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Old 10-24-2000, 08:02 PM
Richard Ney
Posts: n/a
Steve/ with all you good intentions, I believe that you not understand me corrrectly. My questions was probably too long and you forget to remember the beginning of my coments. I did said that "paying for so many years with out asking to many questions" to be exact since 1973 when I started to purchase new cars./ Having experience with dealers for that long, dont you think that I have reasons to be a little concern?
If I just want to go to the Bank to make deposits every day, I don't think the 400SEL would have been my choise of transportation.
You said and make me sound like I just want nothing to do with taking care of an expensive car. Is not the case here, it have to do with the point of a consumer at the mercy of some individuals who may think we own the Bavarian Bank just by chosing to drive a 93 Mercedes/
Please understand that from you own words, you said that you can write anything on those reports, maybe was just a rush to said that? I don't think you will exercise that option.
Continue you success and when I move to Florida, you probably going to be my good contact there. I like you honesty but,
happens that I fill like... againg, being portrait as Mr. Paul Getty, rest in peace...
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Old 10-24-2000, 08:37 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
Now from the Dealer side. As I have worked at MB dealers for 28+ years, I believe that almost all of the people that I've met who work for dealers are honest. As in any business there are rotten apples who can spoil any thing. In today's business world this type of person won't last long staying in one place or dealership. One thing any one can do, is check with local BBB on the number of work related complaints. If the person working on your car can't explain the nature of problem OR why your car isn't performing properly then you need a second opinion from someone who does & will take the time to fully satisfy your needs!

27 YEARS DEALER M.B. Shopforeman
190E 2.3 16V ITS SCCA racecar
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Old 10-24-2000, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
Maybe you didn't understand; I feel for your dilemma. I suggest that you try an independent specialist.

I work very hard to see that my customers cars behave efficiently. It is a personal failure to me when any of my customes cars become a burden.

If you have delt with dealers since 1973 with results that leave you distrustful you haven't had a good relationship; I'm sorry. There are good dedicated people in this trade as in all trades. They even exist in dealers. It may be that the impersonal relationship maintained by changing workforces in most dealers leaves you on continuous unfamiliar ground.

I happen to know a lot about this business; mainly from being in it so long. I can give you a single answer to a current problem and make a small difference, but if I give you an idea of how this business works that helps you have confidence, I have really done something. I might not be right but it is a point o view based on thirty years in the trade.

BTW, I probably don't know a technician, skillful in his trade, that has any interest in false documenting his work. Anyone compitent enough to falsify to documents doesn't have time; his talents are too valuable.

The problem with so many consumers is they see our trade as something akin to digging ditches or laying bricks. Just reproducable work. Probably only one out of ten techs are true diagnostic technicians. It will always be your job to find them and recognise when you have!

Steve Brotherton
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
26 years MB technician
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Old 10-24-2000, 09:18 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,472
To continue that last thought, I think that another problem is that consumers in this market generally don't possess enough automotive knowledge to understand what is going on with their cars. The ones that do probably do most of their own repairs, the ones that don't have to go to shops. When someone doesn't understand why something is broken, and they have to pay a fair sum of money to fix that item, it can become hard to generate an atmosphere of trust. Especially if a technician doesn't have the time to explain things with his customers - then there's the double problem of not only does the customer not understand why his bill was so much, but there's also probably not a very good business to customer relationship either.

Partly due to the increasing complexity of today's cars, but also to the fact that skills that aren't being passed on from generation to generation, I think that home auto repair is becoming a bit of a dying art. In a way, I think that people who contribute to this site are performing a bit of a public service.

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Old 10-24-2000, 10:11 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Simpsonville, South Carolina
Posts: 77
The real problem today is that all consumers do not want to be inconvienced and or spend any of their hard earned money to maintain any item. At the first sign of a problem with any mechanical device they immeaditely seek to find another person that is responsable or is at fault in some way so that they will not be responsable. People tend to have an advesarial relationship with a mechanic and do not give the shop a chance to explain the problem or the charges. The only thing the people see is that the car ran without any work for five years, I don't have any other transportation, I donot have the time for the repair, and I donot have the money to pay for it. In a society that has become used to instant gratification an automobile that needs repair is a major problem and some one is going to pay the emotional price, IE the mechanic not the consumer who failed to maintain the vehicle. People have gotten used to cars that need fewer repairs but are very unhappy when they do break. Ya'll have a good night and I will get off my soapbox. Paul
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Old 10-25-2000, 02:14 AM
Ashman's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,748
Well I think that there are some bad apples out there, and when people start to hear about them, they start to look at their own mechanics differently.

Personally I go to a shop that is recommended by a happy customer whose car shows proof of the quality work.

The dealerships, just like some independent shops, can sometimes do repairs that are not necessary.

This doesn't help the problem any, it just adds to it. The best place to take your car to is usually someone that only works on that brand of automobile, like only mercedes or only bmw, etc. They are the ones who will know the most about your car because they know the manufacturer's methods well from experience. It can be the dealer or an independent shop it just depends on which one. Not every dealer is going to do good work, and not every independent shop is going to do good work, its a given, but you will find one that will do good work and you will use them over and over.

I remember when we had an 87 560 SEL, and at 72k miles, the mercedes dealer told us it needed a new transmission when the tranny was working fine, but was leaking a little. They wanted well over $3k for the repairs.

We took the car to the same guy I use now, and he looked at it and said, its just a small leak, and did the necessary work to repair the item. How much did he charge? Well I can tell you it was roughly 10 percent of what the dealer wanted to charge to replace something that needed a new gasket or hose. $300 to do the repair.

This is part of the reason people have trouble trusting mechanics or paying for repairs. You never know who is giving you the right answer most of the time. The best bet is to take it to an independent shop or another dealer to have the problem re diagnosed. You dont see people taking their doctors first word every time do you? People go get a second opinion from other doctors, and it can't hurt to have the same done for your car.

The smaller guys, the independent specialists, have a much smaller overhead, and can do the work for way less most of the time. They can also add a more personalized experience. When you are having a big company do the repair or work, they have to pay many people's salaries. This can drive their fees up and or the repairs needed. In the case of an independent shop, your payment only pays a few people's salaries, so the cost is not as high, and the work is either as good or better if the guy knows what he is doing.

This is the kind of service a good independent shop can give, and the independent shop will usually know you by name and your voice. I have always known my shop manager at dealers but never the techs who worked on the car. I like knowing that my tech owns his shop so he makes sure the work is done right so his shop will stay in business. I also like knowing that I can have a couple of beers with my tech as we discuss modfications that can be done to my car.

Don't lose trust in all mechanics because of a few bad apples. Do you think all Doctors or lawyers or policemen or contractors or others are all totally honest? Its interesting to see that no matter what the industry, there are always going to be bad apples, but the good apples usually outweigh the bad apples. You can't trust everyone, but you can trust people.

Finding the right mechanic can be hard, and expensive along the way, but your car and you will appreciate him that much more when you find him, and he will become a trusted friend who you pay to fix your car and fix it well.

When it doubt, give a shout out here, one of the many trustworthy souls in here will have a solution to your car problems, and some advice for finding a good shop to get your car fixed.

Its too bad everything cant be 100% reliable. I don't think anything is 100% reliable. the older things get the more they tend to fail.

Having to pay for car repairs can suck most of the time if it gets expensive, and sometimes you have to justify keeping it or getting rid of it. I personally see no harm in paying for necessary repairs to the car, and or preventative maintenance, as long as it is done properly and is not outrageously over priced for the job.

Thats why I come here for technical help, I know that with the information gathered, I can help my mechanic diagnose the problem more efficiently and will aid in the repair being done correctly the first time.

Having a mechanic consistantly replacing things with no success in repairing the problem can get expensive and can be very time consuming. Its best to arm yourself with as much knowledge about the problem before you take it in for repairs. You can never know to much about car symptoms and fixes, you'll find the information invaluable time and again.

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