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Discussion Starter #1
In December, I took Ye Olde Intrepid to an alignment shop. They promised it would cost $175 for Rack and Pinion busings and an alignment. They underestimated the bill and the time involved. and I had to borrow both a vehicle and money just to get the car out of the shop, the next day, at a cost of $300.

From the day I got it out of the shop, I noticed it pulling to the right. Alignment guy muttered something about the pitch of the road and how all cars pull to the right. Finally I took it to another shop for an alignment. They said something about a tie rod and more subframe bushings. My mechanic said it needed all that and a couple of struts. And gave me a lecture about how I should have just had him replace the rack at a similar price. $500 later, I had a car with a loose bolt in the rack (Helpful Mechanic tightened it) that STILL steered funny and required me to hold the wheel at the 10:00 position to steer straight.

Well the shop I took it to to evaluate another issue said the steering was "spooky" and probably needed a tie rod. Helpful Mechanic gave it the once over and discovered my rack bushings were GONE. He explained that those bushings are so small that they are easily distorted when pounded in and that's why he prefers a new rack with new bushings.

After 2 trips to the alignment shop that botched the job in December, he said he'd fix the problem for the cost of an alignment, but ONLY if I could find the receipt! I looked everywhere for it and am now convinced that he didn't give me one!

So if this guy won't check his records, I have three choices, pay $300 for a job not likely to last 6 months, pay $500 for a new rack in a 15 year old car, or just sell the dang thing. Oh and did I mention I have no savings with which to buy a car and lousy credit?

:glum:
 

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Wow, gotta love dueling mechanics. NOT!
You might want to learn how to do some of these things yourself. I know you can't do an alignment but if you were to just purchase the parts and install them your self...... Of course that is IF you had the place to do it, the tools to do it. It is so important to have a honest trusted mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I guess you guys haven't caught on to the fact that I'm a girly-girl, have you?

I don't know how to even use a socket and if I did, I probably STILL would not do this job for the reasons Helpful Mechanic stated. If I had done the rack in the first place I wouldn't be in this mess.

I wouldn't have the guys touch my car because they are so flat out sexist and dismissive of complaints. And when I told them that my mechanic advised against getting the bushings for the reasons I stated, he sneered at me and said, "Oh, and he does this for a living?" Hex YEAH he does it for a living!

My co-worker said a mechanic tried to do that to his wife, until she mentioned she was a lawyer. I am tempted to play that card and say, "Is there any way you can search your records? I'm really afraid something will happen on the way to LAW SCHOOL.
 

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Girl or not I would expect you to know that you should get an estimate in writing BEFORE work begins AND they can not effect repairs if the cost exceeds the estimate with out your approval.


Under Ohio law
Estimate: You are entitled to a written price estimate for the repairs you have authorized before the work is performed, only if you deal face-to-face with the facility and the work is expected to cost more than $100. Once you receive an estimate, the facility may not charge you more than 10% above the estimated costs without your prior approval.

The estimate includes, among other things: the odometer reading; a description of the problem or the specific repair requested; choice of alternatives for the customer; the estimated cost; labor and parts necessary for the specific diagnosis/repair requested.
I know more than a few girls who do their own repairs and a fine job at that.

Violations of the Law

A violation of the auto repair law is also a violation of the Consumer Protection Act. This means the consumer can recover up to three times the amount of damages (up to $10,000) in a successful court action.

Under the law (RCW 46.71) the following specific actions are unfair and misleading:

Advertising that is false, deceptive, or misleading;
Materially misstating the estimated price for a specific repair procedure (low balling);
Retaining payment from a customer for parts not delivered or installed, or a repair procedure not performed;
Unauthorized operation of a customer's vehicle for purposes not related to repair or diagnosis;
Failing or refusing to provide a customer, upon request, a free copy of any document signed by the customer;Retaining payment from both the customer and the warranty or extended service provider for the same covered part or labor;
Charging the customer for repairs for which there is no reasonable basis;
Failing to post required notice of rights sign;
Failing to comply with estimate/invoice provisions in material respects;
Failing to retain invoice/estimates for one year;
However, in a lawsuit involving unauthorized repairs the court can rule that the law was not violated if the facility proves by "a preponderance of evidence" that making the unauthorized repairs was reasonable, necessary and justified under the circumstances.
If you dont know how to do it your self and dont know your rights, you will experience the curse of the unscrupulous mechanic again.
 

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Sounds like it just needs bushing and inner tre bushings as well.

mine were bad and it "floated" sort of like spookey
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gee, Duds, you sure know how to make a girl feel stupid. Knowing the thing about the estimate (and I'm pretty sure I got one, but that is missing too) could have saved me $100 bucks back then.

That doesn't do me much good now, or does it? Since Ohio law does say you have to keep your invoices for a year, he should be able to search his own records! I should play that card, whether or not I play the "law school" card!

I don't know a whole lot of non-mechanics, girl or not, who have a clue when it comes to rack bushings. It's not like I can go to the store and have my brother or my neighbor just "pop them in." My mechanic would rather put in a whole rack than do this again. Most people don't have alignment racks. And the few that do tell me that the car needs another repair before they can do the job. Which may or may not be true ... I just know I'm sick of excuses.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well a couple of calls to parts stores yielded some interesting info ...

The dealer (the one closest to me, not him) said they are $38 EACH. Since the original estimate was $178 and there are 3 or 4 of these, I seriously doubt he went through the dealer.

The local Auto Zone sells them for $4 each for the one piece design, and $9 for the two piece. The two piece design may have 4 in the pack.

If I can't get this guy to look up his receipt, it would be SO MUCH easier to have someone do the job, even if it means I have to buy a "special tool."
 

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Was not my intent to make you feel stupid. If I did I am sorry. It's just there are so many crooks out there, and anyone that owns a car, refrigerator, house or whatever, sooner or later runs into these guys. You have rights and it pays to know them. I would enforce them even after the fact! It pisses me off that they pray on women, youth and anyone who is not up on the law and know little about cars. They used to do that to my wife until she got educated. Now she is someone you dont want to cross. I say go force them to abide by the law. What I don't know is if they once gave you a receipt are they obligated to give you another. You might have to pay a small fee for it.
Another thing I try to do is check if a business is listed in the BBB listings and how many unresolved complaints there are.
I know this is not fixing your car and somewhat off topic, but I feel you were taked by shoddy mechanics. I hate them. There are so many good places and the bad make the good look bad.

Best of luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Actually, I was feeling stupid all on my own. My brother also told me I shouldn't have paid more than the estimate. Helps SOOO MUCH to know that after the fact!

But the law you posted states that the shop is obligated to keep its receipts for a year. So under the "more flies with honey than vinegar" theory, I'm going to say, "Is there any way you can check your records? The law DOES say you have to keep them for a year ..."

There is no way I can go to court without a receipt and he knows it. There is also no way I can nail him for exceeding the estimate without it.

So I did some more looking. I did find some car repair receipts. But not those. So I'll give it 2 more days and then play the "you must keep your receipts" card.

Does anybody know if rack bushings are worth it to replace in these cars?
 

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Actually, I was feeling stupid all on my own. My brother also told me I shouldn't have paid more than the estimate. Helps SOOO MUCH to know that after the fact!

But the law you posted states that the shop is obligated to keep its receipts for a year. So under the "more flies with honey than vinegar" theory, I'm going to say, "Is there any way you can check your records? The law DOES say you have to keep them for a year ..."

There is no way I can go to court without a receipt and he knows it. There is also no way I can nail him for exceeding the estimate without it.

So I did some more looking. I did find some car repair receipts. But not those. So I'll give it 2 more days and then play the "you must keep your receipts" card.

Does anybody know if rack bushings are worth it to replace in these cars?
I had the same issue as you. My car felt like it was "wondering around", so i replaced the inner tie rod endlinks, the outer end links, sway bar end links....and it still felt like it wanted to go where ever. So I brought it into a mechanic that I know and trust. I told him it needed an alignment, oil change, and to look over all the work I did. They did all that and took it out for a test drive. They got back and the steering wheel was at the 10 oclock possition and they knew exactly what was wrong with it. The rack bushings, like yours. They replaced those and everything worked like a charm. $150 for that work, the alignment, oil change and a quick double checking of everything.

And yes. The rack bushings made a HUGE difference in the feeling of the steering. I have even stated before, after they were replaced, it felt as tight as my BMW X3. The looseness in it is gone. I would go back to that shop and ask them for a copy of the receipt. Like stated, they need to keep a copy of their work and receipts. If they get audited, they can be in some serious hot water.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well it cost me TWICE as much as that ... the first time. The second time he couldn't find his receipt either, which tells me they never gave me one! Went on and on about how he was eating the cost, and it would never be guaranteed again. Of course, I didn't get a recept either.

That's fine. Ye Olde Intrepid and I will never again darken their doorstep. The tie rod bolts were frozen, and the wheel still isn't straight, even after an alignment.

It does steer straight, however, and the poor Dodge Ram isn't so dizzy anymore.

It does have other problems, however, and a sudden radiator replacement has left me unable to deal with them

My mechanic says it's too easy for the bushings to get warped and he prefers to replace the whole rack. It's almost cheaper to go that route. That will be my next step if this happens again.
 
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