ED Magedson – Founder
Midas Auto Service120 Illinois Ave. Oak Ridge, Tennessee United States of America
I took my vehicle to the Midas Auto Center in my town to have a simple oil change performed. Let me start by saying this car has NEVER leaked a drop of oil.
Well I took my vehicle in for an oil change, which took the expected amount of time. During that time the store manager David came out into the lobby and asked me if I knew there was a chatter in the valves. I advised him I was aware of this and that the car has been doing that since the day I got the car two years prior. Then we briefly discussed adjusting the valves when I told him what I was quoted by an outside repair facility he advised me that they could do it for less. Since I was not expecting to do anything but the oil change on this visit I did not have the money on me to have this done. So David advised I should get it done soon and went back into the bay.
A short time later David returned to the lobby and told me that the car was done and handed my the repair order neatly folded up. Since I had my 11 month old son with me I just wanted to get out of there. (Which I suppose is my fault for not looking over the paper until later).
I had to take the vehicle out of town to get my husband which was just short of a 400 mile round trip. At the time of this trip the car acted fine and performed as it normally does. However, the next morning I took one of my children to school and noticed a dinner plate sized puddle of oil under my car. Needless to say I was highly upset. (again the vehicle never leaked a drop of oil before the oil change).
I looked at the repair order at that time and noticed it stated there was an oil leak around the oil pan. This was not verbally communicated to me at the time the vehicle was returned to me.
I called David and advised him the car was leaking oil and he asked me to bring it back in right then. It took me a few hours to get things settled at the house before I was able to take them the car back. They put the vehicle on the lift and advised me there was oil all over the driver side under carriage (which was shown to me at that time). I was told that it was old oil and had been there for a long time. I called my husband who then came in to look at the car. When he touched the oil it was still yellow. I had lost about a quart of oil in my 400 mile trip. Which I attribute to a new leak since the oil was still yellow.
After some back and forth with David about the cause of the leak, it was agreed that they would locate the leak and fix it with a 50% discount on the labor and we would pay full cost for the parts. We were also advised that the timing belt was past factory recommended change time during this back and forth conversation.
My husband told David that since they were going to have the engine apart trying to find the leak that we wanted to go ahead and have the timing belt changed and the valves adjusted. David was told that the cost of the repair and belt replacement did not matter we just needed to know the final cost so that we could have the money wired from his boss out of state.
David hem hawed around and told us "Our main concern is locating and fixing the leak so that is what we are going to do. Then you can bring the vehicle back in on Monday and we can do the rest of it." On numerous occasions my husband told him we wanted it all done at the same time. And it was one excuse after another. Things such as "it will take hours and I only have one tech working tomorrow." and blah blah blah.
We finally relented after we were told that they would find the leak and update us on what needed to be done to fix it. We finally went home and a few hours later we were contacted and advised that the upper cam seal (no leak was found near the oil pan as originally stated on the first repair order) was leaking and that there was no way they could have caused this to happen. We were then told that it is being fixed and they would call us when it was done.
I received a call at about 5:30 telling me the car was almost done and we could come and get it. So my husband went to get the car. He inspected it and agreed there was no signs of leakage at that time. So he brought me the car, we then went to go get his vehicle from the Midas parking lot and while driving the half a mile there I realized that the car was running rough and that it had very little power.
So when we got back to Midas it was mentioned to the tech that the car was not running right and that there was a loud metallic clanking noise when you accelerate. They put the vehicle back on the lift after test driving it to see if they could hear the noise. Once they poked around under the hood for a little bit we were advised that there was oil on the timing belt which caused it to stretch so the car was jumping time. The tech then "adjusted the timing belt". And the car ran a little better. We were also advised there was a spark knock and were advised to putter higher grade gas in the car and change gas stations every time we fill up until the spark knock is gone.
They were advised that I had to take my husband back to work out of town (another 400 mile round trip) and I was assured that the vehicle should make it. I asked all of the techs in the shop if they would take their children or family in that car on the trip I had to take. And I got a few flippant remarks about how they wouldn't take their children to that destination in ANY vehicle. Which upset me since I did not find any humor in the situation. I was then told that the vehicle should be fine until Monday and was reminded I should bring the vehicle back to get the other work done that my husband had repeatedly requested be done that day.
So I test drove the car and felt that the jumping time issue wasn't that bad and that I could "deal" until Monday since I was told it should be fine. My family proceeded to leave and head out on the road. The vehicle did okay on the way there. I parked it over night and left to come home about 9 in the morning the next day. I got almost 30 miles and decided to pull of at a gas station to get drinks and snacks. At the top of the off ramp the vehicle stalled. I thought "no big deal its a standard transmission, lets try this again"
The vehicle then stalled about every 15-20 feet. Every time I pressed the clutch to shift into 3rd gear the car would stall again. I limped it into the gas station and immediately called my husband to let him know the car is messing up and I didn't think it would get us the 200 miles back home. He then told me to try and drive the car the 30 miles back to where he was. I tried to drive the vehicle past the stalling and did not even get it out of the parking lot and the check engine light came on.
Of course I am upset and my three young children are scared that we were gonna be stranded in the middle of no where. I called my husband again and he and a friend of his brought a truck to tow the vehicle back to where he was.
We got the car back and immediately called around for a repair shop in the area. We were not able to get the car in that day since it was Saturday and were told that we would have to wait until Monday.
Stranded in a small town all weekend was very stressful not to mention the fact I had NO choice to be there and No way to get home. Monday morning came along and we got the car into the shop. After several hours my husband was shown the damage to the engine. The cam lobes were chewed up. We were advised that the vehicle would need new heads, a new cam shaft, and new valves. Not to mention the fact that there was one ( 1 ) quart of oil in an engine with a 3.5 qt capacity. We were quoted $800 for the repair.
Since we did not have that kind of money we could not get the vehicle repaired at the time. A gentleman from the repair shop was kind enough to tow the vehicle and me and my children home for a small fee.
When I got home I contacted the Midas Corporate office since I am done dealing with the people out at this Midas. I was sent an email advising me that the complaint has been forwarded to the franchise owners.
The next day I was contacted by Bruce the co-owner of the franchise. I explained the situation in great detail and told him that I didn't feel it was fair that my car was running fine before the oil change and now I am having serious engine problems with it. He told me that he would have the vehicle towed the their Maryville location and they would look at it and see what they could do.
I then got a call from the other co-owner Bruce's brother David (not to be confused with the manager of the Oak Ridge Midas). David came and got my car and I again explained the situation and what I was told was wrong with the car. A short while later my car was on the trailer and on its way to Maryville.
After most of the day had past I was called and advised that they did not find evidence of the damage mentioned to Bruce and David. I advised Bruce of the place the vehicle was diagnosed and was told he would call them and speak to them about the car.
I was told that the vehicle needed a new timing belt, the valves adjusted, and that he recommended replacing the water pump since it drives the timing belt. They also recommended fuel system maintenance (including a new fuel filter) and all the front belts and a few other things. I was then told that I would be called back with a price for this "servicing".
I received a call from Andrew (whom I assume is a service writer at the Maryville store) and was advised that the price of the timing belt replacement and the water pump was a little over $535. And with the other items mentioned the grand total was over a thousand dollars.
I was absolutely flabbergasted. Considering this repair bill which was now over $200 more then the outside repair shop had quoted me and did not even include the head work, the cam shaft replacement or the valve repair. I asked Andrew why the actual engine issues the vehicle was brought there for was not even looked at. He told me he would have to talk to the tech and he would call me back. I told him he needed to call my husband and explain it to him since he was the one who seen the damage to the cam lobes.
A short time later I got a call from my husband and was told that they claimed there was never a mention about the cam/head/valve issue so it was not even looked at. And after further inspection the damage was noticed. My husband then told me that he told them to just bring the car back to me and that he was told they would call me and let me know when they would be bringing it to me.
About an hour went by and no word about my car and its return to me, I called the shop and spoke with Andrew about having the car returned to me and I was told that he was waiting on David to return to the shop and that he would give me a call when they were bringing it back.
Approximately 6 hours before their shop closed is when I spoke with Andrew... The whole day went by and no word of my car.
I am certain that at this time Midas will NOT take responsibility for the shoddy work that caused my engine damage. I am also certain that they will claim all the damage was done prior to the oil change service.
But most of all I want the world as well as my family and friends to know that this Midas group does not care about customer satisfaction. They are really good at trying to placate their customers enough to get them out of the shop. But over all they care nothing about the work they do.
I am pretty sure someone from their shop(s) will read this and write a rebuttal explaining why this is not their fault. And that they have a 15 year reputation in the area as a good repair shop, and that they pride themselves on customer satisfaction. I have seen it from other postings on this sight regarding work done at their location.
But I have proof from and independent repair facility that this damage was caused from the engine being starved of oil. Which happened when I drove the vehicle on my trip after it was improperly serviced.
So, I am left with three small children I can not get to and from anywhere. I am dependent on neighbors for a ride to the grocery store so that I can provide for them. As well as a hefty bill I can not pay. And no word as to when I will actually get the friggin car back.
I also know that it may be construed as my fault since I did not check the oil when my car left Midas the second time. But that is because I stupidly "trusted the Midas touch".
As a side note, I have had past issues with this Midas and stupidly gave them another chance.
In 2006 I took a different vehicle I owned to Midas (this same shop in Oak Ridge) for a brake repair. Which cost me about $300. When I drove the vehicle home (about 3.5 blocks) the front tire fell off the car. My neighbor was in the car with me at the time to witness this. I thought "no big deal, they left the lug nuts loose. Human error." I walked to the local auto parts store bought new lug nuts for the car and put the tire back on. Later that day I took the vehicle to another local service station where they determined there was no physical damage to the car. When I decided " no harm, no foul." and nothing was brought up about it. Since I do understand that it is a simple mistake and it could happen to anyone. And it did not seem worth the time or effort to fight about it since there was no damage done.
Even after all that I decided to trust Midas again since you know, its just an oil change.... HAH!!!
Never again will I take anything I own to Midas since they will not own up to what they did to my car and I'm pretty sure they are not going to fix it with out an exorbitant price tag for which I will be responsible.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/09/2009 10:35 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Midas-Auto-Service/Oak-Ridge-Tennessee-37830/Midas-Auto-Service-incompetant-mechanics-and-dishonest-employees-yurned-an-oil-change-in-507135. 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.
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