Did my dealer try to cheat me?

I get the feeling that the service department in new car dealers aren’t particularly fond of older cars, even when it is the brand that they sell. On older cars, the bolts are often harder to remove due to rust, the parts department doesn’t carry the parts in the inventory, etc. Therefore, the dealer may be encouraging you to purchase something that is easier for the mechanics to service and repair.
I had a door that was difficult to close on my 1978 Oldsmobile that was 22 years old at the time. I checked with an indendent body shop and was told that I needed a new hinge. The body shop said that I would have to find the part and would have to go to a salvage yard and get lucky. I decided to try the dealer where I bought the car. However, I did think I saw a technician dive into an empty oil drum. When I drove in, the service writer was courteous and turned me over the the manager of the body shop. She came out and told me that the hinge was no longer available. I told her that when I bought the car, I was assured that the dealer would always be able to service the car and have parts for it and I was really disappointed. She said that they didn’t expect me to keep the car for 22 years and drive it 220,000 miles, but she would see what she could do. She disappeared back into the body shop and came back with a great big technician who was carrying a wrench, a large drift pin and a sledge hammer. He loosened the bolts on the hinge, put the drift under the hinge and pounded on it with the sledge hammer. He then tightened the bolts and tested the door. It worked perfectly. When I asked about the charge, he said, “There is no charge. We guarantee these babies for 25 years or 250,000 miles”. I sold the Oldsmobile this past October because the warranty had run out.

I agree that if the story as told is 100% correct this dealer is either one of the most misguided or one of the crookest dealers on Earth.
The diagnosis is so way out of whack that I would be very curious as to how it was arrived at and the info leading to that diagnosis should have been presented to the OP at the time they were given the diagnosis.

My feeling is misguided or misinterpretation rather than crooked.

So the hinge just needed to be realigned with the drift pin?

OK you have a point, maybe there was a powerstroke diesel in the shop that day and the service writer accidentally gave the OP the diagnosis for that vehicle instead. Just an innocent mistake?

I’m inclined to agree with you Keith. Things can get pretty hectic at the service counter sometimes and sometimes car problems become a blur due to facing one after the other and being interrupted a thousand times by a ringing phone or mechanic.

Two cracked cylinders and a blown headgasket? For that diagnosis to have been given to the OP by mistake, there would have had to be an engine in a bay with two cracked cylinders and a blown headgasket. I’m still skeptical as to the honesty of the shop. The whole thing seems to me to be too far out to be a simple error.

I guess we['ll never know.

I think they tried to rip the OP off:
Remember, they tore the AC apart just a year before and some other independent mechanic found it was just a knob to a switch.
What are the chances they do this twice to the same person? They are either morons, corrupt or both.
The practice is systemic at that dealership, I bet.

Just name the dealership and be done with it, I say.
Btw, maybe we should have our own dealership/mechanic rating on this forum somewhere, just like we maybe be able to recommend businesses, we can also tell others to stay away from them. The BBB is totally useless with crooks like that so why not have something here?

Btw, maybe we should have our own dealership/mechanic rating on this forum somewhere, just like we maybe be able to recommend businesses


Oops - Duly noted. Thanks, circuit.
I didn’t realize one could give someone a negative rating and never use mechanics or dealers so have no reason to go to that part of the forum.

I’d consider writing both incidents up in as few words as possible to make it likely to be read and then send it off to Attn. Dealer Sales Department or similar words at Ford Headquarters for their consideration. There may not be such a department but it will help with routing the letter to the appropriate people. They can investigate if they care about their business. I would not expect to see a reply.

Are negative ratings new (lat 2 to 3 years)? The lat time I looked there were no negative ratings. I am glad that negative ratings are not suppressed. I am also pleased that the shops that I consider best get great ratings.

I think it’s hard to say until/unless we hear the dealership’s repair specialist’s side of the story. Two cracked cylinders and a blown head gasket certainly seem like would produce some symptoms beyond a CEL. Sounds suspicious, but I can’t issue a definite opinion until I hear what the other side has to say about this case.

Is it possible there could be “secret” codes only the dealership has the technology to read? I guess it is possible. If so, we all should lobby for a “Fair Code Access” bill that would require all information collected by any in-car computer and available to the dealer also be freely available to the owner of the car who wishes to do the repair himself instead. That only seems a fair way to do business.