Pep Boys Complaint - Don't Trust Pep Boys (Hyattsville & Germantown Maryland)
HYATTSVILLE, MARYLAND -- This happened years ago but still bugs me. I go in for a transmission fluid & filter change (Pep Boys in Hyattsville, MD). This job requires removing the tranny oil pan to empty the fluid...but the filter is in a hard to reach place, all the way up the tranny. When the car was done, I asked the mechanic to show me the old tranny fluid filter to prove that he changed it. He turned white (his normal skin color was brown) and started looking frantically for it in the trash bin w/o any luck. Then another mechanic went up after overhearing what I wanted, said "don't worry I saw him change it". Really? So this other mechanic just happened glanced over at the exact time to see my mechanic do this one, specific step of changing the filter.... when the whole place was crazy busy with everyone working? What are the chances?
Fast forward years later, my then, girlfriend's car was badly out of alignment...dumb biatch climbs curbs and crap all the time while driving. And this was when she wasn't even putting on any makeup while driving (as usual). Went to Pep Boys because they had a sale on alignments and was conveniently right across the street (Pep Boys, Cornerstone Mall in Germantown, MD) from her home. After getting the car back, nothing changed. Same horrible steering wheel that pulls to the left. My guess was, they were extremely busy and just didn't do the alignment at all while pretending to. Went back and talked to the manager. Manager's first response was....."I saw him do it". What a coincidence. From such a busy day like that with all of them running around nonstop, the manager just happens to remember our car and what was needed to be done and remembered it right off the bat. We asked for a refund. He didn't even argue and just gave it to us. Went to NTB right after for an alignment and it was completely different. Car felt stable right away. It was night & day different.
This seems to be Pep Boy's CANNED RESPONSE when they get accused of not doing something properly or not doing it at all! One of the co-workers will step in and vouch for his mate immediately. My mistake with the transmission filter change was that I should have told them from the beginning that I wanted to take home the old filter. This way, it would have forced them to change it in the first place rather than putting them on the spot where they either had to tell me to F off or have to admit that they lied, which they won't.
To not replace parts that are difficult to get to is more common in this business than we think. Ie. my friend who's a mechanic from a dealership, admits to me that he would just not change the rear most spark plug in cars like mine with an LSx motor because that plug is located in a horrific location to get to. I think that the best bet is to have it written on the work order that you want all used parts, filters, etc. kept in order for you to diagnose potential problems with your car. Kind of a non-intrusive, less accusatory request.
And find a good, reliable and honest mechanic and keep him. Accept paying a little more is better than paying less to get porked.