Reasonable Repair Time

Recently, I had my car transmission die on my Chevrolet Lumina. I had it towed to a well recommended repair shop. They kept it a week before the X-mas holiday and didn’t perform andy work or diagnostic. They informed me before the New Year they would begin the repair. For two weeks I have invested in a rental and lost money as a result of waiting on them. They haven’t begun anything and continue to inform me that they will call when they look into it. What is a reasonable period of time for a shop to begin a repair and what should a shop do for a customer in waiting?

You’ve gone way past a “reasonable” wait for attention to your car. Get it towed to another shop. And send the bill for the rental to date to the shop that stood you up. Tell whoever recommended the shop to you about your experience, I doubt they will recommend it again.

You’re stuck on the car rental and it’s difficult to say about the reason behind the 2 week delay.
If the shop is fairly busy and with weekends/Holidays factored in it could be possible they just flat haven’t had an opportunity to get to it.
Throw in a number of what could be considered “easy jobs” that snowball into pain in the neck time consuming jobs due to Murphy’s Law (and that’s not rare) and 2 weeks can blow by pretty quickly.

About all I can suggest is push them into something this week or have it towed somewhere else. A complaint could be made to the BBB or whatever but that won’t mean a whole lot.

You’re way beyond a normal wait. I’d get it towed out of there fast, before they actually begin unbolting anything. Once they do that you’re screwed.

OK4450 could be right, he certainly is highly experienced and eminently qualified, but on the other hand they could just be less that reliable. I’d err on the side of not taking chances.

I agree with you about moving it. It’s my opinion that they should have at least taken a cursory look and made a rough diagnosis of some sort the first week.
You’re also correct about once they start removing bolts because then you’re into that area of reasons why it ain’t done; whether the reasons are justifiable or not.

Along those lines, there’s a guy I know who runs a shop way outside of town on the highway (about 50 miles from here) with his son and he works like this. The intentions are good but danged, things stack up there and I don’t know how anything ever gets done.

The sad part is that I consider this guy a dear friend (40 years) but I would not let him touch a vehicle of mine; both due to delays and some of the most jury rigged repairs you can find. Away from that, he’s a great guy.
The other sad part to this? He stays swamped with work and has been swamped for about 28 years.

A now deceased cousin of mine who lives near there dropped his Pontiac off for a trans fluid change and got it back with shifting problems. A week or so later he came to me and I dropped the pan to find it had leaves and a handful of dog food in it. Apparently he was feeding the guard dog out of the pan while it was off.
Normally, anyone else would have been hot but my cousin still swore by him even after this.

In another case, a Chevy 302 rebuild (69 Camaro Z-28 of all things) turned out to be nothing more than a degreasing, new plugs, and a fresh coat of Chevy orange paint.
Go figure. :slight_smile:

Bad timing it seems. Did they let you know it would take a while? Good shops are usually booked out. Holidays are least efficient time of year for business in general except retail.

I have my own horror story from 1975 about a guy who stalled on a job, started disassembling a manual tranny, and couldn’t put Humpty back together again. I think he knew before he started that he’d be in over his head and that’s why he was stalling.

PS: it wasn’t me…thank God!

Quick question, did you get any time off from your job for the holidays?

I had a similar situation when I was in graduate school and owned a 1965 Rambler. I had a problem with the manual transmission. It had been repaired by the dealer in my home town a couple of years earlier, but was never quite right. During the Christmas break of my first year of graduate school, the transmission became almost impossible to shift into high gear. The service station where I traded recommended an independent garage that did transmission repairs. This shop was a mom and pop operation–pop did the work while mom chased the parts and kept the books.

The shop had a couple of jobs ahead of my car. THen we had a big snow storm. The shop was afraid to bring cars into the garage for fear of a roof collapse, so there was about a week’s delay. I was without the car for almost 3 weeks. My father-in-law had back surgery, so we had to rent a car to drive the 300 mile round trip where he had surgery. There was no Rambler dealer in the college town, so parts had to be sent in by bus from a dealer 60 miles away.

However, when I did get the car back, the tansmission shifted better than itever had. I drove that Rambler for many miles after that–long after I had completed my graduate work. In my opinion, it is worth waiting to have a good mechanic take care of a major problem. I hope your repair job turns out as well.

I had a supposedly “easy” job that snowballed. I had an air conditioner problem with 1990 Ford Aerostar. The Ford dealer had done several repairs but these repairs would never get me through the summer. I took the van to an independent shop. They had the vehicle 10 days trying to run down the problem, but they found it and from then on I had no more problems. The shop apologized for taking so long, but they wanted to really get to the root of the problem. I would rather a shop have my car for a while and get the job right than to do a quick job and then have more problems down the road.

There really is no good answer. You have to follow your gut on it. During a very cold snap like -15 in Minneapolis, my transmission went out on my Olds. I wanted the dealer to do it but there lot was so full it took almost a week just to get a spot to tow it to. I wasn’t real patient but that’s just the way it was and I could see the lot was full. Once they got it in, it only took a few days for the overhaul. They appologized for the trans going when the odometer only showed 80K and I said well that is 180K so that’s not so bad.

Another time a guy promised to get the trans done in a week. He took it apart and then let it sit and I couldn’t get it back for 7 weeks. Then only lasted a year. I should have known better.

So if its a good shop and they are just very busy right now is one thing, but if they are just stringing you along is another.

That’s funny about the pan. I’m considering not having him perform the work. He gave me an opinion why it wouldn’t move in reverse or drive, but actually hadn’t looked at the vehicle. Also, it does look like he is swamped.

Not really. The car is my work vehicle. That’s why the rental.