For several years, my husband and I both took our VWs to a really nice guy that attends my church and has had a garage for something like thirty years. I figure if he has to look me in the face every Sunday, he’s not gonna rip me off (plus he is a really good guy, and probably would never do that anyway). Once, after an oil change, the bottom of my car came unhinged and started dragging the ground at 60mph. I forgave the mistake (they did not bolt it back on properly?) and continued to give him my neighborly custom. I had some minor things done over the years and eventually had some less minor repair to be done, which involved a new part. After two days of waiting for the car to be done, it finally became apparent that the delay was caused by his trying to make a Jetta part fit my Passat…because for some reason he had decided I had a Jetta, despite the word “Passat” being on the back of my car. I decided then to find myself a new mechanic, and it’s one recommended in the MechanX Files. He’s more expensive, but thorough and competent.
In the meantime, my husband forgot this misadventure and has kept taking his car to the church guy, because he is convenient to the office and gives us a church discount (usually around 10%). Not long ago my husband was seeing signs of a coolant leak and took the car to this guy. A week later (maybe closer to 10 days?), we get the car back, with a few new hoses and clamps. The bill gives us a whopping $300 discount off the labor. That right there makes me think something is awry…either he is being super generous to us or maybe they spent way too much time trying to figure something out.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and there is still G12 fluid leaking from what appears to be three places. The car is going back to this very apologetic guy today, but I almost don’t want him to touch it. I’m starting to think they took the whole front off the car, could not find the leak and then just replaced some inexpensive parts to cover their butt. I also don’t think he should be charging us for this labor if the whole front has to come off again–I mean, he already took it off once and claimed to have fixed the leak. If he has to take it off again because he did not do the job right the first time, it should now be on his dime, don’t you think?
And if he does take off the whole front end again, should we ask him to do the timing belt at the same time, or is that too risky a job to entrust him with!!?? (If a mechanic is taking the whole front end off your 11 year old car, don’t you think he should have suggested changing the timing belt and water pump while he was at it the first time?)
How do we effectively prepare to challenge any billing or repair result from this guy, whom I see every Sunday?