Disreputable Mechanics? Car Life? Is This Supposed to Happen?


#1

I have a 2000 Saturn L300. I’ve never had any major problems with it until it rolled 100K. I regularly get the oil changed and have the scheduled maintenance done to the car.



About a month ago I took it in to the dealer to have the oil changed, and was informed that oxygen sensors needed replacing. Hesistantly, I had it replaced. The car wasn’t getting bad mileage, in the city or on long trips.



A couple weeks later, a whirring sound developed under the hood. It seemed to be coming from somewhere around the alternator. I was told that the serpentine belt tensioner and the alternator were to blame. $1000. Not six hours after I get the car back, it overheats. I’m told that it is the cooling fan which is binding up. More money. I get the car back, the car continues to overheat. Take it back, it’s the relay which controls the fan. I get the car back again, and a couple days later, a clunking sound happens when I put the car in drive and when I accelerate from a stop.



I’m not sure I trust the Saturn dealer I take it to anymore, as it seems every time I get it back, something new is wrong with it. Are my suspicions unfounded?



Is this typical for a car, for everything to suddenly just give out?Is there anything I can do other than take it somewhere else? The other Saturn dealerships in the area are owned by the same car group, so I’m still a little hesitant.



Thanks!


#2

I can see no reason whatsoever to take this to a Saturn dealer. A good independent mechanic can probably save you some money.

Nothing you mentioned is out of the ordinary for a vehicle with 100K miles. “Everything” is not failing, but some things are beginning to reach the end of their wear cycle and need to be replaced. It’s called “Maintenance.”


#3

If you’re NOT sure you trust the dealer…then WHY go there. Dealer doesn’t have to fix your car…Ask around or even check the recommended mechanics on this site to find one near you.

I’d be VERY skeptical of ANY mechanic who replaced a O2 sensor when the car is running fine and the OBD didn’t find it and post a warning.

There’s a dealer near me in NH that is EXTREMELY sleezy. I had to take my truck there one time…because of time and convenience. I walked out of there needing a shower.


#4

Like the others have said, I see no reason to assume foul play. Your car’s mechanical problems are fairly normal for a car that has seen so much use.

Yes, there are sleazy mechanics but their antics are limited to persuading customers to authorize unnecessary service rather than committing sabotage.

Whatever you conclude, know that there is no reason to continue repairs and service from a Saturn dealership. Any independent mechanic can serve you as well for typically less money.


#5

Oh, buddy, I feel for you. I am having a similar problem with my Mazda Millenia. I have been asking around town which mechanics are the best and keeping track of the answers. More than 3 yea’s and I’ll be there. I think, (although I haven’t visited the shop yet because the car can’t stay well enough for more than 3 hours before it’s back on the lift, and bye the way I’ve been at this 7 weeks now) I have found a good transmission shop. I tried one of the mechanics listed on this site that had good feedback and that’s where my problems began.


#6

Like the others have said, I see no reason to assume foul play. Your car’s mechanical problems are fairly normal for a car that has seen so much use.

I guess you should have said for a Saturn. My wifes 96 Accord has more then twice the mileage and we’ve put in less then $100 beyond normal maintenance.


#7

$1000 for serpentine belt tensioner, an alternator and a new belt while you’re at it is excessive. I could do that in my driveway on a Saturday morning for around $250 or possibly less for parts. I’d use a rebuilt alternator.


#8

Some dealers have been know to damage one part while fixing another in order to milk the customer or to encourage them to trade in for a new vehicle. I even caught a dealer doing this once. They had replaced one spark plug wire with a bad one, didn’t even bother to color match the wire.

Find a good independent mechanic.


#9

Some dealers have been know to damage one part while fixing another in order to milk the customer or to encourage them to trade in for a new vehicle. I even caught a dealer doing this once. They had replaced one spark plug wire with a bad one, didn’t even bother to color match the wire.

Find a good independent mechanic.

It’s NOT just dealers…I knew a local mechanic that would do it too. 20/20 did one of their hidden camera reports on it also and found MANY doing the same thing.