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Car Care & Repair Tips - July 04, 2003

What Your Mechanic Doesn't Want You to Know


Reader Question: I took my 1998 Geo Tracker to a transmission shop for repair. It has been two weeks now and still no car. I have called many times, but I feel that they are giving me the run around. They installed a rebuilt transmission, but said this transmission won't shift into third gear. The shop said they contacted the supplier of the remanufactured transmission, but they said they have to do some tests on it before they will ship another to the shop. Is this what usually happens, or am I getting the runaround? I have to keep calling them, they have never called me once. The repair shop said it will probably be another week or so. Please let me know your advice.

Thanks, Gary

Dear Gary,

Thanks for your question. It does not sound like you are in a good position at all. This is what I would do, and I would be as nice as possible with the way I did this too.

Go down to the shop in person and talk with the owner or manager. I would call ahead of time and make an appointment to meet with him, and let him know you want to discuss the situation. When my customers show up in person to discuss their car problems, I tend to be more attentive to their requests.

When you get there, be nice, but also let them know you are without transportation and will need to rent a car soon. The rental car bill will either be subtracted from the amount you owe the repair shop, or they can pay the rental car company direct. The shop owner will probably balk at this and say "it is out of our hands," and "they are not responsible for the expense," etc.. This might be true, and if so I would want the shop to know that their supplier is jeopardizing their customer relations. I would then ask to talk to the transmission supplier directly on the phone from the shop, and tell the management there the same rental car dilemma.

I would inform the supplier that you could possibly "get by" without a rental car for another two days, but after that you will have no means of transportation. I would have them talk to the repair shop on the phone while you are there and get them to approve another rebuilt transmission on the spot. I would probably have both parties sign a "good faith" statement saying they will try to the best of their ability to get you going in your car within two days or they will come up with alternative transportation at their expense.

Something you might also mention if you really need to. The rebuild company can ALWAYS test and re-inspect this "faulty" transmission at a later date, and there is no need to hold you up. If this "test" proves the transmission is defective, what good did it do to have you wait? I have gotten in the middle of these situations more than I care to, and it comes down to my word as the shop owner that there is a problem with the part, and how much the supplier is willing to do to keep my business. The supplier really has no other alternative to boxing the transmission up and re-selling it to some other shop later, so why should you have to be inconvenienced further?

Being nice is the key here, and being there in person is the second important factor. One a side note, this is not a very popular transmission they are working with, so some time delay for the rebuilding process can and should be expected…but two weeks is pushing it.

You might also find one of my past articles about how to find a reliable and trustworthy transmission shop helpful to you (Transmission Shops).

Sincerely,

Austin C Davis

Austin C Davis


Interested in an e-book about everything your mechanic doesn't want you to know? Sound advice from Austin Davis. Click Here!


The above article is provided for the interest and entertainment of our visitors. The views expressed in this article are only those of the author, who is solely responsible for the content. AutoGuide.net does not endorse any of these views, and is not to be held responsible for any of the content provided in the above article.


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