Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Second Unexpectedly Pleasant Car Repair This Month

My Second Unexpectedly Pleasant Car Repair This Year

Well, maybe "pleasant" isn't the right word--perhaps, "less unpleasant than I was expecting." A few weeks back, my wife's Equinox had the ABS and Traction Control System lights coming on. We took it into the Chevy dealer in Boise (which was Lithia, then Chevrolet of Boise, now apparently Peterson Chevrolet), and they decided that it was the left front wheel sensor, which provides wheel rotation information used by both the Anti-lock Braking and Traction Control Systems. They replaced it. It came to about $300.

Well, the light came back on again over the weekend. We dropped the car off on Monday. The service advisor informed us, "We replaced the wrong part. The wheel sensor wasn't the problem, but the wiring harness." Because it was an intermittent failure of the harness--and all the test points are behind the wiring harness--they couldn't distinguish from a bad wheel sensor. I was a bit surprised to hear a repair facility admit that they replaced a part in error; more typically, you hear, "Both parts were bad!"

Even more startling was that having admitted that they replaced the wrong part, they are not charging us to replace the wiring harness. Even better, because the parts and labor are slightly less expensive than the part that they replaced in error, they are crediting us with $27 for the difference.

One of the reasons that I hate having cars repaired, along with the enormous hassle of dropping off a car in the morning (especially so far from where we now live), is that you pay a lot of money for experts who often aren't so expert. When a dealer admits that they blew it--and doesn't expect you to pay for their mistake--that's a very positive sign that you are getting something when you pay for expert repair.

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