Servicing.. The moral of the story is.

Rmjrbell

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Hi, been here a while just never posted. Had an experience recently that I feel needs to be shared.

So my 2012 C220 coupe B service came round recently along with the gearbox service. The mechanic who I have taken my cars to for years for MOT's owns his own C300. Last years MOT I spoke to him genrally about Mercedes and servicing etc. He explained how he'd serviced his 300 along with the gearbox service as soon as he bought it.. so when mine needed doing I thought what a better mechanic to do the job than one who's done it on his own car! How wrong could I get.

So I went to pick my car up after the service, he tells me he couldn't do the gearbox as the drain plug is rounded off the sump of the gearbox so I said fair enough these things happen so we agreed I'd bring it back next week for the gearbox service. Next week comes round I go to pick my car up "all done" apparently. Drove away car seemed fine. I got it home checked it over found a few things wrong..

- snapped engine oil dip stick (don't know how you manage that)
- air ducting on top of battery not put back properly.
- side skirt lifted away from bodywork (suspect jacking arm imapact on ramp)

I fixed the skirt and put the air duct back myself. Phoned the mechanic and said he needs to order me a new dipstick (he blames a new employee)

Driving the next day pulled out on a side road not quick car looses power to the wheels then sets of.. get to a round about had to pull out sharpish due to traffic again car looses power to the wheels. Turn round head home put my foot down and had zipping sound coming from centre console/engine bay.

Trying to keep this short . Next day car is put into Motoraid a Merc specialist. Mechanic drains 2.5L of oil from the gearbox! If I'm correct I believe the gearbox holds 7L and another 2 in the torque converter? Absolutely fuming!

Car is now fine. But imagine the potential consequences of this. The moral of the story is always use specialists! Enthusiasts among you would say that in a heartbeat but I got led up the garden path by someone I'd built trust with.
 

Headhurts

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Not a great experience but you seemed to have gotten off fairly lightly and found a decent place to take your car.

Interesting read though and a lesson to anyone else who's thinking of using non specialists.


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brucemillar

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Sounds line an all round lax job by your trusted mechanic. Blaming the 'new guy' never really washes with me. I blame the guy who's name is above the door. They should be checking the work if they are happy to put their name to it. If they trust their employees to the point where they don't feel is required? Then they should take the wrap.

Fill and drain plugs rounding happens (as you say) could he not have sucked it out? Okay if he/you wanted the filter replaced the pan needs to be dropped but then he doesn't need the drain plug to drop the pan.

Glad you got it sorted. Thanks for posting.
 

Steveml63

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Hi,
I totally concur that you either need to take car to the official dealer for that marque or a marque specialist - not a general garage or even a franchised dealer if another marque.
Reason I have for this is as follows:-
A good few years ago I owned a really nice Golf GTI and it had an intermittent starting fault. I took it to the nearest good Rover/Renault garage in the small town - as there was not a VW dealer for about 20 miles.
After having the car for a whole day, I went to collect the car and the service manager told me that they could not pin down the fault and proceeded to give me a bill for 4 hours labour of £120 - for "fault diagnosis"!
I argued with them that I could not see why I should pay for 4 hours labour - when they couldn't even find the fault on a car they were not familiar with and that they should not have accepted the job.
He said that faults on VWs were hard for them to diagnose and fix - as it was not the marque they specialised in!
I knew the garage owner very well and they waived the bill.
I then took car over to the VW dealer and the service manager knew straight away what was wrong with the car - fuel relay - as it was a common problem!
10 minutes later, car was fixed - total bill less than £40
Since that day - I only take my cars to the official dealer, marque specialist.
Cheers
Steve
 
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zipdip

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I had it with the ride height arm on my S320,there is a great general mechanic locally who has a lift and works from a big garage at the back of his property,he keeps lots of older motors going and newer ones as well,because the backside of my car was riding on the bump stop,I asked him to look at it as it is 15 miles to my indy,after a while I understood that the local guy could not figure out what it was so had a very rough ride to the indy who fixed it in 10 mins with a once only and ordered the correct part and fixed it the next day.
 

Yugguy

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You don't need to be a specialist, you just need to have some care and competence. On my w204 I have done diff fluid, brake pads and discs, oil change. I have the kit for a gearbox fluid change and see no reason why I couldn't do that too.

Any decent mechanic should be able to do that above on more or less any car.
 

Bobby Dazzler

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General maintenance shouldn't require marque/model specific experience, but fault finding and diagnostics can be a different matter.
 
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Rmjrbell

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I couldn't agree more that it is not a specialist job to do routine servicing. However some could argue STAR is required to get the correct oil temperature in the gearbox whilst filling, but can apparently be done with a IR thermometer.

After my experience I think I will use independant specialists going forward even for the piece of mind. Although I'm not naive not all specialists are perfect either.

I did toy with the idea of doing the job myself but getting the car level and the correct temperature etc turned me away from it and once the cost of parts is added up labour isn't much more on top.
 

JattAmg

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Rmjrbell said:
I couldn't agree more that it is not a specialist job to do routine servicing. However some could argue STAR is required to get the correct oil temperature in the gearbox whilst filling, but can apparently be done with a IR thermometer. After my experience I think I will use independant specialists going forward even for the piece of mind. Although I'm not naive not all specialists are perfect either. I did toy with the idea of doing the job myself but getting the car level and the correct temperature etc turned me away from it and once the cost of parts is added up labour isn't much more on top.

You have a decent recommended indy on your doorstep, Gem Tech

http://www.gem-tech.co.uk/
 

Yugguy

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I couldn't agree more that it is not a specialist job to do routine servicing. However some could argue STAR is required to get the correct oil temperature in the gearbox whilst filling, but can apparently be done with a IR thermometer.

After my experience I think I will use independant specialists going forward even for the piece of mind. Although I'm not naive not all specialists are perfect either.

I did toy with the idea of doing the job myself but getting the car level and the correct temperature etc turned me away from it and once the cost of parts is added up labour isn't much more on top.

To be fair I do agree about the ATF change. I have an IR temp gun which I believe is pretty accurate. But to the change properly I'd want to hire a car ramp, probably 40 quid, so I am tempted to give the kit to my indy when my service comes in March and just pay for the labour.

I do find most indys are good as they have to depend on their reputation where a dealer is guaranteed to get service and warranty work on any new car it sells.
 
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Rmjrbell

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Tuercas viejas

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landrover/rolls royce/MB AMG S600/Prius
Hi, been here a while just never posted. Had an experience recently that I feel needs to be shared.

So my 2012 C220 coupe B service came round recently along with the gearbox service. The mechanic who I have taken my cars to for years for MOT's owns his own C300. Last years MOT I spoke to him genrally about Mercedes and servicing etc. He explained how he'd serviced his 300 along with the gearbox service as soon as he bought it.. so when mine needed doing I thought what a better mechanic to do the job than one who's done it on his own car! How wrong could I get.

So I went to pick my car up after the service, he tells me he couldn't do the gearbox as the drain plug is rounded off the sump of the gearbox so I said fair enough these things happen so we agreed I'd bring it back next week for the gearbox service. Next week comes round I go to pick my car up "all done" apparently. Drove away car seemed fine. I got it home checked it over found a few things wrong..

- snapped engine oil dip stick (don't know how you manage that)
- air ducting on top of battery not put back properly.
- side skirt lifted away from bodywork (suspect jacking arm imapact on ramp)

I fixed the skirt and put the air duct back myself. Phoned the mechanic and said he needs to order me a new dipstick (he blames a new employee)

Driving the next day pulled out on a side road not quick car looses power to the wheels then sets of.. get to a round about had to pull out sharpish due to traffic again car looses power to the wheels. Turn round head home put my foot down and had zipping sound coming from centre console/engine bay.

Trying to keep this short . Next day car is put into Motoraid a Merc specialist. Mechanic drains 2.5L of oil from the gearbox! If I'm correct I believe the gearbox holds 7L and another 2 in the torque converter? Absolutely fuming!

Car is now fine. But imagine the potential consequences of this. The moral of the story is always use specialists! Enthusiasts among you would say that in a heartbeat but I got led up the garden path by someone I'd built trust with.

This all sounds like a lot of carelessness quite frankly add with a dose of "I don't care about my customers"!

The auto service and repair business is like any other , I often measure it against the food prep, delivery/hospitality business , there are many parallels.
Indeed carelessness with both can be dangerous to your health. Silly mistakes and product ignorance can be a major source of customer dissatisfaction and worse.

As for dealer and specialist Independent there can be wide variations in the repair quality but I am a bit biased being one of your Specialty Independents .
Most of today's' vehicles more than often show what we call pattern failures in the business and if you are familiar with the platform you often know just what is the problem. (Ref the VW citation and easy fix in this thread) Besides if you are not quite up to speed on say a ML 320 issue the specialist will/should have at hand product info web sites available to the trade, like Identifix. This allows you to go from fault to fix fast which is vitally important when the customer is paying for shop diagnosis time.

Having been in this business for more than 55 years and 30 years as an auto repair business owner, all I can say is that the business/repair performance is only as good as the people that work within it! That maxim applies to Independents and dealers alike!
If you like using Independents then steer your business with selected shops that deliver the goods! The best advice is to follow verbal recommendations; which by the way are still the best forms of customer referral even in this business and has been for more than 100 years .

In the end you need to be selective, otherwise the repair experience and delivery will easily end up as an episode akin to that of John Cleese and Farty Towers but sometimes not as funny.
All the best
Tuercas Viejas
 

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