Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Automotive Sucker


Sometimes I wonder if auto repair people don’t look at me and see SUCKER written all over my face.  I confess I am at their mercy.
Just last Friday the old Volvo went in because the A/C wasn’t working and the windshield wipers seemed seriously lacking.  They wanted an outrageous amount of money to fix those problems.  We asked them to put everything back together again and charge the A/C with freon.  I also asked for a list of the parts that would be needed for those repairs and called Don, my Internet junkyard friend in Kansas.  I ordered the necessary parts, which were due to arrive later this week.
Then I finally got in the car to go into town for an appointment today.  The A/C seemed perfectly fine.  I cringed as it started to rain with big drops and an ominous sky.  But the wipers also worked fine, even on the fast speed that wasn’t working last week for my daughter.  And I had $400 worth of parts coming from Kansas?  WTF!?
This had happened before at that repair shop.  That was the time when none of the indicator lights was working -- no fuel gauge, no temperature gauge, etc.  They wanted thousands to fix that problem.  But when we said we weren’t going to spend that kind of money on an old car, their Volvo guy Jason came up with a no-cost way to fix the problem.
My guess is Jason worked his magic on last week’s problems as well because the car is running like a champ.
So I took a deep breath and called Don in Kansas to ask about his return policy on used parts.  Fortunately he is backed up and hadn’t even started pulling my parts for shipment yet.  When I described what had happened, he questioned the honesty of my repair shop and agreed I didn’t need any parts -- new or used -- at this time.
So this saga had a happy and relatively inexpensive ending.  But I really wish I was smart enough about car repair to know when something really needs to be fixed, especially if the price tag is high. 

7 Comments:

Blogger Kristin said...

I'm so glad everything's working without the $$$ price tag! I swear everything starts working again as soon as I think about turning into the repair shop but somehow I still end up owing loads of money. I'm not sure how that works...

9:35 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I am a big sucker but from this story you don't seem to be one. I hate when people take advantage of others. Why does this happen? My mom would ask "are they happy?" She always finds the silver lining and a way to make things right. Hmmm, how did this become about my mom? I always seem to do that.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gary -- I hate to think how many unnecessary and expensive repairs I have agreed to over the years just because I didn't know better. What this has taught me is to question and perhaps do a little research/asking around before agreeing to something.

I do understand that people are in business to make money and swapping out parts brings in more bucks than maintaining existing ones, but it's too bad when it's not really necessary. I am sure they are happy as they make their bank deposits!

11:30 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I don't think you ARE a sucker, in this case -- you put a stop to everything before you paid for unnecessary repairs! I'm clueless about cars, too.

7:31 AM  
Blogger lacochran said...

Wait, you went through this:
"This had happened before at that repair shop. That was the time when none of the indicator lights was working -- no fuel gauge, no temperature gauge, etc. They wanted thousands to fix that problem. But when we said we weren’t going to spend that kind of money on an old car, their Volvo guy Jason came up with a no-cost way to fix the problem."
and you went back? *perplexed look*

11:44 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

LA -- The place is 5 minutes away. They provide transportation both ways if needed. They are nice people. Jason always seems to be able to solve the problem. I just have to learn to resolutely say NO to expensive repairs. They have done a few things at very low cost. So I keep going back. What can I say?

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like your good radar instincts saved you a bundle of money once again, Barbara!

I too know very little about cars, and was lucky many years ago to be referred to a highly-regarded mechanic's shop. Over the years their reputation and rates have continued to grow, but I trust them, so it's worth it to me.

F.

2:11 PM  

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