Sorry for that title, its something Heartbreaktown would do…and shes been on my mind today.

Anyway, yesterday I wanted to change the spark plugs on my Rav4.  The Dealer near Rivergate wanted $300.00 for a tune up.  300.  American.  Ridiculous.  So i went to the parts store, bought my plugs, wires, and replaced my gap-setter, only to find that there is conflicting info on the web about how to remove spark plugs on a Rav4.  It really isn’t close to easy.  I’m no grease monkey, but I have tools galore and i ain’t afraid to use em.  I typically spend a solid week on maintenance of the various machines we have around here.  But this, well, flustered and bamboozled me to no end.  I called another dealer, and negotiated a fair price (relative) for just replacing my plugs.  I can do the rest.

So, I drive 25 miles, check in to the service dept, and made myself comfortable in the waiting area.  (Changing the station from faux news was an instant improvement, i should note.)  About 45 minutes later, the Service manager came in to show me my old plugs, which had some oil on them.  He also told me that my throttle was sticking, and that one of my wires was arcing.  He could alleviate all those nasty problems for around 600.00 bucks.  American.

Unbeknown est to him, I had heard him talking on the phone with another customer who had, (surprise!) the EXACT SAME ISSUES with her car!  I politely declined his generous offer and asked that he put my plugs in, change my oil, and let me be on my way, TYVFM.

On my way back to my seat, I overheard another service advisor telling yet another person something very similar.  I wonder if there is some car virus going around.

Sheesh.  These guys had a chance to earn my repeat business if they had just understood that i am on a budget, and i need to address the vehicle’s immediate needs.  Plus, don’t mark up the parts 300%…I know what shit costs.  Myopic, as usual.



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11 responses to “Cowinkydink?

  1. heartbreaktown

    That’s scummy.

    I have a really hard time trusting mechanics because I’m always paranoid they’re jerkin’ me around. I am not mechanically inclined so I am totally at their mercy. And lo’, a story that confirms my fears.

    By the way, I’m paranoid about restaurants too. So tell me nothing!

  2. Oh, no worries, Heartbreaktown, the average amount of mold and bacteria the average office contains makes restaurants look positively pristine!

  3. democommie


    I bought some tires at BJ’s a few years back and got the “lifetime balance” along with everything else. Aside from the fact that the idiots who mounted the tires on the rims put something like seven weights on the inside of one of the rims (badly out of round tire, I’m guessing) they take the opportunity when the tires are rotated to tell you how much other work you need. They wanted $1,300 to do my brakes; I told them that the truck’s name started with an”F”, but that it wasn’t a Ferrari. I went to the parts store and bought everything for about $180 and spent 4 hours doing the work.

    The last time I went in there for a “Special Price” oil change I was told I needed about $1,500 worth of front end work–that was a year and a half ago. Not only are they lying thieves, but they are incompetent hacks. I’m so glad I know a smidge about fixing my own rides. I hate dealing with mechanics.

  4. I have always hated that service advisors are paid commission. They are motivated to find stuff to do.

  5. democommie


    I’ve actually had them tell me my car needed stuff that had just been done elsewhere. A Sears Automotive store once installed “cargo coils” on a malibu wagon that I had “converted” into a camper of sorts. I noticed (about two months and seven thousand miles later) that the car had a weird tilt. I took it to a a different Sears store where they informed me (without putting the car on a lift) that I had a broken rear shackle and me frame was bent. I drove to a frame shop where the manager put it on the lift and then brought me in to show me the problem. He showed me the cargo coils and said that the one on the right had been put in backwards, hence the tilt.

    I took the car back to Sears, where the problem was fixed and a new tire was mounted (the one on the right was dangerously worn). When I picked up the car they wanted about $2oo. I told them to put my car outside and give me the keys or I would be looking for the store manager. They complied. It was only after driving around in the desert for a day or two that I found out they had never tightened the lug nuts on the wheel that had been removed.

  6. woody


    I know as much about cars as you do about country music..but I was smart enough to marry a mechanic’s daughter. It is hilarious to watch her take our cars in to get serviced and just lay out those cheating mechanics. They see this middleaged woman walk in and greet her with huges smiles, and by the time she leaves they are muttering to themselves.

  7. Ever hear the ads for that place that sounds like “Just Breaks”? They say they’ll replace your rotors and drums for $99.
    I went in with the wife’s Jeep, and was told that pretty much the entire rear brake system needed to be replaced and how dangerous it is to drive it without dropping $600.

    Jerks. All of them.

  8. And businesses wonder why we don’t trust them. Well not all of them but you get my drift.

  9. democommie


    If your wife had gone it would have been closer to $1,200., $2,000 if she was single.

  10. I wish you all were closer to my town, because I would send you to the mechanic that it seems everyone at our workplace uses. He’s fair, he’s (reasonably) fast, he explains what he’s doing and tells you what is most pressing to accommodate your budget and your safety needs, and he NEVER does work without telling you exactly what it’s going to cost once he gets inside. The only fault I can find with him is that he likes to lecture younger women like their dads would do, but I can stand that a little while.

    But oh yes, I’ve had the dealer and chain service experiences, and I’ve laughed at them and walked out. I enjoy how the “here’s a GIRL, suckers” expressions change to “eew, a GIRL and she knows about CARS.” My mother seems to have the in-for-an-oil-change-out-for-$2,000 experience (or at least attempts at it) every time she goes to the national chain that sounds like BriarPhone. Why she won’t go elsewhere, I do not know.

    Don Coyote, I would recommend that you go to and start prowling around in there for your DIY service answers, if you’re not already a member. I’ve already pulled a couple of TSBs on this new RAV to take to the dealer.

  11. P.S. — I coulda toldja about Flivverwait Toyota, if I’d known. They’re notorious.

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