Reality check, please

I drive a 2001 All Wheel Drive Ford Escape named Lola. I bought it this May with 136,000 miles on it. Last month the transmission went kaput. After dithering for a week about what to do, I took Lola to our local (and only) transmission shop for a re-build. I dropped her off first thing Monday morning and was told she would be done by Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday afternoon I was told she was not ready because the wrong parts had been delivered. Thursday I was told it would be Friday, and on Friday the shop had “personnel problems” which they assured me would be resolved and my car would be ready Monday afternoon. Saturday I broke down and rented a car. Monday, I stopped by the shop to visit Lola, and indeed, there she was, up on the rack with innards spilling out and scattered on a work bench. The shop owner could not provide an explanation for the delay and said Lola would be ready Tuesday. Today (Tuesday), he said he had had to make emergency repairs on a couple of school buses, and told me to call tomorrow.

I consider myself a reasonable person, and I try to be calm and philosophical about things. However, this situation is has tried my patience about as far as it can go, and I’m wondering what my options are. I’m already into this for $160.00 for the rental car plus the almost $2000.00 estimated for the repair, and this is the only garage in town to rebuild transmissions. I asked around, and other trustworthy mechanics recommended this shop as doing excellent work.

Am I getting the run-around? Is this SOP and I’m being too impatient? Do I grin and bear it and wait it out? Do I call a tow truck and have Lola towed to another shop in another town? I am at a loss as to what to do next and would certainly welcome any suggestions or advice. Or someone sending Guido and Luigi to the shop to provide a little motivation, if you know what I mean.

Tell the owner that you understand that emergencies can come up with his customers but remind him that you are also one of his customers and you need your vehicle also. He’s been dragging you along too long. Tell him you need for him to provide a rental car until your vehicle is done. If he has any kind of good business ethics, he would realize that his excuses are getting kind of outrageous and offer to pay for the rental car.


Sometimes unseen problems arise. I had to wait once for the manual transmission to be repaired on a Rambler that I owned because the shop had a flat roof and we had had a bad snow storm. The shop owner leased the building, but found out he wouldn’t be insured if the roof collapsed. I had about a 4 day wait beyond what was promised. This was in a small college town and according to the service station where I traded, this was the best transmission man in town. I decided I would wait.
On the other hand, the independent shop that does our repair work is very prompt. I’ve dropped my car off at 7:30 and gone to work. I have returned from my office after
teaching a 8:00 class and have had a message that my car is ready when I have told them that they had the entire day.

This exact situation took place years ago with a friend’s Corolla.
After hearing his tale of woe, I went to the trans shop, introduced myself as my friend’s attorney, and gave the owner two options:
Either pay for his rental car, or reduce the price of the trans overhaul by $500.
He chose to pay for the rental car.

Sure enough, a few months later, that shop was out of business. I’m not sure exactly what was going on there, but clearly it was nothing good.

I’d speak with the owner/manager of the shop and let him know I’d been patient about getting the car back, but am getting tired of excuses and want my car finished and for them to pay for the rental while they finish it. If this is a chain transmission shop contact the regional manager about getting the problem resolved. If you have the original completion date in writing and all else fails speak with an attorney about making them pay damages. This should be something that could be taken to small claims court and wouldn’t cost you much.

Argh! Now the torque converter is faulty and the transmission has to be taken back out (a 6 hour job I’m told) today and the new one installed tomorrow. MAYBE will get Lola back tomorrow afternoon. The mechanic is the owner and he is well aware of my building disgruntlement (I think I just made that word up). Please, I need to know what I can do to end this nightmare!

In my experience, people who refer to their cars by name tend to receive slower service.
Not much you can do. It’s a major repair and it takes time. Why did it cost $160 for the rental car?