1sunfight’s Weblog

August 16, 2008

Car Repairs, Car Dealerships, and Car Mechanics

Attempted highway robbery that is what it was.

Last Friday when I got back into my car from picking up my lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant, my check engine light was on and it would not turn off. I am not one to panic when something goes wrong with my car, I have had enough experience by this time to know that it is probably something minor, or if it is major, it can be taken care of. Of course, my car is almost three years old and has 53,000 miles on it. It is a mere baby and it is still under warranty. The car was running fine, no smoke, no grinding, nothing. No reason to panic. On the following Tuesday I took my car back to where I bought it, so their car repair shop could fix the problem. After four hours of sitting and waiting for the results of the diagnostic test, the service manager came to me and told me that a pump and a valve associated with my exhaust system had gone and would need replacing. Okay, I thought, fix it. He then preceded to hand me a bill of nearly $2,500. I told him the car is under warranty and handed the bill back to him. He handed it right back. It was explained to me that the basic warranty ran out at 50,000 miles. I smiled calmly and told him I bought an extended warranty for the car and handed the bill right back to him. He went and checked out my claim, but I followed him so I could listen to the conversation with the insurance carrier. The service manager told the person on the other end of the phone the amount of the bill. Immediately he was telling the other person how much the parts were, which combined was $800. Then I heard him say, “The rest is labor, our mechanics need to get paid.” As plain as day I heard the other person tell the service manager that he would be in the next day to talk with him about the bill. Before I left the dealership I made sure that my car was covered under the extended warranty. Yes it was.

I was called at my job today and was told that my car was ready. I asked how much the charges were since I had other routine work done, like an oil change and a couple other minor things. The service manager said he did not know because there might be a deductable for me to pay. I calmly explained that the repairs were covered by the extended warranty. He called me an hour later and said that he had checked and that I did not have to pay anything toward the repair.

After work I picked up the car, paid for my oil change and other things, then asked for a full copy of the bill, so I could see what the insurance company paid for the work. They paid $865.00 for the repairs, not the $2,500 that they wanted to charge me. Jim Ellis Mazda of Marietta, Georgia attempted to rob me over a repair, a repair that was covered by a warranty that is attached to my VIN on their computer. That has got to be the most low life act I have experienced by any car dealership and car mechanic. Truly the service manager must think I am complete idiot. It is rare that I say this, but that was incredibly sexist. Women’s IQs do not plunge one hundred points when they are near a car.

Take this story as a warning to be careful when having repairs done to your car. In my case I had an extended warranty that I made sure was enforced. Had I not had a warranty with a bill of $2,500 getting handed to me, I would have taken my car somewhere else for a second opinion. I have had two other cars and the only major repair I needed was on the last one when I needed two engine coils replaced. It cost $800.

Be a savvy consumer and do not let yourself get robbed by a dealership or a car mechanic.



  1. Hello Julie…
    The fact of the matter is that women get taken for a ride when it comes to car repairs – or almost any repair or improvment!
    I guess I should not be surprised, but from my experience most men think women are stupid!
    The best thing anyone can do is to take the time to be informed – and to be strong enough to stand up for themselves!

    Comment by Michael C. Gary — October 11, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

  2. Hello Julie…
    In my previous two cents I neglected to mention that I speak from experience. Before becoming a Commercial Pilot, I was a Master BWM Tecnician for 17 years.
    By far,most technicians ARE honest. Some are thieves. The problem is in finding the good ones!

    Comment by Michael C. Gary — October 11, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

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