Caution When Having Multiple Shops Fix Your Car

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I have mentioned before about getting an second opinion on car repair needs. I stand behind that advice for sure. There are times where taking your car multiple places is a bad idea regardless of cost. There are also times where saving a couple of dollars is not worth the time and trouble.

A customer brought their car in for my dealer to diagnose the MIL. One of the team leaders in the shop diagnosed the MIL as a failed control solenoid. The customer declined the repair. A few days later she brought the car back. She was mad at us because we “misdiagnosed” her car. The tech that first looked at the car took another look at it. He found the solenoid he recommended never got replaced.

It turns out the customer took the car to another mechanic. The mechanic replaced the wrong solenoid. We told her she still needed to have the solenoid replaced. She blamed us for the mistake. I am not sure where the lapse was. We told her the name of the part, gave her a print out of the fault, and even gave her the part number. To me, that seems pretty cut and dry.

That customer declined the repair again. Since a few weeks had gone by, we assumed that she had gotten her car fixed. Well the dealer received a letter from the customer. She informed us that the solenoid didn’t fix her car. She took it to an Audi tech and he fixed it for $5. In her letter she explained how we cost her over $700 that she didn’t need to spend. Of course she wants her money back for the diagnostic fee.

This puts everyone in a really tough situation.

  • The initial repair shop
    It puts the initial shop in a strange spot. If the initial shop makes the repair, and it doesn’t fix the car, they have a chance to test the repair. If the they didn’t get it 100% right, or there is another issue, they have a chance to make it right.
  • The shop making the repair
    When a customer comes in and says, “I need this part replaced” I get nervous. I usually don’t know the back story behind the repair. Generally I get something like. “The guys at AutoZone said it was bad”. I am not a big fan of getting put in that situation.
  • The Customer
    Odds are the customer still spend more money doing this. Plus the time and gas to take their car to multiple shops. The goal of saving a few bucks is generally goes right out the window. It seems to leave customers feeling taken advantage.

This is just another reason to make sure you find a mechanic, and stick with them. Even if your mechanic gets it wrong, they have a chance to make it right. Just remember that spending a bunch of time, and effort to save a few bucks is rarely worth it. I have learned that lesson so many times it is not even funny!

4 replies
  1. Alex@iHeartEuro
    Alex@iHeartEuro says:

    Great post! When I did my internship at a local VW dealer, the tech really disliked when someone brought in a car for repair claiming “this parts needs to be replaced”… Since he didn’t diagnose it himself, he had no way of knowing if he was actually fixing the issue…

    Good thing I fix my car by myself these days, if something goes wrong I have only 1 person to blame 🙂


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