I'm sick of La Place, LA.
November 2, 2006 12:21 PM Subscribe
Did this mechanic try to "trick" me into a repair that costs more than the car is worth?
posted by hootch to Travel & Transportation around Lawrence, MA (9 answers total)
I'm on a road trip and am currently in Louisiana (from MN). My car overheated on Sunday night and I had it towed to the mechanic. The car started again after adding coolant, but there was a lot of white smoke coming out of the exhaust, which the tow truck driver thought meant the headgasket was blown. This is a 1997 Ford Taurus not in the greatest shape, so a $1500 or so repair on a $1500-$2000 car isn't really worth it.
When I called them the next day they said it was probably the headgasket, but after looking at it, they said the headgasket was fine, but the coolant tank was cracked and a cam sensor, a cam synchronizer and the coolant temporature sensor needed to be replaced.
For a long time the Service Engine Soon light has been on, but according to the owner's manual, that meant that there was a problem with the exhaust system, so I haven't bothered getting that looked at. Doing some research online while I've been waiting for them to do the previously mentioned work, it sounds like that could have come on because of the cam sensor/synchronizer problem.
Yesterday, they said they finished all the work and it ran fine, but they had broken an EGR tube, which apparently runs from the manifold to the exhaust system. The grand total would be $700 for all the work.
Today after replacing the EGR tube, they said that it turns out the headgasket actually is bad and that it'll be $1500 total (since they're giving me a break on the labor. Gee, thanks) and that I won't get the car back until the middle of next week. When I asked why they didn't figure that out when they first looked at the car and thought the headgasket was bad, they said they thought it was OK because the compression was fine. According to my brother, there are ten easier and more reliable ways to tell if a headgasket is blown.
So my question is, did they do the other work to get some of my money invested in the car so that I would actually pay for the headgasket repair at a later date?
A side question: I have about $1500 to my name, so I could get it fixed, but I would have to fly back down at a later date to pick it up and would have to borrow a little money from friends or family to get by until my next paycheck. Or I could cut my losses and rent a car to get home for about $200, plus gas and one night's lodging. Plus I'd have to buy another car when I get home.
I'm not exactly confrontational or assertive, so any advice on dealing with the mechanic regardless of which way I go would also be helpful.
In case somebody happens to live in the area and can testify to the trustworthiness of the mechanic, it's Mr. Fix It in La Place, LA.