Help! My husband is oversees serving and I don't want to get ripped off at the mechanics!

My husband is oversees serving and I am driving his 2005 diesel excursion. The past few months I have noticed a small amount of flid under my car each morning. Over the past two weeks it has turned into a huge puddles of diesel fuel. The dripping only happens when the car is on and in park, waiting for a light to change and a few minutes after the car has been turned off. I have also noticed the smell of diesel fuel in the cabin while I’m not moving and the car is on. I do not have my husband around to help nor any extra money to throw away at the mechanics. I know when I show up to have the car fixed and have no idea what I am talking about that the price will go up. Please help!!!

Try to find a trusted local mechanic who won’t take advantage. Look in the “Mechanics Files” for a recommended mechanic near you:

If you can’t find one in the Mechanics Files, ask some friends for a recommendation.

This is a fire hazard, so don’t drive it. Find a trusted mechanic and have it towed there.

You need to get this fixed, soon. Do any other spouses have mechanics they recommend? Here’s the Car Talk mechanic finder tool, it has worked well for me:

I really hope there aren’t really shops like that around. When I was doing this for a living, it didn’t matter how knowledgeable the customer was, the price was the same. If a customer demonstrated a sincere need, and we could accommodate them, the price went down. Sometimes a lot. Any decent shop will not rip off a customer because the auto repair business is extremely competitive. There are gazillions of other shops out there who would be more than happy to take a customer from another shop after they’ve been burned. Unless your husband has had reason to grow leery of this shop and has been considering finding somewhere else to go, you likely have nothing to worry about. The last thing any shop wants to do is lose a customer because they know that if you do someone right, they may tell a friend, but if you do someone wrong, they will tell everyone they see and may even go to the media with it.

Have you spoken to your husband about this yet ?
Who’s his mechanic choice ?
If they won’t rip him off , they won’t rip you off.

These 6.0 diesels are a complicated maze of tubes, pipes, pumps, filters etc and one 50 cent o-ring can be causing all the leaks and yet take 300 dollars of labor to fix…without being a rip off !

A truck that age must have a history somewhere.
I really would start with the mechanic who regularly works on this truck and knows it and your husband already.
If communication with your husband is not feasable right now, look for repair receipts to learn where the truck has been in the past.
A big piece of advice from all of us in other discussions is to establish a raport with a regular mechanic for all the little things too. It’s that business ethic that will even allow them to defer payment for a while on the big things like this,

Reputable mechanics DO NOT rip people off just because they don’t know much about vehicles, or because their spouses are overseas.

If you don’t have a mechanic with whom you’re used to dealing, now is a good time to talk to friends, neighbors, relatives, coworkers, etc, and get recommendations.

Stay away from any sort of quickie oil change place or a chain shop. locate a good local independent, and start taking the vehicle there. They are not that hard to find.

Be advised that the dripping is happening anytime the engine is turned on, not just when it is in park, stopped at a light, or the few minutes it takes to run down after you park and turn it off.

Is there someone who specializes in diesels in your area? Presumably you live near where your husband is based. Is there a motor pool there? Does anyone there want to pick up a little cash in his/her off-hours?

You’re certainly going into this with the attitude that you’re going to be ripped off and may have this same attitude after a repair is done; legitimate or not.

The idea that the price will go up because you have no idea what you’re talking about is a bit far-fetched.
Take the vehicle in, ask them to look it over, and then provide you with an estimate without saying one word about your mechanical illiteracy.

Then take the vehicle to another shop and repeat the process if would make you feel better about it.

I’m retired AF, I’m not sure if the AF still funds “Auto Hobby Shops” anymore or not. Not just AF, but all bases at one time had them. If there is a base near where you live, call them(Auto Hobby Shop) tell them your problem, the members of the armed forces take care of their own. Someone is sure to give you help, and probably will not be very expensive, parts cost, if that. Airdropbill

Another possibility is to take your Excursion to the motor pool on base, just for a look-see. If you can talk the mechanics into putting the truck on a lift, they and you can probably see the leak. If you know where the leak is, you will know if you are getting ripped off or not.

“My vehicle has a major fuel leak. Please put it up on a lift and find it. Then call me and tell me what it’s going to take to fix it”…Thank You…Then add: “If this is going to be expensive, can I come down and have you show me what the problem is?” Thanks again.

No decent repair shop should have a problem meeting your request…

Could be something as easy to deal with as a leak at the fuel filter, I do think you are looking for the worst here but perhaps things have not going so well for your family for a while

You might try this: With the vehicle parked, identify where the leak is from, the front, middle or back. Could be a fuel tank leak or something from the engine or the fuel line in between. If it’s from the engine, open the hood and look for something that is wet with diesel fuel. If you can, take a digital photo of the wet part and have someone identify it for you or post it here if you can.

A little action such as this will be a beginning to get you away from being completely helpless and vulnerable to a crooked mechanic and there are just a few out there. Get more than one quote too. With your husband away, you need to be resourceful. I wonder if he worries about you.

The fire hazard is not great with diesel fuel so don’t panic about this. Leaking gasoline is far more dangerous than leaking diesel fuel.

People always jump right to mechanics, when in reality, this just might be the simplest fix you can imagine. You cant be afraid to get under a car, just because you never have. There’s nothing magic about most of it, and wanting to save a buck is great incentive to at least try. It could be something as simple as a loose hose clamp that a simple turn of a screwdiver will solve. And wouldn’t you be proud to tell him you fixed it? If there’s room to lay down a piece of cardboard wearing old clothes, gloves, and glasses, and slide underneath with a light and a rag, start wiping things clean in the area. You may have to jack it up a little if you can’t fit underneath. Once you find out where the leak is coming from, you’re half-way there. Usually fuel lines are exposed the whole way from the gas tank, along the frame, maybe a filter along the way, to a braided flexible line, then up to the engine. A manual, weather it be the official manufacturer’s service manual specific to that truck showing every nut and bolt with pictures, or even the Chiltons or Haynes manuals for a bunch of similar trucks can give an idea of what to do. Some big libraries even have all the manuals, but if you plan on having the truck for a while, you can sure save money and headaches by getting the actual manual online or E-Bay. I bet there are lots of DIY-ers who’d be happy to help the family of a brave Vet serving our country if you knew where to ask. If you do see the leak, and there are tools at your disposal, just try different wrenches 'till you find the right one, and just see if you can’t get a little tgurn on it to either tighten it up, or to see how it may come off so you can go to the auto parts store to tell them or show them what you need. They are happy to help explain, and if the kid doesn’t know, try someone/ somewhere else. I’ve had great luck with the folks at NAPA auto parts. You’ll be surprised at how self-explanitary most mechanical things are if you just loosen them up a bit and wiggle them to see how they fit. For a fuel line, use one wrench to hold the fitting so it doesn’t spin the whole thing, and another wrench to loosen the nut that the line slides through. The chances of you wrecking anything is slim, and usually the worst that’ll happen is you have the mechanic fix it anyway.It helps to have a way to the store if you do take something all the way apart. Give yourself time, ask questions, and park over cardboard 'till you do have the time if it isn’t getting too bad. But you just might surprise yourself how easy some projects are. Just keep track of how things come apart, use spray on stuck bolts and let soak in, line up bolts in order for re-installing, take notes, and try to at least get familiar so when you go to the mechanic, you’ll know what you need. Good luck, and be proud of your Hubby!

mkkj25, if you jack up the truck, put a jack stand underneath to hold the truck up. Never depend on any jack to hold the truck up if you go under it. The jack stand has to be under the frame or another solid, heavy-duty area to keep it from falling through.

Do not under any circumstances get under a vehicle that’s been “jack[ed] … up a little bit”. Danger, Will Robinson! Do not do this.