The last couple years or so, my mom keeps telling me to "go to tuffy." Sure they're a little more convenient because this garage is on the other side of town (like 3 miles away, big whoop), but I'd be willing to drive out of my way for the amazing service that we get at Ed's, and to support a local business. In any event, I'm still not sure why she keeps telling me to go there, but she's paying for repairs, so I do as I'm told.
So I've been in there a few times now, mostly for breaks and diagnostics, and they've always been generally alright... but every time I feel like I'm getting ripped off. They always suggest more than we need, and when pressed on the issue, will admit that I only NEED this thing but they really suggest this other thing now too... I'm not a shy person, but I only know so much about cars. So I don't always know things like how often brake pads need replacing, let along other things.
Well yesterday, I took my car into Tuffy because I've been having trouble with my power steering. MIND YOU, I've had trouble with turning to the right the entire 3 years I've had my car. But in the last couple weeks, it's gotten a lot worse, and now I'm having trouble turning toward the left as well, and now both ways at speeds higher than just turning into a parking spot--I'm having issues on the road, too.
Told them the symptoms, they said it would be about 45 minutes before they could even test drive it and get it into a bay, so I went next door to the coney island and called my dad to join me for breakfast while we waited on an estimate. 2 hours later when I haven't received a call back yet*, I give them a call. They're just looking at it now, they said, so I decided to wait for them to finish.
* We weren't rushing them, just trying to determine if we needed to stay put or go run errands while we waited.
Get a call back about 15 minutes later. $1,222 for a new rack and pinion and power steering pump. Dad says call mom, that's too much money for us to make a decision ourselves. Mom says, call Ed's. So, I do, and he gives me an estimate for the rack an pinion and power steering pump. $855 out the door.
Now, that is one hell of a price difference, considering mom says the reasons he sends me to tuffy is because ed's is frequently more expensive. Whatever, I tell ed we'll see him soon, and we go get my car while I call my mom back.
Get into Ed's, and rather than tell them "replace the rack and pinion," I go thru the symptoms and such. "Do you want to know what tuffy said?" I asked the guy, he sort of laughed and said "sure why not?" so I did, but said that I would prefer they did their own evaluation and let me know--if it's just the rack and pinion and power steering and it's under $900, just do the work, otherwise call me. Oh and hey I'm having trouble braking too, can you check those out real quick while it's here?
This morning I get a call from Ed. Guess what? Not a damn thing wrong with my power steering, I just needed a couple bolts tightened. He just took it for a ride and he can steer with one finger, even into a parking spot. Did they even look at the car? he asked? I admitted I went to breakfast while I waited because they were busy, and he said, "I'd go back and talk to a manager, they were ripping you off." Unfortunately, it was the manager who did the work!!
Front and rear brakes need replacing, $315 for both. I tell him do the work, and I'll talk to him when it's done. Didn't bother calling mom--anything less than she already Ok'd is always good.
I'm still not sure what to do about Tuffy, but my dad agrees with my resolve not to go back there. I need to look at the paperwork that I have because I JUST had a $900 brake system repaired during which they said they replaced the pads. I mean, I want to say it was this summer. Seems like that's a little soon to be needing them again.
tl;dr: $1,222 versus $315, or nothing considering the repair I was quoted for didn't need to be done at all. And I'm wondering if they screwed up the last repair job they did for me.
Moral of the story? If you're in Ypsilanti, MI, take your car to Ed's garage. Amazing service even for the non-family, honest and they don't rip you off.