Zelda (zelda_dragon) wrote in bad_service,

Toyota "repair" suck

So last Tuesday - a week ago today - my car died in the parking lot at work. I ended up having it towed out to the dealership rather than my usual mechanic - it was closer, and the tow would cost less. No matter what the issue was, I knew it was not my battery (it was only a year old and had been marvelous thus far), and that something else was preventing the car from starting - most likely the alternator. Either way, I figured it would just be fastest to take it to the dealership rather than my regular mechanic. That was a mistake.

Immediately upon dropping my car off and talking to the guy who was supposed to help me, I was told, "it's the battery". I told him at least three times that no, it was not the battery, and that something else must be wrong. The man just looked at me and shook his head, repeating, "It's the battery". Finally, they took it off to "run some tests".

An hour later, he comes to find me and say that, yep, the battery is dead and needs to be replaced! And we also found $2,000's worth of other damages that we want to replace right now! Those damages? They were fluids that needed to be flushed, a belt in the engine that they didn't actually check, and the front driver's side axle needing replacement. And, of course, the battery - which would cost about $150 on its own.

Since my car would not start and I did not want to call for yet another tow, I told them, firmly, to only replace the battery and the timing belt - write everything else down and I will take it elsewhere. So they did.

Nothing at all was said about the alternator. Nothing. Even when I asked about it. I was uncomfortable with this diagnosis of "your battery is just dead!", but I paid $500 out of pocket for these two repairs and left.

Yesterday morning (after not having driven once over the weekend), the battery light on my dash came on - and I knew something wasn't right. But I went on to work, figuring I would just drop my car off with my usual mechanic that afternoon and borrow a friend's car. By the time I got to work and rolled into the parking lot, my car was dead...because my alternator had died.

The friend whose car I was going to borrow actually came by work after I got off to, basically, escort me to the mechanic. My car started - barely - and we went on down the road and onto the highway. (His idea, not mine. If I had known before I saw him turn, I would have asked to go a different way!)

Just as I pulled onto the ramp, my car died completely. In the middle of rush hour traffic in Atlanta on I-75. My emergency lights wouldn't even work - because the alternator had died and the battery had no power. My car was stuck with no hope of restarting, much less actually getting on the highway to get to the mechanic. I was able to coast over to the side of the road without getting hit, my friend pulled over, and we called - again - for a tow. This time to my real mechanic.

I knew it wasn't my battery the first time, and I TOLD the man who looked at my car that I didn't think that was the issue. But he did not listen to a word I said, and now my car is dead - and it almost got me hurt in the process, given where it actually stopped. If he had just listened to me instead of brushing me off and insisting that he was right then none of this would have happened. Really, if he had just checked the damned alternator like I had asked, he would have known!

I am going to write a letter to the dealership about this once I cool off a bit, because I am furious.

Edited to add TL:DR: Guy at the service center of the Toyota dealership tells me my battery is dead when I know that's not the only issue. Doesn't check the alternator, even when I ask about it. Less than a week later, my car stops working on the interstate because the alternator dies.

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