Repair shops suck

Messages
34,978
Location
NY
I'm south of you but same situation here. When you find a good one they are GOOD and HONEST. The scammers are everywhere though. Side note, there has been so many fraudulent NYS inspection stickers I asked my cops to write a different summons as it's often difficult for the average person to know the sticker is fraudulent. In NY fraudulent inspection is an unclassified crime. Just not comfortable with that one. Frankly they are such good copies we only know after running the sticker number in E-Justice. NY needs to come up with a modernized inspection sticker.
First I'm hearing about fraudulent inspection stickers, thanks for the heads up. Years ago when they ran the car on the rolling road for emissions inspections there were several stations around here doing a $100 push. In other words they had a car hooked up to the machine that ran did the test, and they affixed the sticker to the car that would have failed. All for $100, lol. Then came the cameras, and they figured how to beat that. There was a local shop that had a Ford Taurus with over 100K miles on it just from doing state inspections. The owner got caught and ended up going out of business.
 
Messages
9,901
Location
OH
Finding a good, trustworthy repair shop is like winning the lottery now days. If you find one, whatever you do, don't do anything to screw up the relationship with the people who run it...
 
Messages
443
Location
pa
over the years I found that a good mom and pop repair shop is the best,,,that is if you can find one .the chains - not so much
 
Messages
1,004
Location
Arizona
Big shock ...many totally inept dispensary rejects do want a good paycheck. So they pretend to be perfessinall mekanicks and tend to employ what i call the Shotgun Method of repair. Aim at the problem area then blast a bunch of new parts at it hoping to kill the problem. Of course this is expensive and if the problem persists another shot will be additional issue and charge. The shop owners of course do not mind these "Mekanicks" because they do generate lots of green for them. Find an honest shop and pay a fair price to a good mechanic that is how you keep those shops going.
 
Messages
5,206
Location
the canyons
It's why I left the consumer car repair business. I got tired of being told to compromise my principals, to fraudulently pad the bottom line. Friends and former colleagues who are still in the game, tell me that things have improved. But customers still need to wary, and hopefully somewhat informed.
 
Messages
1,552
Location
Northeast Nebraska
My only gripe with my mech is how far out he is booked, last time I made an appointment to have a brake line leak fixed it was 3 weeks. I just found out the other day one of his mech's quit so now it's just him and one other guy, I can only imagine how far out he will be booked next time I need him. Good thing we have three vehicles!
 

JTK

Messages
13,155
Location
Buffalo, NY
It's been some years since I've had to have a repair done at a local shop, but I'm in them fairly often for state inspections and tire changes. They tend to fix only what's broke, which IMO, is common for a rust belt repair. Don't touch what you don't have to. These shops tend to be booked out if you schedule something.

What scares me is more advanced problems like you might see some of the techs on youtube work through (like South Main Auto for instance). I have no idea if they could even fix that kind of stuff. I haven't kept a car long enough in the last 20yrs to find out.
 
Messages
797
My only gripe with my mech is how far out he is booked, last time I made an appointment to have a brake line leak fixed it was 3 weeks. I just found out the other day one of his mech's quit so now it's just him and one other guy, I can only imagine how far out he will be booked next time I need him. Good thing we have three vehicles!

Ive noticed this too. Also the fordtechmakuloco guy on YouTube said he’s book way far out too. If you have a backup vehicle it’s no problem to wait but if it’s your only vehicle then I guess you almost have no choice but to take it somewhere else.
 
Messages
16,945
Location
NH
Ive noticed this too. Also the fordtechmakuloco guy on YouTube said he’s book way far out too. If you have a backup vehicle it’s no problem to wait but if it’s your only vehicle then I guess you almost have no choice but to take it somewhere else.
Yep. I found out some time ago that in my neck of the woods, "drop it off and we'll call you when it's ready" was normal. It's no small cost to keep a spare vehicle around, but, I understand why a repair might not get done as quickly as one would hope.

There is a shop in the city that I have used for some work, and I figure, if I go there I should be able to rent a car to get home, just in case it really goes bad.
 
Messages
1,638
Location
Roanoke Virginia
That’s the reason I became a mechanic to do all my own work I haven’t used a repair shop ever. My parents did when I was little but that was only for inspections and tires my dad did everything else. Now I do inspections and stuff so I don’t have to worry about it. I do know of a decent honest shop in my area that would do anything for a customer to make it right a guy and his son own it they are great people and have helped me learn a lot and showed me a lot of tricks to help me be successful. And I also know of shops that would rip off anyone especially on inspections because we don’t get anything for inspections if we don’t repair something. The advantage to being an inspector is you can only work 40 hours a week max no overtime that’s why I like it. I would never be dishonest with a customer that’s not my nature or how I was trained. Working at a dealership I don’t deal directly with the customer the service advisor does. I’ve had customers that have wanted to talk directly with me I have talked to them in that case but that’s very rare. Most mechanics I have met are good people with good intentions. Now I do know of one shop actually it is a chain shop that would rip anyone in the world off. Which is a shame.
 
Messages
1,329
Location
California
One time, my local Firestone charged $130 for an "alignment shim kit" after I had already paid for the lifetime alignment service. I asked why the charge and they said the shims are needed to get the vehicle alignment specs into proper range. With a few exceptions this shop/manager has otherwise been pretty good to me, so this one time I said "OK whatever." Later on I talked to some respected mechanics and they said that an alignment shop should have shims in stock already because shims are a normal part of alignment. The shop asked me to come back later because they had to wait for the "shim kit" to arrive (didn't have the needed parts in-stock to do my alignment). I'm thinking I just bought them a bunch of new alignment shims to use on other customers' vehicles.
Anyway, I didn't ask for a refund, but now I know. I don't think they are sheisters but I do think they saw an opportunity to make some easy money. I'm sure they have successfully charged less savvy customers for this shim kit.
 
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Messages
797
I too bought the lifetime alignment from Firestone over a decade ago. I still own the car I bought it for. The first free alignment went well with no problem. The second free alignment the car drifted bad afterwards, so I immediately brought it back and they adjusted something and then gave it back again. This time the steering wheel was almost at a 45 degree angle. I took it right back again and they fixed it, but they somehow knocked the driver side window off it’s track and wouldn’t roll up all the way. Never had this happen before. Then a few years later I took the same car car to a different Firestone location for an alignment since I had gotten new tires for it. Made an appointment with them, showed up at the appointment time and they told me they didn’t have time to do it that day and to come back tomorrow. I said okay will do, made the appointment again and then came back the following day. I arrived for my alignment appointment and the guy pulled up my info in the computer and said to me, while frantically looking around, “oh our alignment machine just broke!” I told him a phone call ahead of time would have been nice. I told him I didn’t believe a word he had told me and he just didn’t want to do the work because it was a lifetime alignment. His reply to me was “well you don’t have to come to THIS location”. Never stepped foot inside any Firestone ever again.
 
Messages
143
Location
Minnesota
Check out google reviews of the indy shops before you go anywhere. I generally avoid the ones under 4.5 stars. But make sure there's at least 20 reviews on there and not like 4. I've found two near me that are 4.7 and 4.8 stars respectively. They've never let me down but also have quite long wait times becuase they are trustworthy.
 
Messages
2,745
Location
Lakeside, CA
I have a good shop here by where I work. The first time I used him I explained the fact that I lived 30 miles away and needed it to be a one day repair.
He didn't finish it but when I showed up he gave me a loaner to drive home that night. It was his own Jeep. We are pretty good friends now and he works on all of our work trucks. He gives me discounts as I have steered a lot of people his way.
 
Messages
9,469
Location
MA
I too bought the lifetime alignment from Firestone over a decade ago. I still own the car I bought it for. The first free alignment went well with no problem. The second free alignment the car drifted bad afterwards, so I immediately brought it back and they adjusted something and then gave it back again. This time the steering wheel was almost at a 45 degree angle. I took it right back again and they fixed it, but they somehow knocked the driver side window off it’s track and wouldn’t roll up all the way. Never had this happen before. Then a few years later I took the same car car to a different Firestone location for an alignment since I had gotten new tires for it. Made an appointment with them, showed up at the appointment time and they told me they didn’t have time to do it that day and to come back tomorrow. I said okay will do, made the appointment again and then came back the following day. I arrived for my alignment appointment and the guy pulled up my info in the computer and said to me, while frantically looking around, “oh our alignment machine just broke!” I told him a phone call ahead of time would have been nice. I told him I didn’t believe a word he had told me and he just didn’t want to do the work because it was a lifetime alignment. His reply to me was “well you don’t have to come to THIS location”. Never stepped foot inside any Firestone ever again.
Oh yeah, I guess that's why I never bothered with the Firestone one. I get the 3 year Goodyear one. They don't really try to upsell me when I come in for the 2nd or 3rd time, they basically just do it and hand me the keys afterwards. Basically that's about the only thing I get done there, plus they now do free flat repairs. Got one flat fix there once, they didn't even charge me for balancing it really was free even though they spent almost an hour on it as they had to take the tire off and balance it afterwards.
 
Messages
576
Location
Pacific Northwest
On the rare occasion where I have an issue I don't want to tackle myself, I'm lucky to have a guy I went to high school with that has an independent transmission shop. He's always bordered on pathologically honest ever since I've known him and has a touch of OCD like characteristics. In other words, he's the perfect mechanic.
 
Messages
825
I too bought the lifetime alignment from Firestone over a decade ago. I still own the car I bought it for. The first free alignment went well with no problem. The second free alignment the car drifted bad afterwards, so I immediately brought it back and they adjusted something and then gave it back again. This time the steering wheel was almost at a 45 degree angle. I took it right back again and they fixed it, but they somehow knocked the driver side window off it’s track and wouldn’t roll up all the way. Never had this happen before. Then a few years later I took the same car car to a different Firestone location for an alignment since I had gotten new tires for it. Made an appointment with them, showed up at the appointment time and they told me they didn’t have time to do it that day and to come back tomorrow. I said okay will do, made the appointment again and then came back the following day. I arrived for my alignment appointment and the guy pulled up my info in the computer and said to me, while frantically looking around, “oh our alignment machine just broke!” I told him a phone call ahead of time would have been nice. I told him I didn’t believe a word he had told me and he just didn’t want to do the work because it was a lifetime alignment. His reply to me was “well you don’t have to come to THIS location”. Never stepped foot inside any Firestone ever again.

My car is going to eventually need new tires.. and probably brakes (rotors should be okay? Not sure but. Should be) and most like a strut, I been driving with a loose or broken one for awhile. Most of the time you can't even tell.

Local to me is a Midas and a Firestone. Had somewhat "iffy" customer service interactions with Firestone. Mostly from taking what I think was a 1995 Land Rover Range Rover in there, and them saying they did not have OEM tire size. Not sure I trust their computer. I still may but, is Firestone a good place ..

My car has nothing wrong with it, except for these wear items that will eventually need to be replaced. Isn't finding a good shop a luck of the draw? Fake reviews on the Internet (by every "customer" the bad shop persuades to leave reviews) are a problem. How do you find a good one? That will simply.. fix your car right, the first time?

It is when I get my other car for a week I will pursue getting my main one "fixed." It isn't broken. Just could use tires, brake pads, strut(s) maybe shocks as PM...
 
Messages
797
For something like a 1995 Range Rover I’d recommend someone who knows about Range Rovers and other European cars. I have a strong feeling taking it to a Firestone, Goodyear, Midas, and the other chain repair shops will end up badly for you.

Also sometimes good mechanics make mistakes too. A good, honest mechanic will stand by his work. The mechanics on YouTube like South Main Auto, Pine Hollow Diagnostics, FordTechMakuloco, are the type of mechanics you want to seek out. There are also several mechanics here on this forum who are pretty stand up guys. They are out there if you search for them, word of mouth goes a long way. Once you find your mechanic you trust and does good work make sure to keep a good relationship. My dad had a few good mechanics throughout the years and he always kept a good relationship with them by buying them lunch or getting them a gift card to a coffee shop after the work was completed as an extra thank you, sending Christmas cards to the shop too, etc. Having that good relationship with your mechanic can make all the difference in owning an older car.
 
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Messages
9,469
Location
MA
I've actually found decent mechanics on Craigslist. Some of them aren't that good but I usually start out with a simple job and if they're good, I go back to them. One way to tell is to see if they're an ASE mechanic, I've still gotten a bad one in the past, but at least that weeds out the shade tree mechanics who think they're real mechanics. The guy I use now is an ASE mechanic and he just charges regular rates, he doesn't really know Mercedes but that doesn't matter to me, most of the work is just wrenching and I have a copy of the WIS which is the dealer repair manual and most of it is pretty basic and straight forward, brakes, struts and other engine parts are pretty much the same from car to car. I just bring the parts and he installs them. As for places like Firestone, Goodyear etc, I find their quotes are almost as high as the dealer and wouldn't bother going there.
 
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