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Things that happen to me that seem wierd...
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02/26/16
My Automobile Service Experience
Filed under: General
Posted by: Phil @ 1:13 pm

So - after getting repeated emails from the dealer, and a notice on my dashboard to change engine oil, I finally determined that I had a window of a free day either Thursday or Monday where I could take my vehicle in for service.


So I clicked on the link in the email from the dealer and logged on - after resetting my password - and went through the process of booking on-line.

First - it wants the km updated - OK - go outside in the snow and get the km - get back and carry on. I book the basic package because that is what was checked, and put in my comments - sunroof not closing , and front licence plate not properly fastened, and then am pleased to see that I can get an appointment starting at 7 am the next day. So I select 7:15 and submit - all good. I even get a confirmation with my comments listed!

So 7:15 am I am there on the nose, but the door doesn’t open because the bay is full so I am waiting outside, and I decide to move stuff around in the cab from the front to the back. But while doing that the door does open - but by the time I got back to the drivers seat it had closed again. So the door and I are having a little issue - this should have been my first clue. But anyway - the door opens again and I am in. 

Take a quick look at the km and it is basically the same as I put on the form so I just go in to the reception area. 


First question - do you have an appointment? I say yes I booked on-line and give my name. 2nd question - what is the kms. Well you know what? - I put them on the form on the website and by now I have forgotten what they are - no problem - the Service Technician runs out to get the kms. But I am wondering -  does he have the information that I filled in on the website?  Which leads me to a pet peeve I do have - Computer Screens dealing with my information that I cannot see. I hate that. At Airlines, Government offices, and some but not all businesses. Just an FYI. Because there is a lot of typing and stuff going on that I have no idea what it is. 

Eventually though it seems the Service Technician has found what I submitted. Recommends the level 3 service at app $200, OK. Then sees the note about the the sunroof - But I had the same issue before. So he checks - oh yes you did. But to do an analysis will cost $120.00. But I thought I had the full bumper to bumper warranty? No - nothing here about that - and that is out of warranty anyway.  So he says we will check it first. No problem. 

Off I go in the shuttle car - get a nice ride to a drop off point and everything is good.

Until I get a call about an hour later (8:20 am).  I miss it so I have to call back. (BTW do you know that the voice prompts during your off-hours take FOREVER to finish?? And I guess this is still on off hours call even though service is open.)

So here’s the call I am expecting - OK - item 1 - we recommend a transmission flush - because of whatever reason - I just need to know how much? $200  - really? - OK go ahead. Oh and your air filter is a bit dirty. You mean an air filter is not included in the $200 package? No we just look at it. How much? app $40  - OK whatever.

OH and the brake pads are getting worn and they are not wearing evenly. Not urgent but we recommend changing them. 

Now I am usually the kind of person who always does what the expert recommends - so I’m thinking - OK - I started at $200, I am now at about $450 plus tax, how much can new brake shoes cost?

Well you have to do the rotors too so it’s $505  for the rear and  $617 for the  front. I’m like - you mean $1200 total? Yup.

So now I am close to $2000 with tax. At which point I am not comfortable - and ask WHY - if the shoes are not completely worn out - do I have to also do Rotors?? To which I do not get - to my mind - a very satisfactory answer at all. And I asked more than once. 

So I say no - I need another opinion. In fact I will take it to my neighbour George who has a shop on Laidlaw and get his opinion.  And I call the head mechanic at the shop of one of the companies I work with - who tells me I probably should not have done the transmission flush either! (whatever - I know there’s 2 schools of thought on that one and I had already committed to it in my mind.)

So I am at home working and I get a call at 10:30 - the car’s ready. Great - I need a ride - when can it come? Oh it will take probably 30-45 minutes. OK I say - I have a meeting at 11 - so I will walk to my meeting and call when I am done.  Sure he says - ask for Heidi.

OK so at 12:07 I call Heidi and ask for a ride. She says it will take 30-45 minutes so I decide to walk back home and ask to be picked up there. 

Now I teach music a bit and I have students scheduled for 2 pm and I think I have plenty of time. But 45 minutes goes by and no word. An hour - no word. An hour and 10 minutes and I am just about to give up when a call comes - car is the way  - will be 10 minutes. OK - it’s now getting close but still doable.

So the ride arrives 10 minutes later but there is another gentleman already in the car. So when we get to the shop - I wait for him to be served first - and I am thinking I still have time to get back by 2 pm. So I am waiting my turn and there’s a lot of people milling about and the service technicians have their heads buried in the computers. And the nice lady serving the customer is very pleasant and friendly and thorough. Then it’s my turn and she knows my name right away! Yay!  So she gets the work order and starts to go through it but to my surprise when she gets to page 2 the total is way less than I expected - so I interrupt her and say - did they not do the transmission flush? And she looks and says no - it was refused - but we can do it right now while you wait.  To which I say - I can’t wait I have to get going - so she wants to get the service technician involved and I say just make a note to do it next time -  I have to get going. To which she says you should have asked for a car for the day - that way you wouldn’t need to travel on our schedule. Which I thank her for - I didn’t know I could do that. (Is this free?)

So anyway - I pay and am on my way - looking at my watch thinking - OK - you have about 15 minutes. Should be OK 

But then I get to my car. Which is parked with the mirrors virtually touching to the next car on the drivers side. 

Now - I don’t know whose car that is. I don’t know why it is parked like that. But I try. It is snowing now pretty hard now  - but I try. I go around and get between the cars from the back and try to open the drivers door. It opens less than 12″ - I still try. I can’t get in. 

I’m thinking - OK if I go back in it may take 10 minutes before I am even acknowledged with all the general milling about and I have no idea whose car that is anyway - or how long it will take to find out.

So I get in from the passenger’s side and manage to climb over the console to get to the drivers side. With my boots covered in snow and slush and hitting the dashboard and steering wheel and whatever. I get there. 

By now some other people have seen this and probably think I am a lunatic. But in my mind - I am late.

So I take a breath - count to 10 - and drive home. And get there just in time.

Except the student was late.

So - while there is a certain amount if humour in all this - at the end of the day I was not at all comfortable with the recommended service options - particularly the brakes - and feel that it was a deliberate attempt to generate more revenue. 

And in the end I actually spent less than I intended. And the maintenance 3 was only $130 and I was expecting $190. So I can’t really complain at all. But I did go on-line and do some research about the Universal Wrap package that I purchased and sure enough - there it is - in the small print - windows and trim are covered BUT the sunroof is not covered!!  That is clearly not what I believed when I purchased the vehicle but - caveat emptor I guess is the way this works. You only find out how good your insurance is when you have a claim. Yet I did have the same issue while the vehicle was still in warranty, (which BTW I thought it still was but I am told it is not.)

OH yes - the licence plate is still loose. I will fix it myself. And I will get someone to look at my brakes.

But if the brakes are wearing unevenly - and BTW I have mentioned earlier about some grinding noises from the brakes when the vehicle is cold and I was told not to worry that is normal (??) - then could that not be caused by faulty calipers? Which is covered by warranty?  Just asking.

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