A Check Engine Light can definitely give you an uneasy feeling when driving down the road. Just about every single working hour of every single day we get calls from people asking how much for a “Tune up” or “How much to replace” a specific part (you can read more about that here). The reality is that when that light comes on most people think a Tune Up or a gas cap is the problem and just want a price for either. The problem here is that based on our experience less than 2% of the customers that call or just come in requesting a certain part replacement or ‘Tune Up” actually need that part or service to repair their immediate concern. Seem like a low number? We agree!
Today I want to tell you about a customer that absolutely insisted we replace her Jeep Transmission because she was told it needed one. Our first interaction was when she called us about a week ago. She said that her Jeep Check Engine Light had come on and the dealer told her she needed a new transmission. She looked for a second opinion at another local shop that confirmed that her Jeep Transmission needed to be replaced but they “don’t have the equipment” to handle the job for her (Tip; With the exception of computer reprogramming, in most cases if a shop “doesn’t have the equipment” to perform a repair then they most likely don’t have the proper training or tools to properly diagnose the issue in the first place). She was quoted roughly $4000 to replace the transmission and was hoping to get it done cheaper. The woman basically dropped the vehicle off and said “Don’t let the bill go over $4,000”.
Now it’s important to point out that all of our repairs start with having one of our Trained Master Technicians properly diagnose the vehicle before we give any quotes for repairs or replace parts that may not need to be replaced (we go more into detail about this here). The main reason is that we want the customer to leave happy and that wouldn’t happen if we were replacing parts that didn’t fix customer concerns.
So as usual the repair process started with a road test. We found that the vehicle was stuck in 2nd gear. When we scanned the computer for codes (Code is a sequence of numbers that lead us to a troubled area, no scanner will tell you the exact issue without a little bit of testing). The codes were leading us to an issue inside the transmission. So we decided to take a look inside. When we lowered the pan on the bottom of the transmission that holds all of the fluid we found a couple of broken screws and when we started inspecting we found that the metal plate that holds the accumulators into the valve body was bent and broken. The broken screws in the pan were clearly used to hold the metal plate in place but when they broke it allowed the plate to bend.
Jeep Valve Body Repair
This Jeep Repair was actually pretty simple. We lowered the valve body, replaced the seals on the accumulators, replaced the metal plate, the screws that hold the plate in place, and filled the transmission with new fluid. After that we cleared the codes and took it for a road test to verify that everything was working like it should.
The entire repair took a few hours and only cost the customer a few hundred dollars. While replacing the transmission would have definitely fixed her issue, it also would have cost her about $3,600 more than our repair and with the exact same result. Replacing the transmission would have just been unethical.
I must say that I was pretty annoyed that they wouldn’t just give me a price. Like how hard can that be to look up? But once I picked up my vehicle I realized why they do things that way. I was absolutely insistent on getting a price and wanted them to just go ahead and order the transmission. If “the customer was always right” I would have had to pay over $3,000 more for my Jeep to get fixed. These guys are the best! They really are. I went in because of the reviews and they were spot on. From beginning to end this group of people really know how to treat people and they know how to fix cars. I suggest checking them out. Great place and great people.
About a week ago we received a call from a long time customer saying that he hears a noise coming from the back of his Volvo XC90 when driving down the road. We didn’t think much of it because wheel bearings are a common Volvo Repair and they could give him the noise that he was describing. We definitely had the wrong assumption.
When the vehicle came in the customer said that there had been a warning light lit up on his dash for about a month but since the vehicle seemed fine he didn’t bother to call for an appointment. We attempted a road test the vehicle but the noise was a loud grinding that could be felt throughout the entire vehicle as the wheels turned. One of our Master Technicians immediately pulled the vehicle into the shop rather than take the standard road test. We just didn’t want to potentially do any further damage than was already done. When we pulled the Volvo into the shop we hoisted it on the lift and saw a large amount of fluid all over the rear portion of the underside of the vehicle.
It didn’t take long to see that the rear differential (in short, a differential is the gears that turn the wheels) was literally split in half. Since there wasn’t any way to know what caused the damage without removing and disassembling what was left of the Volvo Rear Differential and it had to be removed to be replaced, we went ahead and removed it. It was fairly involved but we got it out without much of an issue at all.
Once we got it out we took it apart for inspection to find out what had failed. There is a bearing in the rear differential called a “Pinion Bearing”. This bearing started to go bad and over time completely failed. This caused the gear that the bearing guides to move around allowing the main gear in the differential to rub on the inside of the differential housing until it eventually banged against it hard enough to break it in half.
Since the housing and gears were all completely destroyed we ended up replacing the entire differential unit. Then we performed an alignment because most of the rear suspension had to come apart to remove the old differential and to install the new one. The part was special order and took a few days to come in but the customer ultimately had their vehicle back in their possession within 2 business days.
When warning lights show up on your dash, it’s never a good idea to ignore them. This differential is equipped with a fluid pump on the differential that’s controlled by a computer that’s also mounted on the differential. The computer had shorted out internally causing the pump to malfunction. This caused a great deal of heat which ultimately caused the pinion bearing to fail.
Do you have any lights on your dash that need to be addressed? Give us a call today or schedule online 24/7.
I’ve been going to James since his first shop opened over 10 years ago. I was happy to use him then and I’m happy to use him now. Always professional and honest. The pricing is also more than fair considering the service you get with anything that they do. Great spot and great people.
Today we had a new Subaru Service customer that called up concerned about a vibration and noise when they were on the highway. They were told by the local Subaru Dealer that the belts in the tires had shifted that that they need 4 new tires and an alignment.
One of our Master Technicians drove the vehicle with the customer to verify the concern. The noise sounded like a very loud thumping that vibrated right through the seat of his pants around 55 mph right up through 65 mph. He then pulled the Subaru into the shop for inspection. We found that the tires are newer but worn a little unevenly due to lack of service. The tires should be rotated about every 8-10,000 miles. In addition the Tech found that the left inner CV boot is torn completely open and has no grease lubricating the inner joint.
Since this joint depends on grease for lubrication, the grease needs to be sealed into the joint with the use of a rubber “CV Boot”. These CV Boots wear and sometimes tear. If spotted early enough the boot and grease can be replaced. But unfortunately in this case the issue was present for an incredibly long time causing the axle shaft to freeze up in the joint where it should be able to slide in and out freely.
We ended up just replacing the entire left front axle, rotating the tires, and performing an alignment. Then we road tested the vehicle again to verify that the Subaru Repair fixed the customer’s concern. We’re happy to say that this vehicle drove straight and smooth just like the day it came off the Subaru Dealer’s lot when it was new. Fortunately this is another case where we’re happy that we took the appropriate steps to properly verify and diagnose the customer’s concern. Otherwise we would have unnecessarily replaced parts that were perfectly “Ok” based on someone else’s incorrect diagnosis.
I love my Subaru and have always been loyal to the brand. It’s actually my 5th one and I wouldn’t drive anything else. It’s important that the car drives properly and is safe because I’m constantly traveling for work and can’t afford to be without it. I heard good things about Precision and I’m happy that I finally gave them a shot. One of their mechanics went for a ride with me to make sure that he heard the noise and then they checked it over to figure out the problem. I only had to wait a few hours and was able to get right back to work. Precision also saved me $327 under what I almost paid at the Subaru Dealer and the repair at the dealer wouldn’t have even fixed the issue. So who knows how much I would have ended up spending. You have a new customer for life. I love my Subaru and I can’t say enough great things about the entire staff at Precision Auto.
Noises can be a tough issue to diagnose. I always tell the staff “90% of diagnosing any issue correctly is verifying the customer’s concern”.
In this case this customer had an issue with a loud banging noise from under the vehicle when turning and braking. They had an initial BMW Repair performed at another local shop that ultimately just replaced all 4 wheel brakes and performed an alignment. None of which fixed the customer’s issue and cost him somewhere around $2,000. He went back to them again and the shop suggested replacing shocks and struts for another $2,000 (sounds fair INSANE).
The customer ended up bringing his BMW Service to us based on some positive reviews that he had read and a recommendation from a co worker (spoiler alert, we didn’t disappoint). We took a ride with the customer to actually verify the noise. Then one of our Master Technicians pulled the car in for inspection. This is what we saw in about 1 minute:
That’s a picture of the portion of the frame that supports the entire transmission. When the customer would step on the brakes and slow down the car would downshift and the entire transmission would bang against the body of the car. We replaced the support and mount within 1 day and had the customer back on the road with the problem resolved.
Fortunately for this customer the story ended well. Our only regret for them is that they spent $2,000 prior to coming to Precision Auto Repair to replace things that were perfectly fine and almost paid another $2,000 to replace shocks and struts on their BMW 335 for no reason whatsoever. Yet another reason we don’t trust diagnosis done by anyone except for our skilled and trained Technicians.
“It’s all true, they took me right in, took care of the problem, and it only cost a few hundred bucks. The staff was really friendly and everyone seemed to know what they were talking about at all times. It put me right at ease and it’s not a bad feeling when you actually get what you’re paying for. I’ll never go anywhere else. Thanks for all of your efforts.