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Car servicing nightmare stories

By TailgaterHater 29 October 2014 25

It’s hard finding a decent place to get your car serviced, or is it? There’s a lot to be said for DIY basic servicing such as oil/filter changes, belts, brake pads etc if you are capable and have the equipment (as I do and have done for many years). However, if your car is still under warranty you are obliged to get it done by an authorised service agent, be it the dealer or someone else who will not void your warranty.  So you cop the excessive fee under fear of something going wrong with your vehicle in the future and needing warranty work.

Here’s an example: Some months back I took our car to a ‘car care’ centre in Canberra’city’ – in Braddon to be exact – and after I got it home I checked the oil. Interestingly, the vehicle takes 4.3 litres including the filter and I was charged for 4.3 litres. However, I put exactly .3 litres of oil into the car at home to take it to the full mark on the dipstick. Whilst a bit annoyed at being ripped off at the time and their lack of care, I got over it.

So last weekend I changed the oil and filter myself – the first time it hasn’t been done by someone authorised as it is now out of warranty – and the lack of care by the last mob who serviced it came to light. The sump plug was so tight I had to get some pipe over the socket bar to undo it! Yes they need to be tight, but not at the point where it threatens to strip the thread, remembering that the sump housing is only alloy metal anyway so can be easily damaged.

Then it came to taking off the old oil filter. Filters do tend to tighten up over time, but never in my almost 40 years of servicing cars have I had so much trouble getting an old filter off. I reckon it must have been also screwed on within an inch of stripping its thread too!

Talking to a mate who also takes pride in maintaining his own vehicles, we agreed that the garage probably used a rattle gun to tighten the sump plug and the heavy handedness of the filter was poor practice at the least (and I’m being kind here)!

So, alledged “we take care of your car” places like this one in Braddon probably do them like an assembly line and really don’t give a care at all!

So people, go take a basic motor maintenance course and you will do it better and save yourself money too.

Would love to hear about other people’s experiences although I suspect that most people who have their cars serviced at such places won’t know how poorly treated their vehicles are?

What’s Your opinion?

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Car servicing nightmare stories
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cantdance 8:03 pm 10 Nov 14

Once upon a time I tried Midas for a minor fix needed on my car. My husband picked it up, drove to the end of their driveway and while waiting to pull out onto the road…. BANG! And the car caught fire. Can’t recall what caused it off the top of my head but Midas took full responsibility.

I used Lube Mobile once for a different car, somehow they managed to get fluid of some kind splattered all up the garage roller door.

And lastly, an independent garage did some work to sort out an engine that had started missing. All sorted, I picked up the car and went to the shops. Down the road the engine made a horrible noise so I stopped, called out roadside rescue who found bolts loose or missing from the engine and no oil.

I’ve been though many many cars in my life so far, thankfully only these three issues!!

G_A 8:52 am 01 Nov 14

I used to own a small Mazda sports car and had religiously taken it back to a Mazda dealer for servicing, every now and again it didn’t feel like it had been serviced properly and in the end I asked around and was recommended to a place in Fyshwick that was a mazda-sport rotary specialist. I took my car there for a service and it just hummed, so never looked back from there. So maybe look for a similar enthusiast who owns their own business based on a passion and isn’t a production line system.

Gungahlin_Bob 1:06 am 01 Nov 14

Repco (Niall) in Mitchell are quite good with later model cars. (I have a VE Commodore)

I have a lost faith in dealer servicing (similar to other stories regarding cross threading bolts, etc) and find the extra cost gets you nothing extra.

To provide a real story, Repco on servicing my car, found that the dealer had left part of the gasket on the head near Cylinder 5 when they replaced it the gasket (as part of servicing the timing chain) and had been there for quite a while)….

Anyhow back to Repco….seem to be decent people…yeah sure, especially with the computer / sensors in the cars nowadays, it may take a little effort to resolve issues, but the guys there appear to live in the real world and recognise that not every one can afford to get everything done at once….and we have budgets…..

Now I have some trust…..I now regularly get it serviced there….it has been running nicely since…..and the advice so far has been spot on….



JC 12:18 am 01 Nov 14

dungfungus said :

TailgaterHater said :

Thanks everyone for your comments – keep them coming too please.

dungfungus – I had Lube Mobile do my car in Queanbeyan about 6 years ago – arranged it when I was working away so it needed to be done for the wife to continue motoring along – and I was charged for 5 litres when that car took 4.5 litres, so I figured they probably skim a bit of profit on each service. I thought at the time I should have had the 1/2 litre left behind but it wasn’t. So Lube mobile are off my ‘to use’ list.

magiccar9 – your experience at Slaven Mazda Phillip mirrors mine, especially the tyres rotation not being done (and being ticked as done) – what else was not done we might ask? It is where we got the car from and they only did the 10,000 km service and I wouldn’t take it back there after that.

Like I said, if people learned to do basic maintenance themsleves they would save themselves a lot of money and avoid the stress of incompetent and uncaring dealers and garages.

Re the surplus half-litre of oil, some people would be grateful that the container and the oil was taken away. What is the average punter going to do with it anyhow, pour it down an ant’s nest?
I am sure if you phoned the mechanic and told him you wanted it he would be happy to return it. I think you are being a bit harsh in your judgement.

Do you believe that when they fill your car with oil that they just use the one container? Seriously, they would fill up your car and any left over fill part of the next. It isn’t a matter of getting the extra 1/2 litre, but being charged for it when it is more than likely being used elsewhere. Moreso at garages who buy oil in 200l drums.

Tonni 8:48 pm 31 Oct 14

I don’t trust a lot of the dealers around Canberra and being a woman I think a lot of them take advantage of that, however recently I took my car to have the airconditioning to be repaird at EVERLAST IN Kembla street and I was so impressed from the young lady on the phone that booked it in right thru to the mechanics. Not only did they repair my aircon they also serviced my car and explained everything in plain english then handed me the bill and I didnt haveto take out a personal loan. I was so impressed with the whole experience I just had to share and I will be taking my car back there again.

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