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Re: Need Help, Mechanic Troubles Part 2 (Long)

> The tie rod ends were both frozen solid and needed to be replaced after the 
mechanic spent two hours trying to
> loosen and remove them.

To be honest, I'm not so sure about the second shop you used, either.  Before 
letting the mechanic spend two hours trying to free the tie-rod ends, 
somebody should have called you and gotten your approval to either spend the 
time to free them or to quote you the price for replacing them ... doing both 
without consulting you first is unacceptable. 

>  After this alignment I got slapped with a $439 bill because of the extra 
time to free and remove frozen tie rods, align
>  properly, and test drive.

There's NO way they should have let a simple alignment turn into $439 worth 
of repairs without contacting you first for your approval.  In fact, on the 
rare occasion when I have my car serviced elsewhere, I always write a note on 
the work order specifying the upper dollar limit I'll pay for repairs without 
additional consultation and authorization ... if they end up going over the 
limit without authorization, this at least gives me some leverage in 
negotiating a resolution and may help in court should things turn *really* 
nasty.  Also, always ask them to save the old parts ... this helps cut down 
on the odds that an unscrupulous mechanic will try to rip you off.
>  This means I got ripped off by the independent mechanic, plus he flat
>  out lied to me.  We talked for at least an hour about cars and such, he
>  commented on how hard it was to free one of the tie rod ends, which he 
>  even touched.  That makes me angry.

Having done my share of alignments over the years, I think you need to give 
him the benefit of the doubt until you talk with him.  The fact the the 
second shop charged you so excessively makes me wonder how honest and/or 
competent they are in these matters. 

>      Now after that sad story what should I do?  Should I ask the 
>  mechanic for the cost of the alignment he said he did, $75.  OR should I be
>  asking for more, I just got hit with a 400 dollar bill.

I'd follow the money and start with the shop that charged you $493 as you 
shouldn't have been charged for time spent on an unsuccessful attempt to free 
up the tie-rod ends.  They gambled and you lost, which isn't how it should 
work in the real world.  

As for the first mechanic, if I were in his shoes, I'd be curious about why 
you didn't mention the alignment problem the first time you brought the car 
back.  I'd also be curious about why you didn't call me first before taking 
the car to some other shop to check it.  Unless you could prove beyond any 
reasonable doubt that I was negligent or somehow caused you car to suffer 
additional damage, in view of the above, I wouldn't be too inclined to give 
you any money back... 

>  I'm a college student, I needed that $400 that went to the shop today!  
Why can't
>  people just be honest about this stuff, I mean the best of us make 
>  but lying to make money is pretty damn bad.

I feel for you, I really do, but you're living in the real world and this is 
the price you pay when you don't follow the rules.  I don't know if it will 
make you feel any better, but shortly after I moved across the country to 
start my first job, my '76 BMW 530i dropped a valve and destroyed the motor.  
For six months, I had to walk two miles each way to ride a train to work 
instead of driving, packed my own lunches instead of eating out and caddied 
on the weekends to raise $2,500 to fix the car.  It wasn't fun but it 
definitely taught me a lesson that I remember to this day...