…to be in the auto service industry.
It’s 8:30 in the morning. A guy is driving his 2011 Grand Caravan on the freeway, his engine light comes on but the car seems to be working ok. He has to slow down for traffic, and at that point the car won’t shift past 2nd gear. He figures something is wrong with his transmission. As he’s looking for the closest place to get off the freeway, the transmission quits altogether but he is able to coast to the side of the road. A few minutes on the smart phone and a tow truck is on the way to pull him to the nearest “National Transmission Chain Store.” His free diagnosis shows a couple of generic OBD2 codes and he is given the news that his car requires a rebuilt transmission and a new electronic transmission control module and the cost will be $5200. By this time it’s 1:00 pm. The guy is also informed that if he does not give the OK for the repair by 5:30 he will incur storage fees of $25/day until work is authorized or the car is removed from the premises. By this time the guy is so frazzled and confused he calls his buddy for advice, who in turn steers him to a local independent garage he knows.
Now the fact is the fluid level wasn’t even checked, and the codes obtained were nothing more than generic OBD2 codes, there was no mention of manufacturer specific fault codes or any testing done other than looking up 2 code definitions. Fluid was never checked, pan wasn’t pulled, no electronic testing was done. The transmission does in fact have internal mechanical failure and needs to be rebuilt/replaced. There is no malfunction of the electronic control system and no repairs need to be done there.
I make it point to try not to badmouth another shop or prices. There’s no way one shop can know what the overhead and obligations of another are and prices can vary widely even in one city. Mechanics often also have a difference of opinion as to what constitutes a complete and proper repair of a system. But really? $5200 for a transmission and a control module that tests good? A transmission directly from Chrysler, installed, is about $3200.
Who can treat people this way? To try and sell a guy a bill of goods for 2 grand more than other shops for similar work? And then to tell him he has 4 hours to make a $5200 decision or it’s going to cost him storage?
I see a lot of people on this forum who absolutely hate dealing with car problems, and I can see why. But please remember, not all of us treat people this way. many of us are just trying to make an honest living and try to fix your car the right way the first time. We’re out here…just not as common as I would like.