On New Years Day I woke to find my car won't start. Suspecting it's the battery I find the only place open -that being Pep Boys and drive there after jump starting my vehicle.
After they put the car on the machine, the battery tests at a Failure level (this much I assumed). The guy at the desk comes out and hands me the slip showing the battery has FAILED. I proceed to purchase a new battery at the cost of $80. ( I had initially chose a $70 battery but the guy at the counter continued to harass me that for ONLY $10 I could get a better battery and so on.. Ok fine, I get the better battery, they test the new battery AND the Charging System, they hand me the computer print out that the CHARGING SYSTEM and all it's proponents are working NORMALLY.
2 days later I go out to start my car and once again, it won't start.. GREAT! I go back to Pep Boys, they say you need a battery, I tell them NO you just gave me a battery it's something else.. something is draining the battery or there is some other issue.
What I realized thru talking to the guys at the counter on the INSIDE auto repair service area is that they are NOT mechanics and basically have very LITTLE knowledge of anything. I had read my owners manual so I am standing there posing possible problems and corrective actions TO HIM.. He should be telling ME what the problem is..
Fast forward...1hr later.. Carlos (the non-mechanic at the desk) says HE (whoever HE was) says he THINKS you need a new alternator.. I'm like THINKING is not good enough I need to know for sure. I ask how much they say $164 for the alternator and $55 for labor...this is a nice chunk of change right after X-mas so I am not happy.
So 10 minutes after that, he comes BACK in and says oh your Alternator CABLE is bad and WE suggest you change it. I go ok here we go again.. How much is the cable? Carlos says $9.00 for the cable and $30 dollars labor. THIRTY DOLLARS to install a $9 cable - this is insane.
I ask well is it possible that the cable is just bad but causing the alternator to read bad.. He responds COULD BE!!!! By now I am thoroughly frustrated, they are giving me NON-ANSWERS and I feel trying to take advantage of me as a woman in there alone. Every few minutes they were recommending something else. Keep in mind I have a well maintenanced 2004 Chevy Tahoe, it's not as if it's an old car.
I am telling the "mechanics" my car is equipped with an on-board diagnostics system, designed to tell me if/when my engine or charging systems are failing.. This has NOT happened. The car starts every time after a jump, the head lights are NOT low, all controls are working properly. My car has NONE of the classic symptoms of a bad alternator.
So I tell them look just change the alternator cable and see how the alternator voltage reads after that.. So I go have lunch give them 3 whole hours, they call me on my cell and say that I am going to need a new alternator as it's bad.
Thoroughly fed up, I ask them to let me see the print out of the test ( this is standard) I can't just take his word for it w/out seeing this actual low voltage "bad" alternator.. They should've realized by now I'm not some dumb woman I actually have and use my brain. So Carlos gives me the Deer in the headlights look... and says oh well the machine is not working. I ask well how did you run the test if the machine is broken??? He replies: "only the part that PRINTS the results is broken"
At this point my SCAM radar is in full effect. I tell him NO, I will not accept that. He calls the head mechanic who worked on the car and ASKS him what the results were, says the lady wants a print out. This guys tells him to tell me that the machine is broken & just tell her she needs a new one...I tell them give my papers, I pay and take my car home... this was on a Saturday.
Sunday.. all day car starts just fine, Monday morning again, just fine. 7:30 I drive it to MY mechanic just to be on the safe side as I know he will tell me the truth. Soon as I tell him the story, he comes out looks at the dash and says I can tell you right now it is NOT the alternator.. he hooks it up, test ALL the charging system components and all is well as I expected.
MY MECHANIC says didn't they tell you that it sometimes takes 2-3 days for the alternator to recharge after you replace batteries or cables? This could cause a low voltage reading. I tell him OF COURSE THEY DIDN'T!!!! My battery and alternator voltage were both at optimum performance at 14 volts..
So the bottom line is they attempted to take advantage and defraud me. I highly doubt this would've happened if I were a man. Nevertheless, I will NEVER go there again for service-EVER. Holiday, wknd doesn't matter, I will wait it out for a FAIR & HONEST mechanic.
Product or Service Mentioned: Pep Boys Diagnostics.