Complaint against a mechanic

I have a 2006 Kia Sorento mini van and I always took it to the dealership to do oil changes and maintanence on the car because I didn’t want to void the warranty. However, the car just went out of the warranty and now I have problems. I first went there (not knowing if I still had a warranty or not) and wanted to get a oil change. My check engine light went on and I wanted to also check that out. The mechanic did the oil change, however, couldn’t figure out why the check engine light went on. When the mechanic got to my car it went off so they just told me that the sensor might have gone on because the gas cap was not on tightly. This dealership didn’t know if I had a warranty or not because I didn’t always go to this one. I went to the one in Orlando which is where I purchase the car. The mechanic told me he did a diagnostic on my car and told me that I need new brakes. I told him that I didn’t want him doing it because I wanted the other dealership to do it because I didn’t know if I was still under warranty or not and I wanted to keep all my records of my car in one dealership. So I went down to my dealership to get the brakes done. When I was there they also said one of my headlights was out and I told them to replace it and that is what they did. Two days later I got pulled over by the police saying I had no headlights, I told the police that I just got them replaced and showed him the invoice so he let me go with a warning. Went down to the dealership to say to replace the headlights, they said they were sorry that the bulbs must have been bad and they replaced them - they didn’t charge me. Then a few days later I noticed my car was leaking oil so I went back down to the dealership where I get my repairs done and they tell me a part (looks like a washer) wasn’t installed with the oil change. They told me they would fix it free of charge. They then come back to me and said I needed some other gaskets and it would cost me $550.00. (I already paid $565.00 for a brake job and headlight repair and another $30.00 for the oil change). I asked if the repair can be held off another month or so because I couldn’t afford $1000 worth of repair charges in a month. They said the gaskets were ok and I could wait a few months, that the gaskets were just wearing away. A few days later I noticed oil again on my driveway (my driveway was now a mess). Went back down there again and told them my car was leaking oil. The mechanic told me again the part (washer) was not installed. I told him the history and he said he was not told to fix the problem. (I don’t know who told him not to fix the problem but I waited in the waiting room for an hour and half for them to fix an oil change problem when I came in with the problem). I asked to speak to the manager. The manager then came back and said the gaskets need to be replaced as well and the axel is going. Cost $1000. Again I asked if the car was safe to drive and if it could be held off for a month. He said yes. They fixed the oil change. I got the car home and it started to make an awful sound that I never heard before. I thought my wheels were going to fall off. I couldn’t possibly get my car back down to the dealership so I decided to go to a local mechanic who people recommended to me. (by the way my car was no longer under warranty). The mechanic said the axil didn’t need replacing however the clamps were loose. He tighten them and changed the gaskets all for $300.00. My car is running fine. Do I have any recoarse with this dealership? I now think my brakes might have not needed to be fixed. Are they purposely tampering with cars so they come back for repairs? How can I place a complaint against a dealership? I have two young kids and if my wheel fell off while I was driving and they got hurt…I don’t even want to think of the possibilities. I am just so fuming mad at dishonest mechanics that taking advantage of women.

Don’t feel it is a sexist thing, Dealerships and mechanics can make good and bad diagnosis, I think some are good, some are not. You appear to have found a good mechanic, every thing else is water under the bridge.

On the surface I’d say you were dealing with a bad dealership but hate to commit to that opinion because minute details here and there could swing things the other way.

Are they screwing things up on purpose to force you to come back? Not likely at all.
Are they screwing things up because of incompetence or various people at the dealership not being on the same page? Much more likely.

I have a few questions in regards to the headlight problem. You’re referring to them in the plural after having one headlight replaced originally.
Does this mean the cops stopped you for both lamps out or because of one failed lamp?
If it’s the latter does this mean it was the side that was not replaced originally?
If both were out then why are you driving around with kids and no lighting? Just wonderin’.

When i took the car in for brakes i didn’t know my headlights were out. I don’t drive in the dark much so I don’t use them all that often. I only put approx 5000 miles on my car in a year. When I went in to get my brakes done, they told me the headlights were out. Yes they replaced both of them the first time around, so therefore both of them were bad headlights and both of them were replaced the second time. When I was stopped by the police I went out to get milk at around 9:00 after I put the kids to bed and my husband was home, so they were not in the car. I also didn’t know the headlights were not working because I don’t drive in the dark that much. I live in a city that is pretty much lit up with traffic lights etc so i didn’t realize my lights were out until the police pulled me over.

I always check my lights every time i get an oil change better to be seen than not.

Some comments that may help the OP in the future:

1>Anyone can service your car without voiding the warranty, as long as you keep all of the documentation, and as long as the car is maintained at least as well as the mfr’s maintenance schedule specifies.

2>The dealership that claimed not to know if your warranty was still in effect was either lying or simply incompetent, as all dealerships of a particular make can access all information pertaining to your car via a computer system maintained by the manufacturer.

3>Whether you needed brakes or not, brake pad replacement is almost never covered by warranty. Subaru is the exception to the rule on this issue, and there may be some other mfrs that cover brake pad replacement under the terms of their warranty, but Kia does not cover this under their warranty.

4>After at least 6 years of mostly local driving, it is very likely that you did need to have the brake pads replaced. Purely local driving will wear your brakes much faster than highway driving, simply because of the frequent need to apply the brakes in local driving. You are also potentially wearing out other parts of your vehicle prematurely with just 5k of local driving each year, but that is an issue for another time.

5>There was no need to “keep all of the records at one dealership” because of the computerized nature of the records, which any dealership can add to and can access. (See item #2 above)

6>Whichever dealer replaced the headlights and did the oil change (I can’t tell which dealership is which, because of the confusing nature of your post) should be avoided. Yes, they screwed up–in at least two ways.

7>The axle clamps were loose??? Can you look at the service invoice, and tell us exactly what it says regarding this issue?

8>No, I don’t believe that you have any recourse with the dealership. You could file a complaint with the corporate folks at the contact number in your Owner’s Manual, but I think that your best recourse would be to just avoid the offending dealership in the future. After the fact, how could you possibly determine if the brakes were in need of replacement? The old brake pads are long gone. However, you most likely did need to have the brake pads replaced. See item #4 above.

9>If you trust the independent mechanic to whom you brought the car recently, I strongly suggest that you stay with him for your maintenance and repair needs. And–I strongly suggest that you discuss with him the issue of the type of damage that you are doing to the vehicle by driving it just 5k a year in local conditions. This situation requires a different, more aggressive approach to maintenance.

Lets start off with this. If you have a kia MiniVan it is a Sedona not a Sorento… The Sorento is the SUV. My wife has a 2007 Sedona and we just turned 70,000 miles… It is still on its original set of brakes. She does a lot of mixed driving, but all and all we have been very happy with the Van. As VDC states, every dealership is different and are owned by individuals NOT the manufacturer. With that said though ANY KIA dealership can look up your car in the computer and see if you are in warranty. Also as VDC states, as long as you have records of your oil changes any one can do the services. You should still have your 10yr 100K powertrain warranty if you are the original owner which it sounds like you maybe. If you are I know motor and trans is covered, and I think axles might be?? If you were the second owner they you only had the 5yr/60 so you would be out on time.

The brakes are not the issue here. After 6 years, you need brakes. And $300 is what a dealer will charge for pads only) You are missing the real issue here.

  1. Once warranty is over, you do not take your car to the dealership for repairs. Tell your husband to help you find a local mechanic who is well regarded. Dealer charges double, and is a total ripoff.

  2. It is VERY strange that your car was fine, the dealer now says axle, and going home something is now loose? I smell a rat. Can you ask the mechanic to tell you exactly what was loose? And ask him if the dealer may have sabotaged that on purpose to sell you a new axle.

Also, can you look at the invoice and tell us EXACTLY what “gaskets” were replaced?