Repair Horror Stories

As car owners think about the process of getting their vehicles fixed, the time commitment, the logistics and the cash, these are all stressful and annoying thoughts for consumers to have on their mind as they figure out how to navigate the essential, yet complicated chore of car repair and maintenance.

Consumers who turn to CarCure as their auto repair companion can simplify their repair journey with accurate, fair-market price estimates, a network of qualified shops and certified technicians and easy access to robust repair financing, to ensure a quick and effective repair job on their prized vehicles.

As our network of partner shops grows, we take the time to understand auto repair shops’ own strengths and specialties and assure that their teams are certifiably capable of providing reliable care to a diverse range of vehicles. From a successful repair and a convenient process, comes a long-term customer-shop relationship!

Handing your keys off to somebody truly worthy of handling your car or truck is absolutely critical. Someone who is anything less than fully trained and qualified to understand the fine details of car function and care can wreak complete havoc on a car and betray a customer’s trust to a stunning degree.

We’ve sourced a few stories that can illustrate just how wrong car maintenance can go, if left to a careless or under-qualified staff.

One Reddit user talked about a repair shop near him with a less-than-stellar reliability rating.

“There is an incident which has happened multiple times in the area I used to live, happened to my friends dad. He had a [Corvette] Z-06 and he took it in [because] it was always burning through brake pads. They fix the car and take it to get detailed as part of the high end service. The detail place is about a mile away. Who do they give the keys to? A sixteen year old errand boy from the dealership who promptly ditches the car after realizing that a 400 hp car with the traction control turned off is a little harder to drive than expected. I heard this happen to a viper that went in for an oil change too, except the kid flipped it. So the dealership had to call this guy that brought in his car for an oil change and explain that his car is now totaled because it is upside down in a ditch.” 

What’s the takeaway here? “Errand boys” aren’t the people that customers are trusting with their car’s care and shops need to make sure that no unqualified hands ever touch a customer’s steering wheel and gas pedal.

Another Reddit user, then a mechanic in training, described another costly mistake that a careless technician made.

“In the shop in my college, A guy had a lowered drift Toyota pickup and had it up on the alignment rack. While lowering the rack, he left the drivers door open and didn’t notice there was a metal table right under it. Lamborghini door for free.” 

On a less severe, yet equally negligent note…

“I had a VW Golf that was blowing oil from a bad gasket all over the engine compartment. I had the mechanic replace the gasket, and he said he’d take it for a test drive to see if it stopped spraying oil.

He calls back and says “nope, didn’t fix it. The engine compartment is still covered in oil.”

So I says “You did clean the old oil off first, right?”

So he says “Oh, I guess I didn’t.”

Apparently, “Use your eyes watch and what you’re doing” is a rule that sometimes sneaks past a small handful of repair techs. With proper and thorough training, certification and experience, comes a respect for basic safety protocol that protects your car from dumb human error.

And now, one more story, coming from this writer’s own personal experience.

About six years ago, I joined a family member of mine to take a road trip from Tempe, Arizona out to Los Angeles. That morning, she did the right thing and brought her 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe in for a quick oil change before hitting the road. We both drove separately to the shop, and she dropped her car off. I drove her home, we had a quick cup of coffee, and then we drove right back together to pick the car up. She paid for the oil change, got her keys back and we both headed back home to get her car packed up to head out on our trip.

Halfway home, she realized something vital about oil changes.

They require oil.

Before she’d even made the half-mile trip home from the shop, she felt her engine seizing up and saw white smoke seeping from under her hood. Once she pulled over and opened it, she could see the damage for herself; a mess of metal shavings was littering her engine. The only likely explanation was that somehow, the repair was marked complete after having drained the oil, but without having replaced it.

Stunned, she went back to the shop, whose owner chose to deny the shop’s blatant fault, seeing as she had accepted the keys and signed for it; short of a lengthy lawsuit, there wasn’t much she could do at the moment. Luckily, the owner of the next shop she brought her fried Hyundai to (across the street from the shop at fault), was able to call the other shop owner, rake him appropriately over the coals for his team’s horribly botched service and was able to convince him to cover the cost of a rental car, as well as a whole new engine for the Hyundai damaged by their own negligence.

After a few years, that old Santa Fe ended up being passed along to another family member and her kids. It’s still with them today and currently running on its THIRD engine; I won’t go into detail on what happened to warrant another new engine, since that car has been the victim of so many bizarre incidents that it probably deserves a blog entry of its own someday!

So, with those stories in mind, understand that it takes more than a repair lift, a set of tools and a warm body to give your car the true attention and care it deserves. Automotive repair is skilled labor and you and your vehicle shouldn’t settle for anything less than a trained, certified and experienced technician who understands all the intricate systems that make your car uniquely functional.

Autonet Mobile and CarCure save consumers the trouble of weeding out under-qualified repair shops, by matching each car to directly experienced mechanics with well-earned ASE certification, to get every car exactly the care it needs from the best set of hands possible. We’re here to save drivers from having repair horror stories of their own!

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