“We’ve got a problem.”
A client took his BMW to the dealership for a transmission issue. The diagnosis was a transmission leak (transmission pan gasket seal) as the car was two quarts low on fluid. They said they needed to fix the leak before determining if the transmission was OK.
The dealership fixed the transmission leak ($1,800), and advised that it also needed new tires ($1,500). $3,300 later, my client got his car back. Shifting issue persisted. That’s when they called me.
“Send the car back to the dealership,” I said.
I called the service advisor and he gave me the standard line you would expect to hear. I said, “Go explain this situation to your manager, and then have him call me.”
The service manager returned my call: “Dave, I talked with our tech. He told me everything. What’s the issue?”
“You should have topped off the fluid and then tested the transmission,” I said. “You did not. You fixed a leak on a bad trans. And now we have a $10,000 repair on our hands.”
Without much room to wiggle, the service manager quickly admitted a mistake had been made, and refunded my clients’ money.
The following day, I had the car moved to a different shop in the area. A day later, they had diagnosed and fixed the problem.
All the shop needed to do was to update the engine and transmission software and reset adaptations (software that controls transmissions shifts). $300 worth of labor solved the issue and no new transmission was needed.
This story is all too familiar in our industry, unfortunately. While many “mistakes” that happen may be malicious, I don’t believe this one was. Regardless of whether it was malicious or incompetence, my client was pleased that we got to bottom of the issue, without a $10,000 transmission rebuild.
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