Today as I was leaving my parents I discovered that my power steering was completely gone and there was a large puddle in the driveway under my car. My father, who was a mechanic for years and owned his own automotive shop, looked at it and told me to take it to a shop because it looked like I had a leak in a hose.
You always hear about Pep Boys "doing everything for less" so I called them up. On the phone they told me it would be about $300 but that I would need to bring it in and have them do a diagnostic on it to be sure they were ordering the right part. Now you have to understand something, I am currently pregnant and a week past due to deliver...I explained this to the guy on the phone when I called. Still I spent 2 hours in their waiting room while the mechanic "checked out my power steering system".
Finally (after I complained about how long it was taking) the guy came back with my estimate of $821.98! They said that not only is there a leak in all my hoses but that the power steering pump had a crack in it, I needed a new serpentine belt and they also wanted to change my tires and breaks. Now here is the kicker, I drive a Santa Fe....under the hood there is a cowling that covers the entire engine. You must remove this cover in order to see any part of the engine other than the fluids reservoirs.
As soon as I got the quote I called my parents, my mom got online and looked up the same parts on Autozone and discovered that while they are special order they were less than half the price of what I was being quoted. She said to get my car and leave...so I did. Now as I mentioned my father was a mechanic for years, I get it back to their house and my dad opens the hood and the first thing he asks is if they put it up on the lift. I told him that I didn't see them do that and he looks all confused and said that they never removed the cover because the dirt on the screw that holds it on wasn't disturbed at all so there was no way for them to know that ANYTHING was wrong since they didn't look under the cover.
At this point I am a little miffed....but my dad says he will fix it and they would special order the parts in the morning. So, despite my current state I leave my car at my parents house with no way to get to the hospital if something happens and let my mom drive me home thinking I am going to be without a car for the next week or two and praying that I can get to the hospital in time via cab or ambulance. Then a couple of hours later my mom calls me back and tells me that my dad looked at the engine (he actually took the cowling off) and there was NOTHING wrong with the pump, hoses or belt....that the only thing wrong with it was the switch that sits on top of the pump was broken and that is where all the fluid was leaking out of. Then he also said that I need a new air filter which Pep Boys said nothing about!!
The part can be purchased at the dealership for about $35 and he could have it installed for me in less than an hour! Pissed isn't the word for it!! I am about to have a baby, live on a very tight budget and they wanted to charge me over $800 for repairs I didn't even need!!!
On top of that they made me wait up there uncomfortable and hot (it was 105 today here in Texas) for two hours and then charged me a 'diagnostic fee' of nearly $40 for the luxury of sitting in their waiting room all that time. I will be contacting the manager tomorrow to get my money back since they didn't do anything and will never go back there again.