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2 Bumps

Mechanic situation - thoughts please

My PT Cruiser started acting up a few weeks ago. I took it for diagnostics at a shop that AutoZone recommended. They found a several issues with valves, plugs, etc. We paid $1000 for all that. we get it back and it's STILL having issues and he says it's because the oil got in the computer so we need a new computer. We buy that - over $300, and he installs it. Gives me the car back. I drive it - it's still acting weird. I drove it 15 miles tops. That was Friday.

Sorry this is long - I just want to get all the facts.

So, Monday I pack up the kids & car for our Disney trip. The car starts losing power (like before) and the heat gauge flies up (new problem). I was able to get it to the mechanic. So, he helps me get a rental car - he said he'd pay half. Through some screwed up math (both our faults) he ended up paying only $38 while I paid $100... duh on me! So, questions:

Should I say anything about the rental fees? I kinda feel like he did me a favor regardless.
Is it appropriate or not (normal or not) for a mechanic to help with a rental in a situation like this?
Should he be fixing the car on his dime since we already paid $1000 for what he claimed was wrong?

I can't just take the car somewhere else at this point since we already invested so much money into it. I can't afford to start over.

What the heck do I do?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 3:16 PM on Dec. 12, 2012 in Money & Work

Answers (10)
  • Do you trust the man? I probably would have wanted a second opinion before I even did the initial work. Not every mechanic is reliable. Maybe he was just that guy's friend....

    Anyway, I sure would take it somewhere else and have it thoroughly checked out. If he was responsible for the oil in the computer, I'd want my money back and then some.

    Answer by m-avi at 3:35 PM on Dec. 12, 2012

  • I would never take a recommendation from a parts store to begin with. There is just too much that could be shady. And truthfully, there seems to be plenty of shady when it comes to this particular mechanic. Oil in the computer? How the hell did oil get inside the computer? That right there is a sign of shoddy workmanship in my opinion. The "splitting" of the cost of the rental was probably a way to pacify you so you won't question him too much. Honestly, it might be cheaper to start over somewhere else.

    Answer by hootie826 at 4:03 PM on Dec. 12, 2012

  • Take it somewhere else for an estimate of what they think is wrong. Then take it back to him and see what he says without telling him you took it somewhere else. If he says the same thing and the same basic cost he's honest. If not I'd take it to the new mechanic and send the old one the bill.

    Answer by baconbits at 4:24 PM on Dec. 12, 2012

  • I would be questioning how the oil got in the computer. That sounds like he screwed up, and therefore you should not have paid the $300 for that - he should have covered that since it was his fault.

    I also agree that the rental split sounds like a pacifying tactic, in hopes that you would just be so relieved that you didn't have to cover the whole thing that you wouldn't think too hard about the situation. This is the third time your car's been in there, to fix one problem. That's two times too many.

    "I've invested too much money to start over with a new mechanic." Frankly, it sounds to me like you can't afford not to start over. I think he's going to keep finding different problems over and over again, to get more money out of you. Find a new mechanic, at least for a second opinion, if nothing else.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 4:28 PM on Dec. 12, 2012

  • Get a second opinion, fast! Also have some check for RECALLS. This is a BIG ONE.

    Dh and I sunk over $3000 worth of repairs in a space of 5 months on our car the year I was pregnant with DD. Turns out none of the things they fixed was the issue.

    A wire! A wire the length of my pinky finger was the problem. I almost spit I was so mad. No one bothered to check for recalls before they started spouting off at the mouth about what the problem was.

    The wire was replaced in 20 minutes tops.

    Second opinion. I cannot stress that enough.

    Answer by 4xsthetrouble at 4:36 PM on Dec. 12, 2012

  • Sounds like a huge waste of money, if the mechanic didn't fix the problem the first time there's no way he should charge you more for further work.

    I'd sue him honestly.

    Answer by staciandababy at 5:04 PM on Dec. 12, 2012

  • Have the Bureau of Automotive Repair investigate the issue (or whatever you call the agency in your area).

    Answer by tasches at 7:56 PM on Dec. 12, 2012

  • Mechanics are much like Doctors they diagnose what they believe is wrong, they fix it and hope for the best. Sometimes fixing one problem lets another problem now be seen.

    Some mechanics will help with rentals and others will not.

    If I were you I would ask for a frequent flyer discount. Our mechanic, I joke that we should have our own parking place.

    Answer by CuriousArentYa at 2:43 PM on Dec. 13, 2012

  • how old is this car? might be covered under warranty. As far as the fix, if he didn't do it right the first time, I'd be damned if he'd get a second chance, esp if he was trying to charge me.

    Answer by romanceparty4u at 11:22 PM on Dec. 16, 2012

  • we got the car back Friday. He said he replaced the catalytic converter as well as something else. He didn't ask for more money nor did I offer. My husband thinks he just fixed his initial screw ups. I will never go back there again! But, I am happy to have my car back and it seems to be running okay.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 11:38 PM on Dec. 16, 2012

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