In March of 2007, I took my Honda CRV to Denny's because the check engine light was on and the engine was running rough. They told me the cylinder head was bad and needed to be rebuilt. I paid $1239.00 to them to resurface and rebuild the cylinder head. I was told at that time there would be a 12 month warranty on parts and labor.
In March of 2008, 3 weeks before the warranty expired, I started having problems with the idle and the engine dying. I was out of town on business, so I took my vehicle to a different mechanic to have it checked out. The mechanic was unable to diagnose the problem, but did say that the symptoms were unusual for a rebuilt engine.
When I got home, I took the vehicle to an auto repair chain just for diagnosis. They found misfire codes from the engine. They also found signs of a leak in the cylinder head (these signs were later confirmed to be stains from spilled oil). At this point, I took the vehicle back to Denny's, explained my concerns, and asked them to check the work they had done the previous year. This was 2 weeks before the warranty expired.
Denny's kept my vehicle for several days, checked everything they could think of that could possibly be causing the problem, except the head. Throughout this time, they refused to even consider that the current problems were related to the work they had done previously, and were very slick about making it sound good and making me doubt the other mechanics (which they continued to do throughout).
After several days, my truck was returned to me, with assurances that more than one of the techs had driven it and had no problems with it. Throughout all, the shop manager kept pointing out that they were not charging me for any of this because they wanted to keep me as a customer.
My truck died on the way home from the shop. And continued to die every time I drove it.
I took it to the Honda Dealership and agreed to pay the $89.00 diagnostic fee to find out what was wrong with it. They diagnosed receding valve seats and said the head had to be replaced. They also said the damage was probably done before the head was rebuilt and the rebuild was a total waste of money because the problem could not be fixed with a rebuild.
I contacted Denny's, and after dozens of phone calls back and forth and arguing, the manager and owner finally agreed that if the head was bad, they would issue a full refund for the $1239. They would take the head to several machine shops to confirm that it was bad and needed to be replaced. So I had to pay upfront to have it replaced ($3300.00), then hope the machine shops agreed with the dealership.
I had the head replaced, took the old one to them, and waited over a week to hear back from them. They took the head to 3 shops, all of whom confirmed it was bad and did, in fact, need to be replaced. When they finally called back, they stated they would only refund a portion of the original amount, after deducting for peripheral items that were not directly related to the head (water pump, timing belt, thermostat, etc.).
Of the $1239 refund that I was promised by the owner, we are getting $765. After promising a full refund of the work, they have now itemized the bill down to refund the absolute minimum they can get away with (machine work and labor only). They even deducted $240.00 for the old head gasket (which I was never told they would want back - and how the hell was I supposed to know they would want it????) The gasket they put on is long gone, replaced when the dealership diagnosed the problem originally.
So if you choose to deal with these people, pray to God that you never have any problems or a warranty claim, because even with proof in front of them they will not take any responsibility for their mistakes, and they will not follow through on their promises.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa