if they write on your oil filter, stay away!

How come?  It's SOP in the aircraft world to write date, tach time, and N-number on an oil filter when it's installed.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/22 12:50 p.m.

In reply to Berck :

In automotive repair, it means it is a chain shop full of indifferent people.

dculberson MegaDork
1/24/22 1:16 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

22000 mile Civic ruined by 5 minute morons.

What did they do (/not do)?

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/22 1:19 p.m.

In reply to dculberson :

Failed to put the undertray in properly by not putting it in its holders before putting the fasteners in, damaging the holders, and they lost one 1/4 turn fastener and damaged the rivnut where one of the two shouldered screws goes in.

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