Appraised of.

A customer’s car was hit by a vehicle. She did the right thing by calling in the claim, but one  thing she did wrong was NOT to have the appraiser come here to my garage to have it appraised. Instead, she took it to one of their drive-in quickie appraisal shops. BIG MISTAKE. Later, she arrived here with the estimate in hand. When I perused it I couldn’t believe how small an amount it was written up for. I told her before we do anything she better call the insurance company and tell them she wanted it reappraised, or at the very least they should call me. This morning the actual appraiser himself called me. I told him there were numerous things missing from the appraisal and boy was I surprised when he was honest with me, uttering the words, “yeah I know, my boss likes me to write it up like that”. HUH? Your boss likes to write it up for way less then it should be to save money so it will cost the customer money out of her own pocket?

estimate

Usually the insurance companies are spot on with the assessments, even generous in some cases. I believe that’s because we are basically watching over them.  Hopefully this isn’t a new trend and won’t be happening all the time, but make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Take your car to the mechanic/auto body shop you trust and have the appraiser go THERE. This is no different then anything else that needs an expert to oversee it. Don’t get shorted (or wrenched)!

Questions: dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

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How’s This For Fair?

While at her weekend home, a friend noticed both headlights went out on her vehicle and called me as she was at a local repair shop. They weren’t finding the problem right away and she was just calling to tell me what was happening. While we were on the phone I Googgled her problem and in 20 seconds found which fuse was out, which she then relayed on to the mechanic. She asked me how much I thought she should pay and I said “$1 for the fuse and tip the mechanic, is what I would charge”.

fuse

10 minutes later she called and said “How’s $75 sound?”. Since she is no shrinking violet she told them it was despicable to which he tried to claim that he had worked on the vehicle for ½ hour. Luckily she embarrassed him into agreeing that, “$1 for the fuse and tip the mechanic” was the way to go and she left. Of course she’ll never go back there again, so it’s stupid on his part but my biggest issue is that I bet if she were a man it wouldn’t have gone down like that. Makes me embarrassed yet again for my industry.

Questions: dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

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Question:

My car smells like gas and the mechanic can’t find the problem and told me not to worry about it. Does that sound correct?

Kelly

gas leak

Dear Kelly,

NO, IT IS NOT CORRECT! There is no reason for there to be a gas smell (unless you have a classic car then all bets are off….and even then it shouldn’t be fresh gas).  The leak could just be hiding somewhere and they can’t find it. It might be a vapor leak and not a fluid leak which could make it harder to find. Is there a check engine light on (this also depends on the age of the vehicle)? If one mechanic can’t find the leak then take it to another until someone finds it. I’ve had this issue here with my mechanics who can’t smell it so they put me on it with my supersonic nose. I usually track it down…yes kind of like a gas sniffing dog.  The best thing to do, if you can, is try to locate the general area if possible and show them where it’s coming from. Don’t give up!

Questions: dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

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Seeing is Not Believing

I’ve been seeing a large number of people buying cars online without looking at them first. I don’t think it’s a great idea because there are so many tiny things that seem innocuous but can add up to a very large headache. I have one in particular that is very disturbing. This guy bought an old Mustang that looked beautiful in the photos. He paid a lot of money for it, more than it was worth. In the listing online it did say that there were a few things that weren’t working like the wipers, the emergency brake and the speedometer to name a few. This didn’t seem insurmountable to be him so he purchased it anyway. When the car was delivered and came off the tow, he jumped in ready to go but his foot went to the floor because the brakes had issues as well. He brought the car to us and that ended up being the easiest issue to fix. It turns out that the reason some of the other things didn’t work was that when they rebuilt the vehicle they left off key components. A couple of thousand dollars later, some of the issues are still not fixed because they require welding and body work.

stock-photo-wrecked-car-outside-of-bodyshop-missing-front-end-parts-2014055

I’m not suggesting that you never buy a car you haven’t seen but not only should you ask a million questions about each and every item, have them send a video as well. I always say that if someone hasn’t fixed something “simple” before selling a vehicle then it clearly requires more than a simple fix. The biggest red flag is when the AC isn’t working and “only needs some freon or a valve”, if that’s all it needed then they should fix it before they sell it to you.

Buyer beware! Do your homework.

Questions: Dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

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I have nothing to say.

Thought you just might like to see what just showed up for repair.30's car

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Question:

I’ve had to go back to my mechanic 3x now to fix my ac. What gives? He keeps telling me a different story, is he just robbing me?

Thanks, Joanna

no ac

Answer:

Well of course he might just be robbing you, no question about that BUT…AC failure can be very difficult to diagnose. The freon (not really called that anymore but I still do) is a gas and can leak out of countless places. You can fix one spot only to have it leak out of another, and possibly from a spot that can’t be seen.  You can spend over $1,000 dollars on new compressors, driers and accumulators only to find that a hose is now leaking or you need a new condenser too. It’s endless with AC.  Just ask a lot of questions and make any mechanic show you exactly what he’s doing….and make sure he’s not charging you over and over for the freon. I have a policy when I’m doing a job for someone, they get charged once for freon in any given summer, your mechanic should be saving it and recycling it.  If it leaks out and a customer has already paid me for one fill-up then the following fill-ups are on me. Good luck, stay cool!

Questions: Dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

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Put A Bow On It

I just got a call from a potential new customer telling me we came highly recommended. He wanted to bring his “new” car in to be checked out before a long drive up to Canada. We chatted for a minute or two and then he said “new” again so I asked what he meant by that, thinking he must mean new to him. He told me it was a 2014 with 4,000 miles on it. I asked why he wanted to bring a brand new car in and he told me that, although his wife thought he was nuts, he worried about things like that and wanted to be safe. I told him to find something important to worry about and to enjoy his trip. This is my first call of this type in 25 years but just in case there are any other of you worrying types are out there let me be clear…..THIS IS THE REASON TO BUY A NEW CAR, TO NOT WORRY.

 

car bow

 

Questions: dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

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