I am REALLY sure that someone will be pissed off at me for writing this post! This story will be a great example of cheaper is not better, and how important it is to have a mechanic you can rely on.
I got a text from my little sister Ashley. She asked my “how long is it ok to drive without that big plastic piece underneath the car?” I may have said it before, but she drives a really nice 1999 VW Passat wagon. Her car has a plastic shield, or belly pan, under the car. It covers up the oil pan and prevents things from getting up into the engine. Her car will run with out it, but it is something that needs to be there.
So, I get the text, and text her back, “What happened to your belly pan”. She tells me that she took it to a place to get the oil changed that was not the dealer. The later then belly pan fell off while she was driving down the highway. The bad part is, the pan is totally destroyed.
Trying to be a good brother, I called the place and talked to the service manager. He was polite enough, but I could tell that he had no interest in dealing with me. I also called the local VW dealer. Basically the same treatment, but I was able to get the information that I needed. It turns out the cost of a new belly pan and related hardware was about $230.
The manager from the quick lube called her back and told her that they would pay up to $50 for a replacement belly pan, leaving her with a $170 bill. So far she has be out about 2 hours of her time, $35 for an oil change, and add on $170 for the belly pan. When I asked her why only $50, she said they told her it was held on with zipties and it was already damaged. That might be true, but why didn’t they tell her that when they were servicing the car? Not only that, but I have used zipties to attach belly pans, it works REALLY well.
After some fighting, she got her belly pan replaced. It took several phone calls and I think her and her dad had to go down there, but it is fixed. She learned a few life lessons with this experience.
- Cheaper is almost never better. I still learn this one from time to time.
- There is a difference in getting your car serviced at a good dealer vs anywhere else.
- The people that work on your car better know what the heck they are doing
- Wasting time to try and save money is a bad choice.
- If a place does something wrong, YOU have to fight to make it right. Do not let someone walk all over you.
Well Ashley, sorry you had to be the topic of this post, but I thought it would be a good story to help everyone out. I am really glad you got your car fixed, and to quote her, “I know that now. First and only time I didn’t/wont take it to the dealer”.