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Thread: Vehicular problems

  1. #1
    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Vehicular problems

    I have a little problem. Yesterday I was idling in a parking lot in Orlando and I noticed that I was losing electrical power. The AC started blowing warm air and the steering got really stiff. I turns out that a belt had broken, so the battery was losing juice. I have a service contract from Chrysler with roadside assistance, so I called and requested a tow to the dealer, which of course was not open at the time. The techs that work on the Sprinter vans are never in on weekends.

    For starters, the wrecker that showed up to tow me couldn't handle that van and had to request someone else to bring extra equipment, so by the time they got me towed to the dealer it was after midnight. The sign at the service department said they opened at 7:30, so I got into the sleeper and went to bed. Sure enough, there was a knock at the window at 6:00 am. They had the van in by 6:30 and were looking at it. By 8:00 the guy comes to me and says that two belts had broken and that one of those belts wasn't covered, so it's going to be $300 to fix it. Great, I don't feel like shelling out that much, but it could be worse. He also tells me it's going to be tomorrow before it can be fixed.

    Then I'm told that I can get a replacement rental, but their definition of replacement and mine apparently aren't the same. I have a minivan to run around Orlando in, but not a vehicle that I can use to do generate any income whatever while I'm down here. So I'm sitting here and the dealer just called me back to tell me that not only did the belt break, but apparently it got sucked into some other part of the engine and did some damage. Now the estimate to fix it goes from $300 to $1500 and he's saying it will be 3 or 4 days. That fishy smell isn't the seafood place I just had lunch at either.

    So now I'm on hold with Chrysler trying to sort out what exactly is covered under my service contract and the guy at Chrysler just told me that the serpentine belt is indeed covered, after the dealer told me it isn't. So at this point we're trying to figure out if the belt is covered, does that in turn cover any damage the belt could have done when it broke? The whole rub is that part of my service contract is regular servicing at 10,000 mile intervals. That servicing involves an oil change, fuel filter change, and a 23 point inspection that is supposed to check all the belts and hoses and replace any that are wearing out or in danger of breaking soon. I last had that done in Cincinnati just two weeks ago. I've only done about 2500 miles since then.

    So now while I'm just typing this, my phone just rang. Chrysler sorted it out with the dealer and everything is covered. The entire thing, no money out of my pocket at all. Whew! I think I'll still submit this rant, just to show how you have to be on top of things so a dealer doesn't take advantage of you. But you would think a dealer would be able to look in the computer and see what items are covered under a service plan.
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  3. #2
    On the brink of disaster acredsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Vehicular problems

    Unfortunately that seems like a reccuring theme in the auto industry as a whole. My girlfriend bought tires from Tire Discounters about a year ago, and she takes it in regularly to be rotated. The other night she dropped her car off at the one on Field Ertel and I picked her up. It was 5:10. At 6:45 we went back to get it and noticed that it hadn't moved. We thought it was possible that they just parked it back in the same spot, so we went on inside to pick up the keys.

    When she got in her car, she noticed the packet they give you to keep track of when they were rotated and everything was not in it, so she went back inside and the guy found it on the desk. While she was inside, I looked at her tires and noticed they appeared to be low. She drove to the side and asked them to check the pressure. As the guy was checking it, she asked if they even looked at it and he swore they did although he couldn't tell her what they did, and she noticed the packet had not been marked that her tires were rotated. I told her to just forget it and go on home because they were obviously not going to help her.

    I'm a bit of a weekend mechanic, so of couse I make her carry a tire pressure gauge. When we got to her apartment, I checked her tires and found that none of the brake dust on the wheels had been disturbed, and the green caps on her valve stems had dust on them except for the one the guy checked. Her front driver's side tire was the one he checked and it was at 35 PSI, in the range the tires require. The rear one however was at 23 PSI. Long story short, be aware of your car, don't trust people's word. Place something in your driver's seat that someone working on your car would have to move to drive it.

    It's a sad but true fact that some people are lazy, stupid, or crooked and you have to beware.
    Last edited by acredsfan; 10-27-2008 at 04:13 PM.
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  4. #3
    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: Vehicular problems

    Quote Originally Posted by acredsfan View Post
    Unfortunately that seems like a reccuring theme in the auto industry as a whole. My girlfriend bought tires from Tire Discounters about a year ago, and she takes it in regularly to be rotated. The other night she dropped her car off at the one on Field Ertel and I picked her up. It was 5:10. At 6:45 we went back to get it and noticed that it hadn't moved. We thought it was possible that they just parked it back in the same spot, so we went on inside to pick up the keys.

    When she got in her car, she noticed the packet they give you to keep track of when they were rotated and everything was not in it, so she went back inside and the guy found it on the desk. While she was inside, I looked at her tires and noticed they appeared to be low. She drove to the side and asked them to check the pressure. As the guy was checking it, she asked if they even looked at it and he swore they did although he couldn't tell her what they did, and she noticed the packet had not been marked that her tires were rotated. I told her to just forget it and go on home because they were obviously not going to help her.

    I'm a bit of a weekend mechanic, so of couse I make her carry a tire pressure gauge. When we got to her apartment, I checked her tires and found that none of the brake dust on the wheels had been disturbed, and the green caps on her valve stems had dust on them except for the one the guy checked. Her front driver's side tire was the one he checked and it was at 35 PSI, in the range the tires require. The rear one however was at 23 PSI. Long story short, be aware of your car, don't trust people's word. Place something in your driver's seat that someone working on your car would have to move to drive it.

    It's a sad but true fact that some people are lazy, stupid, or crooked and you have to beware.
    The problem that jumps out at me, is that you had your girlfriend go in and talk to them. Some places just don't treat women with any respect. When my wife has to take the car in for repairs she always runs it by me before she okays anything. She once was told it would cost $250 to replace a blown tire with an off brand cheapo. There are scumbags out there who apparently get away with this stuff all the time.
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  5. #4
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Vehicular problems

    Quote Originally Posted by LoganBuck View Post
    The problem that jumps out at me, is that you had your girlfriend go in and talk to them. Some places just don't treat women with any respect. When my wife has to take the car in for repairs she always runs it by me before she okays anything. She once was told it would cost $250 to replace a blown tire with an off brand cheapo. There are scumbags out there who apparently get away with this stuff all the time.
    Yep. Everytime my wife went to the dealer for an oil change/tire rotation she'd come back with a lundry list of "critical" maintenance items that just "had" to be done or else the minivan would burst into flames.

    The really irritating thing was the list of critical maintance pretty must started at the first oil change.

    We went back to that dealer maybe 2 more times before I told her to go elsewhere. I then called up the service manager and sales manager and let them know they lost a customer over crappy service practices. I'm sure they could care less.

    Then again, I've had service people try things on me too. I don't memorize when I had service done last so when the service guy peppers me with recomended services I usually have to stop and think. This leads them to believe I'm an idiot and then they really try to lay it on. Usually I let them get a couple questions in, then I excuse myself, go to the car, and get out the service folder I have with every last maintance item the dealership has completed. That usually shuts them up.

    It's a catch-22. I prefer to go to the dealer, but the dealer is the one who you most have to watch like a hawk.
    Last edited by Ltlabner; 10-28-2008 at 10:31 AM.
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  6. #5
    On the brink of disaster acredsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Vehicular problems

    Quote Originally Posted by LoganBuck View Post
    The problem that jumps out at me, is that you had your girlfriend go in and talk to them. Some places just don't treat women with any respect. When my wife has to take the car in for repairs she always runs it by me before she okays anything. She once was told it would cost $250 to replace a blown tire with an off brand cheapo. There are scumbags out there who apparently get away with this stuff all the time.
    She dropped it off after work, so I couldn't get there. Trust me, I always do the talking when it comes time. I was there when she picked it up and they weren't trying to make her pay for anything since regular balancing and inflation are free, but it was obvious that they decided they would rather close than look at her car even though they assured her it would be done before they closed. I do most of the maitenance work on her car so she doesn't have to deal with a business. I'd prefer to do things myself and make sure they are done right.
    "I thought I'd get your theories, mock them, then embrace my own. The usual." -- House

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  7. #6
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    Re: Vehicular problems

    I've had some problems with my lights going out. (turn signal, brake light, etc.) The first time I took it in there, they charged me just for the bulb itself.

    So when different lights go out, I take it back. They charged me for labor. Ended up being like 70-80 dollars to change two brake lights and a turn signal (which they didn't do; had to go back in there and have them do it)

    If I had known that, I would have just did it myself or had a friend do it. (very autoretarded)

  8. #7
    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Re: Vehicular problems

    Something you learn when you drive for a living is that you should learn how to change all your bulbs. Learn how to do it in the dark as well. Go to Autozone and get spares for every type of bulb you have in your vehicle so if one goes out, you just pull off and change it right away. Always make you have spares on hand. You don't want to be in the middle of nowhere and have a headlight go out on you.
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