John's Auto center "Fixed" my car. After doing so, I had issues with it that were never present before. Much more expensive issues.
On Sept. 6th I dropped off my car to John's. I informed them of all the issues with overheating that I was having. I dropped off my car at 10:30. At 2:27, I received a phone call saying they were having a hard time finding the cause of the problem. I gave them more information. At 3:12, I received the phone call that they had found the problem and it was a simple repair. The repair wouldn't take long and would cost $110.00 I told them to go ahead and fix it, and that I would be out of town all weekend, but I would come get it Monday morning.They called me back at 3:37, informing me that there would be an extra 15 $ charge for a gallon of coolant, bringing my total up to 125$ + tax. Monday, I arrived at the shop at around 11am. After starting my car, the low coolant light came on and before I was able to even leave the parking lot, I parked and told the mechanics what I it was reading. He then gave me more coolant, some excuse about "air pockets" and told me it should be fine after driving. After attempting to leave parking lot for a second time, my car needed coolant again. I asked if this was normal or if there was a problem. The mechanic told me that it was normal and once again sent me on my way. I left the parking lot, drove 2 blocks away to my street and while turning into driveway, coolant light came back on. I immediately called and was told if problem continued to bring it back in the morning. This morning, 09/10/13, at 9am, I left my house to drive to class. I go to college 5 blocks away and before even making it there, my car had started to heat increasingly and my coolant light came on again. I called the shop, informing them that I would be back that afternoon. At this point, I was told that there must be a leak of some sort to cause that much of a loss. I drove from school back to the shop, (3 blocks) and my car started to overheat again in such a short time. After reaching the shop, the mechanic could see the coolant leaking (gushing) out of the bottom of the car. The mechanic that had originally worked on my car, came to tell me that I know had a leak in my water pump, that they couldn't see before. I was told that they would work with me on labor "as much as they could" but this would be a issue that needed to be fixed immediately so that no more damage to the car occured.
My issues with this business. (1) Today, I was told by the mechanic that water reservoirs usually don't have anything to do with the car overheating but that mine had a crack in it, which is why they thought to replace it. Im no mechanic, but why wasn't the situation looked into deeper if a crack in the reservoir isnt usually an issue that causes overheating? (2) Had they drove my car after "fixing" it the first time, they would have seen the leaking and told me about it. Does this mean, that after a mechanic works on a vehicle, he doesn't test drive it to check for technical issues? (3) I paid for repair that I didn't necessarily need. My car was having overheating issues but they were manageable. I took care to make sure that it didn't overheat, kept coolant in it and could drive it. I now have no vehicle that can be driven. Im a full time student, a full time employee and I know have no transportation. I think this is the worst way to practice business. I will not ever return to that shop, and I think that they should be investigated to make sure they are notinflicting this damage on other people.
If they wanted to do the decent gesture and refund the money that I spent on a unneeded repair, I wouldn't refuse it. However, I got the impression while talking to them this afternoon, that they aren't in the business of grand, decent gestures.
I have read the complaint files by Mrs. ******** and her detailed account of what happened is almost exactly how the situation occurred. There are some things I would like to add and clarify. First: the coolant reservoir had a crack approximately three inches long and the reason it took some time to find it is because someone had put black duct tape over the crack. I kept the tank and showed her upon her return and we discussed this also on the phone before the repair was made. I never told her the reservoir doesn't usually make the car overheat because that is a common place for them to leak because tank is made of plastic. What was unusual is the tape on the reservoir and I may have not made myself clear on that.
Second: the car was driven after the repair and pressure checked. I am not denying that the car was leaking coolant when she took the car on Sept 7th but I personally drove and rechecked the car on Sept 6th and it was NOT leaking. I had no reason to call her and tell her the car was ready if I had seen the additional leak. When Mrs. ******** came back to the shop and we found that the water pump was leaking she became very upset and asked me what I had done to her car. I explained putting a reservoir on the car does not make the water pump go bad. In fact the reservoir is not even bolted on the engine, it is mounted on the inner fender on the passenger side of the car.
Mrs. ******** has ever right to be upset that her car was leaking coolant after the reservoir was replaced but for her to say that we caused the water pump to go out is a false statement. The car is 6 years old and had approx. 90,000 miles on it and parts wear out. If I was responsible for the water pump going out I would take care of it.
Third: Mrs. ******** paid for a coolant tank that was visibly cracked and she was even showed the failed part. Upon telling her what we could do to rectify the situation, she stated that her Dad was on the way to look at the car and she didn't want to talk. Upon her Dad's arrival they both said that it was our fault that the water pump was leaking and any communication with Mrs. ******** was not productive from that point forward.
In closing I would like to point out that my communication with Mrs. ******** on the front side of the repair should give some insight to the severity of the leak when the car was initially brought in. The first thing you do when a car is overheating is check the coolant level. The coolant level on the initial inspection was full and nothing was leaking from underneath the car. After the tank was installed the car was driven the same distance as it was previously and the overheating did not occur. As bad as it was leaking when she returned to have it rechecked, it would have been very easy to see and the car would have overheated on the test drive.
We are offering to install the water pump for 1/2 the labor that it calls for to remove and replace the water pump, our cost of the water pump, and we will cover the coolant. I was not able to convey this to Mrs. ******** because she was so upset at the time. I will also offer to give her the labor part of the original repair back in light of the situation, but I don't feel like I should give her money back on a part that was visibly broken. This is what I would have offered all along if just given the opportunity.
**** ***********, Owner