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Car Repair - Shop Around

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baronesslucy

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In mid-December I was on vacation and was driving around St. Augustine when my air conditioner stopped working. It was an unusually hot day for Florida. An analysis was done on my car and it was determined that I had no Freon in my air conditioner due to a hole in the condenser, The estimate of the car repair was about $600. I went to two other car repair shops who quoted $400-$600.00. The car dealership quoted $1,100.

I waited about three months to get the repairs because I wanted to make sure I had $400-$600 and because the weather wasn't that bad, I could tolerate not having an air conditioner. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take my car to a mechanic that I had used previously but due to purchasing a new car nearly 4 years ago was not able to use him due to warranty requirements.

I was in for a big surprise. He called me and told me that I had no leak in the condenser and that a bolt and nut which connects to the condenser had fallen out which caused the Freon to leak out. He put Freon in the air conditioner and replaced the bolt and nut. I also had him change my oil and put new windshield wipers on. The total cost was less than $100 and it works perfectly.

Back in mid November I had to take my car to the dealership for a recall and I also took it in for an oil change. This was within a couple of days of each other and was right before Thanksgiving. Normally when I would take my car into the dealership, someone from the service department would handle my request. One of these times, a mechanic who worked at the dealership handled my request. I didn't like this guy the minute I saw him and he was really cocky and had an attitude. I don't know if he worked on my car or not but he gave me a bad feeling.

From what my mechanic told me, what might have happened is that someone took the Freon out and didn't put it back in or put the Freon in and didn't connect the bolt and nut to the condenser properly which caused the leak. When my mechanic examined my car, he didn't see the bolt and nut until he examined the condenser (it was somewhat hidden).

My guess is that the leak was a slow one as it was about a month later when I was in St. Augustine when the air conditioner stopped working. I do remember on Thanksgiving day the air conditioner working but not working properly as I had to put it up to the highest level in order to be cool. The next day Black Friday it was fine. It was also fine the morning I drove up to St. Augustine.

I would hope that this was not done deliberately. Sometimes I wonder.

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Redefining Success

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It probably was, some "stealerships" tamper with minor comforts of a car in order to get business.

Car may or may not have had recalls which they would of footed the bill for some they need to make some money back on the car.

Eg: suspension recall on an Audi TT could take up to 12.5 hours. Audi's factory technicians may rattle it off in 10. So the dealer has to cope with a 2.5 hour buffer, anything over that, they loose out on, stubborn bolts or an"lazy" day will add to this but the dealer is only getting paid for the 12.5.

When your car is out of warranty, loosen an air con pipe, reset the window switches or unplug the heated seats, charge for major components of these systems and hey presto, your back in the black.

Also don't let minor items go in noticed, such as 50% pad wear, still legal tire tread or slight splitting of wiper blades.

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