Dishonest mechanic

saab
900

#1

I recently took my car to a new mechanic on a few different occasions because i needed to get some work done in order for it to pass smog. On two seperate occasions I left the shop with a new problem with my car. I can’t prove that the mechanics were responsible, but I definitely did not have the issues before I brought the car in. Is there anything I can do?


#2

There are far more incompetent than dishonest mechanics. The former are only dishonest about their abilities and will blame something or someone else when they screw up. The latter may charge you for work not done, new parts not installed, spraying oil on your shocks to convince you that you need new ones, etc.


#3

There is no way for anyone here to make any kind of opinion.

Maybe if you tell us some of the details, like exactly was done and why. What was the new problem each time. Maybe some history of the car: How long have you had it, how many miles on it.

It is not unusual to fix one problem only to find that there was another problem that the first problem masked.

How long between the time you had an indication of a problem and when you got it to a mechanic to pass the smog test? Some of the problems that might cause a smog failure could cause damage to other parts.


#4

You car is quite old. I believe it is at least 10 years since the name Saab 900 has been used. It could simply have many issues.

I guess you need to describe your issues encountered and how quickly after leaving shop for us to state if they even potentially could be on the hook.


#5

Okay, regarding the specifics. The first time I brought the car in they fixed a part near the coolant, I can’t remember exactly what it was, and when I drove my car from the shop to my house that very day all of the coolant had leaked out because there was a hole in one of the tubes. They were sort of accomodating for that fix, and agreed to do the service for free if I paid to have my car towed back and payed for the part. The second time I brought my car in, they were replacing the air injection hose, and when I came to pick it up the window was rolled all the way down. While driving out of the shop I attempted to role my window back up, only to find that it was totally off and wouldn’t role up at all. I know they couldn’t have purposely broken my automic window, but they weren’t even going to tell me.


#6

The first sounds like incompetence, but the second may be coincidence.


#7

I think you’re looking for a conspiracy that does not exist; and on an aged SAAB 900 to boot.

With few details provided other than to label them as dishonest, they repaired a coolant leak. Since an aged SAAB 900 can be prone to coolant leaks anyway who’s to say that another leak did not develop on your way home? A leak is repaired, the cooling system pressure returns to what it should be, and the next weak link in the chain gives up.
Repair that leak and a 3rd may surface. This is why it is recommended at a certain point that all heater hoses, radiator hoses, etc. be replaced rather than allow them to fail one at a time.

An aged SAAB is also not impervious to window problems and these can occur at any time. It’s quite possible the window simply fell on its own or was lowered while in the shop and no one made an attempt to roll it back it up.
If the window is off the track or whatever that just means an existing problem has finally surfaced.

From what you have related I can see nothing fraudulent unless there was a screwup or something about the coolant leak but you provided no details except “a part” and “can’t remember what it was”.
And accomodating does not mean they were guilty of anything. It simply means the trouble area could be related and they were doing this for PR purposes; an attempt which obviously failed.


#8

Dishonesty or incompetence, either way, you’re going to torment yourself every time you take your car to a shop you can’t (don’t) trust. Sad to say, there’s no good way to know without trying a shop and forming your own impressions, but many car forums have customer reviews of area shops that you can consult to get an idea of where to start. For those of us who have moved often in our lives, it’s a problem we deal with every time we arrive in a new community, right along with finding a doctor, dentist, barber, etc. Most of us have our share of bad experiences to show for how difficult it is to find the good ones.


#9

While a Saab is a car, it still has many unique aspects. Therefore, you need to choose a mechanic with care and in particular find one that routinely fixes Saabs. A generalist mechanic will tell you he can fix a Saab, but if he runs into problems they start fiddling and can make things worse.

The coolant issue sounds like a botched job. I don’t agree with them making you pay for the tow. Find another shop. The window could have happened at anytime. Hard to say if they caused it or even knew it was broken. Still, find another shop.


#10

The first time I brought the car in they fixed a part near the coolant … that very day all of the coolant had leaked out because there was a hole in one of the tubes. They were sort of accomodating for that fix, and agreed to do the service for free if I paid to have my car towed back and payed for the part.

Probably more the result of ham-fisted work than dishonesty. So much depends on the circumstances of the leak. If, for example, the tube was rusted and weak in the area that developed the leak, it probably would have started leaking soon even if they did not disturb it. If the tube was in otherwise good shape and the puncture was the result of their negligence, then that is an entirely different story altogether. In the former, I think you got a good deal in them picking up some of the cost. In the latter case, I might expect more, if not complete, compensation. Did they show you the damage to the tubing?

The second time I brought my car in, they were replacing the air injection hose, and when I came to pick it up the window was rolled all the way down. While driving out of the shop I attempted to role my window back up, only to find that it was totally off and wouldn’t role up at all. I know they couldn’t have purposely broken my automic window, but they weren’t even going to tell me

Was the car indoors when you picked it up? If it was outside, I would expect them to roll up the indows if they move it outdoors (and lock it), regardless of the weather. In that situation, they should have known there was a problem and at least mentioned it to you. In all likelyhood, the window just came off the tracks due to age and wear. It’s not inconcieveable that someone leaned on it to reach inside when it was halfway down and caused it to come off the tracks but that’s remote. When in good shape, they are fairly robust and won’t jump tracks regardless.

Is there anything I can do?

Move on and find someone else who you feel you can trust.


#11

First off…if you’re NOT comfortable with this mechanic then stop visiting him.

I’ve run across several mechanics who were crooks before. They are out there. There have been many many shows from magazine shows like 20/20 finding out the dishonest shop. One show years ago they went to 10 different shops and 9 out of 10 tried to rip them off.


#12

I think that there are more incompetent mechanics than dishonest mechanics. So, most of those 9 were probably just incompetent.


#13

No…they were crooks. If it was because of incompetence then they probably had less then 2 hours total working on cars…I think the problem was the car was towed in there with the coil wire half way off the coil…Only ONE found it and didn’t charge them a dime…others were quoting new distributor…new plugs and wires…etc…etc…There was a hidden camera…so they know exactly what they checked…Several of them found the problem right away…then put the coil wire the way they found it…and then wrote up an estimate of several hundred dollars to fix it…Many of them even charged for all these new parts and all they did was make the simple fix by connecting the wire…then clean up the parts they said they replaced…and proceeded to charge the customer for $500…The magazine show pretty much PROVED they were crooks.


#14

I won’t dispute the reportage as you saw it. I just wonder if they chose those particular shops at random, OR, if they chose from a list where there had been complaints from customers. If it were from a list of suspects, that is different than from a random sampling of shops.


#15

There’s also a good possibility that TV report was done over 6 months time and a 100 shops were visited; followed by the reporter picking the bad ones out, throwing in a token good one, and then allowing the perception that almost all are crooked.

Television and truth don’t always go hand in hand.


#16

Independent mechanic has struck again!

Go back and tell the mechanic. Ask if he/she will correct the problem without additional charges. It is advisable to not approach the mechanic while loaded for bear, so to speak, or you will get nothing for sure.

If no satisfaction, there is most likely nothing you can do except don’t go there again. You can document your concerns in a letter to send to the BBB if it will make you feel better having done something rather than nothing.