• Report: #160518

Complaint Review: Auto Zone - Pennzoil - Tech 4 Automotive

  • Submitted: Wed, October 12, 2005
  • Updated: Sat, September 22, 2012

  • Reported By:Wilton Iowa
Auto Zone - Pennzoil - Tech 4 Automotive
105 East 53rd Street Davenport, Iowa U.S.A.

Auto Zone - Pennzoil - Tech 4 Automotive ripoff, charged for unneeded services, don't follow the posted code of ethics. Davenport Iowa

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Common problem

*Consumer Suggestion: A little hint

*Consumer Comment: formulas

*Consumer Comment: No, Richard - Grand Saline, Texas, you have missed the boat....

*Consumer Comment: very interesting stuff here

*Consumer Comment: Stop the Problems

*Consumer Comment: There are two approaches

*Consumer Comment: I'm sorry

*UPDATE Employee: Pity Party at Mats Garage

*Consumer Suggestion: not the original author of report

*Consumer Suggestion: not the original author of report

*Consumer Suggestion: not the original author of report

*Consumer Suggestion: not the original author of report

*Consumer Comment: Actually Mat...

*Author of original report: To whom it may concern

*Author of original report: Thank you all again, with a few minor corrections and updates...

*Consumer Comment: Oh geez it's back lol

*Consumer Comment: AutoZone couldn't diagnose a flat tire

*Consumer Suggestion: EGR valve diagnosis

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Expect the Worst - Auto Zone does not train their employees properly

*Consumer Suggestion: Actually Mat

*Consumer Suggestion: Actually Mat

*Consumer Suggestion: Actually Mat

*Consumer Suggestion: Actually Mat

*Author of original report: Thank you

*Consumer Comment: Pay attention Josh

*Consumer Suggestion: something for nothing...HAH!!

*Consumer Comment: I feel bad for Mat...

*Consumer Comment: Your own words are your worst enemy

*Consumer Suggestion: just try it once... please?!

*Consumer Comment: Amazing at best

*Consumer Suggestion: Odd...

*Consumer Comment: Yes, the ECM needs to be reset

*Author of original report: Does anybody read anymore?

*UPDATE Employee: Try and read this without bias...

*UPDATE Employee: listen to the mechanics

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Now you know better

*Author of original report: nope "they are not under any obligation to you despite their code of ethics."

*Consumer Suggestion: standard procedure for most auto repair shops

*Consumer Comment: Once again

*Consumer Comment: Once again

*Consumer Comment: Once again

*Consumer Comment: Once again

*Consumer Comment: Bob, you need to drive to Florida.

*UPDATE Employee: The mechanic tried to save you that $60 by fixing what you told him was broken

*Consumer Comment: Amazing

*Author of original report: Psychics unite!

*Consumer Comment: PAY/PAID are the keywords here

*Consumer Comment: Robert, you know darn well

*Consumer Comment: Oh Mat!

*Consumer Comment: Mat or Bob or Whatever Your Name Is

*Consumer Comment: did you PAY for a diagnostic, or not?

*Author of original report: once again, reading helps ...The code of ethics NOT ONLY said they'd strive to "fix it right the first time"

*Author of original report: once again, reading helps ...The code of ethics NOT ONLY said they'd strive to "fix it right the first time"

*Author of original report: once again, reading helps ...The code of ethics NOT ONLY said they'd strive to "fix it right the first time"

*Consumer Comment: ASE is a joke

*Consumer Comment: ASE is a joke

*Consumer Comment: ASE is a joke

*Consumer Comment: ASE is a joke

*Consumer Comment: I think that we are missing something here...

*Author of original report: It helps to read...

*Consumer Suggestion: Dealers know your car best

*Consumer Comment: I'll start at the beginning

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This report deals with a few companies. The companies in question are the AutoZone in Davenport, Iowa, the Pennzoil "Grease Spot" oil change center in Galesburg, Illinois, and Tech 4 Automotive in Muscatine, Iowa.

I had a check engine light come on in my '01 Mustang. I brought it to the AutoZone in Davenport because they do free "check engine light" testing. The employee told me that the code that came up on the computer meant I had a bad EGR valve. He never said it could be any other problem.

While I was getting my oil changed at the Pennzoil "Grease Spot" in Galesburg, I decided to get a second opinion. The employees there also said I had a bad EGR valve and that it was "stuck open." However, they told me it was located WITHIN/UNDER the intake manifold, which was simply a flat out lie.

With this information, I went to Tech 4 Automotive and told them I would need my EGR valve replaced. Without any questions or any sort of diagnostic, they replaced the valve. I guess they assumed I was a mechanic who knew how to diagnose the specific problem, but wasn't able to make this fairly simple repair myself (it looks like it's held on by one bolt, and a couple hoses/tubes attach to it. That's all).

This repair only took about 15 minutes, 20 tops, yet they charged me for ".70" hours of labor (~42 minutes). Also, they have a "code of ethics" posted in the front lobby, in which the first one says something along the lines of "We'll make recommendations on how to fix your vehicle and we'll fix it right the first time," which they failed to do.

They then tried to tell me they could NOW diagnose it, but it would cost $60, but they'd waive the diagnostic fee IF I decided to get whatever problem they found fixed at their location for whatever price they'd want to charge.

To conclude...
1. AutoZone in Davenport, IA told me I had a specific problem, although I found out later from a different store that those computers can't tell you a SPECIFIC problem... they can only give you a ballpark estimate.

2. Pennzoil in Galesburg, IL "diagnosed" the same exact problem, saying I had a faulty "stuck open" EGR valve, although I don't know how they diagnosed it since they apparently didn't even know where it was.

3. Tech 4 Automotive charged me for a part I didn't need (although, technically, this is what I asked them for), didn't strive to "fix it right the first time" as per their posted code of ethics, overcharged me for labor, and then tried to sell me a $60 diagnosis, which they said they'd waive if I got whatever problem they found fixed at their shop for whataver price they wanted to charge.

Bob
Anytown, Iowa
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/12/2005 02:15 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Auto-Zone-Pennzoil-Tech-4-Automotive/Davenport-Iowa-52806/Auto-Zone-Pennzoil-Tech-4-Automotive-ripoff-charged-for-unneeded-services-dont-foll-160518. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 61Consumer 2Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Common problem

AUTHOR: Tim - (United States of America)

As a shop owner in Clearwater Florida I get into these discussions with customers on a daily basis. When a customer comes into my shop and asked me to replace a part such as an EGR valve. I asked my customers how do they know that this is the problem. If they tell me they had it diagnosed at AutoZone or places such as this. I also shared that this is usually not a correct diagnosis. And I don't mind installing their part but not to get mad at me if it does not correct the problem. And I also tell them they would be money ahead of the game if they would allow me to go ahead and diagnose it correctly.

        Usually when I am asked how much would would it cost I explained in most cases the $60. Then they have me install the part without diagnosing it. At least at this point they're still upset when it doesn't fix it. But they can't get mad at me.

       As an auto mechanic for over 30 years our problems have only gotten worse I purchase original manufacture diagnostic equipment cost is anywhere from $2500-$10,000 per tool. Then on a yearly basis the software needs to be upgraded additional cost of thousands to $1500. Or the manufacturers no longer using that tool and that we had to purchase another expensive diagnostic tool. On top of sending our automotive technicians to training average cost of $1000 a year per technician. Even when you do charge a customer a diagnostic fee. It takes a long time to to get a return on your investment on all the equipment that we purchase. Or just never happens.

      As shop owners and automotive mechanics were caught in a no-win situation. Thank goodness for good customers out there that realize that we can't work for free just as they don't work for free.

  I believe part of the problem is the advertisements out there for free diagnosis of check engines lights being so misleading. If you think they're going to do it for free you kidding yourself just look at the expenses They will  make it up in the bill somehow. As being a man of integrity I would much rather tell my customers it's going to cost them for me to check the vehicle out. And if they don't like it they can go someplace else and learn things the hard way
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

A little hint

AUTHOR: John - (U.S.A.)

I hope you have got your problem finally fixed and it is running okay. Now the next time you fill it with fuel, do not tighten the gas cap to tight. A few times of doing that and it will sometimes cause the "check engine light" to come on. I quit tightening mine when I hear the first click. My first Ford product did it and I went to a professional mechanic and had him put it on his machine. The code that came up was one that could be caused by the gas cap. I took the battery cable off for 3 minutes and it cleared the codes and I didn't have any trouble after that. I paid $55.00 dollars but when I left his garage I knew I was good to go.
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#3 Consumer Comment

formulas

AUTHOR: Richard - (U.S.A.)

To my dear friend in South Carolina that does not need the wall street journal to access bussiness information. If you could read my post it does not say that all oils are the same but in fact says read the formulas, you know like the food you shove in your mouth from a can has what is in it on the can. I agree with you about the Wall Stret journal except for the information there will lead you to the source if you need it. It also makes many people lots of money in good times and bad to read it daily. good luck!
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#4 Consumer Comment

No, Richard - Grand Saline, Texas, you have missed the boat....

AUTHOR: Thomas - (U.S.A.)

Re your comments:

"Sorry folks but read the wall street journal and you will see that there are only a few companies making these parts with any name you wish. I really like the post from California that says Pennzoil sucks. Read the formula dips**t and it may be the same oil with another name on it you use now. These are also the people who purchase 93 octane white namebrand gas for $4.39 PER GALLON even though the car runs fine on 87 from Walmart. "

First, the "wall street journal" aka The Wall Street Journal" aka the WSJ, is NOT presumed to be an expert resource on auto repair, oils, or other similar issues. The WSJ is presumed to be expert on business and financial matters only. If I want a tribology question answered, the WSJ is NOT the place I should look.

Second, all oils are NOT the same, no matter what you may wish to think. Quaker State toasted many auto engines several years ago because they screwed up their additive package. Modern engines live and the engines those oils are used in can die based on the correctness of the oil additive package- which is VERY complex. ARCO once offered a motor oil laced with graphite because, as we all know, graphite is a solid lubricant; except graphite is ONLY a lubricant when water vapor is present, and there is "very-little-to-no" water vapor in a hot running auto engine. When there is NO water vapor present, graphite becomes (wait for it) an ABRASIVE!

So stop calling people names and spend some time at bobistheoilguy. You might learn something.
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#5 Consumer Comment

very interesting stuff here

AUTHOR: Richard - (U.S.A.)

I really have enjoyed reading this about autozone, pennzoil and tech4? People who know nothing about cars should go to a dealer and pay the price. It is not that much more than joes garage with xerox copies of the patch on there shirts qualified. Sure there are a few good shops but not many folks.

I have worked on my cars for 30 years and never asked someone what is wrong with it. I order shop manuals and can read lucky for me. I shop where the price is best for the quality that I want and never have problems. It is so funny to listen to people at the sales counters asking how to fix the cars and do not even own a screw driver.

Autozone, Pep Boys, oriley, advanced autoparts, napa, checkers and the list goes on sell parts. And many think better quality parts are sold with some.

Sorry folks but read the wall street journal and you will see that there are only a few companies making these parts with any name you wish. I really like the post from California that says Pennzoil sucks. Read the formula dips**t and it may be the same oil with another name on it you use now. These are also the people who purchase 93 octane white namebrand gas for $4.39 PER GALLON even though the car runs fine on 87 from Walmart.

Dealers sometimes are bad but they will be there next year and generaly will fix it if they sell that make. Stop blaming others for your problems and maybe go to an AA meeting so you can learn to accept your problems as yours and not everyone elses.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Stop the Problems

AUTHOR: Jay - (U.S.A.)

I am a Parts manager, I deal with problems like this on a daily basis, Customers Not Knowing what they Want/Need. I think it should be illegal for non trained people to work on their vehicles ( this is a safty issue in most cases. I am not saying that is the case here, but if you were required to bring your car to a certified mechanic we would not have these problems. On the other hand there would need to be standards for the garage to protect the customer against over charging, like the Flat rate Manual.
Just my thoughts.
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#7 Consumer Comment

There are two approaches

AUTHOR: Thomas - (U.S.A.)

Both require the car owner to take full responsibility for his car. That is what ownership is all about!

1. You, the owner, will be proactive in the diagnosis and repair process, meaning you will obtain a shop manual from the original manufacturer, Clymer, or wherever, and you will refer to it for guidance every time a maintanence or repair situation arises. You will do the repairs that YOU can understand and can perform, and you will pay a shop that YOU have determined is worthy of your car and your money to complete as they see fit the repairs you cannot or will not perform. [Examples: I do engine oil changes but not auto trans fluid changes; I have changed starters and alternators but I pass on timing belts.]

2. You locate a shop you have determined is worthy of your car and your money and you pay them to do any diagnosis they deem necessary to correct your problem(s).

Take your pick.

I was reading Consumer Reports Money Advisor this PM and they had an article "Are you a likely target of investment scams?" The article had profiles of "different" scam targets and how the scammers approach those different scam targets. Some of the scam targets' profiles are not what you might expect! The common thread, however, is that the victimized scam targets simply WILL NOT perform "due dilligence" to protect their own money prior to their "investing". Seems to me that a PROPER diagnosis by a QUALIFIED Auto repair person would, in the auto world, be the car owner's required "due dilligence". And the OWNER is responsible to LOCATE that QUALIFIED Auto repair person. Signs do not count! Do your homework, ask open-ended questions at the shop.

And if you have not guessed, I am NOT in the auto repair "industry".

I do use AMSOIL and Mobil-1. I have used Mobil-1 since 1981 after I had researched oils in a Tribology Handbook where I learned WHY the REAL synthetics are better than dyno and phony-synthetics. You can do the same, and it is easy if you understand undergrad math.
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#8 Consumer Comment

I'm sorry

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

I have read this report many many times and I just don't see the attitude from Mat that Edward is talking about.

Maybe he didn't fully explain the whole situation in his first posting, but I have never seen him CHANGE his story. Just clear up a few details.

While it is frustrating to people who do understand a little about the way auto repair works, MOST people do not have a clue. Please tell me HOW Mat was supposed to know that Autozone can't actually provide diagnostics? Excuse me but thier sign does lead people to believe they can tell them what is wrong. Why else would people go there? I see it all the time. If people knew it was useless, they wouldn't even bother, just ask Mat. Hey are you ever going to have your check engine light checked at Autozone again? Most people do not understand the difference between CHECKING the light and DIAGNOSIS!

I also *clearly* remember him stating (in his first post) that Autozone told him he had a specific problem, and also that the employee told him it was the EGR valve. So I see no stretching of the original story!

Another thing- he did say opinion in his first post. But then he said he did infact pay for this service at the grease spot. Is he changing the story? Possibly, but then again it is a common saying- I wanted to get a second opinion. This doesn't mean that you didn't pay for the opinion.

I have seen a ton of other situations on here where the customer tried to get a cheap repair, service, whatever and then wanted to blame everyone else. I just don't feel that this is what Mat was trying to do. He did say he went to Autozone because it was free, but it's not like he went to a shop first, found out it was going to be $60 to diagnose and then said no way! I'll go to autozone and get it done for free.
I mean, come on! He has reason to believe that so called professionals would actually know what they are doing! If I didn't know anything about cars, and someone offered a service that could help me out I would go too! Although I rarely trust the word "free" Autozone does promote this service to people who haven't a clue how check engine lights really work.

When I read stories on here where someone has been quoted a price, say 100 dollars for brake pads at 10 different shops, and THEN decides to go to the place offering it for 5 dollars I think "Duh, did you really think it could be done for that price? All the other shops charge 100, but this guy can do it for 5" But people understand what brake pads are, where they are located, wheels have to come off, etc, but they do not understand what the check engine light is! They really DO believe that mechanics just hook up a scanner and it tells them what is wrong!

So I don't believe that stupidity or being cheap was a factor here, ignorance perhaps, but not stupidity. And at this point I *think* Mat has pretty much agreed that Tech 4 didn't intentionally rip him off, but still wishes they would have taken it one step further- as professionals- and asked him WHY he thought his EGR valve needed to be changed. You go to the doctor, tell him you want pills he is going to ask why- before you even get to tell him. And in the future I am sure Mat will be very clear in what he wants when he takes his vehicle in for service. Mistakes happen, and chances are the shop just believed he already had it checked out, otherwise they would have tried to sell him thier diagnostic services right off the bat!

By the way Mat, Pennzoil sucks. Not the place, but the oil! Eww just don't use it.
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#9 UPDATE Employee

Pity Party at Mats Garage

AUTHOR: Edward - (U.S.A.)

This has been very amusing reading all of these posts. With every post that was made by Mat, he increasingly distanced himself from all responsibility and increasingly pilled it upon everyone who tried to help him out. I suppose that soon he will be making a post that his neighbor was at fault also for suggesting to him to go to AutoZone .

The scanner that is used at AZ retails for $149.00. The company bought 3800 of them to provide a free service to its paying and non-paying customers. I even have one for home use for myself and family and friends. Many commercial accounts take great offense at AZ for giving these free check engine tests. They would rather that you go to their shop and spend fifty dollars or more and get the test done. Albeit, they will be using a several thousand dollars tester that will provide a much more accurate analysis. Every store also has thousands of dollars worth of loaner tools that are available for use to anyone, even if you don't but parts there. There is a deposit required for the value of the tool, but 100% refund is given when the tool is brought back.

Every AZ store that I have been to has a poster in the window that states Free Check Engine Light Check. I have never known a store to have signs that state Free Engine Diagnostics. You got what you paid for. You didnt buy the part from AZ. You did use their free check engine light test. They even have a loaner scanner tool that you could have used and checked it yourself. If you had of done that from the beginning, you would only have yourself to blame, but then you couldn't have that. You would not be able to have a pity party then.

All you will get from little, cheap, hand-held scanners is a generic code that will point you in the direction that the vehicles on board computer has given. A much costlier scanner will tell you so much more. It will even let you know which sensors are starting to go bad but have not reached the point to where a prompt code is issued via comp. Even your first post you acknowledge that the scanned codes meant EGR valve. If that is P code that your comp stored, then that $150.00 scanner as well as every other DIYer scanner in the world is going to give the same code. You are selectively stretching from what he told you the scanner read, to now saying that HE' made a diagnostic finding. Every Autozoner that I have ever worked with has always said after doing a code retrieval, It doesnt mean that the part is defective, We usually suggest that they may want to go to a garage to get more accurate testing, but it will cost for having it hooked up with a better tester. All AZ and any other parts store is trying to do, is get the customer pointed in the right direction so that he/she can get their car fixed.

You, as well as everyone else go to parts stores for the testing because it is FREE. It seems that you went to AZ for a free opinion. You then went to the Pennzoil Grease Spot to get a second opinion (your words). Guess what. That is what you got from both places, opinions. Your complaint about the shop that put on the EGR valve is way out of bounds. Not even worth responding too.... Stupid is as stupid does. The only party here that seems to have a code of ethics issue is YOU. You have been claiming that every party involved had no ethics. All I have read is you doing the blame game. Lets all have a big pity party. Every business you have complained about gave you what you paid for. Most tried to give you more than what you paid for. It is just never enough, is it?
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#10 Consumer Suggestion

not the original author of report

AUTHOR: Marie - (U.S.A.)

hit an incorrect key I'm not the original author of this report
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#11 Consumer Suggestion

not the original author of report

AUTHOR: Marie - (U.S.A.)

hit an incorrect key I'm not the original author of this report
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

not the original author of report

AUTHOR: Marie - (U.S.A.)

hit an incorrect key I'm not the original author of this report
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#13 Consumer Suggestion

not the original author of report

AUTHOR: Marie - (U.S.A.)

hit an incorrect key I'm not the original author of this report
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#14 Consumer Comment

Actually Mat...

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

I was talking about people who try to save money by doing things themselves. It actually had nothing to do with your report, like I said in my post- I just got off subject. Most likely because I was sitting at work at the time and just came across a situation where the customer had repaired something (brakes) themselves, with junk yard parts and it didn't work. When I quoted her a price to do it correctly she freaked out and said it cost her half of that to do it the first time (with bad parts and and inexperienced person doing the repair which obviously did not work correctly)

So again, sorry for getting off subject, but I was referring to people who insist on doing repairs to save money and it cost them thier safety or ends up costing more in the end. If you know how to do it correctly then yes, by all means, do it. But otherwise leave it to a professional.

And by the way I never said that you were being cheap and trying to save money- everyone understands that. Even though I work at an auto shop I also understand it is very expensive to repair or maintain a vehicle. I have a hard time maintaining my vehicle and I don't even have to pay the labor.

I didn't think you were trying to be cheap, just that you unfortunatly got advice from people who have no business offering diagnostic services- Autozone and the lube shop. I completely agree that you thought you were in capable hands, considering they did offer you the service, and you should be able to trust what they say. After all, they are supposed to be the professionals. However, I did disagree with your thought that Tech 4 also ripped you off. Like you said, they did offer thier diagnostic services, but I guess they should have done a better job of explaining that the diagnosis you received at the other two places were no good. Anyhow I hope you understand my thoughts regarding your situation are I probably would have done the same thing if I was in your situation, you are supposed to be able to trust what they tell you and thats exactly what you did.

As for finding a good shop have you asked your friends or family where they go? You could shop around when you do your oil changes. Get your oil changes done at a full service shop, not a lube shop. That way you can get familiar with them before you need any repairs done. When you are in there for an oil change ask them questions and see how well they respond. Don't ask a ton of silly questions just to drive them nuts, but enough so you can judge thier responses. That's just my opinion, you should try out a few for easy services and see how you feel about them. I don't think using AAA approved, or BBB members or anything else really matters as much as they way they treat you. Do they remember your name? Do they keep good records when they service your vehicle?
I know alot of people are probably going to completely(!) disagree with this statement but if you find one that you really like and you have been there a few times- stop back in a few days after your last service and tell them you aren't sure, but you wife/gf whatever, said she thought she saw oil on the ground.
OK I know...this is really wasting the mechanics time, but honestly if he values your business I believe he will take a quick look to make sure he didn't do anything wrong and let you know he doesn't see anything but if you want to leave it then he will take a better look. (Obviously assuming you don't have a leak)
I'm not saying that anyone should try to get anything free, but if he knows he just did your oil and he might have done something wrong, he will WANT to double check. I mean if he tells you to just keep driving it and wait and see, that isn't the best advice considering it is your engine on the line. And then of course you should be a loyal customer!
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#15 Author of original report

To whom it may concern

AUTHOR: Marie - (U.S.A.)

I have customers coming to my shop all the time with codes they got from Auto Zone or someone else gave them. I never go by the code a customer gives me. I always get my own. And just because you fixed that problem doesn't mean another code won't show up.
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#16 Author of original report

Thank you all again, with a few minor corrections and updates...

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

While I thank all of you who have actually given constructive advice (excluding a certain Floridian), I would like to clarify a few things that have been said (which is NOT the same as "changing my story" as I've pointed out before).

1. Jennifer from California: I'm pleased to hear that your shop requires that you do the diagnostic or have customers sign a waiver. To me, this means you care about customer service enough to give your customers a brief education regarding "outside" diagnostics. If the shop I went to cared that much about customer service, I never would have been in this mess.

2. Mike from Chicago: Yeah, I hate AutoZone. I bought my DPFE sensor there, and, sure enough, when the problem didn't go away and I had my dealership look at it, they said the NEW AutoZone sensor was bad. Unless they've got some deal on simple things that I can also find at my local Wal-Mart like air filters, I'm not shopping there again.

3. Doug from New Hampshire: The AutoZone scanner could NOT tell me what position my valve was in. They simply said, as my original report states, that I had a bad valve.
As I said in my original report, they (the Pennzoil place) told me their scanner said my valve was stuck open, so it must be a bad valve (without knowing/telling me that it could ALSO be a bad sensor).
As for the rest of your rebuttal, it's all been covered in previous rebuttals, so I won't reply to those.

4. Jennifer from California: Why do people want cheap when it comes to repairs? You've pretty much answered this one yourself... Some people on a low income (minimum wage) or others who are currently unemployed (which I was at the time) can't always afford to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a fairly simple, yet not necessarily "needed" repair (my car ran just fine with this problem, I just didn't want the check engine light to remain on. This way I'd know if some more serious problem occurred).


For all: Is there any way to find an honest repair shop without going to a bunch of them (shop-hopping) until you find one that knows about customer service and how to honestly fix a vehicle? The main reason I go back to the dealer for repairs is that I know that those guys, for the most part, know what they're doing.
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#17 Consumer Comment

Oh geez it's back lol

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

So again, I think those $50 scanners from the parts stores just pull codes right?

I've obviously never used one, but the one my husband uses most of the time cost about the same as yours Robert, with initial cost and updates, and it seems to show the codes and an explaination of some sort. He has to start the car, run it at 2500 rpms, and other things while using it. But he always does that, comes up with something, goes on the computer, goes back to the car, pulls parts, test them, etc. We have a process.

As far as I know the cheaper ones only have like two buttons and they show codes and nothing else. So without doing any further work, how can they possibly provide a diagnosis? Anyhow I agree with Mike, they should not be able to advertise a service. Besides the fact that it is false advertising and they can't actually diagnosis anything, aren't they in the retail business..not service? Why are they trying to reach outside of that? I can't even see how that could benefit them anyway, most customers aren't going to buy the part and even if they do, and they manage to replace it, they are going to return it and be mad when it doesn't work. Maybe Autozone is just trying to sell the manuals. I don't know.

But all it does is cause alot of people who think they know what they are doing try to do it, then come to a repair shop when they realize they can't, they don't want to pay for diagnosis and then they get mad and accuse you of ripping them off when you try to educate them! Ugh.
And another thing, why do so many people try to save money on auto repair by doing themselves. I mean if they have some experience and it's a simple enough job, ok. but if you can't diagnose the problem on your own...you probably shouldn't attempt to fix it. Even if it was a simple job, they obviously don't understand enough about the basics. I don't see people tearing apart thier computers to save money.. but let's try doing my brakes! If you mess up your computer what is the worse that can happen..if you mess up your brakes oh yeah, you can't stop.

I mean I could change my oil and simple stuff like that, then I leave it to someone else. I don't need to do everything myself, that's why mechanics, plumbers, electricians, etc exist. Not because it's a simple job, anyone could do it and ripp people off in the process, but because you have to know what you are doing.

How often do people have to have repairs done to thier vehicles? Like once, maybe twice a year? And maintenance 4-6 times? It's just not that much considering it was probably a large investment and you probably use it daily to get to work, make a living, get groceries, etc. So why do people insist on trying to get it done free or as cheaply as possible..Cheap is not good. Why would you want someone making min. wage out of high school, working for a company that doesn't train employees because they expect a high turnover, to work on your vehicle? And it only saves a few bucks anyhow (and obviously from this site, that isn't even true)

Seriously, be a pennypincher when you buy groceries, household items, getting a loan, etc. not when you want your vehicle repaired correctly. How important is your safety? How important is having your vehicle?

So many of the auto repair reports on here have to do with how long someone was unable to use thier vehicle or that the repairs weren't correct, etc. Most of these reports started out..well I was trying to save money, they were the cheapest, they had a coupon, or so on!

Ok did I get off subject? Oh well that's normal.
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#18 Consumer Comment

AutoZone couldn't diagnose a flat tire

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

The scanner they use costs about $50 retail. The one I use runs $2700 to start out with. The updates are another $1000/year usually.

Now, which scanner do you think will provide an accurate flow of information? Remember, CHEAPer has NEVER meant BETTER.

Bob needed the exact same part EVERY Ford product needs with an EGR issue...a DPFE Sensor.
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#19 Consumer Suggestion

EGR valve diagnosis

AUTHOR: Doug - (U.S.A.)

You wrote-

To conclude...
1. AutoZone in Davenport, IA told me I had a specific problem, although I found out later from a different store that those computers can't tell you a SPECIFIC problem... they can only give you a ballpark estimate.

That statement in not exactly correct. Many cars these days have a sensor attached to the EGR valve. The auto technician can tell by using a scanner what position the EGR valve is in. If the EGR valve is open when it should be closed (for example, during idling) then there is a problem.

You also wrote-
2. Pennzoil in Galesburg, IL "diagnosed" the same exact problem, saying I had a faulty "stuck open" EGR valve, although I don't know how they diagnosed it since they apparently didn't even know where it was.

By looking at the EGR valve on the outside they wouldn't be able to tell if it were open or closed. That's why a scanner is needed.

You also wrote-
3. Tech 4 Automotive charged me for a part I didn't need (although, technically, this is what I asked them for), didn't strive to "fix it right the first time" as per their posted code of ethics, overcharged me for labor, and then tried to sell me a $60 diagnosis, which they said they'd waive if I got whatever problem they found fixed at their shop for whataver price they wanted to charge.

How do you know that the part was not faulty?

I am not sure that they overcharged you for labor. If their sign says that they charge "flat rate" then they are charging what the book gives for labor. .7 hours to change an EGR valve sounds about right.

You have no right to be angry at Tech 4 Auto for changing your EGR valve. You walked in and said "I want yo u to replace my EGR valve. If you wanted them to diagnose the problem, you would have had to pay Tech 4 Auto for diagnosis. You can't have the diagnosis done at a different shop and then try to blame Tech 4 Auto for it! That's really silly.

Here's a suggestion. Find ONE auto shop that you trust and take your car there for ALL your work. Ask what their shop rate is. Ask if the hourly rate is actual time or flat rate. Know that auto repair costs a lot of money (just like plumbing, or food preparation, or any other service in the USA). Not all of that money goes right into the employee's pocket. There are big expenses to pay when you're running a business. That is just the way it is.
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#20 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Expect the Worst - Auto Zone does not train their employees properly

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

I apologize I have not read all the the responses but I have read the top 10 or so. I am an ex-employee of Auto Zone and I can tell you first hand that Auto Zone does not train their employees properly. When Auto Zone hires sales positions usually they just throw you right into the mix, sometimes you get lucky and go to an 8 hour class where you fill out paper work and they feed you all kinds of lies about how they care about the customers soooooo much.
The diagnostic scanner that they use on vehicles is very vague, just like their repair manuals, and there training. They want it that way. Their sign does not say "We can give you a general idea why your engine light is on" it says, "check engine lights we can help". It seems practically pointless to have the scanner in the first place because most people who go to Auto Zone are not mechanics, what good would a general idea give them. As well as if you take the car to a shop they will not stand by Auto Zones diagnosis because they want to either charge you for their own because they know that the diagnosis you recieved from Auto Zone was meaningless or they want to charge you the fee for it, which is much well deserved to them. They work on cars all day long and get there hands dirty so your car is running right and you do not get stranded and have reliable transportation. Anyway, Auto Zone is designed for the regular mechanic, not for people who want help fixing there car that do not know what they are doing. I am not saying you are wrong for being upset about the service you recieved at Auto Zone, I agree with you. I don't think Auto Zone should be legally allowed to check an engine light. The workers are not properly trained and can easily erase the codes on the vehicle, which is illegal. It is actually Auto Zone who wanted your car to be misdiagnosed because they Know their tool is not capable of telling you exactly what is wrong with your car as well as they know the employee is not capable of telling you what is wrong with your car, only a mechanic can do that. They also know that when you come in to get the diagnosis you are going to want to know what is wrong with your car. Seems a little rediculous doesn't it?
As for the oil change place it is probably just like Auto Zone. They don't train these people to work with cars because they don't want to pay for it, as well as they don't want to pay mechanics to work their either. They put people in their stores and shops who need money to live. They need their job otherwise they will go hungry, lose their apartment, not be able to take care of their kids,etc. these people are living paycheck to paycheck and their employer tells them to fake it. Just act like you know and you'll be fine. Because if they tell you they don't know what they are doing they will lose a customer, or the customer will complain about them. So pretty much when you go to a place that offers you a free or highly discounted service expect that they are paying the bear minimum to the person who is doing the service, as well as not training them.
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#21 Consumer Suggestion

Actually Mat

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

While you obviously don't care for Robert or the way that he responds.. I believe he is correct about the fact that you cannot just block of your EGR. I think it is like 96 and newer that uses OBDII and you have to have it. (Which Josh didn't actually say for you to do that, but that in his case he could) My point being that while you may have to read through Robert's comments to find it, there is correct information about autozones crappy "diagnostics", your vehicle, and the way auto shops work. Some of it maybe helpful in the future.

I can honestly say if you had come to our shop and asked for a specific thing to be done I would have written up the job just like you asked, assuming that you had already paid for diagnosis.

If later we found out it wasn't the cause, we probably would have offered to diagnose it at this point, just as you said this shop did.
Because of situations like yours, we now insist the customer has us do the diagnostics (and we also credit if repair is made) or sign a disclaimer. If we go off of the other shops (or autozones) diagnostics, who do you blame if it is not correct? The shop that diagnosed the problem incorrectly? Or the shop that did the requested repair that turned out not to be the problem?

It seemed you were worried that if you had them do the diagnostics you would have to pay whatever they wanted to charge to fix it. As if they were going to rip you off. They probably would have done it for a reasonable price, and either way you had to have the diagnostics done.

I think there is a right time to go to the dealer (new car, recalls, certain diagnostics), and other times an independent shop will always be better. But if you are happy with the dealer then stick with them. It doesn't hurt to find another independent for when you can't wait all day for an oil change from the dealer, or other common problems, as they will almost always beat the dealer in service, speed and price.

Again I don't think it was your fault, you just got bad advice from two other places that didn't know what they were doing. If someone advertises a service, free or not, you expect they know how to do it. If you have never had a diagnostic service done before, you would have no reason to doubt a free (or cheap) one.

BTW I hope you got your diagnostic fee back from the grease spot, I'm guessing they just charged you without really checking, just going off of what you told them.

You could get an alldata subscription for your vehicle so you will know more about it in the future. It has more than a manual has, but updated all the time. I believe it's only like 14.99 a year. It's worth it for the repair information and also it has labor times so you know what to expect. You can also tell if the repair shop is full of crap sometimes. Being informed is always a good thing.
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#22 Consumer Suggestion

Actually Mat

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

While you obviously don't care for Robert or the way that he responds.. I believe he is correct about the fact that you cannot just block of your EGR. I think it is like 96 and newer that uses OBDII and you have to have it. (Which Josh didn't actually say for you to do that, but that in his case he could) My point being that while you may have to read through Robert's comments to find it, there is correct information about autozones crappy "diagnostics", your vehicle, and the way auto shops work. Some of it maybe helpful in the future.

I can honestly say if you had come to our shop and asked for a specific thing to be done I would have written up the job just like you asked, assuming that you had already paid for diagnosis.

If later we found out it wasn't the cause, we probably would have offered to diagnose it at this point, just as you said this shop did.
Because of situations like yours, we now insist the customer has us do the diagnostics (and we also credit if repair is made) or sign a disclaimer. If we go off of the other shops (or autozones) diagnostics, who do you blame if it is not correct? The shop that diagnosed the problem incorrectly? Or the shop that did the requested repair that turned out not to be the problem?

It seemed you were worried that if you had them do the diagnostics you would have to pay whatever they wanted to charge to fix it. As if they were going to rip you off. They probably would have done it for a reasonable price, and either way you had to have the diagnostics done.

I think there is a right time to go to the dealer (new car, recalls, certain diagnostics), and other times an independent shop will always be better. But if you are happy with the dealer then stick with them. It doesn't hurt to find another independent for when you can't wait all day for an oil change from the dealer, or other common problems, as they will almost always beat the dealer in service, speed and price.

Again I don't think it was your fault, you just got bad advice from two other places that didn't know what they were doing. If someone advertises a service, free or not, you expect they know how to do it. If you have never had a diagnostic service done before, you would have no reason to doubt a free (or cheap) one.

BTW I hope you got your diagnostic fee back from the grease spot, I'm guessing they just charged you without really checking, just going off of what you told them.

You could get an alldata subscription for your vehicle so you will know more about it in the future. It has more than a manual has, but updated all the time. I believe it's only like 14.99 a year. It's worth it for the repair information and also it has labor times so you know what to expect. You can also tell if the repair shop is full of crap sometimes. Being informed is always a good thing.
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#23 Consumer Suggestion

Actually Mat

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

While you obviously don't care for Robert or the way that he responds.. I believe he is correct about the fact that you cannot just block of your EGR. I think it is like 96 and newer that uses OBDII and you have to have it. (Which Josh didn't actually say for you to do that, but that in his case he could) My point being that while you may have to read through Robert's comments to find it, there is correct information about autozones crappy "diagnostics", your vehicle, and the way auto shops work. Some of it maybe helpful in the future.

I can honestly say if you had come to our shop and asked for a specific thing to be done I would have written up the job just like you asked, assuming that you had already paid for diagnosis.

If later we found out it wasn't the cause, we probably would have offered to diagnose it at this point, just as you said this shop did.
Because of situations like yours, we now insist the customer has us do the diagnostics (and we also credit if repair is made) or sign a disclaimer. If we go off of the other shops (or autozones) diagnostics, who do you blame if it is not correct? The shop that diagnosed the problem incorrectly? Or the shop that did the requested repair that turned out not to be the problem?

It seemed you were worried that if you had them do the diagnostics you would have to pay whatever they wanted to charge to fix it. As if they were going to rip you off. They probably would have done it for a reasonable price, and either way you had to have the diagnostics done.

I think there is a right time to go to the dealer (new car, recalls, certain diagnostics), and other times an independent shop will always be better. But if you are happy with the dealer then stick with them. It doesn't hurt to find another independent for when you can't wait all day for an oil change from the dealer, or other common problems, as they will almost always beat the dealer in service, speed and price.

Again I don't think it was your fault, you just got bad advice from two other places that didn't know what they were doing. If someone advertises a service, free or not, you expect they know how to do it. If you have never had a diagnostic service done before, you would have no reason to doubt a free (or cheap) one.

BTW I hope you got your diagnostic fee back from the grease spot, I'm guessing they just charged you without really checking, just going off of what you told them.

You could get an alldata subscription for your vehicle so you will know more about it in the future. It has more than a manual has, but updated all the time. I believe it's only like 14.99 a year. It's worth it for the repair information and also it has labor times so you know what to expect. You can also tell if the repair shop is full of crap sometimes. Being informed is always a good thing.
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#24 Consumer Suggestion

Actually Mat

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

While you obviously don't care for Robert or the way that he responds.. I believe he is correct about the fact that you cannot just block of your EGR. I think it is like 96 and newer that uses OBDII and you have to have it. (Which Josh didn't actually say for you to do that, but that in his case he could) My point being that while you may have to read through Robert's comments to find it, there is correct information about autozones crappy "diagnostics", your vehicle, and the way auto shops work. Some of it maybe helpful in the future.

I can honestly say if you had come to our shop and asked for a specific thing to be done I would have written up the job just like you asked, assuming that you had already paid for diagnosis.

If later we found out it wasn't the cause, we probably would have offered to diagnose it at this point, just as you said this shop did.
Because of situations like yours, we now insist the customer has us do the diagnostics (and we also credit if repair is made) or sign a disclaimer. If we go off of the other shops (or autozones) diagnostics, who do you blame if it is not correct? The shop that diagnosed the problem incorrectly? Or the shop that did the requested repair that turned out not to be the problem?

It seemed you were worried that if you had them do the diagnostics you would have to pay whatever they wanted to charge to fix it. As if they were going to rip you off. They probably would have done it for a reasonable price, and either way you had to have the diagnostics done.

I think there is a right time to go to the dealer (new car, recalls, certain diagnostics), and other times an independent shop will always be better. But if you are happy with the dealer then stick with them. It doesn't hurt to find another independent for when you can't wait all day for an oil change from the dealer, or other common problems, as they will almost always beat the dealer in service, speed and price.

Again I don't think it was your fault, you just got bad advice from two other places that didn't know what they were doing. If someone advertises a service, free or not, you expect they know how to do it. If you have never had a diagnostic service done before, you would have no reason to doubt a free (or cheap) one.

BTW I hope you got your diagnostic fee back from the grease spot, I'm guessing they just charged you without really checking, just going off of what you told them.

You could get an alldata subscription for your vehicle so you will know more about it in the future. It has more than a manual has, but updated all the time. I believe it's only like 14.99 a year. It's worth it for the repair information and also it has labor times so you know what to expect. You can also tell if the repair shop is full of crap sometimes. Being informed is always a good thing.
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#25 Author of original report

Thank you

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

Thank you, Jennifer and Josh, for your thoughtful and constructive comments. As for Mr. "I have way too much time on my hands and for some strange reason am obsessed with this issue" Robert, the least you could do is NOT attack the people who actually leave helpful comments. Unlike you, they seem to actually be trying to help. If you have some psychological issue and absolutely HAVE to attack somebody, please stick to attacking me instead of going after the kind-hearted people who have left me some helpful comments. Thanks!
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#26 Consumer Comment

Pay attention Josh

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

A '91 Mustang is not OBD2 compliant. A 2001 Mustang is. He cannot block off his EGR.

I could have told him the two things to look for with his complaint. I chose not too. He complains about mechanics who do what he wants, not the idiots who told him the wrong thing.

But now I will. First, the EGR Valve is never the problem. It is nearly always one or both of these...DPFE Sensor, EGR Valve ORIFICE. The DPFE sensor gets corrosion and fails. The ORIFCE in the manifold gets clogged up with carbon.

In rare cases, the EGR Solenoid fails, but it throws a different code.

In even rarer(is that a word?) cases, the exhaust gets clogged up on one side(with the EGR pipe), and causes too much pressue through the sensor, and valve.

So, which was it, Bob? DPFE? Orifice clogged? Solenoid? Or clogged converters?
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#27 Consumer Suggestion

something for nothing...HAH!!

AUTHOR: Josh - (U.S.A.)

My best advice to you is to get a factory service manual to help familiarize yourself with all the individual part locations and help you understand what your mechanic is telling you. You may not be able to perform the very in depth fixes but something simple like an EGR could have been removed and tested or in my case tossed into the weeds and replaced with a block off kit because I don't care for em .

Personally I would NEVER take my vehicle to any "stealership" as they wouldn't have a clue as to what they were working on (91 mustang engine bolted to a 84 f250 trans and a 93 explorer rear end)although they REALLY should as ford's part # setup in particular makes it very simple to tell what's what. Also you may try becoming a member of a mustang only discussion forum as there's most likely someone on there that has had the same problem as you.

Also more often than not there's a few mechanics on those specialised boards that work at what would in this case be a Ford dealership and they're usually very helpful when you have a problem. Lastly in reply to someones comment aboput people who shop at Auto Zone and the like and there vehicle reliabilty well I guess I've just gotten lucky oh about just a few hundred times.
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#28 Consumer Comment

I feel bad for Mat...

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

Poor Mat. I have never seen a guy go through so much trouble. I agree with you all the way until the part about Tech 4. And I did try to read as closely as I could to everything that was written so don't start thinking I am making stuff up as I go.

I think you got ripped off by Autozone. Because I do know that they advertise "Free Diagnosis" and that isn't right, because they don't do anything more than hook up a cheap scanner and tell you what THEY think is most likely your problem, as you now know. They don't have proper training and shouldn't be making recommendations without fully explaining what they do. I don't know why they try to offer it as a service because it doesn't help them, the customer, or the auto repair shops at all. Infact it just creates more problems.

Then I think you got ripped off at the "Grease Spot" As you have now learned, certifications- along with AAA or BBB mean nothing. Anybody can pay for the "Certifications" or memberships. I don't know what your invoice from them states, but with the diagnosis you should have clear documentation of what they did and how they came to the conclusion that your EGR valve was bad.

As for the Tech 4 I don't completely agree. Although, like you say- I guess they assumed I was a mechanic who knew how to diagnose the specific problem, but wasn't able to make this fairly simple repair myself (it looks like it's held on by one bolt, and a couple hoses/tubes attach to it. That's all).- They did make an assumption, it was likely that they believed that you had it diagnosed previously somewhere else and were now wanting it replaced. So I can see how you feel they should have dug a little deeper into WHY you wanted it replaced, you should have also given them a lot more information.

The code of ethics more likely points to the fact that they do offer correct diagnosis. In that case, it can be read that when you purchase a diagnostic service from them they will correctly diagnose and repair the problem to save you time and money. By them doing the diagnosis they are now responsible for correctly repairing your vehicle.

"(although, technically, this is what I asked them for)" You do admit that you did ask them to replace the EGR Valve- but didn't "Strive to fix it right the first time" In thier mind, they did. You asked for a specific part replaced and they did it right.

As for the book rate- I think thats been covered enough. It usually works in the shops favor- they get a "Bonus" (in efficiency) if they complete the job quickly, and in most cases it can be done in the amount of time the book states. It's helpful to think of it as a Labor Rate Guide (which it is) but in the sense that those are the prices the shop charges. As if it were a sign on the wall stating the price that the shop charges to do that job on your car- which obviously they can't do for each car. But in most cases it would be better than just charging the same price for every car, because obviously some people are going to get a good deal, but many- with easy cars to work on-wont.

Like it was stated before- the dealer does it too. It's just standard, like the doctor charges you 60 dollars a visit- 10 minutes or 30 minutes- same charge.

If you like the dealer stick with the dealer. But don't think all independents are rotten. The dealer uses the same mechanics- but you say you like the customer service better so if that is what makes you happy then good.

Again, I really would like to blame autozones stupid idea in the first place. Giving people the theory that "Check Engine Lights" can be "Diagnosed" by simply plugging in a scanner and reading off the code. It's simply not the way it works and I have to get a bunch of people trying to haggle down our price saying that Autozone does it free and that it only takes five minutes to hook up a scanner.

That's true- it takes five minutes to hook up a scanner and pull a code- that code tells you which system the problem is in and where to START TESTING. Then you have to know the correct procedures for properly testing everthing and of course the right tools and equipment. Which AGAIN you now know Mat. I just don't think in this case-
I've seen others that were clearly the shops fault- you can blame Tech 4. They probably thought that you had already had it diagnosed elsewhere and that happens alot.

So I guess why I keep going on is I am hoping here that the people that come to our shop will read this and get a clue. Lol.
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#29 Consumer Comment

Your own words are your worst enemy

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

"Finally, to put the final nail in the coffin, I've since gone out and paid a dealership to diagnose the problem (to make sure it was done properly). According to their test (which I paid around $50 for), my DPFE sensor was the part causing the check engine light to go on. So, I bought a new sensor, and installed it (which is almost easier than changing an air filter). Did my check engine light turn off? Nope. (Does the computer need to be reset or something?)"-6/21/06

"Finally, the ECM needs to be reset? My car must be magical then, because the day after I wrote that last reply, the check engine light was no longer on! Did the "ECM reset" fairies drop by in the middle of the night to reset my ECM? Is my car just possessed? Spooky."-7/1/06

First you say one thing...then you change your story.

Typical.

And again, the code is still in the ECM. The ECM is compensating for it. It will NOT go away, no matter what your ECM Fairies do. Until you get the code cleared, the car will NOT perform at it's best.

Also, could you please add up everything you paid so far for this repair? I already know it was more than you would have if you had just PAID for the diagnostic and let the mechanic do his job.
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#30 Consumer Suggestion

just try it once... please?!

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

Robert, you seem to have some sort of twisted interest in this issue. It's fairly odd that somebody who has no direct involvement in an issue would follow it so closely. Oh well, I digress.

Again, simply reading my entire responses would yield amazing facts! Such as when I said "the DAY AFTER I wrote that last reply, the check engine light was no longer on". Here we go with the assumptions again. You assume I'm changing my story when I'm not and I assume you're reading my replies in their entirety. It's really not that hard to follow. Well, maybe it's hard to follow if you're still going with your own version of events instead of the ones I've actually typed. I can see how that would be confusing.

Robert, it's apparent to me that you're not familiar with something known as "good customer service". Somebody who is familiar with good customer service would know that they have to qualify a customer first before selling them something they don't need, even if the customer thinks they need it. For example, if you were a home builder, and somebody came to you and said "I want a house built out of paper," would you just blindly go ahead and build that house (like the guys at Tech4 who blindly went ahead and replaced a part)? Apparently, you would. However, somebody familiar with good customer service would want to find out WHY the customer wants a house made out of paper:

-"Sir, may I ask why you'd want a paper house?"
-"Well, cuz Joe Schmoe told me they're good."
-"Well sir, the problem with a paper house is that it would fall apart if it rains or if there is a small gust of wind."
-"Gee, I never thought of that."
-"I could build you a house out of wood and concrete. It will cost quite a bit more, but I'm sure you'll be much happier with the results because your house won't fall apart immediately."
-"Good point. OK. Build it out of wood and concrete. Here's my money."

Both the customer and the home builder win in this situation. In fact, the home builder wins twice! Once, because he got the customer's money (a lot more than if he built a paper house), and twice because the customer is happy with the home builder, and thus, the next time he has a house built for him, he'll go back to the same builder (it's called repeat business).

This is exactly the same with Tech4. If they qualified their customers' problems first, they'd actually be able to follow their own code of ethics, wherein it says they'll fix the problem (not "fix the part") right the first time. It would have also made me stop and think "Boy, these guys sure know what they're talking about," and they'd have repeat business from me.

Would the house builder be blamed for building a paper house if that house fell over? YES, because the house-builder should have known better that to build such a flimsy house. Do engineers who decide to take a shortcut when building a structure get blamed if the structure fails because of their shortcut? YES! It's called accountability.

If you've read this far (ALL the words... no fair skipping ahead!), congrats! You've just finished reading your first entire reply! :-)
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#31 Consumer Comment

Amazing at best

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Go get the ECM reset. Just because the light goes out, does not mean the ECM doesn't need to be cleared. The code is still present, and the ECM is making do with it.

I'll admit you did say Tech4 provided the part, but you also admitted they only provided you the part YOU requested yourself.

You also said the light was still on, and asked if it needed to be reset. Try and keep your story straight just once. So far, you change up the batting order each time you post.

While there are plenty of bad apples with the mechanical trades, there are more bad apples when it comes to customers. The worst ones are the ones who change their stories, and blame the mechanic for doing exactly what was asked of them.
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#32 Consumer Suggestion

Odd...

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

Oh Robert from Jacksonville, FL. True, in my original post, I never said anything about paying for a diagnostic. However, I also never said the "Grease Spot" did it for free. You and your assumptions!

Apparently, you're also only reading what you want to see, because my reply on 10/19/05 states, "Did I pay for a diagnosis? YES. Not at Auto Zone, but at the oil change place. Stop making things up." (Remember? You followed this up with a false assumption than I bought the EGR valve at AutoZone, even though I never said I bought it there but I did say the mechanics at Tech4 "charged me for a part". Guess you forgot you read that, huh?)

Finally, the ECM needs to be reset? My car must be magical then, because the day after I wrote that last reply, the check engine light was no longer on! Did the "ECM reset" fairies drop by in the middle of the night to reset my ECM? Is my car just possessed? Spooky.

Robert, I believe my story appears to have changed to you because you keep assuming things and adding things to it. Then when I try to correct you and let you know how things really are, it's different than your make-believe version of the story, and thus, seems to have changed. Unfortunately, if you're a mechanic, then you're just another classic example of a mechanic who makes things up when you're not 100% sure what you're talking about just so you can sound smart (like the "Grease Spot" guys). Like I said, I know there are honest mechanics out there, but it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the whole bunch.
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#33 Consumer Comment

Yes, the ECM needs to be reset

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Also, the DPFE sensor code is among the generic EGR code that AutoZone found.

There is a huge difference between the $50 nothing scan tool The Zone used, and a $3000 one that REAL mechanics use. Some cost more. A MODIS runs around $8000. Oil change places use $50 tools too. As I told you before, you got exactly what you paid for...NOTHING. Nowhere in your original post, did you ever mention PAYing for a diagnostic. Changing your story midstream removes credibility from you.

If someone shows up at my shop with a part, and asks me to install it, I am not responsible in any way if that "repair" does not fix the problem.

You were ripped off by yourself. You wanted FREE, and if not FREE, CHEAP. As always, it cost you more than if you had just let a mechanic do his job.
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#34 Author of original report

Does anybody read anymore?

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

I guess I ASSumed people would actually READ the original report before writing, but I guess I was wrong.

Follow this link to see...

"AutoZone, the nation's leading specialty auto parts retailer, today launched a "Check-Engine Light" program at all of its 3,037 stores nationwide, offering free DIAGNOSIS of what's causing customers' engine warning lights to come on -- an estimated 20 million vehicles on any given day."

Also, my receipt from the oil change place CLEARLY shows a DIAGNOSIS fee.

Both places call it a diagnosis.

I know NOW that there are a number of different codes that will come up on the scan tool. HOWEVER, as I said in my ORIGINAL report, the AutoZone employee didn't tell me it could be a number of different things, and that it only meant I had a bad EGR valve.

And no, Jon from Nashville, Michigan, they did NOT fix the problem I had, they changed a part I had. The problem still existed.

Finally, to put the final nail in the coffin, I've since gone out and paid a dealership to diagnose the problem (to make sure it was done properly). According to their test (which I paid around $50 for), my DPFE sensor was the part causing the check engine light to go on. So, I bought a new sensor, and installed it (which is almost easier than changing an air filter). Did my check engine light turn off? Nope. (Does the computer need to be reset or something?)

I know there are honest mechanics out there, but as they say, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the whole bunch.


CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#35 UPDATE Employee

Try and read this without bias...

AUTHOR: David - (U.S.A.)

First off, as others have said, there was no Diagnosis done by ANYONE...
Autozone read out a code on the scantool... so did the oil change jock.

with a code for EGR (there are several for EGR) it can be any one or more of a hundred different problems causing it... from the EGR valve, to a cracked hose, to a bad temperature sensor, to a bad computer not commanding the EGR to turn on or off...

You walked into a real shop, and instead of saying "I have a check engine light and the code is for the EGR... can you look at it?" you say "My EGR valve is stuck open and needs replaced".

They ASSumed you knew what you were talking about and replaced the ASSumed defective part... They did the job right the first time by doing exactly what you asked them to do, and they did it properly.

Had you gone in and asked them to look at it and said the code was for the EGR, you may have spent 60 bucks on diagnosis, but then they would have found the true cause and repaired it. Now you are out the price of the EGR valve (Parts are NOT returnable once installed), a price for TRUE diagnosis, and the price of whatever part it turns out to be plus the labor to replace it.
None of this is Autozone's problem or the oil change shops problem... they told you exactly what they promise to do... what the code IS, not diagnosing the problem for you... Here is a snippet of what they will see on a scan tool... code, then description:
P0400 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow Malfunction
P0401 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow Insufficient Detected
P0402 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow Excessive Detected
P0403 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Circuit Malfunction
P0404 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Circuit Range/Performance
P0405 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Sensor A Circuit Low
P0406 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Sensor A Circuit High
P0407 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Sensor B Circuit Low
P0408 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Sensor B Circuit High

None of these says "Your EGR valve is stuck open", but a non educated person may see the P0402 and say it is caused by an EGR valve stuck open... That code can be caused by any one of a number of bad sensors, a wire that has chaffed thru and is shorting, a hose with a split in it etc... it needs DIAGNOSING before you shotgun parts at it...
Get over it, you screwed up!
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#36 UPDATE Employee

listen to the mechanics

AUTHOR: Randy - (U.S.A.)

I was a certified mechanic for many years, I worked for g.m. and chrysler.I have reached the point many mechanics eventually do and finally hung up the wrenches. I am now a manager for an autozone store. People just hate to pay mechanics for diagnosis anymore and they will gamble hundreds of dollars to save sixty. I get peolpe with broken down cars calling on the phone giving me the cars symptoms,(like I can diagnos over the phone)I'll tell them Some of the things that may cause a problem like theirs but that they should get the car diagnosed and that would save them money in the long run.

These people will come in and buy everything it could be before paying for a diagnosis.(I just don't understand)
Yes we do pull codes on cars for customers but codes don't always pinpoint problems. They will help a mechanic determine where to start testing in many cases.Places are offering free code pulling now to help narrow the field for you.
People dont want to pay a diagnostic fee anymore
so they'll buy ten parts try them all and return what doesn't fix the problem.

Now all you mechanics out there can understand why
we do this were not stepping on your toes we are reducing the number of used parts we take a loss on.

If we dont take back the returns then we'll find ourselves in here with a complaint that we wouldn't honor a warrentee on a part so I can sympithise with you mechanics theres just no winning you know,pulling codes helps customers on some of the basic codes like the auxilery emissions code you get with a bad gas cap or something that is a savings for the customer because you don't want to spend sixty bucks to find out you have a bad gas cap you know,but if you have a running problem get a real diagnosis it is really worth it in the end.
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#37 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Now you know better

AUTHOR: Jon - (U.S.A.)

The only thing I have to say is that the code of eithics was up held. They fixed the problem you said you had and fixed it right the first time! Next time you will get a better diagnostic done on the car before you start! I understand autozone should of gave you more info! It makes scince! But now you know better.

The oil change place, they are what they are there grease jokies as I call them. I understand why you thought they new what they where doing. They shouldn't be offer a service they dont know much about. But then again who is to say that the EGR valve wasn't Bad?? Maybe it was. Believe it or not more then one thing can be wrong at the same time.

It happends all the time! Now You Know Better! You got away cheep, be happy! It could of been worse!
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#38 Author of original report

nope "they are not under any obligation to you despite their code of ethics."

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

"they are not under any obligation to you despite their code of ethics."

Legally, this is true. But what is the point of a code of ethics (ethics being the key word) if you're not going to follow it? Seriously.

I know you were trying to help, but the "paying the diagnostic fee will help you in the long run" and ".7 hours of labor" points have already been discussed previously. As I've titled a few of these responses already, "it helps to read."
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#39 Consumer Suggestion

standard procedure for most auto repair shops

AUTHOR: Daren - (U.S.A.)

"that is my main problem... the real mechanics did not offer any sort of diagnosis before replacing this part. They didn't even question how I knew which part needed to be replaced until AFTER they charged me to replace it. I guess I had the false assumption that real mechanics would be smarter than me (or any average citizen) when it comes to cars and they'd offer their own diagnosis before doing any sort of repair. Unless, of course, they just saw me and thought "sucker!" and went ahead and fixed the part anyway, knowing full well that that might not fix the problem"

The standard procedure for most auto repair shops goes as follow:
the customer comes in with a problem, the shop offers to (conditional) diagnose the problem (usually for a fee), the shop comes up with ideas to correct the problem, if the customer agrees, the problems are fixed. usually a discount or full waiver of the the diagnosis charge is also given.

if the customer declines the corrective action they are charged for the diagnosis. at this point you are welcome to further "shop around" or even return to the initial shop and still recieve a discount on the repair labor because you paid for the diagnosis.

As a general rule, the shop that does the repair work should also have done the diagnosis, then you would be on better footing if the problem was not fixed.

I understand that you were fortunate enough to go to and automotive shop that would do a completely free and unconditional diagnosis. they are a rare and dying breed.

"With this information, I went to Tech 4 Automotive and told them I would need my EGR valve replaced. Without any questions or any sort of diagnostic, they replaced the valve. I guess they assumed I was a mechanic who knew how to diagnose the specific problem, but wasn't able to make this fairly simple repair myself (it looks like it's held on by one bolt, and a couple hoses/tubes attach to it. That's all)."

If this is and accurate representation of the sequence of events. you did not give them the chance to diagnose your problem. they are not under any obligation to you despite their code of ethics. The more prudent course of action would have been to tell them about the problems with you car and let them diagnose it from the start. Pay or atleast agree to pay the $60 fee and wait for the results and continue from there.

"Without any questions or any sort of diagnostic"

Why would Tech4 automotive diagnose your car for free? You did not state that they offer a free diagnostic, nor did you offer to pay them (Tech4) for a diagnostic.

Believe it or not the $60 diagnostic can save you money in the long run in some cases.
example: you walk into Tech4 and tell them that your check engine light is on. most modern vehicles have a host of engine sensors and other feedback devices that can signal the pcm/ecu to illuminate the check engine light.

If the labor rate for the shop is say $75/hr what do you think it would cost to have mechanic physically/manually test/debug/diagnose all of the following sytems?

EGR/EGRC-Exhaust Gas recirculation
EVAP-Evaporative Emission System
IAC-Idle Air Control System
EMISSION
IGNITION
FUEL INJECTION/SUPPLY
CHARGING/STARTING
ANTI THEFT
AUTOMATIC TRASMISSION (IF EQUIPPED)

If they charged 1 labor hour for each it would cost you $675 for a diagnosis. A few of those system require more than one hour of diagnosis time, be it "actual" or "book" time. Bear in mind you are still left with the cost of the actual repair work.

With respect to the .7hrs labor you were charged I am sorry to say that most shops today are using one of the published labor guides. They infact list a specified time for any job that you can do on a specified vehicle. As stated before that is how a mechanic/shop makes money. Yes he can do 3 of these 20min jobs in an hour get paid $157 (@$75/hr) for 1hr of actual work. The concept is not new and it exists in other parts of the repair (home, electronics, etc) industry?

To link the 3 companies with the thought that they were cohorts in plot to rob you is kinda far fetched.
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#40 Consumer Comment

Once again

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

I have to add my 2 cents:
Bob or Mat or whatever,
Autozone only read the code(s) stored in your computer's memory, they did not diagnose it, hence FREE.

You claim you paid "Grease Spot" to diagnose it
but not repair it. You also state they "lied" to you because they were incorrect about the location of the part...WTF.., read their name again. What do you think they are qualified to do??? Lied?

Now, with this "expert" advice, you go to Tech 4 and request they replace your EGR valve. When this did not resolve your problem, you claim they broke their "code of ethics" (We'll make recommendations on how to fix your vehicle and we'll fix it right the first time), again, WTF. They did make a recommendation....PAY for a proper diagnosis, (which they probably did suggest BEFORE they performed what YOU requested they do)

Then you go on to complain about the labor charge.
How long did you tie up the staff at this shop?
How much time were they servicing YOU, and YOUR car? Arrival to departure, 15 minutes? 20 tops? (as you put it).

That being said, Have you resolved your problem?
There are pages and pages of diagnostic procedures for "EGR" codes. Did you PAY someone to diagnose/repair/verify/guarantee your problem, or, are you still "a man with a broken car"?

Look for a good shop, with good technicians, not for good (CHEAP/FREE) deals.

P.S. Auto dealer service departments will not diagnose for "free", well, maybe a flat tire. It will be packed into the bill. Why don't you "time" them on a repair sometime and report back to us.

Good Luck
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#41 Consumer Comment

Once again

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

I have to add my 2 cents:
Bob or Mat or whatever,
Autozone only read the code(s) stored in your computer's memory, they did not diagnose it, hence FREE.

You claim you paid "Grease Spot" to diagnose it
but not repair it. You also state they "lied" to you because they were incorrect about the location of the part...WTF.., read their name again. What do you think they are qualified to do??? Lied?

Now, with this "expert" advice, you go to Tech 4 and request they replace your EGR valve. When this did not resolve your problem, you claim they broke their "code of ethics" (We'll make recommendations on how to fix your vehicle and we'll fix it right the first time), again, WTF. They did make a recommendation....PAY for a proper diagnosis, (which they probably did suggest BEFORE they performed what YOU requested they do)

Then you go on to complain about the labor charge.
How long did you tie up the staff at this shop?
How much time were they servicing YOU, and YOUR car? Arrival to departure, 15 minutes? 20 tops? (as you put it).

That being said, Have you resolved your problem?
There are pages and pages of diagnostic procedures for "EGR" codes. Did you PAY someone to diagnose/repair/verify/guarantee your problem, or, are you still "a man with a broken car"?

Look for a good shop, with good technicians, not for good (CHEAP/FREE) deals.

P.S. Auto dealer service departments will not diagnose for "free", well, maybe a flat tire. It will be packed into the bill. Why don't you "time" them on a repair sometime and report back to us.

Good Luck
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#42 Consumer Comment

Once again

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

I have to add my 2 cents:
Bob or Mat or whatever,
Autozone only read the code(s) stored in your computer's memory, they did not diagnose it, hence FREE.

You claim you paid "Grease Spot" to diagnose it
but not repair it. You also state they "lied" to you because they were incorrect about the location of the part...WTF.., read their name again. What do you think they are qualified to do??? Lied?

Now, with this "expert" advice, you go to Tech 4 and request they replace your EGR valve. When this did not resolve your problem, you claim they broke their "code of ethics" (We'll make recommendations on how to fix your vehicle and we'll fix it right the first time), again, WTF. They did make a recommendation....PAY for a proper diagnosis, (which they probably did suggest BEFORE they performed what YOU requested they do)

Then you go on to complain about the labor charge.
How long did you tie up the staff at this shop?
How much time were they servicing YOU, and YOUR car? Arrival to departure, 15 minutes? 20 tops? (as you put it).

That being said, Have you resolved your problem?
There are pages and pages of diagnostic procedures for "EGR" codes. Did you PAY someone to diagnose/repair/verify/guarantee your problem, or, are you still "a man with a broken car"?

Look for a good shop, with good technicians, not for good (CHEAP/FREE) deals.

P.S. Auto dealer service departments will not diagnose for "free", well, maybe a flat tire. It will be packed into the bill. Why don't you "time" them on a repair sometime and report back to us.

Good Luck
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#43 Consumer Comment

Once again

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

I have to add my 2 cents:
Bob or Mat or whatever,
Autozone only read the code(s) stored in your computer's memory, they did not diagnose it, hence FREE.

You claim you paid "Grease Spot" to diagnose it
but not repair it. You also state they "lied" to you because they were incorrect about the location of the part...WTF.., read their name again. What do you think they are qualified to do??? Lied?

Now, with this "expert" advice, you go to Tech 4 and request they replace your EGR valve. When this did not resolve your problem, you claim they broke their "code of ethics" (We'll make recommendations on how to fix your vehicle and we'll fix it right the first time), again, WTF. They did make a recommendation....PAY for a proper diagnosis, (which they probably did suggest BEFORE they performed what YOU requested they do)

Then you go on to complain about the labor charge.
How long did you tie up the staff at this shop?
How much time were they servicing YOU, and YOUR car? Arrival to departure, 15 minutes? 20 tops? (as you put it).

That being said, Have you resolved your problem?
There are pages and pages of diagnostic procedures for "EGR" codes. Did you PAY someone to diagnose/repair/verify/guarantee your problem, or, are you still "a man with a broken car"?

Look for a good shop, with good technicians, not for good (CHEAP/FREE) deals.

P.S. Auto dealer service departments will not diagnose for "free", well, maybe a flat tire. It will be packed into the bill. Why don't you "time" them on a repair sometime and report back to us.

Good Luck
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#44 Consumer Comment

Bob, you need to drive to Florida.

AUTHOR: Marc - (U.S.A.)

PAY Robert to fix your car correctly, because you seem to have a severe lack of mechanics where you live, as you keep going to almost everyone BUT a mechanic. $45 is cheap for a diagnosis with PROPER equipment, and he's already saving you money right here by trying to steer you in the right direction.
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#45 UPDATE Employee

The mechanic tried to save you that $60 by fixing what you told him was broken

AUTHOR: Anne - (U.S.A.)

The diagnostic costs $60. If he had done the diagnosis when you came in, your original bill would have been higher by $60. The diagnosis is not free; it's $60.

The mechanic tried to save you that $60 by fixing what you told him was broken. I suppose he could have argued with you and tried to convince you to spend the extra $60 for diagnosis instead of doing the repair you asked for. Based on what I and others have seen here, I have an idea how well you would have reacted to that.

You told him what to do. Take some personal repsonsibility for that. It's not his job to guess whether what you ask for is what you really want. It's your job to tell him what you really want.

Nobody here thinks you were ripped off.
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#46 Consumer Comment

Amazing

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

It's amazing how your story keeps changing, albeit in the small details. NOW, you claim you paid for a diagnosis, at the oil change place that couldn't do anything anyway. Sorry, don't believe you.

You say you didn't buy your EGR Valve at the Zone, where you originally went for a diagnosis for FREE. Sorry, don't believe you there either. People who go to the Zone for their automotive advice ALWAYS buy their parts.

You were not OVERCHARGED, as you put it, for the replacement. The book calls for .7 hours, and that is what they charged you. I can do a brake job on most cars in 20 minutes, while the book says I can charge 1 full hour. This means I am more proficient at my job. This is how mechanics earn more money. You get pay raises, we get better and faster. You would have been OVERCHARGED if you were billed for more time than the book calls for. Again, would you have been willing to pay more for the labor if it took the mech longer than .7 hours? If not, shut the hell up and admit you are a hypocrite.

We wouldn't have to "fill in the blanks", so to speak, if you had been honest to begin with, or now. When you change your story, the credibility factor disappears.
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#47 Author of original report

Psychics unite!

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

Not only are people NOT reading what was actually written, but now they're making things up!

1. Did I pay for a diagnosis? YES. Not at Auto Zone, but at the oil change place. Stop making things up.

2. I mistakenly complained about being OVERCHARGED for labor. OVERCHARGED is a lot different than CHARGED. Therefore, once again, I'll point out that I never complained about having to pay for what I asked them to do. Again, stop making things up. It severely hurts your credibility.

3. For the record, I know my life a lot more than you do, and yes, the dealership I used to go to used to offer me free diagnoses when my vehicles have had problems. Re-read what I've previously written about the subject to find out why those mechanics offered me free diagnoses (see: customer service). Stop pretending you're a psychic and that you know my life better than I know my life. That's absolutely absurd. (This goes for Tim from Montrose, too)

4. The $200 credit was well within the 10% allowed by law (it was an expensive transmission related repair). Again, stop assuming things that you are clueless about.

5. "you are basically saying that mechanics are supposed to be psyschic enough to know that you are stupid and protect you from your own stupidity." --- Not psyschic (sic) enough, just certified enough. If a certain mechanic isn't smart enough to realize that I'm bringing my car to them because he/she is a certified mechanic and I'm not, then maybe they truthfully weren't too smart to begin with anyway. You, miss, are the reason that "Warning: Contents are Hot" labels were originally put on cups sideways and had to be tilted to be read.

6. Jim from Escondido, as I wrote before, the shop did NOT offer to diagnose the problem BEFORE installing the valve. They offered it AFTER replacing the valve. This is one of the major points of my complaint. Also, for your information, I have never and will never buy significant mechanical parts for my car from an Auto Zone or similar place, even though I think Auto Zone will sell other brands of parts (i.e. Motorcraft), not just "Auto Zone" brand parts, that are the exact same parts you'd get from a dealership or a repair shop. But, as history shows, I could be mistaken. The most I buy from them is cleaning or cosmetic type products or decent name-brand regular maintenance parts (i.e. FRAM filters).

Similar to how I would have saved money if I hadn't trusted the first (free) and second (paid) bad diagnoses I received, many of you could have saved yourself from looking as dumb, or dumber, than me if you'd have only taken the time and effort to read what I've actually written instead of either breezing through it to find only what you wanted to see or flat out making things up.

Bottom line, once more, is that it's a great scam that's going on. All of your vehement arguments to the contrary have helped prove it even further. Thanks!

~Joe Schmoe

P.S. Just a quick note: Correct spelling also tends to help a little with credibility. Delusioned and credability aren't found in any dictionary that I know of.
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#48 Consumer Comment

PAY/PAID are the keywords here

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

He never had any intention of paying for a real diagnosis. That was the whole point of going to the Zone, a quicky Lube place, and then to the repair shop, while never once paying for it.

If I am ever sick, I think I'll go to Walgreens and buy some aspirin. Then I'll stop in and see my barber so I can get his opinion. Then I'll go to a doctor...after calling every one I find in the phonebook so I can make sure I get the cheapest one out there...then I'll have him just give me a cup of water so I can down my aspirins. When that doesn't cure the cancer, flu, whatever it is, I'll claim they all ripped me off.

No, wait...I have a functioning brain and it helps me make better choices in life. I'll go to a doctor that comes highly recommended and PAY him whatever he asks for, to diagnose me correctly. Always seems to work whenever it's tried.

DUH!
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#49 Consumer Comment

Robert, you know darn well

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

if this customer would have paid the shop to diagnose his problem before installing the EGR valve (as they probably did suggest), and it did solve his problem, he would then argue "I already knew what the problem was, why did you charge me for something I already knew?". They can't win.
I'm not even going to comment on the type of car owners who shop at Autozone/Kragen/Pepboys, or the reliability of their vehicles. I send'em down the road, they will always be people with broken cars.
Thank God for the good customers to take their place!
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#50 Consumer Comment

Oh Mat!

AUTHOR: Tim - (U.S.A.)

Oh Mat, My poor delusioned boy. If you really want credability, you must tell the truth, You stated the dealership never charged you for diagnosis. Ummm, Yea right. NEVER GONNA HAPPEN, ANYWHERE,ANY DEALER, NOWAY. And you stated to Robert that nowhere in your post did you complain about paying the shop for installing your part, I beg to differ, you complained about charging you 42 mins worth of work for 20 mins time. so stop being a tightass and break out for diagnosis next time. And good luck with that autozone EGR valve. And when it fails, and it will, you will be screaming at the shop to replace it for free, although you brought the POS to them. Like robert said, get a clue. Respectfully yours,
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#51 Consumer Comment

Mat or Bob or Whatever Your Name Is

AUTHOR: Anne - (U.S.A.)

You say:

the real mechanics did not offer any sort of diagnosis before replacing this part. They didn't even question how I knew which part needed to be replaced until AFTER they charged me to replace it. I guess I had the false assumption that real mechanics would be smarter than me (or any average citizen) when it comes to cars and they'd offer their own diagnosis before doing any sort of repair. Unless, of course, they just saw me and thought "sucker!" and went ahead and fixed the part anyway, knowing full well that that might not fix the problem.

My reply:

If I read that correctly, you are basically saying that mechanics are supposed to be psyschic enough to know that you are stupid and protect you from your own stupidity.

You, sir, are one of the reasons that "Warning: Contents are Hot" is now placed on coffee cups.
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#52 Consumer Comment

did you PAY for a diagnostic, or not?

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

The answer is NO. YOu wanted FREE and you got it. You did complain about PAYING for the work done. You complained your had to PAY for .7 hours worth of guide-labor even though the job took about 15 minutes. Thus, you complained about how much you had to PAY.

You walked in, requested the shop install the part you handed them, and they did EXACTLY what you asked them to do. If someone walks into my shop and says they want tires they just bought somewhere else put on, I'll do it. When the job is done, if the car still has that annoying problem that had NOTHING to do with tires, that is NOT my responsibility, and that customer is NOT going to get me to check out the problem for FREE. This is EXACTLY what you are wanting the repair shop to do. Diagnose your problems for FREE. Pay for it next time, as you will at the dealership, and then complain if it doesn't get fixed. The reason shops don't question the customer when they bring their own parts, or have already done their own diagnosis is simple...The customer gets insulted that some "stupid mechanic" thinks he knows SO much more than the customer, and then drives off in a huff declaring they'll give their money to "someone who wants it". This is also the reason alignment guys pretend to align cars with worn out front end parts. They know they can make $20-$30 for themselves by pretending to do something, or make absolutely nothing when they tell the customer they need $500 worth of work.

For the record, the dealerships give NOTHING away for FREE. Every car that comes in has a signed work order and gets billed for diagnostic time, even if the customer wants nothing done, or wants thousands of dollars worth of work done. This is how the mechanics get paid. If the mechanic gets no money for his time, he will sit there and do nothing. The dealership allowed you a $200 credit on the final bill because it was apparently way more than the original estimate...just like you said. The laws allow only a 10% bump over the original without a new signed order.
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#53 Author of original report

once again, reading helps ...The code of ethics NOT ONLY said they'd strive to "fix it right the first time"

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

The real issue here, Robert from Jacksonville, is you keep missing (or forgetting) key parts of what I've already written. I'll repeat myself once more, and I'll put some things in CAPS to help them stand out a little easier: The code of ethics NOT ONLY said they'd strive to "fix it right the first time" ("it" being my vehicle/the problem, not just one specific customer-requested part) but the code of ethics ALSO states that they would "make recommendations on how to fix my vehicle". They did NOT make ANY recommendations on how to fix my vehicle; therefore, they did NOT follow their own code of ethics. You follow?

Also, Robert, nowhere in my report did I complain about having to pay for what I had asked them to fix as you've stated. I complained about other things, but not for that. Not only are you missing/forgetting to read things that have already been written, but now it seems as if you're adding things in yourself!

For your information, Robert, the dealership I used to go to before I moved did a lot of things for free for me. I never once had to pay them for any sort of diagnosis, because they knew that if they gave me good customer service and let me know exactly what the problem was, I'd be more apt to have them fix it instead of somebody else. Plus, if you had bothered to read all of my last update, you'd have seen the part where I wrote about one example I had at a dealership when they dropped $200 off the price of a repair for me simply because I questioned their original quote. So, yes, I do have fun at the dealership because, as you said previously, you get what you pay for. I can go to a stand-alone repair shop and get bad service and probably end up spending a lot more than I need to on repairs I don't need, or I can pay a little more and go to a dealership where they treat me with respect and actually fix my car instead of just fixing parts, thus saving money in the long run. As you say, "get a clue."

Leticia, that is my main problem... the real mechanics did not offer any sort of diagnosis before replacing this part. They didn't even question how I knew which part needed to be replaced until AFTER they charged me to replace it. I guess I had the false assumption that real mechanics would be smarter than me (or any average citizen) when it comes to cars and they'd offer their own diagnosis before doing any sort of repair. Unless, of course, they just saw me and thought "sucker!" and went ahead and fixed the part anyway, knowing full well that that might not fix the problem.
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#54 Author of original report

once again, reading helps ...The code of ethics NOT ONLY said they'd strive to "fix it right the first time"

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

The real issue here, Robert from Jacksonville, is you keep missing (or forgetting) key parts of what I've already written. I'll repeat myself once more, and I'll put some things in CAPS to help them stand out a little easier: The code of ethics NOT ONLY said they'd strive to "fix it right the first time" ("it" being my vehicle/the problem, not just one specific customer-requested part) but the code of ethics ALSO states that they would "make recommendations on how to fix my vehicle". They did NOT make ANY recommendations on how to fix my vehicle; therefore, they did NOT follow their own code of ethics. You follow?

Also, Robert, nowhere in my report did I complain about having to pay for what I had asked them to fix as you've stated. I complained about other things, but not for that. Not only are you missing/forgetting to read things that have already been written, but now it seems as if you're adding things in yourself!

For your information, Robert, the dealership I used to go to before I moved did a lot of things for free for me. I never once had to pay them for any sort of diagnosis, because they knew that if they gave me good customer service and let me know exactly what the problem was, I'd be more apt to have them fix it instead of somebody else. Plus, if you had bothered to read all of my last update, you'd have seen the part where I wrote about one example I had at a dealership when they dropped $200 off the price of a repair for me simply because I questioned their original quote. So, yes, I do have fun at the dealership because, as you said previously, you get what you pay for. I can go to a stand-alone repair shop and get bad service and probably end up spending a lot more than I need to on repairs I don't need, or I can pay a little more and go to a dealership where they treat me with respect and actually fix my car instead of just fixing parts, thus saving money in the long run. As you say, "get a clue."

Leticia, that is my main problem... the real mechanics did not offer any sort of diagnosis before replacing this part. They didn't even question how I knew which part needed to be replaced until AFTER they charged me to replace it. I guess I had the false assumption that real mechanics would be smarter than me (or any average citizen) when it comes to cars and they'd offer their own diagnosis before doing any sort of repair. Unless, of course, they just saw me and thought "sucker!" and went ahead and fixed the part anyway, knowing full well that that might not fix the problem.
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#55 Author of original report

once again, reading helps ...The code of ethics NOT ONLY said they'd strive to "fix it right the first time"

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

The real issue here, Robert from Jacksonville, is you keep missing (or forgetting) key parts of what I've already written. I'll repeat myself once more, and I'll put some things in CAPS to help them stand out a little easier: The code of ethics NOT ONLY said they'd strive to "fix it right the first time" ("it" being my vehicle/the problem, not just one specific customer-requested part) but the code of ethics ALSO states that they would "make recommendations on how to fix my vehicle". They did NOT make ANY recommendations on how to fix my vehicle; therefore, they did NOT follow their own code of ethics. You follow?

Also, Robert, nowhere in my report did I complain about having to pay for what I had asked them to fix as you've stated. I complained about other things, but not for that. Not only are you missing/forgetting to read things that have already been written, but now it seems as if you're adding things in yourself!

For your information, Robert, the dealership I used to go to before I moved did a lot of things for free for me. I never once had to pay them for any sort of diagnosis, because they knew that if they gave me good customer service and let me know exactly what the problem was, I'd be more apt to have them fix it instead of somebody else. Plus, if you had bothered to read all of my last update, you'd have seen the part where I wrote about one example I had at a dealership when they dropped $200 off the price of a repair for me simply because I questioned their original quote. So, yes, I do have fun at the dealership because, as you said previously, you get what you pay for. I can go to a stand-alone repair shop and get bad service and probably end up spending a lot more than I need to on repairs I don't need, or I can pay a little more and go to a dealership where they treat me with respect and actually fix my car instead of just fixing parts, thus saving money in the long run. As you say, "get a clue."

Leticia, that is my main problem... the real mechanics did not offer any sort of diagnosis before replacing this part. They didn't even question how I knew which part needed to be replaced until AFTER they charged me to replace it. I guess I had the false assumption that real mechanics would be smarter than me (or any average citizen) when it comes to cars and they'd offer their own diagnosis before doing any sort of repair. Unless, of course, they just saw me and thought "sucker!" and went ahead and fixed the part anyway, knowing full well that that might not fix the problem.
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#56 Consumer Comment

ASE is a joke

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

You can be ASE Certified as a "counterman". That means you are certified to stand there and talk to the customers. You can be ASE certified for oil changes. That means you know the clean oil goes in AFTER the dirty oil is drained. The real issue here is you didn't want to PAY for the diagnosis, nothing else. The code of ethics you talk about was followed. You asked them to do something, and they did exactly what you requested. They also did it correctly, as you have not complained about the installation being done wrong. You complained about having to PAY them to do it. Get a clue. Have fun at the dealership. See if they will do anything for FREE for you. You can rest assured they will bill you out at double what any regular shop will for a diagnosis, and they do it every time you bring your car there. From FREE to $100 is a big jump for you.
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#57 Consumer Comment

ASE is a joke

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

You can be ASE Certified as a "counterman". That means you are certified to stand there and talk to the customers. You can be ASE certified for oil changes. That means you know the clean oil goes in AFTER the dirty oil is drained. The real issue here is you didn't want to PAY for the diagnosis, nothing else. The code of ethics you talk about was followed. You asked them to do something, and they did exactly what you requested. They also did it correctly, as you have not complained about the installation being done wrong. You complained about having to PAY them to do it. Get a clue. Have fun at the dealership. See if they will do anything for FREE for you. You can rest assured they will bill you out at double what any regular shop will for a diagnosis, and they do it every time you bring your car there. From FREE to $100 is a big jump for you.
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#58 Consumer Comment

ASE is a joke

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

You can be ASE Certified as a "counterman". That means you are certified to stand there and talk to the customers. You can be ASE certified for oil changes. That means you know the clean oil goes in AFTER the dirty oil is drained. The real issue here is you didn't want to PAY for the diagnosis, nothing else. The code of ethics you talk about was followed. You asked them to do something, and they did exactly what you requested. They also did it correctly, as you have not complained about the installation being done wrong. You complained about having to PAY them to do it. Get a clue. Have fun at the dealership. See if they will do anything for FREE for you. You can rest assured they will bill you out at double what any regular shop will for a diagnosis, and they do it every time you bring your car there. From FREE to $100 is a big jump for you.
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#59 Consumer Comment

ASE is a joke

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

You can be ASE Certified as a "counterman". That means you are certified to stand there and talk to the customers. You can be ASE certified for oil changes. That means you know the clean oil goes in AFTER the dirty oil is drained. The real issue here is you didn't want to PAY for the diagnosis, nothing else. The code of ethics you talk about was followed. You asked them to do something, and they did exactly what you requested. They also did it correctly, as you have not complained about the installation being done wrong. You complained about having to PAY them to do it. Get a clue. Have fun at the dealership. See if they will do anything for FREE for you. You can rest assured they will bill you out at double what any regular shop will for a diagnosis, and they do it every time you bring your car there. From FREE to $100 is a big jump for you.
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#60 Consumer Comment

I think that we are missing something here...

AUTHOR: Leticia - (U.S.A.)

Probably the part when the real mechanics asked to run an initial diagnosis before making the repair, but you said, "I've already gotten 2 diagnoses this is what is wrong. FIX IT!"

So they fixed it, the problem was still there and they offered to diagnosed the REAL problem.

But all 3 are in cahoots with each other. Yeah, they just pass the money down the line don't they.
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#61 Author of original report

It helps to read...

AUTHOR: Mat - (U.S.A.)

I guess this is what I also get for using a FREE service on the internet... commenters who don't read the actual words written in the original report.

Yes, Auto Zone's free hand scanner comes up with a code and they tell you what it says. The problem comes in when they claimed the hand scanner told him SPECIFICALLY which part was bad (i.e. the EGR valve). Since I'm neither a mechanic nor a car expert, I assumed that people who work with cars and/or car parts would know more about the hand scanner than I did. Truth is (I find out after the fact), the code on the scanner brings up a list of possible broken parts that caused the code to come up, and the employee simply read the first one on the chart instead of being honest and telling me it could be any number of parts that were bad. I doubt he did it simply to sell more parts, considering the employees at AutoZone do NOT work on commission!

The "non-mechanic" oil change guys... the sticker on the door on the outside said they were ASE certified, plus one of the two guys claimed to be a former mechanic from a dealership... I guess that's why I "assumed" they were actually mechanics. But what do I know? Silly me! Plus, I didn't know that they didn't know where the EGR valve was at the time because I didn't even know where it was until after I had it replaced.

The repair shop told me AFTER they replaced the first part that the FREE Auto Zone "check engine light" diagnosis isn't very accurate. Therefore, they knew this problem of people getting a diagnosis from an Auto Zone hand scanner existed BEFORE they did the original "repair". Plus, they assumed I knew more than the "stupid mechanic" yet I was bringing it to them to make this very simple repair? Please, give me a break. We all know exactly why they couldn't/didn't tell me any of this BEFORE they replaced the part... It's a simple scam you guys have going to try and milk even more money out of the "dumb" customer. However, if they'd have told me this BEFORE the repair instead of waiting until after they milked me out of my money, they wouldn't have lost me as a customer.

And yes, the poster (which is actually a plaque, but whatever) about "fixing it right the first time" DOES apply to my case. It applies to all cases of people bringing their vehicles to the shop. That's why it's called a "code of ethics". Ethical codes don't come with exceptions. They don't come with requirements that have to be met by the customer before the employees decide to follow them.
Also, it helps to read what I wrote... the code of ethics says they will "make recommendations on how to fix your vehicle AND we'll fix it right the first time." If they'd have followed their own code of ethics, they would have made recommendations on how to fix my vehicle before making a repair I did not need, thus saving me money, fixing my car, and keeping me as a customer.

I have learned something from this experience though. I learned that I will no longer be bringing my vehicle to places other than the dealership, even if these other places employ only ASE Certified mechanics. Sure, I may spend a little more at the dealership, but like you said, you get what you pay for. I have had nothing but positive experiences from dealership repair shops (like when they dropped the price on a repair by more than $200 because they originally quoted me at the lower price. Or, like the time when I told them I needed a part changed, and they actually took the time to find out why I thought that part was bad and needed to be changed... ended up saving me money). They don't treat me like I'm an idiot when it comes to cars (even if I am) like other repair shops/oil change places do. I, as well as friends of mine, have had nothing but negative experiences going to "stand-alone" repair shops such as this. While the mechanical work may be on par with what you get at a dealership, the customer service doesn't hold a candle to what you get at a dealership.

On one hand, if the mechanics are truly assuming that we, the average joe customer, actually know more about diagnosing/fixing cars than they do, then maybe they actually are "stupid mechanics." On the other hand, they may be incredibly smart, knowing they have such a wonderful scam going on. Either way, I've learned that, from now on, I'm keeping my car out of their hands and bringing it to actual experts.
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#62 Consumer Suggestion

Dealers know your car best

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

I would suggest you take a car to a specific dealer that works with your car. They know them best.

Sometimes taking cars elsewhere can void a warrantee too...you'd better check that too and not mention your "fix" if you're under warrantee.

Keep your old part that they took out too....insist on it. If they can't produce it, don't pay.
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#63 Consumer Comment

I'll start at the beginning

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

First- Autozone does not fix cars, nor do they do diagnostics. Thay will hook up a hand scanner($50 POS) to your connector and give you what it says for FREE. They do this to sell more parts. You got exactly what you PAID for...an incorrect diagnosis. There is a reason repair shops charge for this service. It may be because they have huge amounts of money invested in tools, equipment, and training. That $7/hour parts salesman has none of this. He may own the pen he uses, but I doubt it. I will assume you bought the EGR valve at the Zone so you could save money...you know how those repair shops rip people off with their markup on parts.

Second- Same as the first, actually. Oil change guys are NOT mechanics. In a general repair shop, the oil changes and tire rotations are done by a $7/hour "shop-boy". This is usually some kid hired to keep the shop clean and assist the real mechanics. The fact they had no idea where the EGR valve was, should have clued you in about their skills. I will assume you have paid ZERO dollars up to this point to find out what is wrong with your car. This was your second opinion, and just as good as the first. You got what you PAID for...nothing.

Third- You went to a real repair shop and told them what you wanted them to do, without PAYING them to diagnose the real problem first. They did exactly what you asked them to do. After the problem had not been corrected, you think the repair shop should give you a FREE diagnosis. The reason the shop did not ask you to pay for a diagnostic first is because nobody ever wants to PAY for them. 100% of the time, the customer knows so much more than the "stupid mechanic" and has already gotten their FREE scan from the Zone. FREE must mean good. You think they screwed you. They did not. They did what you requested, as you admit. You complain they charged you for .7 hours but did the work quicker. Let me guess, you think like Ben in California...the better and faster a mechanic gets with experience, the less money he should make. Would you have been willing to pay more money if the job took longer? If not, you are a hypocrite. The labor guide says .7 no matter what engine you have in that Mustang. That means you will pay for .7 hours no matter how long it takes. If it takes longer, the mechanic loses money, if it takes him less time, he can do more work...that means higher production numbers. You get pay raises at your job as you get more proficient. Mechanics do not. They make more money by turning out more work in the same amount of time. The poster on the wall that talks about "fixing it right the first time", does not apply in your case. They did what you asked, and you still do not want to PAY for the diagnostic. If you had PAID the diagnostic fee, you would have found out what you really needed and saved money.

The best I ever had was a guy who must have dumped $1000 into the cooling fan problem in his Caravan. He would not PAY me a dime to dignose the problem, ever. He wouldn't PAY me to do the work either. He would show up every other day and tell me what he just did to "fix" it, all to no avail. He replaced every single part in the fan system except for the one part that was actually bad. Every time he'd show up, I'd offer to look at it for my $45 fee. Nope, "that's wasted money", he'd tell me. I'd walk away and laugh when he left overheating. All it ever needed was a fusible link redone, just like all of them do. I could have done it in 15 minutes and a total charge of $60. Wasted money...good one. Why should I, or any mechanic give away what we earn our livings for? Do you do your job for free?

To sum up, you don't want to PAY for a proper diagnosis of your car's problems. When you don't get stuff for FREE, you complain. In case you haven't figured it out yet, PAY for the diagnostic next time. If the repair is still not correct, at least you have leverage. Wanting a FREE diagnostic after telling someone what you wanted replaced is nonsensical. Either that, or go buy yourself a good scanner and do it yourself. A MODIS runs about $12K with all the bells/whistles. The cheapest ones that work run about $1000, and the good ones start at about $2700. Then you won't have to PAY those "stupid mechanics".
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