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Jiffy Lube scam

Jack M

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I don't trust these guys as far as I can kick them. I'm just lucky that my ex gave me a few clues about cars. If they tell me anything needs doing, I just tell them I'll take it to my mechanic (who, by the way, I'd trust with my life - he rocks).

I get my oil changed at a fast place because if that's all it needs, getting to my mechanic is a PITA. The last three times they told me 1) it needs a new air filter (it did, but I bought one at Canadian Tire for $24 and they wanted to charge me $65), 2) my power steering needed flushing (it leaks like a sieve, so it self flushes!) and 3) I should think about an engine flush because of the mileage (it had one when it was serviced at 120K). Just as well I'm not gullible, I'd be out hundreds.

I have to do battle with the Ford dealer next. I want them to replace a fuel module which is a recall item, and I'm pretty sure they'll try to stiff me for something else that "they had to fix while it was apart". So I'm going to give them strict instructions to not touch anything else, and watch out if they do. Skanky SOB's...

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this from a guy on my motorcycle email list...

Here's another scam at the "Jiffy" Brake places.

They advertise lifetime brake pads, but when they wear out, you still

have to pay the labor to have them replaced. They say they use long-life

pads, but they really use cheap pads that wear out very quickly. My

Toyota van got 12,000 miles on their pads.

But here's the real scam: When they replace the pads they turn the disks

on a lathe, a good practice if the disks are warped, and freshening the

surface does help the new pads seat better. BUT, they take off way too

much metal so that when it's time to replace the pads the second time,

they tell you the disks are too thin and cannot be turned again so you

have to have new disks. I asked them how much they wanted: $150 per

disk. The Toyota dealer was asking $90 per disk. Normally you take off

no more than several thousandths of an inch of metal to freshen the

surface, and the disks will last through many lathe cycles.


So Beware


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You really cant even trust them to do a simple oil change. I've been there twice. The first time I got about half way home and noticed my oil pressure was a little low. I got out and looked under the car, the drain bolt had vibrated lose about 3/4 of the way and I had been slowly losing oil. The next time, they stripped the bolt, and had to put in a J weld. Never again.

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We are dealing with a quick lube issue of another sort at the shop I work at. One of our customers had the oil changed on his '01 Focus (45k miles) and left with the oil lite flickering after a few miles. Lasted 40 miles, then catastrophic failure occured. Pulled the wrist pin through the piston bosses and holed the aluminum pan. Turns out they list the same oil filter in the O/F book for SOHC & DOHC 2.0 motors. The relief valve is wrong for the SOHC motor. We looked at Motorcraft, Napa, A/C Delco filters for the SOHC and all of those have the relief valve in the correct place. The filter they put on has the relief in the right place for the DOHC engine. I haven't been able to track down how the engine passes oil through the filter on both motors yet, but all bets are on these two motors run oil flow differently past the oil filter. That may be one very expensive oil filter, about $4,500 or so with labor. Now I realize that getting into a good shop for regular maintainance is a pita, but how about losing your car for a few weeks, and fighting a quick lube for compensation? And always verify with someone you trust repairs needed before you lay out the coin for them. If a shop cannot show & tell in a manner that you can understand, you may want to back off and get a second opinion.

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Before you are too hard on anyone doing brake repairs on a modern vehicle, consider this about rotors. Due to fuel economy concerns, everything in a modern car has to be made as light as possible, even brake components. On a small car, or any car, you have three specs for rotor thickness to consider, nominal (new), machine to (minimun machining thickness), and discard(below this, federaL mandated throw away), plus some other vehicle specific ones such as for runout(usually above .003) and thickness variation( usually .0015 or less).Now, say your car has never had brakes done. I measure the rotors, and find them .015 less than new. I have to cut .005 off of each side due to uneven wear/runout/parralelism. Now they are .025 under new, and maybe .010/.020 over minimum machine to spec. Each time during the life of the brake job these rotors wear, some vehicles .003/.005, some vehicles considerably more(think VW/Audi/BMW etc). Even if you do not have to machine the rotors for a pulsation problem during the life of the brake job, you will be buying new rotors at the next brake job, due to the fact the rotors will be worn out, for purposes of machining them again. If you do your own, and feel lucky, you could just run them w/o machining them, and run them down to discard. You probably will not make it, unless you enjoy brake pulsation. I cannot machine them, though, because I am liable due to the fact that they will end up below discard sometime during the life of the brake job, an lawyers love those kind of things in court if you have a brake related accident. Choose someone you can trust, and listen to the hard earned advice they give. I personally do more brake work in a year than most 10 (or more)people do in a lifetime.

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All vehicles have recommended service intervals for tune, fluid service, etc. Quick lube establishments have a tendancy to prey upon this, as there is really no profit to be made doing oil changes. Low oil change prices are there to drive customers in to their establishment, then get as much of the other work as they can. All shops do this, too, to some extent. We will occasionally do this when business is slow, however, for us that is pretty rare. Any reputable shop will have access to manufacturer service interval recomendations in Alldata/Mitchell or another shop program, and will share that with you upon request. Also, I will, as a rule, tell you if this is not needed even if you are at the recomended interval. Conversly, I will also recomend something before the interval if conditions warrant, based upon fluid/component condition or previous experience with several other like vehicles(aka GM coolant issues etc.). It all, in the end, comes down to building a trust relationship with a shop/specific employee. This will mean hanging yourself out a bit, but don't worry too much, we do that every day, too.

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There's a chain here in Maine, not sure if it's elsewhere, called Prompto. They are purely a rapid oil-change joint. They don't even have any other service bays with more equipment. I took my previous cars there, and they never accosted me for further service.

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