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Tell me if you think this is a bad business practice or not…

A friend of mine has an 02 mercury cougar that started having some transmission issues. As a favor I pulled the trans out for him (for free) and figured out that the differential was the problem.

Took the transmission to AAMCO for him and he had them fix it since I just didn’t have the time. They replaced the spider gear set and charged him about 500 bucks.

We pick up the trans, get it back in the car, and poof, no reverse. The trans was shifting into reverse, but as soon as the clutch was released it would pop out of gear and grind. there was also a faint whining sound coming from the trans that wasn’t there previously.

Called AAMCO and they told him to drop it off and they would fix it under warranty.

Later the same day they call and tell him the problem is definitely in the trans and it was probably reassembled incorrectly.

They then tell him he will either have to pay them to remove the trans and fix THEIR mistake or take the car home, pull the trans himself and bring it back for them to warranty their work.

Now, they fully admitted they botched the initial repair but completely refused to fix it without him paying them even though it was under their warranty.

They told him there was no way to ensure the trans was reassembled completely since it was out of the car when they repaired it.

Does anyone else find this a bit shady?

Also, after contacting the AAMCO corporate offices, he was told they had no affiliation with the local franchises and would not help in the matter. they told him to seek legal recourse on his own.

I remember a time when a repair shop would stand by their work and do their best to ensure their customers were happy…

Your first mistake was taking it to AAMCO…You second mistake was pulling the transmission if you did not intend to repair it…

Not my decision. I would have and could have repaired it if I had the time (and saved him about 300 bucks) but he was impatient since he needed his car asap.

You put yourself in the middle of a big mess, not your friend…NOBODY is happy now…

I agree with you Caddyman. This is like taking your own oil to an oil change shop or your own raw hamburger to McDonalds. The result will not be good.

well, my buddy is in the process of moving from VA to Charlotte NC and has very little extra money right now. the first shop quoted him about 3000 bucks to fix his car. The trans shop I deal with(which is much cheaper) couldn’t get to it for at least 2 weeks, AAMCO quoted him about 2 grand if they pulled it and about 500 if we pulled it and brought it to them.

they also promised no more than 2 days for the repair if I pulled it out for them.

Again, not my idea. Just trying to make Kevin happy and save him some money.

So if you pull it again will AAMCO fix it under warranty??


I’m not a fan of AAMCO at all but I can actually see their point here.

You are asking for free labor. Remember any shop only warranties the work they perform and get paid for. If you paid for the removal/installation you would have a bit of ground to stand on.

They are standing fine behind their work. Either pay them to take it out/reinstall or DIY.

I remember a time when a repair shop would stand by their work and do their best to ensure their customers were happy…

I remember a time when people did want everything for free too.

Good luck.

I want to echo both ok4450 and andrew j.

While I would NEVER suggest that someone take his car (or their separated transmission) to AAMCO, AAMCO is actually standing by its work by offering to re-do exactly what they did in the first place–namely repair a transmission that had been removed from a car.

Nobody paid AAMCO for removal and replacement of the transmission in the first place.
AAMCO was paid to work on a transmission that had been removed from a car and brought to them.

Now, the OP apparently expects AAMCO to absorb the extra labor costs of removal/reinstallation of the transmission, in addition to their legitimate costs for re-doing the transmission overhaul–and that is both unrealistic and unfair to the shop.

As was said, your options include:

Removing the transmission, bringing it back to AAMCO, and then reinstalling the trans yourself


Paying AAMCO to remove the transmission and reinstall it

I believe that the OP’s judgment–from his selection of transmission shops to his expectations for warranty fulfillment–is not very good.

I think you guys are missing the point entirely here.

The original repair, in my opinion, was never completed.
They replaced the spider gears but didn’t reassemble the transmission properly which led directly to the new problem. Part of a successful repair is the correct reassembly of the part(s).

They have admitted they did not reassemble it correctly.
They want to get paid for not reassembling it correctly.

Then they give some BS story about how it isn’t possible to reassemble a trans correctly on the bench.

the point is, they have already been paid to disassemble, repair, and reassemble the transmission. they only got 2 out of 3 right.

the point is, they have already been paid to disassemble, repair, and reassemble the transmission. they only got 2 out of 3 right.

CORRECT…And now you’re asking them to do the removal and put it back for FREE.

To me, it seems that they are willing to fix their error, starting at the point where you began with them: “Here is a transmission, alreday removed from the car. Please fix it and give it back to me; I will reinstall it in the car.”

As for “no way to ensure the trans was reassembled completely since it was out of the car when they repaired it,” I don’t know enough to opine. Perhaps it’s BS, but how WOULD you test a closed-up tranny without the car??

Given the bad-mouthing that AAMCO (and other chains) get here, I’m surprised they are treating you so fairly. You and your buddy took some extra risk when you tried to save money by doing part of the job yourselves. Now you have to accept the consequences. Be happy that even if you have to R&I the tranny again, you will still have saved the money. You will just be out the extra time & aggravation that you risked by going to AAMCO, but at least you can be happy that you have the skills and knowledge to make sure they do the job right.

yes, since they were already paid for a repair they didn’t finish.

They were paid to correctly fix the trans. Kev should have to eat the cost because of substandard repair work? that isn’t right. it’s not his fault for their botched reassembly…it’s their employees fault. they should have to bear the burden of whatever it may take to fix it, whether that be pulling the trans out themselves this time or not.

they say they can’t ensure the repair without having the car. Well, now they have it.
Now they want more money because they dropped the ball… which is BS.

I think that reassembling a 5 speed is a pretty simple task. not like it’s an automatic.

If they had just done it right the first time, there would be no issue.

And they seemed quite happy to receive only the trans. Hell, I even cleaned it up for them and told them what was wrong.

They assured Kevin the fact the trans wasn’t in the car would not be an issue.

“And they seemed quite happy to receive only the trans”

And, it appears that they will be happy to receive only the transmission once again.
You had better get to work removing that trans so that they can do what they have promised to do.

They worked on the transmission. They didn’t work on the car.

They are willing to repair their mistake at no charge. What they are not willing to do is provide labor for something you didn’t pay for originally…the labor to remove & install the trans. from the car. Fair is fair…

You mention their performing 3 steps and what you’re now doing is asking them to perform the 4th step (the transmission R and R) for free. You were never billed for that 4th step so why should this now be a freebie?

From what you’ve posted it sounds like AAMCO has been perfectly willing to correct any mistakes they may have made and I think you’re wrong on another count.
You mention the 5 speed manual transmission as being easy to reassemble, not like an automatic, etc, etc. There’s more to putting a manual together than meets the eye.

And I would ask this. You performed the transmission R and R and you state the manual transmission is easy to do. Well, why didn’t you fix the transmission and leave AAMCO clean out of this equation?

It might be worthwhile to carefully re-position the shift linkage before pulling the transmission again.