Shop is holding my truck hostage

We dropped off our Diesel Suburban at the shop yesterday to have the brakes checked. They determined that I need work on both the front and rear brakes. Total charge: about $1500. I’ve decided to get a second opinion before doing the complete overhaul on the brakes…but the shop says they cannot allow me to drive my car out of their parking lot. Anyone ever heard of this before?

They may be trying to tell you that your brakes are unsafe. I would go there with a wrecker and a cop and I’m sure they would release your Suburban. I don’t think they can legally hold it unless you signed something.

IF the brakes are that bad then in many states they have the right to NOT allow you to drive your car. You can always get it towed.

Good to know. We have not signed anything, so I’ll send a tow truck over there to grab it. Thanks for the help!

$1500 sounds like they want to replace more than just the discs and pads. What do they claim your brakes need? BTW, call the state police and ask whether the shop can hold yur car before you spend a bundle on a tow.

They say the front brakes are metal to metal and want to replace front pads and rotors. They are also recommending replacing rear axle seals, brake shoes, wheel cylinders, and want to resurface the drums. It sounds like the front brakes definitely need work, but in the rear the only items that definitely need replacing are the brake shoes (due to the seals leaking on them) and the axle seals. Any thoughts/ suggestions?

How many lugs are on the wheels? How long has it been driven with metal to metal grinding on the front? How long has it been driven with the BRAKE light on?

What year Suburban? How many miles?

Front and rear brakes worn out at the same time is very unlikely but not impossible. Ask for the old parts if the shop does the work. This will help to keep them honest and may get them to rethink the estimate.

Why new rear axle seals and also new rear brake cylinders? Are both leaking? This also does not pass the smell test.

That strikes me as wrongful conversion of property. They can forbid you to drive it ON their property, they can’t forbid you from driving it OFF their property. Get some big rednecks (or your color of choice, or college professors), PUSH it off their lot and take it to another mechanic. Otherwise, report the car stolen and tell the police you know exactly where it is. They’re holding you up.

Yup…I agree with you…That’s why states like NY passed laws to not allow mechanics from doing that…but not all states have that law.