Bad experience

bobsyouruncle99May 25, 2010

AC failed, so I took the SUV to a place close to my home so all I had to do was walk home.

The place, Tires Plus, checked it out completely and told me I needed new AC plumbing to the tune of $584 for parts and $220 labor.

As I really didn't have that kind of money, I went online and found the same parts for $178. Took the car to a local mechanic and had them install the parts for $200. Upon further inspection it was found that the reason the system failed was that the blowout valve had done just that. To replace the valve was $11.

Sooooooo, Tires Plus could have just replace the blowout valve, I could have gotten away for $11 plus labor, about 1/2 hours worth.

This same place tried to talk me into buying a set of 4 tires last winter when I had a blow out.

Avoid this place.

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tough call. system has no freon. something leaked. most any shop will add freon to probe for leak source. they usually add dye and inspect with blacklight. possible the leak at compressor back was misdiagnosed as pressure line leak. yes i have dealt with TP before. they are a little eager to sell you stuff.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 11:01PM
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So you had the car checked out, and was confident enough in the diagnosis to purchase the parts and then found someone else to install them. You mean when you had them replaced you didn't see that they weren't bad?

So once that was done, another leak was discovered at the "high pressure relief valve" and you think that was supposed to be the only problem the car had. The high pressure relief valve gets forced open by the high side pressure exceeding 450 psi. That only happens if the system is working pretty hard, and there isn't enough airflow through the condenser. Seems there is still more work to be done, or else you have chosen to omit some details from your story.

Then you talk about having a tire that suffered a catastrophic failure. Upon them looking the vehicle over their advice was to address all of the tires. Was this also on the SUV? All wheel drive vehicles should have all four tires matched to reduce stress on the drive-train. Technicians are trained to know this, and advise vehicle owners on how top correctly service their vehicle. Without seeing the tires, but going from the perception that you failed to replace that tire that "blew out" on your own before it failed, its apparent that you don't really know how to maintain your car. You can run around and talk bad about the TP store, but nothing you have said here suggests they are at fault. In fact, its more likely your lack of experience and familiarity are the root causes and you are unfairly blaming someone else. JMHO

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 8:09PM
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so you spent 400 installing new part and found out PRV was issue? does vehicle at least work now?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 12:55PM
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You took your car to a tire store to get your A.C. fixed ?
I guess i can take my car to a body shop to get the transmission fixed. Same thing. No offence. So, why did it blow out under high head ? You don't say what vehicle. Not
enough air flow over the condender, as John says, Ice in the T.X. or orifice tube, stuck suction valves, plugged desicant bag, plugged dryer, internals of the hose breaking down, over charged,cooling fan not working,oil
slugging, and much more can cause a high side blow out. So what was it ? If you don't know it will do it again.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 5:32PM
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If there is a lesson to be learned from this thread, its about how these kinds of fact-less stories cause serious trade problems which ultimately make it harder for the consumer to find a good technician when they need one.

I won't lose focus on the fact that we know nothing about "the mechanic" who changed the carry in parts. We don't know if this was a shop, or someone who didn't make it as a technician, so he moved onto another trade but still hangs parts in his back yard. These kinds of people are everywhere, and while they get praise for saving someone some money today, they are selfishly hurting everyone's future. It's so ironic many of these people failed as techs in a shop, but the moment they open the door to their back yard, they are supposed to be the best in town. Many operate what amounts to an illegal shop in a residential zone. They don't have insurance for themselves, let alone the owner of the vehicle. Many don't have AC recovery equipment, so in a case like what was outlined above, they dump refrigerant into a system, only to find another issue, so now that refrigerant gets wasted and dumped to the atmosphere. I would not be surprised if the initial diagnosis was 100% accurate, and the system failed to command the coolant fans on so the head pressure climbed and that caused the pop off valve to open. Details like that would not make a good whining story though, so its easy to simply omit them and then let the average reader simply assume the shop was wrong, and a rip-off. The exact details in this case could lie anywhere in between the story outlined by the O.P., and the one I just wrote here.

The assumption that any backyarder has everything he needs to effectively out perform a solidly trained and equipped technician has never been more incorrect than it is today. It may be appealing to many for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is their own need to limit how much they have to spend to maintain their car but the curtain is coming down on that world hard and heavy with the technology that is everywhere in today's cars. If we don't find a way to control the illegitimate competition that only serves to suck the easiest work from our shops, we won't be able to afford to keep up with the advances in the automobiles and we too will reach a point that we will not be able to service our customers cars completely. Even today, that is a reality for almost every independent, we have to choose which manufacturers we want to support fully, and then be professional enough to turn away those cars that we can no longer support.

To "compete" with the low ballers, and the backyarders, neither of which normally attend any training, and neither of which buy any of the high dollar scan tools required to compete with the dealers at eye level I find myself starting a third job, which I am momentarily taking a break from. I am now not only running a shop, as a full time technician, plus going out and leading continuing educational classes for the techs who want to better themselves. Today, I'm working on writing the first of three classes that will be used for techs all over the country to improve their diagnostic capabilities. I have and it will likely take all summer to write the classes, which will be produced via power point, and written into paper back books. Two of the classes are pure electronics, while the third and most challenging one is based on attempting to teach technicians the kind of insight that previously was only attainable with decades of experience. Imagine an eight hour class, of fifteen to twenty real broken car case studies. Each start with nothing but a description of the reported vehicle complaint by the customer. In real world scenarios, some of those descriptions will be ideal, some of them will be totally misleading. Then the techs can ask for and get testing data which they use to fill in the blanks in the workbooks and ultimately diagnose the car.

Its the pinnacle of irony, Back Yard Bob, with no formal training gets to be "the hero", while we represent the dregs of society.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 1:24PM
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I'm 60 years old. Been in the automotive trade for over 45
years. Rebuilding lawn mowers at age 10. We were the first to go to school for the " new " A.C. equiped cars. Sponsored by EVERCO. You know the name. I'm 5'2" 137 lbs.
Then comes along a 20 year old kid at 6' tall 225 lbs that looks 50. Says something differant than i say and i know he is wrong. Guess who they believe ? Or they ask about a cooling fan that quit. I tell them how to fix it and what it will cost. Never see the car. Yes you know what comes next. They call back and say " my friend bypassed the fan
controls and they put in a switch to make the fan run.
Didn't need any of the stuff you mentioned." Oh well. They will forget to turn the fan on soon enough and roast the motor. Good for them. What can you do with people like that ? Happends all the time. To me anyway.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 8:10PM
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What can you do with people like that? Fire them.

A year ago a Toyota Sienna was towed in and I was told it lost oil, and then quit on the road. It had 150K on it, and they also somehow decided the immobilizer system was at fault for it now not starting. It didn't take long to prove there was no theft deterrent issue, and the stall and no start was directly related to the timing belt being broken. The engine was clearly sludged up due to very poor maintenance through the life of the vehicle, and I simply could not advise them to only try and replace the belt. They wanted to buy another car, so they gave this one to someone who felt he could fix it himself. He had a know it all attitude and was sure he could make it run. "Whatever, here is the diagnostic fee".

About five months ago this second person called me up and gave me the fifth degree. How did I know the timing belt was bad. He didn't think that was what was wrong etc. He wanted me to tow it in and re-diagnose the engine. I took the time to explain to him how he could confirm the belt had failed, worst case he would have to pull the cover and have someone crank the engine and he could then see that the camshaft wasn't turning.

This past week I had a message on the answering machine. He was tearing this apart to try and fix it and he also wanted to replace the spark plugs and when he looked at the rear head the coils were missing. He found the coil that I had pulled when I did a compression test on the front head (and cylinder leak-down test) in the box of parts in the car. Everything he said was accusing me of having removed and kept the coils he couldn't find.

Then he left a second message, "Disregard his last message he said" looking closer he had found the plug wires that come from each of the front three coils to their rear companion spark plugs, and he realized he had falsely accused me of taking them.

I don't play those kinds of games, and I won't sit by and allow some donkey to say the things that he did to me. I called him up and let him know in no shortage of words that he is not welcome back.

The facts are, he was never a customer, the original owners of the car were poor ones at best. It surprised him that we kept the kind of records that we do which even included details about his subsequent phone call from December. The repair order outlined every detail of the original customer description, the testing that was done, the diagnostic result and the advice that attempting to repair the car was quite possibly not in the owners best interest due to the service history. He tried to say that he never saw that, yet his signature was on the repair order copy, so then he tried to say that he must have lost it. He was shocked that I took the time to call him up and tell him that was strike three. He tried to argue several different angles to make himself be the good guy and about how he was a customer and shouldn't be treated that way.
He just didn't get it, he was never a customer and only was given a car that wasn't worth fixing after it was diagnosed. With his last stunt, he will never be a customer, my choice.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 9:30AM
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Geeeess. I've seen and delt with so many people like that i
thought they automaticaly came with the trade and every body got one or three. :)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 11:57AM
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No matter what one does in life, there is one rule that will never be broken. "You can't make everyone happy".
The first thing that happens if you really try is you will suddenly find that the person that is the most unhappy with the situation is you, and the people who need you the most, (your loved ones). When faced with a person that makes it apparent that you can never make them happy, it is wiser for both of you to help them find someone else that can.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 8:26AM
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Toyotas of a certain vintage have a sludge history...maintained or not.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 8:42AM
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*Toyotas of a certain vintage have a sludge history...maintained or not.*

My money is on 'not'. That's a topic for another thread.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 10:02PM
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