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Bad shops that give good shops a bad name

Hi Guys I guess I just need to vent some. I help my gal buy a used vehcile, a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4. I got it at real good deal. We both knew it would need a few parts. A good friend used to own a shop. I always got a good deal on work there. I know all the guys that work there.Before I took it there I had it up on a hoist at a buddy place. My bad I missed the bad ball joints. But the tie rods, brakes (I replaced the pads) and wheel bearings (they are new and I know when they were installed) all check out fine. As I cant do alinements I took it there for them to do the job. The price to do the alinement was not to bad $55.00. Like I said I missed the ball joints in my inspection. The new owner comes out with a list of parts he wants to replace. This list has on it : ball joints, tie rods (all of them and links), wheel bearings both sides and brakes ( I had just put pads on it). He takes me out into the shop and shows me the ball joints frist. Now they are so bad I cant believe I miss them. I know that when putting a bar on them it can make them worst. Ok I can go with this, no problem. Now he trying real hard to tell and show me that the rest of the parts he listed are bad. He even went so far as to say that the new wheel bearing were bad because they could have been cheap ones. You should have seen the look on his face when I told that I had just put new brake pads on and I knew that the wheel bearing were less than 2 months old and no real miles on them. I took it back to my buddys and we replaced the ball joints and I took it to someone else for the alinement.

With shops like this no wonder good shops have a hard time.

Oh when new owner came out to show me what he had found. The guys I know that work there no, where to found. Wait till I see them.

This is a small town. If they keep this up they wont be here long. Thanks for letting me vent.

You are lucky you are in a small town. I am in CA/LA area, a lot of shops change a lot of owners in a short period of time. Also, I guess the cost of business being high along with other factors, make it more difficult to find an honest shop. Every time I have confronted a shop about their dishonesty, I notice that they have no sense of shame. This esp happens if my wife takes the car in and then I have to call them to straighten things out.

I know what you mean. I have 2 daughters. They grew up in my shop. When I cant work on their cars and they go to a shop I get a call most times. Its good to know they learned form dad.

We sill kid the oldest about the time she came into the shop with the rear drive shaft of her Subaru Justy. She said “Dad do I need this it fell off my car today” My forman spit his coffee on the floor! LOL

Those shops and those kind of mechanics are, along with incompetence, one of the major reasons that my business has a terrible reputation.

There are shops out there that just want to make an honest living. There are a lot of fly-by-night shops that want to make a killing on anything that comes through their doors. They usually don’t remain in business for very long but they give a bad name to all vehicle repair shops.

oldbodyman’s post is a crazy but sad & too often representative story. As a mechanic I’ve been lucky over the years insofar as I’ve rarely been pressured into overselling. I did recently work at one well known exhaust chain store & quit because I couldn’t take home any decent pay without over selling–and when you got the work, you had to get it done in a flash. Also, they were reluctant to hire enough inspection mechanics (This is PA). So me & another guy were the only ones in the shop with our PA insp. licenses. So, unlicensed techs would check out cars for inspection & the manager would say to me–“Karl–this car’s ready for a sticker.” (!) I got lucky after a few weeks & landed another job & left with no notice. The manager didn’t even get mad. Maybe he felt guilty.

If I was a manager I wouldn’t let these shenanigans go on. How embarrassing it would be for such greediness described in oldbodyman’s post to be called out, in or out of court!

The incident related by oldbodyman does reflect badly on the shop and the profession. I wonder in this particular case if the mechanic suggested ball joints and the new owner is the one piling on or whether it was a collaborative effort?

Some shops may be rotten to the core and some may be tainted by one bad apple.

As to overselling, I’ve also never been under pressure to oversell and faced a somewhat similar situation at times with vehicle inspections. In my case though, it was a matter of the dealership owner expecting me to slap a sticker on a glaringly unsafe car that belonged to a buddy or some small car lot.
The owner held an inspection certificate too so he would pencil whip it and send it on.