Monday, November 14, 2011

Follow up.

No picture again with this post, but I thought I ought to follow up with what was happening in my last post.

After spending almost 8 hours at the dealership garage, I finally brought my van home, and it only cost me a little over $30 for the headlight bulb change, which wasn't covered in our insurance package and hadn't been done the day before for some reason.  Though the previous bulb had not been burned out and the headlight had been working sporadically, if the headlight goes out again, they'll look elsewhere.  So far, I still have two headlights.  It may well have been that something was loose and that, in changing the bulb, they inadvertently fixed it.

The hazard lights thing hasn't changed.  They had installed a new multi-function switch to fix the problem with the signal lights doing weird things (like switching back and forth, or not working at all).  So now when the sliding doors are opened, the hazard lights no longer turn on.  Although I explained that and it was written down very clearly, when I got the van back near the end of the day, one of the things I was told was that the hazard lights are working just fine.  Well, yes, they were.  It wasn't until later that I opened the sliding doors again and saw no lights that I realized that they'd simply tested the hazards.  At this point, I don't care.  The lights turning on when the sliding doors open is not a big deal.  The important thing is that the other light problems were fixed.

The van got moved over to the mechanical department so they could figure out what the grinding noise was.  A mechanic drove it around to hear the noise I was talking about.  After some time, the woman who had been taking care of me all this time went back to get some news for me (her name is Steph, and for all that she was new and didn't know how to do some things, she did take really good care of me and sat down with me several times throughout the day to explain what was going on).  When she came back, she was all but laughing out loud.

It seems that, during the complimentary inspection, they had used twist ties on something.  Those twist ties had not been removed or trimmed.  They were on both sides, but on the right, when I turned the wheel, the tail end of the twist tie made contact with the tire.  The mechanic had showed it to her, and she had been surprised that I could hear something like that at all, but he told her there was no missing it - it was really quite loud. 

Now that was a relief!  No expensive fix there.

That left the brake warning light. 

According to the readout, we do need new brakes.  I got the printout and estimate, and Steph went over it with me.  They are recommending total replacement of the brakes and pads.  We were also due to get all the various fluids changed, including brake and transmission fluids.  This is something we were already planning to have done before winter, however if we did everything on their list as once, we'd be paying almost $1600.  Ouch!  Meanwhile, the break fluid was a little low and that was topped up for me (I'd actually checked that myself recently, but I couldn't see very well.  It looked to be about on the line at the time).  Technically, they shouldn't have done that, but they did and I didn't get charged for it, so I appreciated that.

Now, brakes are not something we want to mess around with, but at the same time, we've been horribly mislead and cheated by garages in the past, and have had no trust built up with this garage yet.  In fact, as I sat there with my crochet, a number of people passed through the waiting area and there were a few times I heard someone sit down with the customers and convincing them to get work done that hadn't been expected.  Even if it was just a change in filters, it had my scam radar going.  Where they scamming?  No, I don't think so.  Where they convincing people to get repairs done that probably weren't as urgent as they  made it seem?  Very likely.  

Anyhow, I finally got the van back and headed home.  That is when I discovered...

They had inadvertently fixed my brake warning light. 

It seems it was letting me know I was low on fluid.  If the fluid levels were so close to the line that I couldn't tell if it was actually low or not, that might explain why the light kept turning on and off.  A dip in the road might have been enough to change the height of the float, or whatever it is that's used to keep tabs on that.

The story doesn't quite end there, though.

I got a phone call from Steph the next morning.  When she had processed my payment the first time I went in, she had been unsure of what the actual amount I was supposed to pay was.  Since they were closed and no one was there who could explain it to her, she charged me the full amount she was sure of, left the file open, and promised to call me back after clearing it up.  She did that and found that I was now owed $50.  Since I had other errands to run, I was able to head back that afternoon.  By the time I got there, she told me that there was more owed and, with tax, I ended up getting a refund of just under $80.

Final verdict?

Well, Steph had gone a long way to repairing any damage done as far as my anger on discovering all those problems after I'd left.  I do hope they are paying her well, because she's earned it.

They did fix the problems I'd brought it in for, eventually, even if some of it was inadvertent.

Would I go back?

Probably not.  We've had a couple of private garages recommended to us and when it comes time to get the big work done, we'll likely go to one of them rather than back to the dealership.  Unless we need more work done that's covered by our insurance package, I just don't see us going back there.

Sorry, Steph.  You weren't quite enough to win me over completely.

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