View Full Version : This is why no one trusts mechanics

DFW Area Landscaper
12-15-2006, 04:20 PM
There is a local garage by my house and it is convenient for me to have my fleet trucks repaired and maintained there. I just came from this shop and they recommended that I flush the tranny fluid.

The problem is, I just had it flushed 5,300 miles ago by another shop. The shop that recommended the flush could see from their records that they flushed the tranny on my other two old trucks, but not on this one. They recommended flushing the tranny fluid but it is still very pink and has good color to it. They were just trying to get more $$ out of me. $173 for a tranny flush on a F-150 that I paid another shop $130.26 to do 11 months ago. Tranny fluid should be good for approx 30,000 miles, no???

They're also recommending a new serp belt, but the belt that's on there is fine, in my opinion. No cracks at all.

So anyway, this shop is recommending a flush of the anti-freeze too. The stuff in this truck is not green like it would be on a brand new car, but is there any reason to flush this stuff? I mean, in 12 years of living in the DFW metroplex, it has gotten down to 8 degrees once and typically the coldest freeze we'll see during the winter is around 20 to 25 degrees.

Would you ever do business with this shop again? I like their location but TRUST is huge when it comes to Check Engine Lights and repairs that are clearly over my head.

DFW Area Landscaper

12-15-2006, 04:42 PM
Anti-freeze not only keeps the the fluid from freezing but the mix also raises the boiling point of the solution. Yes you should replace it once in a while. I do mine every 60,000 miles. As for the tranny fluid they simply look at the milage and recommend flushing it every 60,000 miles. How did they know you just had it done? Serpentine belt is good for about 20-30,000 miles.

Preventative maintenance is important and that is what they may be getting at.

12-15-2006, 04:42 PM
you need to make a good realationship with your mechanic find a good one research it and ask people unless you can fix it yourself you need to have a good trustworthy one so when you do find the right one make him cookies talk to him all the time and just make friends so they wont screw you

12-15-2006, 07:40 PM
I think your mechanic is actually looking out for you. The service manuals of vehicles gives recommendations of fluid changes as well as belts. Your mechanic has no way of knowing when or if someone else has already done these things, so they go by the mileage of the vehicle. I think if you had told him you had of already changed the tranny fluid, he would have told you you could wait on that part of the maintenance, but probably would of still recommended the aintifreeze and belt change. Good looking and even new belts break.

12-15-2006, 08:14 PM
They were probably going only by your current mileage. Since they didnt do the previous service, they had no idea.
A lot of the chain places and the dealerships have made their advisors and techs try and upsell.
It's like the old deal... "would you like fries with that?"
I wouldnt take it to mean they were trying to rip you off.
All you have to do is say NO THANKS and that will end that.
Cooling system maintenance is the most overlooked area on any vehicle.
Not only is the freeze point important, but also the boil over point and the PH level, not to mention if you have any electrolosys(sp?) going on. Also it adds lubrication to the water pump assy. I would get a coolant flush at least every 2 years, regardless of what coolant you use. I would be leary however of any shop that uses additives and sealants during the flush process. Just flush the old and add in the new.
If you want to REALLY know how most shops work... ask away... scary sheet!

12-15-2006, 09:59 PM

"If you want to REALLY know how most shops work... ask away... scary sheet!"

OK, how do they really work?

12-15-2006, 10:17 PM
Tranny fluid should be good for approx 30,000 miles, no???

Not if you're towing. IMO I think the fluid should be at drained and filled every 15k miles. Especially on a light duty transmission in a half ton.

They were in fact probably looking out for you. The color and smell of the fluid isn't the only factor in fluid condition, and plus they had no idea when it was last changed.

Gilla Gorilla
12-15-2006, 10:58 PM
If you are towing with that F150 then change the transfluid every 20,000 miles if just hauling around a couple of 21's in the bed then every 30k should do unless it gets really dirty before then. As for the coolant, if it is the green stuff then it should be done at the first 45,000 miles then every 30K after that. If it is the Gold coolant than it should not need it till 100K. That should be pretty much rite out of your maintenance manual.

Dirty Water
12-15-2006, 11:55 PM
When I was 17 I used to work for a small auto shop. The guy was a little crooked. One time he took in a suburban that needed a new exhaust, he told the guy he would do it, and then he had me drive the suburban to a local muffler shop, had them do it, and then charged the guy an extra couple hundred on top of that.

DFW Area Landscaper
12-16-2006, 12:04 AM
I decided to do everything but the tranny flush according to his recommendations.

DFW Area Landscaper

12-16-2006, 10:12 PM
When I was 17 I used to work for a small auto shop. The guy was a little crooked. One time he took in a suburban that needed a new exhaust, he told the guy he would do it, and then he had me drive the suburban to a local muffler shop, had them do it, and then charged the guy an extra couple hundred on top of that.

how is this any different from the green industry subbing out items we are not efficient at. Making things convieient for the customer, making the customer pay for our time. ????????????????????

Travel'n Trees
12-16-2006, 10:35 PM
The most dishonest ones I have found work at FORD dealers!:hammerhead:

12-17-2006, 04:56 AM
The most dishonest ones I have found work at FORD dealers!:hammerhead:

Toyota sales guys are not far away from Ford though...they know the toy is invincible but they play you out on payment plans, million ways to suck you dry. I think the best source to buy is from private owners no dealers involved. Stay away from those suited, tied, pinstriped sales guys who smell like cologne bottle all day, slick and super super clean cut, they are in to take your money for real.

DFW Area Landscaper
12-19-2006, 03:10 PM
Well, now I am starting to get a little ticked off. I decided to follow this mechanic's advice. I know these guys are paid on a commission basis, but I am about to go back in there are question their integrity.

He recommended a new serp belt. The old belt looked good to me, but this mechanic does this for a living and who am I to question his recommendations? So, I'm like, ok, fine...I know I could easily change the belt myself but if they charge half an hour of labor ($48.50) I guess I am fine with it since I am also getting their advice and recommendations. I would feel a little bad about him telling to change this belt and saying "well, that's ok, I'll do that part myself." I don't like it when my clients do that to me and I know the mechanics don't like it either.

So anyway, we also had to replace the cam shaft synchronizer. The one I brought from the Ford dealership wasn't the right part and the mechanic recommended I order the part by VIN number this time. So this morning, I printed out my maintenance history on this truck since it includes the VIN number. As I was standing there at the Ford Parts Desk, I noticed that I had already replaced the serp belt on this truck just 17,000 miles ago. Now I am pissed.

How could a mechanic who knows what he's doing and is not trying to gouge me with unnecessary labor make an "honest" mistake to recommend a tranny flush on tranny fluid with only 5,300 miles AND at the same time recommend a new serp belt on a belt that had only 17,000 miles on it????

This is starting to smell.

Shame on me for not carefully scrutinizing my own maintenance log before agreeing to replace a part. Never the less, I am quickly losing trust with this shop.

DFW Area Landscaper

12-19-2006, 04:10 PM
It's hard to find good mechanics...I currently take my vehicles to the mechanic that my father has used over the years (he found this guy through trial and error from everyone else in town)...they know our faces, my wife and I's and treat everyone that we send to them with respect and do their best to diagnose problems...not to say we haven't had our tiffs though...we have...but there came a point that he actually told me that it was time to get rid of a car...this car was old and paid for and I was trying to keep it as long as possible...honestly...what mechanic is going to tell a customer to buy a new vehicle and get rid of the old one??? that sold me for the rest of my life...

back to your issue...trial and error with these shops...once you find one you stick with them...I like the small business types where the owner is there everyday and I can speak to him one on one if need be...like I said before, my father did the dirty work when I was little and found a mechanic, now I go to him as well as my other siblings...these guys know it will pay in the end...

12-22-2006, 12:10 AM
Small shop with 1-3 employees and owner himself is by far the best if you found one with honesty and integrity. Big shops with many employees are full of bull, especially, the owner sit his butt in office, punching computer all day long...so high turnover on employees or mechanics that they can't keep up their work par each time you revisit.
I try to do everything myself except things that need expertise.

DFW Area Landscaper
12-22-2006, 01:33 AM
Ok, all the aforementioned stuff was on truck #103. This story gets even better, guys.

All three of my old trucks had check engine lights and that will fail inspection. So the mechanic at this shop says truck #102 has an error on the cam shaft position sensor. He says we need to replace the cam shaft position sensor and he has never seen an instance of a failed cam shaft position sensor with a good cam shaft synchronizer.

Ok, so I go buy a new cam shaft position sensor and synchronizer at the Ford dealership and drive it back to them. He installs it but when I pick up the truck, he says there is a potential problem with this because the synchronizer he pulled out wasn't exactly identical to the one I brought him. So he says I have to drive it for a full drive cycle, 50 miles, and he wouldn't be surprised if the check engine light comes back on. I drive it 23 miles and it is on again.

So I drive it back up there, swap out with truck #103, which needs a drive cycle for inspection and ask these guys what I did wrong when I bought the part. They tell me that because I brought my own parts, I would have to pay labor to remove the bad part I brought them and install the new one. I understood that because it was previously explained. So anyway, they tell me to order the part by VIN number instead of by 98 F-150 with 4.6L V6.

So the Ford parts desk tells me they gave me the right part. They double check all their TSB's and yes, they sold me the correct part.

So I decide to call the mechanic and ask him if he feels reasonably certain that if I bring another part up there, identical to the last one I brought him, if he can get if fixed this time. He actually starts complaining to me about how I am trying to provide my own parts and I am pulling him off other jobs with this issue. My question about how they would obtain the part differently was never answered.

So...I decide to let the Ford dealership do this repair. I drive over to this mechanic's garage to pick up my truck and it is in the bay with the hood up. I'm like, oh heck, he's already pulled the part and there is 2 hours labor so I guess I am stuck. They say he hasn't done anything, he was just getting ready to. So I explain to the manager that I am taking it to Ford and then there is a 15 minute wait for them to close the hood and drive my truck around. I never asked any questions, I was just glad to be done with them.

As I am driving off, I notice the engine is now sputtering and the speedometer doesn't work. Amazing. I am now certain this guy intentionally sabotaged my truck. I drive it back and remain cool. No screaming. Just politely ask them to look at it. 20 minutes later the speedometer is working and the truck is running slightly better, but still horrible.

So...I get to the Ford dealership and the sales guy tells me I can get on his fleet program at $79 per flag hour and I will still be able to purchase parts wholesale from their parts desk as I am now. I am thrilled. Then he pops the hood and recommends a tranny flush and a new serp belt.

The serp belt had less than 7 miles on it and the tranny fluid has 5,300 miles. Amazing!!! These idiots are all the same.

I decided to leave it with the dealership and from now on I will NEVER allow a mechanic to do a repair just because they are recommending it. I am convinced they are ALL crooked. From now on, there will be no more freeby repairs just because they have diagnosed a problem for free. I will drive it off, do the easy repairs myself and see if that doesn't solve the problem first.

Oh, and the Ford dealership doesn't run a diagnostic for free. They are charging an hour of labor to hook up the machine...something that has to be done for a $40 inspection is double the price for an hour of labor. And it takes all of 5 minutes to do it, if that.

What really gets me is, on the very first serp belt, I felt it was fine but the mechanic seemed like a really good one so I let him do it, even though I could have done it myself and I didn't think it was necessary, but the reason I let him do it was almost as a gratuity. Never again. These guys are blood suckers.

What kills me is, when you have a check engine light, it could literally be anything under the sun. They have the equipment to read the computer and whether or not they are fabricating failed parts, you will never know the truth. But trust them? Never again. Not any of them.

This is no brainer territory: buy new fleet trucks, do NOTHING to them in terms of preventative maintenance and then sell them around 70 to 100K miles and go buy another one. For my 4 new trucks, that should be 12 to 15 years at 5,500 miles per year. I'm not flushing anything. They'll need brakes and that is it. 10 to 12 years from now, they're being traded in and it will cost me $1,100 per year in depreciation. God, depreciation is so much easier than repairs.

DFW Area Landscaper

Dallas Turf
12-22-2006, 01:44 AM
DFW, Autozone will scan your computer on the truck for free!!!!!

12-22-2006, 10:20 AM
When I was 17 I used to work for a small auto shop. The guy was a little crooked. One time he took in a suburban that needed a new exhaust, he told the guy he would do it, and then he had me drive the suburban to a local muffler shop, had them do it, and then charged the guy an extra couple hundred on top of that.

That would be called business. Subbing work out etc.

chuck bow
12-25-2006, 08:56 PM
Thats why they call the dealerships stealerships ,( one time a couple of years ago had a chevy shop replace my serpitine belt and a battery for 300 bucks which really toasted my butt ) and thats why now i have only 1 shop do all my maintenance and repairs because my shop keeps a record on it the same as i do and has never tried to rip me a new one, actually they have saved me money when i thought the problem was one thing and it was something all together different and cheaper to fix to boot .