Jan 8, 2010

More on the Car.

I never did update about what happened at the dealership and parts store. I bailed his car out of car jail on Tuesday morning with only a $46 bill, vs. the $90 I was told. I actually just left it there and they removed the dud battery for me, loaded it into my van and I went to the parts store. I showed him the bill and what they said and he took the dud battery, put a new one out in my car for me and apologized for the inconvenience. I decided not to press the issue with getting them to pay for the bill, more than anything I just wanted an apology. The dealership put in the new battery and washed his car up all pretty for me without charging me extra. My service coordinator was so pleasant that I decided to order some parts, and bring the car back for some other things it needs done before we move.

Because I have to arrange for them to shuttle me back and forth to the dealership, I decided tonight I would take it in, this time to fix a couple cosmetic things and repair his remote start & alarm. After the recent battery incident, it sure made me appreciate my dealership. I have always hated finding and trusting new mechanics, because you hear so many horror stories of shady mechanics. The disadvantage of moving so often, is you get to start over at a new city, and have to find all new services. This is why I love the Google Age so much, word of mouth has always been the way I find businesses, but if that is not available, I am all about the review sites. I have never been a fan of flipping through the phone book.

I found this new website today, called RepairPal that is pretty interesting. You can put in information about your car, repair needed, and zipcode and they will not only give you a range to expect the estimate to be, but shops nearby with peer reviews, which would look like this page showing some San Fransisco auto repair shops. Out of curiosity I put in his Civic and pretended it really had needed an alternator and it came up with a very comprehensive report. Not only did it tell me the range of costs I would be expecting for parts & labor, but then it also gives me recommendations of things I make sure are done (i.e. which other tests I make sure they do) and explanations of symptoms and other necessary repairs that may be necessary. Not just that, then maps out shops in my areas with reviews.

The other helpful part of the website is you can enter a specific make, model and year of a vehicle and get reviews, common problems, recalls, etc. So if you wanted to learn more about a 2001 Honda Accord, it would be easy to look up ratings, reviews, recalls, and common mechanical problems. Other neat features are a car encyclopedia, in case you wanted to look up what a timing belt replacement entails; and a section called My Car where you can keep track of your maintenance and repair records, plus get reminders, recall information and service reminders, and best of all it is all FREE!

When we move next month, it is nice knowing I will be able to find a place to take our cars that I can trust, I am extremely loyal to my service center and look forward to finding a place that can take care of all of our car needs, from oil changes, to mechanical repairs.

1 comment:

Babs Modern said...

Finding fair, quality, and trustworthy service people in a new place is one of the hardest things about moving for me. Everything, from home repair people, salons, dentists, physicians, mechanics, anything one can think of that requires hiring someone else are so difficult to find, especially in a new place where I don't know a single person to ask.

I, too, use the Internet to at least try to screen. Unfortunately, when I moved to Alaska I discovered almost no businesses even had an Internet presence and locals didn't use it to review each other. That has improved in the last three years, and tourists at least leave reviews for some things like hotels and restaurants, but not the services of daily life.

After being ripped off in new homes, I've become so gun shy that now it takes me unhappily long to get anything done to my house. I just don't want to have to keep paying outrageous sums of money (everything in Alaska is expensive) only to have to redo work myself or pay someone else for what I already paid for.

Moving is stressful for many reasons. You are a trooper.