Lighthouse Automotive, LLC Rylan Blair, owner dishonest mechanic in Colorado Springs, Colorado
This is a really long report, so I apologize for taking up your time...but I hope it can save you some money and frustration!
We recently moved to Colorado Springs, and were in need of some repairs for our Altima, which was making a rattling noise we'd never heard before. After taking our other vehicle (Sequoia) to Lighthouse Automotive for a pre-purchase inspection, as requested by the buyer, we made an appointment to take our Altima in...because the owner seemed to have a mom and pop type shop, seemed to do a good job with the pre-purchase inspection on the Sequoia, and he had given us a $25 gift card towards the Altima (looking back, this was just the first step in sucking us in!).
They offered a shuttle service, which was great, since we sold our Sequoia and were down to one vehicle. I drove to the shop with our 2 young kids, and then Rylan (the owner) rode back with us to our house and then drove our car back to the shop. He listed off a couple of things that could be causing the rattling noise, while we stood in the driveway listening to it.
He called later that day and said that they thought the rattling was caused by worn/cracked motor mounts (which I was telling him that I had found that when I googled symptoms of the car)...I asked if he could email us an estimate of what it would cost to replace the motor mounts...he said he'd rather just call and tell me. I googled Altima motor mounts and found prices ranging from about $60 to $100 each. He called and said the estimate was $924 for parts and labor (including the $105 diagnostic charge)...minus the $25 gift card, which would be $899 total. My husband and I agreed to have the work done.
Rylan called after they replaced 3 motor mounts, and said the rattling was still there, but it was a different sound. Then he proceeded to say that they thought it was the tensioner, so they put a new tensioner on, and the sound was still there (we didn't authorize the tensioner replacement, they just did it)...and that the technician was 60% sure the rattling was coming from the alternator. I asked how much it would cost for the motor mounts, tensioner, and alternator...and was quoted $1600, and they'd do a headlight polishing for free. (trying to suck me in again)
My husband called and said we'll just pick up the car, and only pay for the motor mounts (we planned to just take it somewhere else, since they couldn't figure it out). I googled the problem another time and found something about the belt on the tensioner being to long from the factory, so when my husband went to pick up the car, he showed them the information that I found, and they installed that size belt. He said the total was $1105, since they installed a new tensioner...my husband questioned this, and Rylan said that they could put the old tensioner back on, while my husband waited (he didn't want them touching the car anymore, and when he looked at the old tensioner, it was in need of replacement--but it was the fact that they just installed it without our approval).
My husband paid the $1105 bill and drove our car home. It didn't sound any different from before they worked on it.
I was driving it on a level stretch of road, after pulling out of a parking lot, and I noticed that it was still moving without pushing on the accelerator...I kept my foot off the pedal and the car drove at 15mph for about a quarter of a mile! When I got home, I put it in park and noticed that the RPM's held steady at about 1.5. This was not happening AT ALL before taking it to Lighthouse Automotive.
So now, our car still rattled, we just paid $1105...and it was revving when it hadn't done that before!
I called Rylan to express my disgust with his business and my dissatisfaction with the repair service we got for our Altima. I said that we would like a partial refund, as we felt we were taken advantage of...and he asked if we'd bring the car back in so he could check out the revving (and the check engine light was on, when it never had been before, but now we think that was caused by the mechanic before Lighthouse Auto). He said he would ask his technician what he thinks would cause that, but he was in the hospital and not there at the moment, he has heart problems... I thought Rylan was an ASE certified mechanic?? I said that we'd never bring our car back to him again, that we have another person looking at it, and he just kept saying he'd love to know what that person finds...
I said that I planned to file a report to the BBB, and he proceeded to tell me how the process would work (implying that it's lengthy), and that we could just avoid that because he could write me a check to refund the diagnostic charge of $105. He said that I could stop by to get the check (still don't have a car, it's at another mechanic!)...and I said no, he can mail it to me. He asked if I was going to file a report with the BBB, and I said I would decide with my husband after we receive our refund. (He brags about his A+ rating with the BBB. There is one complaint from a month ago...but you can read what it said, as it was resolved.)
We finally tracked down a GOOD mechanic and had him look at it. He told us that 2 of the motor mounts did NOT need to be replaced, and the rattling was due to a bad water pump. He said we also needed a new radiator cap, and a new battery (which Lighthouse Auto had never mentioned). He said if we would've taken the car to him first, we could've had it running well for about $300-400!
Rylan has been calling our house for the last 3 days (since our phone conversation), without leaving a message, and today finally left a message saying he just wanted to check and see what the other mechanic found out with our car, and that he put a check in the mail. I did receive the check for the diagnostic. We will be taking the 2 motor mounts back to his shop (we had the other mechanic put the old ones back on, as they were fine), and requesting our money back for those 2 parts (which were each over $100, and didn't need to be), plus the labor to install them...as it was unnecessary and we shouldn't have been charged for that.
Thank goodness my husband said he wanted the old parts back when Rylan asked him! He said Rylan looked a little surprised when he said that he'd take the old parts...I wonder why? Probably because then we'd see that he suckered us into 2 really expensive parts (and labor) that weren't needed!
Please, don't believe all of the good reviews on their website...5 of the 8 are all from the EXACT same date: Dec. 17, 2011...weird, that people would all leave their own personal reviews on the exact same date. I truly believe it is the owner typing up fake reviews to have on his website. You'll find a few unhappy customer reviews on google...where they can't be deleted. And there is only 1 complaint to BBB about them...probably because people just run far, far away and don't look back...they don't take the time to file the necessary complaints!
I just hope future potential customers of Lighthouse Automotive will read this before taking their car to this shop! We don't want anyone else to get taken advantage of, the way we did...