Instead of putting up a FAQ page we decided to use this area to list some of the recent jobs we have been asked to do, most of the problems had been misdiagnosed by other inexperienced ‘mobile mechanics’ and auto shops . The end result has left some owners with big bills and their cars still having the very problems they paid to have fixed.
We had a call from a guy who was having problems with a Ford Crown Victoria (ex cop car), he had a ‘mobile mechanic’ round working on this car for quite a few days with the promises that it would be running great.
After spending quite a bit of money and having had this so called ‘mechanic’ replace many parts the car still ran just as bad as it did BEFORE.
The owner eventually called us round to have a look and give him our professional opinion. The symptoms were that the engine would not start easily, when it did run it smoked out of the right hand bank and right hand exhaust pipe ( it’s a V8 ) , the engine was noisy and it overheated. The so called ‘mechanic’ had replaced/told the owner to replace the following parts:
- Water pump (original was electric but he was told to put it back to mechanical)
- ALL 8 coil packs
- MAP Sensor
- MAF Sensor
- Fuel Pump
After hearing the engine attempt to start and eventually run I told the owner that he would be wasting his money replacing any more parts on this engine as it has an INTERNAL problem. It only runs on 4 cylinders and picks up on 6 ( just) , it smokes badly out of the right hand exhaust and the engine is very very noisy (plenty of rattles and knocks). Clearly this engine has been neglected or abused. I told the owner the engine needs to be pulled and stripped down to determine the full extent of the damage. Sadly this owner is now out of pocket of $$$$ and he still has a non running car, all because he did not call someone who had experience in diagnosing the problem . This is what happens when you get a non experienced ‘mechanic’ or ‘parts replacer’ to work on your car !!!!
This customer owns a 2001 DODGE RAM 4X4 V8 gas pick up and uses it to go ‘off roading’ in the woods for hunting, often he has to drive through deep water and mud. The problems he had was once the pick up hit some water all of his warning lights would flash and the check engine light came on, his transmission would then not shift gear.
He took his pick up into one of those ‘large National Transmission Experts’ and after reading the fault codes they told the owner that the ECM had ‘gone bad’ , he would need a new one and it would have to be programmed…the cost ? about $2000+ . Thankfully he decided to get a second opinion.
After being referred to us by a friend we carried out our own checks and found the fault straight away. Water was getting into the main fuse box when the vehicle was driven through deep water and mud ( the fuse box is mounted very close to the front by the radiator and air intake) because the seal to the fuse box lid was not located fully, this caused water to short out all of the electrical circuits. The evidence was clear as you could see muddy water stains throughout the entire fuse box. We cleaned out the fuse box and made sure the connections were clean, sprayed everything with water dispersant (WD-40) and resealed the fuse box lid.
The end result was that the owner no longer suffers from electrical problems when driving in the wet or mud.
Yet another INCORRECT DIAGNOSIS that could of cost this person $$$$$ in a new ECM that had apparently ‘gone bad’ !!
Customer C :
This customer has a 2003 Mazda 6 that suddenly started holding back at 60 mph. The owner took it to a local shop where they told him it was ‘more than likely’ the catalytic converter needed replacing. The customer also asked them to check underneath because there was a lot of vibration and engine noise through the floor of the car when it is driven. They could not find any faults and again told the customer the ‘cat’ needed replacing.
After calling us out we found the front top engine mount broken ( the cause of the vibration and engine noise) , an easy find if only someone had bothered to really look ! and the holding back was caused by a blocked fuel filter. These faults could of easily been found if an experienced mechanic had looked closely enough and carried out some basic checks. Sadly all they wanted this customer to do was to buy an expensive Catalytic convertor.
Owner purchased a 1965 Ford Mustang 6 cyl auto, the car had been off the road for a long time and would not start. A ‘mobile mechanic’ came round and spent quite a few hours messing around in an attempt to start the car. He eventually came to the conclusion that the coil needed replacing. He put on a new coil ( the wrong type as well !) and still it wouldn’t start, he then made his excuses and left.
When we arrived to have a look we found the new coil hanging by its wires , in fact this had damaged the coil and needed replacing ! I asked the owner for the original coil and we found out that the previous ‘mechanic’ took it with him. After carrying out our own checks we found that the spark plugs needed cleaning and re-gapping, the points had closed up and needed re-gapping and the fuel filter was totally blocked up and it was fitted the wrong way round !!
When we checked the condition of the fuel it was obvious that it had been in the tank for a long time and no way would it ignite so we drained the tank, flushed the lines and fitted a new fuel filter. The float bowl to the carb was cleaned out together with the jets. After doing all of this the engine fired first time with the turn of the ignition key. These cars have the most basic ignition and fuel systems yet this so called ‘mobile mechanic’ still had no clue on how to fix it……………….and he was paid for what he didn’t do !
This customer is now very happy that his investment runs and is even more happy that he found us.
The owner has a 2000 BMW 540i , he was experiencing starting problems so he phoned a local ‘BMW Master Tech’ to have a look. After carrying out various checks he then proceeded to attempt to start the car by continuously cranking the starter over, the owner reckons it was for at least a minute or two !. The end result was the starter motor burnt out and stopped altogether. The ‘Master Tech’ then told the owner the starting problem was down to the starter. The owner was not impressed with this so called ‘Master Tech’s’ diagnosis that he paid him and told him to go.
The owner then called out a ‘mobile mechanic’ who attempted to fit a used starter motor, I say attempted because he never had the right tools and the cars owner had to go and buy the right sockets for this ‘mechanic’ to fit the starter motor. After about 3 hours the ‘mechanic’ left. The owner went to start the car and it turned over once and then went dead. He attempted to get hold of the ‘mechanic’ to no avail, messages were left and not answered.
The owner called us out to have a look and give him our honest opinion. A closer inspection showed that the wires to the starter motor were loose and the securing nuts had only just been put on by one thread, the wiring harness was misplaced causing the wires to foul the exhaust, the heat shields had been put back in the wrong places, one had been bent and was jammed against the down pipe and most of the securing screws were missing.
We called the owner over to have a look and witness the mess the so called ‘mechanic’ had left. Furious with what he saw rang the ‘mechanic’ straight away only to get ………..voicemail AGAIN. Another message was left and as far as we know a reply or explanation was never received.
After relocating the wiring harness,tightening the connections and refitting the heat shields in the right locations the car started as it should. The owner was very happy and glad he called a professional ( his exact words to me).
After being called out to a customer with a van as a ‘non start’ I was shocked at the state of the ‘repair’ work that had been carried out previously by a so called mobile mechanic. In the 28 or so years I have been in the auto repair industry I have come across some very poor workmanship and even poorer attempts at repairs by the so called ‘mechanics’ who prey on unsuspecting motorists.
What I came across today must go to the top of the list as the worst piece of repair work NO I WILL RE WORD THAT , I came across the worst BOTCH JOB I have ever seen so far !!!!
This customer’s 1992 Ford van (with 368,000 miles on the clock) had been having starting problems and a so called ‘mechanic’ came out and told the customer it was ‘probably’ the ignition switch. This ‘person’ then used a 110v power cord to which one wire was connected to the starter the other to the + terminal on the battery (the wire was just twisted round the terminal) , the cord was fed up out of the engine way , along the top of the fender and into the driver’s door seal where it was taped to the headlamp switch. The owner was told to ‘bridge’ the prongs of the 110v moulded plug with a screwdriver or key to start the van if it wouldn’t start by the ignition switch !!!!!!!!!!!!!
As if this attempt of a repair was not bad enough ‘he’ even had the cheek to charge the customer for this atrocious repair attempt. WHO EVER DID THIS NEEDS TO STOP PLAYING ‘MECHANIC’ ASAP before they end up causing a major accident !!!!!! The words I want to describe about this idiot are not allowed on here so I will leave my comments to your imagination.
The real problem with the van not starting was caused by several factors, a wire was off the alternator causing the battery not to charge up as well as both battery terminal clamps loose and the main power cables not clamped down enough.
Also 3 vacuum pipes had been broken off whilst the wire was attached to the starter. Simple things to spot if you are experienced enough to know what to look for.
Needless to say I made good all the repairs needed and removed the ‘dangerous’ wiring put in place by the previous person. The van now starts and runs as it should as well. I called the customer a couple of days later to make sure everything was OK and he was delighted that his work van now starts on the key and the battery holds its charge, he stated he was extremly happy that he had found a company who are professional and actually know what they are doing.
We had a call from an upset couple who were desperate to get their car back on the road. They explained that they had called out a ‘mobile mechanic’ (who advertises on Craig’s List) to replace a faulty starter motor on their 1987 Nissan Sentra.
After 4 hours of attempting to do the work the owners told the ‘mechanic’ to leave as they felt he didn’t know what he was doing. HOW RIGHT THEY WHERE !!
The book time to remove and install a starter motor for this particular car is 0.5 hours and it can be done very easily with basic tools from the top, this ‘mechanic’ apparently had the car up on axle stands and he was attempting to carry out the work from underneath.
We checked out the ‘repairs’ and found the main earth wire had been left off together with one of the bolts that hold the solenoid together missing. We later found that ‘missing’ bolt laying on the gearbox.The problem is that this bolt should never of been touched let alone removed as it it part of the new starter motor that was supplied by the ‘mechanic’.
After making good the repairs we found out that the ‘new’ starter was faulty (possibly due to the bolt being removed from the solenoid which may of caused internal damage) so we had to remove it ( took 10 minutes) and get yet another new starter (from a different supplier). The new unit was installed (another 10 minutes) and the car started straight away.
The owner stated that they had paid the ‘mechanic’ for the starter but had not received any receipt or paperwork for the warranty. I told them to contact the ‘mechanic’ and ask for the receipt so they can get a refund on the faulty starter.
This case is further proof that you have to be really careful who you hire to carry out repair work. They may say they know what they are doing but in reality the opposite is the case. I simply cannot believe that a ‘supposedly qualified mechanic ‘ with 10 years of experience (some of which were apparently in the Army) took 4 hours to attempt such a simple job and still failed to get it right.
A gentleman with a 2000 Mercedes Benz 230SLK called us after reading our website and asked us to have a look at his car as it was misfiring.
Apparently he had only just got his car back after it had been at the local repair shop for 3 weeks to cure a misfire!!
The ‘owner’ of the repair shop had made excuse after excuse why the car wasn’t ready ( and it wasn’t due to waiting for the parts) and the only repair work carried out was to fit an ignition coil and replace a spark plug ( even though the owner had only just fitted some expensive BOSCH + 4 plugs in his attempt to cure the problem). The owner , after parting with $$$$ drove his car home only for it to start misfiring again the very next day.
Luckily he called us round to diagnose the problem. We found that the repair shop had indeed fitted a new coil and a new spark plug , the spark plug was a different type to the existing 3 plugs and I cannot imagine why this plug was ever fitted in the first place. To get more money from the owner? One can only guess the reason.
The actual cause of the misfire was down to the fact that the coil connections were loose ( they have snap lock connectors). We replaced the ‘odd’ spark plug for a correct BOSCH + 4 type and made sure all of the coil connections were secured. The car was road tested and the ‘misfire’ had gone.
Clearly the ‘repair shop’ that had this car for 3 weeks did not have any experience or knowledge of working on Mercedes yet they ‘fooled’ the customer into thinking otherwise, carried out a poor repair took his hard earned money.
Customer J :
This customer had a phone call from his wife saying that the car was ‘shaking’ and ‘vibrating’ as she drove between 40 and 60 mph. The very next day they swapped cars and the husband took the car into a local Pep***s for them to check it over .
They gave him a list of work that came to just under $900 !!! They told him that all the motor mounts were ‘shot’ and needed replacing, both front tires were worn and the alignment needed adjusting.This, in their opinion was the reason why the car was ‘shaking’ and ‘vibrating’. Not convinced with their findings he called us out to give him a second opinion.
After carrying out our own checks we informed him that all the motor mounts were good (they were a little perished BUT not broken or worn as to require changing), the tires were indeed worn on the very edges showing that the alignment MAY require adjusting but they were neither mis shaped or worn enough to cause the underlying problem.
Upon further checks to determine if the problem was engine realted we found the center coil pack loose causing a very poor connection to the wiring loom ( this particular engine has 3 coils which are mounted on the top of the engine ), this was an easy find as with the engine running the ‘loose’ coil pack was shaking with the engine running.
The problem…… quite simply a missing bolt! We put in a new bolt and made sure the other bolts were tight. A road test showed no ‘shakes’ or ‘vibrations’ , clearly the loose coil pack was to blame which was actually causing the engine to misfire on 2 cylinders ( this would cause the ‘shaking’ and ‘vibration’ that the customer complained about).
The owner was ‘over the moon’ when we told him that he didn’t need to spend $900 to fix the problem.
His exact words to me about the INCORRECT DIAGNOSIS are too explict to put here!!
Customer K :
We had a call from a customer who was experiencing transmission problems in his 1999 DODGE RAM 2500 pick up. After carrying our checks and a full diagnostic we concluded that his transmission had gone into ‘limp home’ mode and was stuck in 2nd gear. Various sporadic fault codes were shown caused (in our opinion) by the PCM. Several months ago the owner had replaced the PCM due to starting/running issues and thankfully it was still under warranty. We advised him to have the PCM sent back and checked.
A day later we get a phone call from the owner stating that his neighbor had recommended him take the truck into a ‘friendly’ transmission shop for their opinion. After having 2 of their mechanics road test the vehicle he was told that the transmission was ‘shot’ and needed rebuilding as 2nd gear was burnt out (cost for repairs $1800) and that the PCM needed reflashing ($120) otherwise the repairs would only last a year !! The owner wasn’t convinced and left. Good job he did as he took our advice and had the PCM sent back under warranty.
The verdict? The PCM had indeed failed and a replacement was sent to the customer. With the ‘new’ PCM installed the transmission now functions correctly and the truck drives as it should.
Yet again this proves that even the ‘friendliest’ transmission shops will try and make unnecessary repairs at a great cost to the unsuspecting customer.
Customer L :
A transportation company called us to ask our advise on a problem they were having with a 1999 FORD F-350 pick up. This particular model had the Powerstroke 7.3 V8 Turbo diesel engine, the problem was poor running/mis-firing and the check engine light was on. Apparently 2 other mechanics had attempted to carry out a diagnostic check but were unable to read this particular vehicle and had informed the owner that the engine might need major repairs. We were convinced our system would be able to read the codes. After carrying out our check we found the codes referred to a faulty Exhaust Back Pressure Sensor and various IDM codes. The sensor was replaced and the various IDM codes were caused by the injector harness under the drivers side valve cover coming apart ( this is a common fault on these particular diesel engines that FORD now sell retaining clips to repair the plug connector). The connector was repaired and the the engine now runs like it should. The owner was very relieved as he was worried that the motor would need expensive repairs to get it back on the road.
These cases are more proof that before you make that call to have someone work on your vehicle carry out some form of check on their background and ALWAYS ask them for references. DO NOT take ASE CERTIFIED as a guarentee they are qualified or know what they are actually doing. Nice certificates only prove/show that the person/s and /or workshop has passed a test on paper. It does not prove they are capable of correct diagnosing or repairing , real experience comes ‘hands on’ training by getting your hands dirty and performing actual repair work on ALL makes of vehicles.
With over 28 years experience in the Auto repair Industry it is fair to say that WE HAVE THE EXPERIENCE , KNOWLEDGE and INTEGRITY. Customer satisfaction is our #1 priority.