OT: Car repairs

Matched Gripper

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Completely off topic, but I wanted to share this in case it may help somebody.

Since the pandemic started, my day job has turned into "work from home" and there are zero gigs, so to pass the time, I've started helping some neighbors with car repairs. I've always loved working on cars and it gives me something to do on the weekends and evenings. One of my neighbors has a 2009 VW Jetta that the power steering had failed on. ABS, check engine, and stability control lights were on in the dash. He went to the dealership and was told he needed to have the steering rack replaced. $2,300 for parts and $700 in labor.

He asked if I would take a look at it. I hooked up my scan tool and there was "no communication" to the electrical steering system (these cars don't have a pump and fluid) from the ECM. I decided to check the "easy" stuff first. Fuses were all good. I started checking the wiring harness for the rack and pinion. The ground was slightly corroded but not loose. I removed 8 screws to remove the air box and 2 bolts that held the ground wires to the body, scrubbed the ground eyelet with a wire brush, and hit it with some dielectric grease. I then reset the steering angle sensor and cleared the codes. Fixed. Working perfectly in less than 30 minutes. $3,000 bucks of pure theft, avoided.

ALWAYS get a second opinion when dealing with car repairs...
Good carma for you! Your nieghbor should report this experience to the dealership general manager (not the service manager), and advise that he won't be coming back.
 

mydadisjr

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Do you have the 159-HP version?

Love my VW and had a great experience with MINI.

The cars with the highest repair and maintenance costs are a mix of European, American and Japanese:


10. Dodge Grand Caravan (Ten year cost of repairs and maintenance): $12,700
9. Mercedes Benz C63 AMG S $12,800
8. Audi A4 $12,900
7. Porsche 719 Boxster $13,700
6. Audi Allfour $13,700
5. Infiniti Q45
4. Lincoln MKS $14,600
3. BMW M4 $14,900
2. BMW 640i Grand Coupe $
1. Porsche 911 $19,600

https://www.motor1.com/features/177033/most-expensive-car-truck-maintenance/
re: my 2008 tACOMA... nope, I have the v6 (4.0 liter, I think...) and not the 4 cyl 159 hp version.

My only complaint is lousy gas mileage. 19mpg on a good day.
 

Squirrel Man

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Taking a car to the dealer is akin to blasphemy, vast majority of them are thieves.

I do my own oil changes since there is no quick lube joint near me and I will do brake pads, rotors and other odds and ends. For heavy duty stuff like when the rear end of my wife's (not what you think lol) Kia went out I have a local guy who found a junk part and replaced it for a couple hundred.
 

Vistalite Black

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re: my 2008 tACOMA... nope, I have the v6 (4.0 liter, I think...) and not the 4 cyl 159 hp version.

My only complaint is lousy gas mileage. 19mpg on a good day.
My Tundra was a GasPig, too. I loved everything but that!
 

TheBeachBoy

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For what it's worth, the OBDII scanners are super cheap now and are a invaluable diagnostic tool, but most OBDII code readers will not handle bi-directional control and only show generic fault codes. The VW in question showed ZERO codes via OBDII. About a year ago I bought a $1,300 Autel scan tool that will do OEM-specific testing and some limited bi-directional controls. It saved the day on this car being able to reprogram the steering angle and read the VW specific steering codes. I think it's about $150 per year to get all the updates for over 70 manufacturers. They're expensive, but pay for themselves quickly, IMHO.
The one I picked up does decently for its price, but of course will never compete with a $1000+ model. This one can mostly only clear codes but can do O2 sensor tests, EVAP tests, has DTC library lookup with updates, etc. It's not going to compare with a pro model that can control different systems in the vehicle but the codes it shows are fairly specific and it's small enough to keep in the glove box if I have problems on the road. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D1KH9SC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

rhythmace

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I bought a '82 Mercedes 300D new and drove it for 27 years. In the end, the vacuum system had issues and once the brake pedal went to the floor suddenly. I was always on the look for a good mechanic. I knew one that was good with diagnostics but not the work. Found another that was the opposite. I used to hang around the shops and wait for the work to be done. So many times I saw mechanics walking around trying to get help figuring out how and what to repair. My brother drives Mercedes diesels and had a SUV that wouldn't run right. No one could diagnose it. After a couple of years, turns out the plastic intake on the turbo had cracks underneath from the factory. When out on the highway, it would lose power. Why buy a Lexus, Mercedes or BMW and deal with a high purchase price and high maintenance? My next car will be electric. Unless I find a good used Miata. Ace
P.S. I recently bought a used John Deere riding lawn mower. After I started pricing parts, I sold it. Laugh!
 

mydadisjr

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Dude, get the Miata! Mazdas are totally cool. I drove a B2200 truck for 20 years, never shoulda sold it. My GF has a newer Mazda Model 3, great gas mileage, we can even sleep in the back. It does not need any costly maintenance and initial new cost was super low $$.
 

JDZ

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I will, on occasion, take my car to the Ford dealership for an oil change. They would have a $39 oil change (synthetic) and rotation. I just have to endure some sort of dopey surcharge and the made up repairs that need to be done...NOW! It's usually the brakes so I tell them I'll do them myself. Last time, I told them to ignore the brakes as I'll do them myself. After the change the guy tells me I now need new tires and are down to some measurement. That took me by surprise. I truthfully told him those are 4 month old Michelins. He just slunked back into the office without saying a word.
 

rhythmace

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Back in the 80s a friend of mine took his new Camaro into a Firestone dealership and they told him that it needed shocks and an alignment. They did that all over, from what I hear. I have a weird story. We had a 2010 Tahoe. I think it had about 140K miles on it. It started to get this funny shake at times at different speeds. Turns out the what makes the engine shift from 8 cylinders to 6 or 4 is done by pressure inside the engine somehow. The fix is to replace the engine. We did the standard thing of quickly trading it in. Laugh! Too bad we had new tires on it. Ace
 

Deafmoon

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How about getting a recall for an air bag sensor under the steering wheel & the dealership calls you to say your timing belt is shot and that you need to have it replaced for $1k? Especially concerning when you don’t have a belt but a chain! And when you tell the dealership guy this, he says he may have been mistaken then. And people do this kind of stuff everyday to other people and don’t even think twice about their own karma.
 

rhythmace

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Dude, get the Miata! Mazdas are totally cool. I drove a B2200 truck for 20 years, never shoulda sold it. My GF has a newer Mazda Model 3, great gas mileage, we can even sleep in the back. It does not need any costly maintenance and initial new cost was super low $$.
I actually won one on E-Bay recently, but the seller turned out to be a jerk. He didn't realize that his own listing showed that buyer was responsible for pick-up or shipping. Seller only wanted it sold to a local buyer. Seller had moved out of state and having a transport company pick it up was not possible. I am in Houston, the Miata was in Atlanta, and the seller was in Minnesota. It went downhill from there. It was a great deal too. Ace
 


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