Car Repairs For a Bad Customer

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I had to write this article due to the recent repair I had on a customer vehicle…..that almost wasn’t! This all started last Saturday, when a Monte Carlo got towed into the shop. It was a no-start with a dead battery. I jumped the battery and it fired right up, and I drove it into my bay in the shop. I noticed after turning the car off, that some lights were still lit up on the dash, even with the key off. This seemed odd, as it’s not supposed to do that! I fiddled with the key in the ignition cylinder a bit, and the lights went off.

Now, this is nothing new to the General Motors ‘W’ body cars, such as the Monte Carlo. What was happening is, the ignition switch was staying powered up internally and keeping some of the car’s functions still operating. When you give the cylinder a tap or move the key around a bit, you can usually get it to switch off completely. This told me immediately that the car’s battery was dead because of this problem. They probably didn’t even realize when they would get out of the car after turning it off that some things were still powered up, and this drained the battery to a point of failure.

So, a pretty quick fix, or so I thought. The car needed a battery and a new ignition switch. You have take some of the dash apart to replace the switch, but it’s not a bad job at all. I got a price quote all together and gave it to my service writer. This was getting towards the end of the day, but he did sell the job, at least just the ignition switch. The customer was going to put their own new battery in themselves.  So come Monday morning, I was going to install a new switch for them and ship the car down the road.

I arrived at work Monday morning, and my service writer and the customer were talking. They ended up not wanting any repairs done, so I was told to jump the battery and pull the car around to the front, they were going to take it. I did just that, and after they left I asked why we had lost the job. The service writer said they were going to take it somewhere else and try to get the job done cheaper. This made me smile, because I knew they were asking for trouble.

To get an idea, the entire repair at our dealership would have cost roughly $400, plus their towing bill. Not cheap, but not all that expensive either. They had to pay the check out fee of $110 for my diagnosis and whatever the amount was for their car getting towed in. Probably another $40 or $50. So, leaving the dealership with no repairs has already cost them about $160. Now, I may not be the smartest guy around, but I really didn’t believe they would save $160 at another shop, and even if they did, it would have still been the same price total!

Now the fun part…..about two or three hours later, the car was towed back in, with a request to relearn the theft deterrent on the car which they thought was required. I looked at my writer funny, because we both knew when replacing just the ignition switch, you don’t have to do a relearn for that. I though to myself, oh boy what did they mess up? Add another tow bill, and whatever they paid at the other shop now to the running total, it’s going up!

I got the car in, and yes indeed there was a security issue. This was strange since it shouldn’t have been needed. I had to take the dash apart and check the work that the other shop did. Come to find out, the other shop messed up the connector for the Passlock Sensor, bending the terminals by forcing the connector in or out. Now it was going to cost them! We charged $240 for me to diagnose and repair the problem that was caused by someone else. After I got done, the car was all good of course!

So let’s take a look….the previous $160 from when they took the car, add the amount they paid at another shop for shoddy repairs, then another tow bill back to our shop to supposedly get the theft relearned, and then another $240 for me to fix it correctly! This is WAY over what they would have paid for me to just do the job right in the first place!!!

How nice it must have been for them to pay more than we originally quoted, to get the same amount of work done, LOL! I bet they were kicking themselves all the way home!

Remember people, we at the dealership are the top tier in the automotive world. You will not find better trained, more experienced technicians anywhere else! We know your car or truck best and do the absolute best work on it. Why settle for less?

Try and save a few bucks….not this time!!

Hope you all learn something from this.


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