I posted this a while ago and recently came across it sitting on my computer's hard drive...I thought I would re-post this for the benefit of any new users, and to get feedback from others about any "incompetent mechanic horror stories" they might want to share. Read on...
On my cars, I try to do all the work myself, but occasionally I have to go to "the outside world" for some help when I do not have the proper equipment for a certain job.
The purpose of this post is to detail the experience I had when "technicians" (and I use this term VERY loosely here) screwed up what was a totally basic maintenance procedure, resulting in damage to my car. The following happened at SAVANNAH TIRE & BRAKE in Savannah, Georgia. To put it bluntly, the "technicians" who worked on my car had no business working on anything more complicated than a toaster, let alone an automobile.
Because of the location of the damage and the number of parts I had to remove in order to reach and repair the damage, it took me quite a bit of time and trouble to fix it.
Here is what happened, and all the quoted statements are ACTUAL QUOTES from Savannah Tire & Brake staff:
About a year ago, I needed someone who had a strong, air-powered grease gun to lubricate a specific area of my front suspension. The new upper control arm bushings on my 1965 Mustang were squeaking and needed grease, but my manual-power grease gun was just not strong enough to work enough grease into the grease fittings located on each end of the upper control arm shafts.
I took my car to Savannah Tire & Brake in Savannah, Georgia, and I explained to the guy at the counter that I wanted their "technicians" to lube ONLY the upper control arm bushings, since I was able to lube everything else myself.
TELL-TALE SIGN #1 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS:
The guy at the counter had some problems understanding exactly what I was requesting, and showed his ignorance by asking, "Are you sure it's not a bad ball joint?" Now, I have never heard of a bad ball joint actually SQUEAKING, especially since it is NOT a “hinge” type joint but a rotary joint, so this sounded pretty dumb to me. If anyone HAS heard a ball joint squeak, I will gladly stand corrected.
Okay, so my car gets pulled into the first bay for "service" (again, I use this term VERY loosely).
TELL-TALE SIGN #2 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS:
I tell the scruffy, toothless young “technician” that I just want him to squeeze some grease into the upper control arm shafts to stop the squeaks. He nods and says, “OK.” He proceeds to lift my car ALL THE WAY high up into the air and gets DIRECTLY UNDER the car’s engine to look for them. The “technician” standing under the engine says, “I don’t see them!” I tell a second “technician” that the first “technician” needs to lower the car so that the wheels are about chest-high, because with the car all the way up at the ceiling and him standing directly underneath the engine, he will NEVER be able to even FIND the upper control arms, let alone lube them.
TELL-TALE SIGN #3 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS:
The second “technician” tells the first “technician” to lower the car. The car is lowered, and after several attempts to explain, I actually have to physically put my hand directly ON the upper control arm to show them where I want the grease to go, the second “technician” says to the first “technician”, "Oh, now I see what he's talking about!"
This is absolutely amazing. I kid you not--this "service center" claims to offer chassis lubrication as one of their services—in fact, it is a STANDARD part of their oil-change package—but their “technicians” are too INCOMPETENT to know where an upper control arm is (or WHAT an upper control arm is) and don’t seem to have even a rough idea where an upper control arm is even located! For those of you who don't know, I want to stress that an upper control arm is a VERY COMMON PART of a vehicle’s front suspension system—even modern cars have them, and it should stand to reason that if chassis lubrication is a STANDARD part of their oil change package, they should have come across upper control arms at least a COUPLE of times, don't ya think?!?
The first “technician” then takes the grease gun and attaches its hose onto the first grease fitting on the first shaft end cap. He pumps it a few times, and then tries to pull the hose off of the grease fitting. He cannot remove the hose from my grease fitting, no matter how hard he pulls. A third “technician” comes over, and my “technician” says he cannot remove the hose from my grease fitting.
TELL-TALE SIGN #4 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS:
The third “technician” asks my “technician” if he bled the pressure out of the grease gun before trying to remove the hose. MY MECHANIC POINTS TO THE BLEED BUTTON AND SAYS, "This is the bleed button...isn't it?"
The third mechanic then takes the grease gun and bleeds it. The grease gun hose then comes off of my grease fitting with barely a tug. The third “technician” then tells my “technician,” “You didn’t bleed the pressure off of the gun…that’s why it wouldn’t come off!” My “technician” then takes the grease gun again and lubes the other grease fitting on the control arm shaft, and he AGAIN has trouble removing the hose from the fitting!
(At this point I should mention that I installed the STANDARD 90-degree grease fittings on my car. These grease fittings point outward on the ends of my upper control arm shaft ends, and even though it is a recessed space, there is PLENTY of room, not only for the grease gun hose to attach to the grease fitting, but for someone's hand to pull the hose off of the grease fitting when finished.)
TELL-TALE SIGN #5 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS:
To test this “technician”, I offer to try to pull the grease gun hose off myself, and he readily accepts! If this “technician” was so competent, well-trained, and able to give the “quality service” that this "service center" talks about in their commercials, why would he accept help so readily from a CUSTOMER?
I am able to pull the hose off with a firm tug. He then moves to the other wheel (there are two upper control arm grease fittings per wheel), and lubes the third grease fitting. He has even MORE trouble removing the grease gun hose from the fitting. This time, I don't help him, and he gets the hose off after several minutes of violent tugging.
Now to the fourth and final grease fitting. At this point, I have already made up my mind that coming to Savannah Tire & Brake was a HUGE mistake, but after all, how hard it is to do a basic lube job, right? How could anyone screw such a simple job up? EASY. You just have to be a COMPLETE IDIOT, like this “technician” that worked on my car!
TELL-TALE SIGN #6 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS:
My “technician” attaches the grease gun to the fourth and final grease fitting. Much to my horror, when he finishes greasing the fitting, he begins TWISTING AND WRENCHING THE HOSE ALL AROUND as he tries to remove it from my grease fitting. Any FOOL knows that when removing a hose from a grease fitting, you pull a grease gun hose STRAIGHT OFF of the fitting...it's the easiest way to remove the hose AND it’s the least likely way to cause damage. Before I can say anything to correct him, this BRAIN-DEAD IDIOT that you call a “technician” has actually SNAPPED MY CAR'S GREASE FITTING OFF, leaving nothing but a tiny stump on the end of my upper control arm shaft. He turns to me and says, "Aw man, look." He gave NO apology. He gave NO offer to fix it. He made NO attempt to notify the manager about the situation. He showed NO regret. The IDIOT who works for this "service center" has NO BRAIN and NO business working on cars. Period.
Now here is the cherry on top of the sundae. TELL-TALE SIGN #7 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS:
Remember the third “technician”? The one that showed my “technician” how to bleed the air pressure off of the grease gun so it could be removed from a grease fitting? He walks over and sees what has happened. He walks away and returns, holding a big wrench. I immediately realize what he was going to try to do, but I just can't believe someone who works on cars for a living could be THAT stupid, so I say nothing and watch--just to see if he really will try to do what I think he's going to do. Sure enough, he tries to do it--HE TRIES TO UNSCREW THE DAMAGED UPPER CONTROL ARM BUSHING, in an attempt to "fix" the problem.
READ VERY CAREFULLY: In case you aren't familiar with the front suspension of a car—and this STUPID jerk-off “technician” certainly wasn’t—the upper control arm bushing is under a LOT of pressure because the upper control arm is constantly being pressed on by an extremely STRONG suspension spring. This spring is under a LOT of pressure, even when the car is up in the air, because it is being held in place by the upper control arm. There is a shock absorber in the middle of this spring, but I would not want to gamble that the shock and its mounting bracket would be strong enough to hold the spring in place if that spring should ever try to jump out of place. The ONLY thing that attaches an upper control arm—which that large, STRONG spring is pressing against—is the upper control arm shaft. In other words, the upper control arm and spring are basically held in place by the upper control arm shaft. If this other BRAIN-DEAD IDIOT had succeeded in removing the upper control arm shaft bushing from the upper control arm, the upper control arm (under pressure from the spring) might have been free enough to fly suddenly out of position and AWAY from the car. This could have freed the spring from its seat, resulting in the spring exploding outward, possibly unseating the shock absorber in the process, not only causing great damage to the car, but also serious injury to anyone standing nearby, most likely the IDIOT who was standing in front of it.
I grabbed the wrench that the IDIOT “technician” was trying to use to loosen my upper control arm shaft, and I said, "YOU CAN'T DO THAT! That shaft is the only thing holding the control arm and spring onto the car!" He actually pretended to know that all along, because he copped an “attitude,” nodded, and mumbled, "Yeah, I knew that," while he shuffled away.
Now here is quite possibly the worst part of my experience at Savannah Tire: I had had enough, and I went to see the manager to tell him about the damage to my car. The manager, WITHOUT EVEN LEAVING THE COUNTER TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS, AND WITHOUT EVEN WAITING FOR ME TO FINISH MY STORY, said in a VERY RUDE tone of voice and with a VERY RUDE attitude, “We’re not liable for any damage like that!”—damage that THEY caused to my car! I want to stress that, although I was very upset, I NEVER yelled at anyone and I was NEVER rude to ANYONE—not even to the IDIOTS that damaged my car.
YES, A GREASE FITTING IS A MINOR PART. BUT…
1) IT IS A PART OF MY CAR.
2) IT IS A NECESSARY PART.
3) IT IS A PART THAT WILL TAKE A LOT OF WORK TO REPLACE.
The manager eventually came out to inspect my car. He took a look at it, and since he first told me he wasn’t going to do a THING about the damage, I felt that I needed to explain specifically what the damage was and why it was going to be difficult to fix. I started to explain why the damage was significant. Once again, the manager was VERY RUDE to me and cut me off, saying, “You made your problem clear, OK?”
There is nothing—absolutely NOTHING—more UNPROFESSIONAL and AMATEURISH than a manager or sales associate being rude to a customer—especially when that customer is upset and has NOT been rude to them. Apparently, this manager feels that being rude and abusing a customer is justified by nothing more than that customer having a complaint! Just because a customer has a complaint is NO reason to mistreat him or her!
Mr. Manager behaved like a total ARROGANT JERK and did a pathetic job of representing Savannah Tire.
Mr. Manager, like those “technicians,” is NO GOOD at the job he does.
After first denying any liability for his “technician” damaging my car, and after looking at my car after a VERY long time of avoiding it, walked off without saying a word. He walked off without telling me ANYTHING. I didn’t see him at all for what seems to be at least 15 minutes. He is gone so long that I start to wander all around the building to try to find him, including into the stockroom, which no one stopped me from doing.
I don’t know where the manager went, or what he did while he was gone, but he finally seemed to realize that he owed me something and asks me IF I WANT THEM TO FIX THE DAMAGE. Since there was NO WAY that I would have let any of those RETARDED MONKEYS touch ANY of my vehicles ever again, I tell him to simply reimburse me for a new upper control arm shaft kit that I myself would install. I should have asked for MORE money to compensate for all the time it will take to fix my car—my time is worth something, after all! As far as I’m concerned, those people got off EASY. He agrees, and says someone will mail a reimbursement check to me. IT TOOK OVER TWO WEEKS FOR THE CHECK TO ARRIVE, AND I HAD TO CALL TWICE TO FINALLY GET THE CHECK WRITTEN.
Because of a Savannah Tire “technician” who is INCOMPETENT, UNTRAINED, and more STUPID than words can say, I had to partially disassemble my suspension on the driver's side of my car to have a grease fitting on that shaft again.
Because of a RUDE, UNPROFESSIONAL manager, I will NEVER do business with Savannah Tire & Brake again, and I am actively telling everyone I know NOT to take their cars to Savannah Tire & Brake.
The moral of this story is simple: ANYONE WHO CARES ABOUT THEIR CAR SHOULD NEVER TAKE THAT CAR TO SAVANNAH TIRE & BRAKE IN SAVANNAH, GEORGIA. THE IDIOTS THAT THEY CALL “TECHNICIANS” DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. THEY HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA ABOUT HOW TO WORK ON CARS.
*andy* ([email protected])
also known as...***Boss Hoss***
*1965 Mustang 289 coupe*
*1996 Mustang GT coupe*
[This message has been edited by Boss Hoss (edited 12-06-2002).]