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Pep Boys has now stolen all my Pep. I'm mad now

Long story short-

took my jetta in for a new clutch last wednesday. After much stalling by them, they finally call me saturday to say “it’s ready”. Quoted me close to $700, but I paid and got my son in the car and happily drove off.

It shifted fine…for the 3 blocks it took us to get on the highway. It went in 5th gear and I drove on the highway for about 20 miles, made one pit stop about 2 mi. off the highway, got back on the highway, and jumped back off at my exit for home and parked (I live 2 lights and maybe 300 yards from the interstate). I parked head-in to my parking spot and happily went on in the house. Total driving that day? MAYBE 40 miles. 95% of it highway with no shifting gears at ALL.

Next morning, I get in my car and go to take my son to a birthday party. It shifted fine into reverse, but once I went to go forward in 1st, the RPM’s suddently shot up to around 4k even though I was BARELY giving it gas (you know, just to get rolling and shift to 2nd). I got the stick to move into 2nd with no effort, but the engine hung AGAIN around 4k and STAYED there for a good 30 seconds before finally settling into gear. Repeat for 3rd. Then, not even 200 yards from my house…it started smoking HEAVILY from the clutch area and wouldn’t move anymore. I cut the car off once I coasted it in neutral to the side of the road, restarted it, and with my parking brake on, put it in 4th gear and released the clutch. The car stayed running. The clutch had died again. I was PISSED and IMMEDIATELY had the car towed back to pep boys. This was on sunday.

Today is friday, and I was busy with work and running around getting rides from coworkers, etc just to make sure I made it to my son every night on time (I live where there are NO buses). Pep boys called me back and told me although I had a lifetime warranty on the clutch…the flywheel needed replacing and they will have to charge me $300 for a VW flywheel+ ANOTHER 311 labor to put it on…so in other words I have to pay for ANOTHER clutch job.

I told them I’d call them back.

How do I handle this? The tech who worked on my car SWEARED up and down he checked the flywheel and it was ok when I left…but I do know to get to the clutch in a jetta you’d have to remove the flywheel at the same time.

So how do I handle this? Ironically the person who worked on my car WAS the service manager…and he insists it was fine when he fixed it so I just have to pay for another labor, but he’ll give me the clutch for free (he better, they charged me for the pepguard warranty the first time without me asking! Didn’t see it until they printed out my itemized reciept AFTER i paid, so I left it as is. I would think the pepguard should cover the labor here too since obviously either (a) the clutch was installed wrong or (b) the guy just plain missed it…

what do I do now? Call corpirate? The store is of NO help. If I leave the car past tomorrow they will start to charge me storage too!!! Help me out all!!! :slight_smile:

I would want to hear their side and see the parts before going out on a limb, but if your rundown on the events is mostly accurate the shop is somewhere between incompetent crooked. It’s amazing that a shop operating that way can remain in business. My best advice is to look into your state’s law regarding such disputes before picking up the car. Good luck.

PeeBoys took my pep years ago too.
I’m a Ford dealer parts man and tried to add them to the wholesale partners we do business with when we need aftermarket parts here. Auto Zone, Car Quest and O’Reilleys remain an our list.
for a looooooooooooooooooong list of reasons I will NEVER do business with PEEboys.
Not B to B.
Not personal.
Not local.
Not out of town.
Not ever.

I saw “Pep Boys” in the subject line and felt bad for you already.

Regardless of the corporate chain shop - don’t use them. Get a local, independent with a decent reputation.

That said, like Rod Knox said, I’d reserve the right to change my assessment if all of the facts aren’t in or are maybe skewed. But - basically they are on the hook for this. First, this problem almost certainly has nothing to do with the flywheel. But, even if it did it was still on them to do the job right - assessing this situation is part of the clutch job.

That said, you never mentioned how many miles are on the car, why the clutch needed to be done, or whether or not this was your first clutch.

I would chase them tirelessly. I’d start by going immediately to some district manager type level at Pep Boys.

To answer your questions:

208k on the car, engine runs smoothly with no CEL’s. It got a new clutch back at 130k (put in by a mechanic friend of mine who since has moved out of state, or else I would have brought it to him). I noticed it was getting progressively harder to shift, so I had all the linkages done under the hood and in car (especially the ball piece under the shift lever) at 206k. It helped for awhile, but then it started with the revving and not moving, and the car stayed running when i let the clutch out in gear, so I knew my clutch was dying. I let it sit for a few days then decided to take it to the shop before it got any worse…

When I went to drive it to my preferred shop (about 20 mi. from my home), it finally refused to move any further and died on the side of the road. I didn’t have AAA or cash to call a tow truck or a credit card on me, so I used pep boy’s towing service knowing i wouldn’t be charged for the tow until after the car was repaired.

I HAD to have the car towed that instant as I was blocking public right of way and knew if i had left the car there it would have quickly been impounded…then I would have had to deal with getting the car back from impound AND still having to deal with the repairs. Plus it was late and I had my son in the car and just wanted the car brought somewhere ASAP.

OK- giving them the benefit of the doubt- my flywheel IS bad. I am so pissed right now, I am going to call corporate and demand they simply GIVE me a new clutch kit, refund my money from the previous install and I will take it ELSEWHERE to do the flywheel and have them install said kit.

I’m betting the farm the clutch disc was put on BACKWARDS so they are trying to bill me for their incompetence!

I am calling the pepguard warranty people to see what they say in the AM (hmmm…went to use with my reciept info and they “can’t find me in the system”…hmmm… and if they dont give me an answer I’m contacting corporate next…

I can see why now…just got done reading a good 10 reviews on about them. :frowning:

I will NEVER go there again, I just want my car back with a proper working clutch in it!

Do you think I could just take the car elsewhere, get a 2nd opinion, and if they DID install the clutch wrong, I can take it back to Pep and have them fix it for free? Problem is, funds are tight and I really don’t have another $100 to have the car towed elsewhere + another $100 for them to check the tranny at another shop then another $100 to have the car towed back to pep to do the repair if it is the clutch!

Thank you for the good luck wishes!

Why would anyone take their car to PepBoys? beginners and wash outs dominate their ranks, you have too think the repair through better.

Contact corporate and push the issue. If a shop is going to charge you for replacing a clutch assembly part of their job is to inspect the flywheel and repair as necessary.

Someone overlooked something, made an assembly error, etc. and they’re counting on BSing their way through this.

Wonder if they’ve even torn this thing back apart yet? If not, how do they even know the flywheel is, allegedly, bad?

Does that flywheel have an inset? They are a challenge to the inexperienced.

What exactly is wrong with the flywheel?

One thing that is always done on a clutch job is the flywheel has to be resurfaced or replaced. The flywheel always has hot spots or some type of surface scoring or damage from the old clutch especially if the old clutch had been slipping.

The place I get my clutch parts from is a driveline shop/parts store so they specialize in clutches. When I call to get the throw out bearing, disc, and pressure plate I ask if they have a exchange flywheel,if they don’t I send in the flywheel from the car to have it resurfaced. They are better prepared to inspect it for cracks,hot spots and then resurface it. The only problem is if they don’t have a exchange flywheel it takes alot longer to get the car done. With an exchange flywheel I can have some cars done in a couple of hours or even less than that.

So the bottom line is they should have done something with the flywheel the first time. The old flywheel probably had some damage and that caused the new clutch to fail so I think they should replace the new clutch at no charge to you. The only thing you might offer to pay for is the new flywheel which should have been part of the first clutch replacement. BUT no additional labor charges.

The flywheel should have been resurfaced or replaced with the clutch job. Any decent mechanic knows that. I’m not familiar with the Jetta, having never had to work on a clutch in one, but due to the rapid failure of your clutch, I’m wondering if the problem was a misadjusted release fork or slave cylinder not allowing the pressure plate to hold pressure on the clutch disc. This could cause constant slip and can do in a clutch in a matter of minutes. This is only a theory since I don’t know if this is possible on your car, but if this is the case, it is a workmanship problem. Either way, you should only owe them the cost of a replacement flywheel for them to do this job over; your labor and tow bill should be covered by them.

For the reasons he explained just above your question, before you posted it. I will stay off your lawn.

Your first mistake was taking the car to PEP boys for a clutch replacement. This is really a big job and PEP boys probably doesn’t do many clutches and even less likely they do them on VW’s. So, you’ll get marginal mechanics doing a job they rarely do on a car they don’t know. A reciepe for disaster.

Too late, so what to do now? You pretty much have to see if PEP boys can figure out what they did wrong and correct it. If they can’t your safest bet is to take it to a VW dealer service dept. They know the car and have the parts, problem is that this is the most costly option. Next option is a transmission shop, but you have to make sure they do clutch work routinely and that they know foreign car clutches; especially VW. Many trans shops do automatics every day and only a few clutch jobs a year.