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Old 04-18-2005, 10:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
Swollen Member
Location: Northern VA
Should I give the Dealership money again (Warranty Issue)?

I'm not sure if this is in the right forum....but anyhow. I was going to put it in Tilted Motors, but figured it could fit here as well. Mods, move this as you see fit.

2 months ago, I had to take my car in for some work. It needed new brakes, and it was burning oil, and a handful of other problems. When I took the car in, I mentioned that it was burning oil and that it may be the valve seals that needed to be replaced or looked at in order to fix the problem (I came up with this after researching the symptoms on the internet). Anyways, they called me back later that afternoon telling me they think they found out the problem (which had nothing to do with the valve seals) and gave me the estimate to fix it. I said go ahead, so I could have my car run smooth for another 5 years.

I paid my $2000 bill, and drove my car home. Everything was great until last week. I noticed that I was burning oil again. I went home, and looked at my invoice to see what kind of service warranty there was. Luckily I still qualified. I called a local car radio show, and they told me that my car is known for valve seal problems (as I mentioned to the dealership when I took it in). So I took the car back again this weekend. And told them, again, that they may want to check out valve seals.

This morning they called me and told me they couldn't find any physical leaks, so they may need to run a 'leak-down test' to get in deeper to find out the problem and that it would cost me $90. I told them that I was just there and gave them $2000 not too long ago, and that my car is still under the service warranty. So I shouldn't have to pay the $90.

The guy said, "Oh yeah, I just saw that here in our paperwork, let me talk to my manager and we can try and work something out."
I told him I had a meeting later on in the day so to call me before or after so we can discuss what his manager said. He replied with "Don't worry about it, I'll get my manager to take care of this for ya."

Now my question is.....under my circumstances, being they 'fixed/replaced' the wrong thing for my problem originally...should I have to pay anything at all? Initially the work they did cost about $225 ($40 parts and $185 labor). If it is the valve seals it will cost anywhere between $600 - $1000 (at least that is what I've been told by people), with most of that being labor.

Should I just pay for the parts and tell them they shouldn't charge me for labor because they were supposed to fix the problem 2 months ago? Or should I tell them to deduct the original $300 from my new bill and I will pay the remainder? Or should I just tell them they need to fix it all for me, no charge?

I've never had to deal with a service warranty before so I'm a bit lost at what I should do.

Thanks in advance for any advice/suggestions.

Last edited by Jim Kata; 04-18-2005 at 10:15 AM..
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Manhattan, NY
don't offer to pay anything.

fight to NOT pay anything.

demand that they fix it without your paying anything.
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
kutulu's Avatar
Report them to the better business bureau also. Find out why they did the other work, it's possible that both were problems.

After this problem, don't ever take your car to the dealership to fix any non-warranty problems. Dealer's parts cost at least twice as much and they also charge more for labor. Chances are your last probelms would have cost you half of what you paid.
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
Swollen Member
Location: Northern VA
Cool.....yeah, I was looking at what they were charging for parts compared to what I could get the parts for on the net and it close to double. Im definetly starting to go somewhere else after this. Thanks! Me and my wallet thank you.
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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raeanna74's Avatar
Location: Upper Michigan
Yup report it to the BBB.
Make it clear from the start that you are not paying for anything that is warrenty related. If it has to do with the problem they were supposed to have fixed before then you shouldn't have to pay for parts OR labor.

Things like this get me pretty irritated. Be firm. Good Luck.
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
cyrnel's Avatar
Location: In my angry-dome.
Besides brakes (a huge markup item, BTW) what did the first $2000 involve?

It's very important your problem description makes it to the work order. Service writers often frustrate this by interpreting or simplifying what you tell them to the point the mechanics start with basic troubleshooting. Always ask to see what they wrote, and have it amended if your info isn't included. It's possible the mechanics thought you were reporting a burning oil smell and replaced a couple seals or other unrelated work.

If the first work order mentions burning oil then they screwed up. If it could be interpreted as an odor or leak issue then you may have to meet them halfway. Again, be very careful dealing with service writers. My experience with many is that they dress too nicely for work at McDonalds but otherwise belong there.

Last edited by cyrnel; 04-18-2005 at 10:44 AM..
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
Swollen Member
Location: Northern VA
The work order definetly mentions me "burning a quart of oil every 1000 miles" but it doesn't say anything about "no leaks" or "possible valve seal issue".

Here is the breakdown:

Replaced Oilpan Gasket: $225

Replaced Cam Plug: $90

Replaced Clutch Master Cylinder: $260

Replaced Timing Belt and Water Pump: $700

Rear Brake Service/Replacement: $300

90,000 Mile Maintenance: $430

About $630 parts and $1370 labor.

Believe me, after this experience....I'm definetly going somewhere else from now on.

The balls on these guys telling me I need to drop another $90 for a test to see why its burning oil.
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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liquidlight's Avatar
Location: The twisted warpings of my brain.
They charged you separately for the 90K maintenance AND the timing belt/water pump???!?!? What the hell did the do in the maintenance??! I think you're already getting screwed and at the very least they're hiding some things in the itemization of that invoice.
Halfway to hell and picking up speed.
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
cyrnel's Avatar
Location: In my angry-dome.
Yep, that looks like padding. An oil pan gasket? Unless you asked for it, someone's going for the throat.

Get your paperwork together and speak to the general manager or owner, not the service manager. Stay calm, collected, clear about intentions and mystified at why they would do irrelevant things you didn't request. If they're unresponsive don't be shy about filing in small claims.

As for the BBB, they'll help you understand the shop's history before beginning your resolution attempts, but don't expect much in the way of assistance. The BBB is mostly toothless and can't help unless you bump into the rare honest mistake. Doesn't hurt to add your incident to their count but don't expect the cavalry.
There are a vast number of people who are uninformed and heavily propagandized, but fundamentally decent. The propaganda that inundates them is effective when unchallenged, but much of it goes only skin deep. If they can be brought to raise questions and apply their decent instincts and basic intelligence, many people quickly escape the confines of the doctrinal system and are willing to do something to help others who are really suffering and oppressed." -Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, p. 195
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
Swollen Member
Location: Northern VA
At the 90,000 mile maintenance they did the following:

Replaced engine oil, and oil filter
Replaced the air filter
Replaced the wiper blades
Replaced some hoses
Rotate the tires
Flushed/bled fluids and replaced them
Fix Alignment
Inspected various items (which translates too, nothing probably)

Well as they say...you live and learn, unfortunately.

Originally Posted by cyrnel
Yep, that looks like padding. An oil pan gasket? Unless you asked for it, someone's going for the throat.
I guess in a way I did request, because they told me that it was probably why I was losing/burning oil, so I said go ahead. This would be alot easier if I knew more about cars in the first place.
Its kind of sickening since this is a pretty reputable car dealership in this area (and that I got suckered).

Last edited by Jim Kata; 04-18-2005 at 11:31 AM..
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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$700 seems like a lot for a timing belt, but that type of job varies heavily depending on the location of the part. Labor costs can shoot it through the roof. The part itself is usually cheap.

The 30/60/90k maintenance plans are ripoffs usually. Most of it is inspection with a few things that you might want them to change, and a bunch of stuff that someone like me who knows very little about repair and maintenance can do on their own. Since it looks impressive they charge an arm and a leg for it.
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Holy shit!!!
I can see replacing the timing belt but all those other things probably didn't need to be replaced. What was wrong with the clutch master cylinder, the water pump, etc.?

I've noticed that recently places are trying to get people to pay for an expensive system flush instead of just a drain and fill (or top off in the case of brake fluid) is that really necessary?
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:58 AM   #13 (permalink)
Swollen Member
Location: Northern VA
They said there was a leak in the clutch master cylinder. And that is why my clutch had been feeling off to me.
The water pump was cracked (how? I don't know. Looking back, I should have asked for all the parts back).
The brakes had been screeching/squeeling for a week and supposedly were on the sensors.

As far as the flushes are concerend. I guess I am one of those who bought into the discoloration of the fluids and how a flush will help clear that.
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Old 04-18-2005, 12:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
kutulu's Avatar
Well at least they had good justifications for replacing those things.
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dealership, give, issue, money, warranty

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