Well I take my car to Tires Plus for a oil change, a new air filter and to inform them about a slight grinding noise coming from the left front tire. They tell me about the full front end inspection and I get that.
I leave the car and they call me back in a couple hours for me to pick it up. They inform me that I have an oil leak, which I hadn't noticed a single drop, due to a bad valve cover gasket. A full chart of my rotors, drums and brake pads saying that the rotors were measured at .640 and .655 with the brake pads at 4mm on both sides on the front and the back pads and drums marked as bad.
Then they informed me that I needed both half shafts in the front replaced. I asked them "Is that the sorce of the noise?". They said yes. That one was shot and the other is about to go as well. Then they told me when I get my break pads changed I would need the entire set up... pads, rotors and drums done. Which they said would be roughly in a couple months.
Ok then, I said. Do the gasket and the half shafts. 6 days later I take the car in as scheduled and get it done. Here's where the fun begins.
15 minutes after I drop the car off they call me up to inform me that there was a problem with the intial quote. That the person who qouted me didn't understand the new computer system and that he left out roughly oh... $300 for labor. They were kind enough to work with me by offering that I only pay half of what they left out. Lucky me!
Got the call that the car was done and ready to be picked up. I get there, get the key and start my noise free ride. Back out of the parking spot, drive 10 feet and what do I hear? The same noise. I turn around, park and run right back in.
"Hey the noise is still there!" The employee proceeds to tell me that I need to take him for a ride because he's not hearing the sound I am, which mind you, any deaf guy would have heard it. We get in, drive 10 feet and he says "ok turn around". Feeling somewhat foolish, I assume, he takes the car immediately inside to check it out.
15 minutes later he comes in and informs me that it's my brakes!? He now has a new chart of my brakes which now says my rotors are measured at .610 and .615 and that the pads are both 2mm on the front.
"So that is the cause the noise?" I said. "Yes!" was his reply.
Now from the initial inspection to this day, I put 300 miles on the car. It is physically impossible for the brakes to have gone from the previous charts readings to what he has in front of me now. Also, I know enough to know that I didnt have a loose break pad, which might have caused the grinding noise, because they would have informed me and dealt with that when they did they half shafts nor was my worn brake indicators squeaking at all. I said ok and that i'll be back.
I went to get another diagnosis from another mechanic.
Toyota dealership did an inspection for me the next day and informed me that I now have a major oil leak, which i saw signifigant size puddles everywhere I stopped, that my front brake pads were measured at 3mm and that the rotors were fine as well as the drums and, finally, that I now have a major transmission fluid leak cauesd by them breaking the axel seal when they did the half shafts. Oh yea... and that the sorce of the noise is a bad wheel bearing.
Apparently they didn't bother to check the quality of the 13 plus year old seals that they put the half shafts back onto or that they were just fine and they are 100% responsible for busting it. Either way it's their responsibilty.
How did I end up paying for a full front end inspection and not have them find the bad wheel bearing?
Right away after the inspection from Toyota I went back to tires plus where I got to talk to the manager. I informed him about everything that the other shop found and said and they immidiately checked out the car themselves.
First the manager showed me how they measure the break pads and said that it's such a small difference that its easy to get the 2 different readings I got. All I could think was that was a 5000 miles worth of wear difference in 6 days! Are they causing people to change their brakes months earlier then they actually need done? Then he explained how it would be very easy to get the same mistake while measuring the rotors.
He told me that the, now massive oil leak was coming from the gasket that they just put on. Later on he attributes it to it was either pinched wrong while being replaced or that it was gunk stuck under it. Sounds like sloppy work to me. Either way, he set me up to have that fixed the next day which, he did.
When it came to the transmission fluid leak, after the manager checked it out, he said he completely disagrees with the other shop and that it is not busted. That they saw the residue left over from the half shaft replacement and assumed it was leaking. I said ok because I hadn't seen it leaking yet. He said it was only a day since they were replaced and we would see.
Then I brought up the wheel bearing and you know what this *** said to me? "We have to work up to it. Replace what we know is bad."! Once again... I had a full front end inspection!
Well he got my gasket the next day and they got that done. No more oil leak. Something finally worked out, I'm thinking, because at this point I question wether or not I needed those half shafts!
A hour after picking up my car and driving around I notice a small puddle of fluid under it when I stopped. Now that there isn't a quarter cup of oil pouring out when I stop I can notice a nice continuous drip of... get ready for this... transmission fluid coming from the axel seal the manager said wasn't busted!
Went back immidiately but the manager left for the day. Got back there 8 AM bright and early the next morning. The same manager looked under the car for 10 seconds and then proceeded to tell me that it is indeed busted and he will order the parts immidiately and that he will not charge me for labor. He didn't say he wasn't going to charge me for the parts but it doesn't get done till tomorrow. So we'll see how that goes.
So in the end...
Misdiagnosis of the "noise source" twice.
Never detected the bad wheel bearing.
Inaccurate measurement of the complete brake system... twice.
Improperly replaced the valve cover gasket.
Broke the axel seal or failed to inform me of the quality of it.
Failed to see that the seal was busted even after I informed them that the other shop saw it.
Probably going to try to charge me more money tomorrow.
With all that and the time not being able to drive while waiting for replacement parts, plus the constant visits and headaches, you would think I would be entitled to a full refund. If not it sounds like I have a pretty good case against them.