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-   -   Friend's heater stopped working. (

Xist 02-27-2013 10:24 AM

Friend's heater stopped working.
She mentioned this last week. I found a suggestion of three things to check before taking the car to a mechanic, shared it with her, and when I later asked if she had checked them, she responded "Kind of. I set an appointment with a mechanic."

Just say "No."

I do not think that she mentioned this until Sunday, but there was a puddle under her car on Thursday, a large puddle Friday, and on Saturday she called around, setting an appointment for Monday.

She was pretty frantic so I checked after she dropped off the car. I asked if the mechanic had any guesses and she said "No, they will not know for four hours."

No, they should have had some idea before even looking at the car.

They came back and told her that she was missing a CV boot(!) and the other one was detached, so they convinced her to replace her half-axles, telling her that it was a safety issue. Then her roommate insisted that they took the car across town to the roommate's father's shop, where they eventually told her that they could fix the radiator and replace the half-axles, but that the heater was too expensive.

Does that make sense to anyone? When I ask her questions her answers do not make any sense to me, because she is not a "car person."

Frank Lee 02-27-2013 10:31 AM

No heater cuz there wasn't enough coolant. She will soon have much bigger problems. Those with no mechanical ability NEED to develop a good working relationship with those who do, or they will be taken advantage of.

user removed 02-27-2013 10:34 AM

My guess would be the coolant loss would cause the "no heat" since most cars have the heater core located higher than the point where you fill the cooling system.

If I took my car to a shop and they told me I needed CV axles and there was a "check for no heat" complaint on the RO, I would leave immediately.

Very possible that topping up the coolant would give her heat. Fixing the leak would keep it working. WE used to keep some old coolant for those times when a car needed topping off to determine where the leak was located. I have seen a lot of destroyed multi thousand dollar engines due to a simple to fix coolant leak.


Xist 02-27-2013 11:49 AM


Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 358550)
No heater cuz there wasn't enough coolant. She will soon have much bigger problems. Those with no mechanical ability NEED to develop a good working relationship with those who do, or they will be taken advantage of.

She said that the mechanic told her there was some almost inaccessible part for the heater that needed to be replaced.

Her car was overheating.

Were the CV joints necessarily a safety issue? I really wanted to ask her why she took her chances this long.

Xist 02-27-2013 11:59 AM


Originally Posted by Old Mechanic (Post 358551)
If I took my car to a shop and they told me I needed CV axles and there was a "check for no heat" complaint on the RO, I would leave immediately.

Mech, "RO" is short for Repair Order?

They are still fixing the coolant leak.

I had ripped CV boots on my first car. I was told that for $25 I could purchase replacement boots and fill them with grease myself. No, that would not have been good, but it would have delayed full replacement. I periodically checked for clicking and it was probably three and a half years before I heard anything. I may have mentioned this story before.

On my first car, after four years, I hit something and tore out my crossmembers. A good friend told me that it was not worth fixing the car, but my mom persuaded me to take it to our mechanic, who replaced that part, but told me that the fuel injectors were bad.

After he replaced the crossmembers.

Over the next few months I was convinced to replace my fuel injectors, motor mounts, alternator, half-axles, rack and pinion, and possibly other parts.

One at a time.

Each time I was told that whichever part of the day was the last part that I needed to have a good and reliable car and this was from a few different shops, not a single business that coaxed $2,400 out of me.

razor02097 02-27-2013 12:28 PM

"she said no heat"... means check the coolant level.... if there is even any coolant left.

When a woman takes a vehicle in to a mechanic chances are they are going to add as much crap to the work order as they can. Unfortunately the majority of woman don't know much about cars and its common knowledge among shady mechanics. Its super easy to justify an unnecessary repair to a person that doesn't know much about cars. All you have to say is something is dangerous or could make the car break down and they sign on the dotted line.

Xist 02-27-2013 12:40 PM

When she said that the mechanic would not know for four hours what the problem was, I talked to my mechanic, who immediately said that it sounded like a coolant leak.

This situation was so frustrating to me I told him that I needed to find a female mechanic and married her. He basically said "Good luck, I have met very few in my career."

Xist 02-27-2013 12:45 PM

Midas Radio Scam Sound Clip and Quote - Hark

user removed 02-27-2013 02:58 PM

As a shop owner I was very careful when dealing with a female customer. I took the time to try to explain her problem and our proposed solution. Selling anything not related to the original complaint was avoided unless it was a safety issue.

When a man has a bad experience with a shop he will typically keep it to himself. With a woman she will tell her friends about that bad experience and they will avoid doing business with the shop that was the source of that bad experience.

I also asked every customer how they learned about my shop and after a while I cancelled all phone book advertising when my survey showed how few new customers came there due to directory advertising. One customer (female) had some brake work done and her master cylinder failed while we were trying to bleed the system. She told me she did not have enough money to pay the additional cost but she had to have her car for her work. I took the 4 year old master off my own car and put it on her car and put a new one on mine.

She never forgot that kindness and the goodwill paid me back many times over with the new customers she sent my way.

We always offered new customers a one hour check over where we listed all of the work we recommended and prioritized the repairs, with the charge credited against any work we did. That way the customer knew the total amount of work needed and if it was more than the car was worth it was not worth fixing it all. One lady told me once she seemed to be spending too much money on repairs on a car her Dad had given her. I added all of the repair orders over a 3 year period and it averaged out to $45 a month. When she saw that amount she realized that she was driving an old car with close to 200k miles pretty cheaply.


MTXA 02-27-2013 03:08 PM

This has got me pondering. Does your friend have routine maintenance done? I mean, almost any oil change business does a "free X point safety inspection". A torn, missing, or loose cv boot should have been noticed a long time ago. These things don't just happen over night. Hint: new car dealers usually have quick lanes. Yes, they want to up sell service, that's why they do the checks for free. But during routine service, you will get a fairly reliable assessment that you can take to the mechanic you have developed a relationship with. Apparently she doesn't have a shop she knows will take care of her, otherwise she wouldn't have had to call around. The internet is our friend; she could have got the shops rating with a simple Google search. Point is, she needs to be schooled about car care. For most people, their second largest investment is sitting in their driveway. Take care of it.

I agree with the shop not wanting to give an off the cuff diagnosis; people get emotional enough about car repairs without building on their fears. A fifteen or less minute pressure check and they should have had the problem nailed. An "almost inaccessible" part is most likely a freeze plug or heater core. The big question is why were they under the car to find the alleged axle problem? Free safety check? If not, I smell a rat.

It didn't take me very long in my mechanic career to move to private fleet - the motoring public is nuts!

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