We all make mistakes. Some more frequently than others….. We’re human, it’s normal. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and get better. We see a lot of customers monthly/ yearly and sometimes they make mistakes too. We get a lot of e mails and requests from customers about what they want us to write about so today I’m going to give a few examples of Car Repair Fails and then explain how to prevent them from happening to you.
This was a first time customer. He was actually here a few weeks prior applying for a job… (spoiler alert, we didn’t hire him). He had been experiencing a coolant leak on his wife’s vehicle and decided to fix it himself. This leak was causing the vehicle to overheat when the car would get up to operating temperature so it was really causing a headache for them.
When he reached out he said that he was “having trouble getting the gasket to seal”. As you can see from the picture, it’s pretty obvious to see why. What happened was that one of the bolts that hold the thermostat housing in place had broken when coming out. So him and his friend figured that they could just use vise grips to hold the flange in place.
We removed the flange, drilled out the broken bolt, replaced the gasket, replaced the bolt, and properly filled the cooling system. It took about 2 hours.
This was another first time customer. They were having trouble with their exhaust system. It seemed loud to them and they just wanted it fixed. We took a look at it and found that there were some rot holes throughout the system and it had been repaired a few times previously so we recommended replacing the entire system to eliminate the chance of any further issues. We didn’t want to just “patch” the immediate issue because they would start to notice the other leaks further back in the system and a “patch” just wouldn’t be a proper repair.
The customer declined the repair and ended up returning about 1 month later. They had a “friend” that “works on cars” replace the catalytic converter for them. The problem was that they noticed that after a few days the exhaust seemed louder than the original noise. They also had a significant loss of power.
When our Technicians took a look we not only found that the catalytic converter was completely missing but there were no signs of the clamps that should have been installed to hold the catalytic converter in place. You can actually see one of the factory clamps that’s welded to the front pipe still on the pipe. That may be the reason it fell off… We ended up replacing the entire system. It took about an hour and a half.
Pre Purchase Inspection
This was a long time customer that had problems with their previous vehicle. It ended up needing more work than the car was worth so we suggested they start looking for a new car. About 3 months later they came in for normal service with their new car and were shocked at what we found.
The front support that connects the left and right sides of the front frame section and supports the radiator had a huge rot hole in it. The hole was just about big enough to put an entire fist into. When they bought the car they had the dealership that sold it to them look it over prior to purchase. The vehicle also had a myriad of other issues. The customer ended up getting rid of this vehicle and purchased another one. We performed a Pre Purchase Inspection on the new vehicle and they have been worry free for roughly 1 year since they bought it.
Brake Line Repair
This is actually an older story from a few years back. This customer reached out after having a neighbor that worked at another local shop replace his brakes for him. The story is that the brake pedal felt soft and he was told that he needed new brakes. Sounds simple enough… The brakes were replaced by the neighbor and when the owner of the car started to drive the car he felt that the car didn’t stop like it used to and the brake pedal still felt soft. He was told that it was just an adjustment.
He actually drove the car for about 6 months before contacting us for a second opinion. We immediately found that while the brakes in the rear of the vehicle were in fact replaced they weren’t working at all. The main issue the customer initially had was due to rotting and leaking brake lines. So instead of repairing the lines the Neighbor just used Vise Grips to clamp off the fluid to stop it from leaking. Unfortunately this won’t allow any fluid to the rear brake system, so they weren’t working at all when the brake pedal was pressed. Not to mention that this was very unsafe.
We ended up replacing most of the brake lines in the vehicle. While this section was the major source of the leak, there were other problem areas. The brakes themselves were actually good quality parts that were installed correctly. So after replacing the lines we just needed to adjust the brakes and bleed the system of any air. This job took about 2 days. Mainly because the customer requested pre bent factory lines that needed to be ordered.
This customer was also having trouble with her cooling system. The car was overheating and there was a large puddle of coolant on the ground where she parks at work. Her boyfriend had a friend that “fixes cars” so they took this car repair to him because he gave them a price to repair the issue before even seeing the car when we unfortunately could not do the same (here is why).
The repair ended up being pretty simple. The car developed a leak at the upper radiator hose and the hose really should have been replaced because it was swelling under pressure and hoses really do have a shelf life on them. But this “Friend” had another fix… electrical tape. Rather than replace the hose or even the clamp(s) he just poured crazy glue around the end of the hose, reinstalled the clamp, then covered the connection with electrical tape. Clearly the hose continued to leak.
The customer called us that day. We were able to get her right in, replace the hose, both clamps, and properly fill the system. It took about 45 minutes, we had the hose in stock, and it cost less than the friend initially quoted them.
How can you prevent this from happening?
The common denominator here for most of these stories is the quality of the repair. It’s no secret that some Auto Repairs can be expensive. But in all of these situations the customer paid for the car repair elsewhere then ended up paying to have the same repair performed again correctly later. So how much did they really save? The simple answer is nothing at all. They actually paid more and in some cases had to pay to have the same parts replaced again by our trained Technicians.
Now I’m not saying that good Technicians don’t make mistakes. Even with experience and training, I assure you that mistakes still happen. But these situations are clearly not mistakes. They are Car Repairs that were performed to intentionally deceive the customer. It’s sad.
When your car needs repairs do yourself a favor and give us a call or schedule online. Our staff has the training and experience to get you back on the road quickly and safely at a reasonable price. Then we back our repairs with a 2 year 24,000 mile Nationwide warranty and 12 month roadside assistance at no additional cost.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin