Pep Boys on McKnight Road Tried to Make Me Pay for Nonexistent Problem
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA -- I left my car at Pep Boys, 4571 McKnight Road, 15237 for a state inspection. An hour later Ricky from Pep Boys called to tell me that the "check engine" light is on and it will cost me $90 to diagnose it. I asked what is the error code and all he could tell me was that "it gives us an idea where to look at" and that I really need to pay for it. I refused to pay for the diagnosis but was still forced to pay ~$30 for the failed inspection.
When took the car home and googled the error code I found out that it is a coolant temperature issue, which could have a number of possible causes, none of which seemed worth $90. Long story short, I checked what I could (temperature sensor, thermostat, etc), couldn't find anything wrong with it, reset the "check engine" error, used the car for about 2 weeks / 500 miles, and took it to another place for the state inspection. It passed the inspection without issues and 2000 miles later the "check engine" light is still off.
I can't help but think that Pep Boys mechanics triggered the error code somehow - unplugged the sensor perhaps? Such attempts to coerce customers into paying for fixing nonexistent problems is disgusting. Even though my financial loss in this interaction was small (the cost of the failed inspection), I will stay away from Pep Boys from now on and will advise anyone I know to do the same.