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Car Repair - Is this Legit?

GanluanGanluan Registered User regular
edited September 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey guys,

We just took my wife's car (99 Olds Intrigue) because it's been idling and running loudly. It's loud enough that when she's behind me on the freeway, I can hear her car while I'm in my car :P

The mechanic who just checked it out said the AC compressor bearings are going bad (although the AC still works, he said it may give out) and that it would cost like 1 grand to fix. Would that actually cause such a loud noise? He said the engine was trying to compensate for the compressor going bad.

In worst case if the compressor fails, that just means the AC won't work right?

Ganluan on

Posts

  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    The only option I can think of is to take it to another mechanic and see what they say. Obviously don't tell them what the other guy said.

    tsmvengy on
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  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2007
    I... I SUPPOSE that could maybe be plausible

    It does sound pretty suspect though. Thank the guy for his time and get a few other quotes.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • CycophantCycophant Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    It's plausible, but another opinion never hurts.

    I can see the logic though. If the "running loudly" is from your belt or around that area, a bad compressor bearing could certainly cause that. A rough bearing could also require more power at idle to keep the compressor running. Assuming he's right and it -is- the bearing, if/when it does completely fail, it could be pretty catastrophic. It could destroy your timing belt, and fuck up the engine something serious. You might luck out and the compressor just seize, which would slowly chew up your timing belt, but it would take a bit longer I'm thinking.

    Go get a second opinion, and if the other mechanic agrees, get it fixed. I have no idea if $1000 is a good price for a new A/C compressor though.

    Cycophant on
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  • EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    How the hell does he know it may go out at any minute? What did he do to test this?

    EliteLamer on
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  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2007
    If it's a bad bearing then yes it can seize at any point. It's all luck if the car keeps going for a week or a year or ten years before it happens.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    DrDizaster wrote: »
    If it's a bad bearing then yes it can seize at any point. It's all luck if the car keeps going for a week or a year or ten years before it happens.


    Exactly..

    EliteLamer on
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    You need to take it to a dealership for a second opinion... not some other Sam's Auto Repair where they've no brand to be accountable to if they are lying.

    Jasconius on
  • stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I googled around a bit, and apparently compressor problems are pretty common with that model range. The thing is, you can get a rebuilt compressor and new clutch for 250$ so it must be one hard piece to replace at 1000$

    stigweard on
  • a penguina penguin Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    You'd think that the A/C compressor wouldn't make any noise if the A/C wasn't on, as the A/C clutch wouldn't be engaged and the compressor wouldn't spin. I wouldn't think a compressor failure would eat the belt as long as the clutch wasn't engage, but if the clutch locks up that's another story.

    Right? Wrong? Something?

    I've had a car with a bad a/c clutch before, and that made a helluva noise (but only when the a/c was on). I've also had one with a damaged compressor, and it made a slight noise only when the a/c was on (clutch engaged).

    That said, I saw the same thing stigweard did when I google'd your problem. The repair is expensive because when you remove the compressor, you have to evac the system, and if the compressor is bad they will flush the system with nasty chemicals to remove and debris, then replace some other parts in there as well.

    You could probably check for yourself simply by seeing if the noise is coming from the a/c compressor or not.

    a penguin on
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  • stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    When the clutch isn't in, the bearing is supposed to let the part connected to the belt spin free, since the belt still spins no matter what. From what I read, some people have the most problem when the ac isn't on because it sounds like "cutting glass" when it is off. I never thorugh of the extra work entailed once you have the unit off.

    stigweard on
  • apotheosapotheos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2007
    Jasconius wrote: »
    You need to take it to a dealership for a second opinion... not some other Sam's Auto Repair where they've no brand to be accountable to if they are lying.

    Having been fucked hard by a dealership, let me mention that car dealerships are independent franchisees and their behaviour does not reflect the opinion nor is the responsibility of the parent brand.

    apotheos on


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  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2007
    apotheos wrote: »
    Jasconius wrote: »
    You need to take it to a dealership for a second opinion... not some other Sam's Auto Repair where they've no brand to be accountable to if they are lying.

    Having been fucked hard by a dealership, let me mention that car dealerships are independent franchisees and their behaviour does not reflect the opinion nor is the responsibility of the parent brand.

    Having had an engine block nearly crack from heat stress because a dealership failed to reconnect the rad properly after a collision repair on one of their own vehicles, and then being told to figure out how I was going to get home on my own as they weren't giving me a loaner and they weren't fixing the car before the next day, I would have to back the ape here. The real kicker was that it was October and I was a 45 minute drive away from home with no bus service available to take me outside the city where I was living at that point.

    Dealerships honestly really can't be trusted just as a general rule. You might personally have a good relationship with a specific one, the one that sold me my CURRENT ride is actually phenomenal and I would never take repairs elsewhere. But they're just as likely to fuck you up as anyone else is in my experience.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • wmelonwmelon Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Well an easy way to check that, would be to turn the AC off and see if the car goes back to idling normally.
    if it does then something is wrong with your AC compressor. If not then there's something else wrong. What kind of sound is it making? Is it just the engine running really hard or is it a squealing noise? Either way they shouldn't be loud enough to hear in another car with the windows rolled up.

    wmelon on
  • EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    Dealer ship is the worst fucking place to take it.

    EliteLamer on
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  • Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I dunno about that. If you go to a reputable place you should be ok. Other than that, I'd suggest driving someplace a little ways away. Odds are, the guys in your area all know each other and talk, so taking a 30 minute drive to a few towns over might be worthwhile too.

    Iceman.USAF on
  • PeekingDuckPeekingDuck __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    Hahahaha... dealerships?! Fuck that.

    Ask around and find someone at your work that knows a reputable mechanic. That price seems a bit high.

    PeekingDuck on
  • FearTheCowFearTheCow Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    having 2 friends as mechanics, one for Disneyland and one who was at BMW then moved to Disneyland, they always recommended taking a vehicle to a dealership since the majority of private shops are shady as fuck. Just because your friend or family member know a "great mechanic" that they use doesn't mean they aren't getting reamed by said mechanic. Take it to the dealer for a second opinion, and when the a/c is off and free-wheeling there are still bearings in play which can go bad. Like it was mentioned before, since your car is probably using a serpentine belt, if the that compressor seizes then your breaking a belt, and that is definitely not a good thing.

    FearTheCow on
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Dont you have some kind o large franchise repair chain in the US? In the Uk we have something called Quick Fit. Now they wouldnt be my first choice to get something repaired, they are often not so good as a really high quality independant but for checking that something is what it is then they are often a good choice. Then once you've figured it out you can call around dealerships to get quotes on repairing it.

    tbloxham on
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  • NorgothNorgoth cardiffRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Dont you have some kind o large franchise repair chain in the US? In the Uk we have something called Quick Fit. Now they wouldnt be my first choice to get something repaired, they are often not so good as a really high quality independant but for checking that something is what it is then they are often a good choice. Then once you've figured it out you can call around dealerships to get quotes on repairing it.

    Your joking right? You must be joking? Quick Fit are the biggest bunch of con-artists in the garage industry.

    Everyone else in this thread is right though. Getting your car fixed is a bit like going to the doctors. If the diagnosis dosent seem right get a second opinion.

    Norgoth on
  • GanluanGanluan Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Thanks guys... we'll take it to the GM dealership near here and see what they tell us, then go from there. We were planning on replacing the car sometime soon, so we may accelerate that decision if it turns out we need $1k in repairs on a car that's worth $4k or so anyway.

    Ganluan on
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2007
    FearTheCow wrote: »
    having 2 friends as mechanics, one for Disneyland and one who was at BMW then moved to Disneyland, they always recommended taking a vehicle to a dealership since the majority of private shops are shady as fuck. Just because your friend or family member know a "great mechanic" that they use doesn't mean they aren't getting reamed by said mechanic.

    This is pretty much backwards to reality, and I don't care if you have two friends who told you that this is how it is. I'd also imagine that the dealership treatment is quite a bit different when you're buying a BMW vs. buying an Oldsmobile.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • beefbeef Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Dealerships will almost always be more expensive because they are going to charge MSRP for their own brand of parts. Private garages will use an array of manufacturer and aftermarket parts.
    EliteLamer wrote: »
    How the hell does he know it may go out at any minute? What did he do to test this?

    If a bearing is going bad, it can often be easily noticed by touch and/or by audible signs.

    beef on
  • EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    lol Dealership fucked up my Corvette, Have fun at GM!

    EliteLamer on
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  • FearTheCowFearTheCow Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    DrDizaster wrote: »
    FearTheCow wrote: »
    having 2 friends as mechanics, one for Disneyland and one who was at BMW then moved to Disneyland, they always recommended taking a vehicle to a dealership since the majority of private shops are shady as fuck. Just because your friend or family member know a "great mechanic" that they use doesn't mean they aren't getting reamed by said mechanic.

    This is pretty much backwards to reality, and I don't care if you have two friends who told you that this is how it is. I'd also imagine that the dealership treatment is quite a bit different when you're buying a BMW vs. buying an Oldsmobile.

    Actually, it's not, when you take a car in a service writer puts down what he thinks the problem is, the mechanic goes off of that. Considering service writers aren't mechanics, this is the cause of a decent amount of problems. To top everything off, if people took care of their cars like they are supposed to, cars would last a lot longer. To the posters saying the dealership messed up their car, did you take it back? how long after the repairs were done did your car start acting up again? what was the original problem and the next problem? these are the questions you need to ask when someone tells dealerships are shitty.

    FearTheCow on
  • EverywhereasignEverywhereasign Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    DrDizaster wrote: »
    Dealerships honestly really can't be trusted just as a general rule. ... But they're just as likely to fuck you up as anyone else is in my experience.

    It's just like anything else. Just because they are the dealership, doesn't automatically make them better or worse then Joe's Garage. If you have a longstanding relationship with either one, or know someone trustworthy who does. You have a better chance of avoiding being scammed.

    People who jump in the "all dealerships scam you" or "all non-dealerships are crooks" groups are just simplifying a problem that is anything but simple.

    Hopefully your dealer will give you an idea of what is going on. If they say the problem is something else, you might need a third opinion to settle the score. If they say the problem is the AC, you might beable to get Joe's Garage to put in a rebuilt AC compressor where the dealer might not. The place I go to will happily save you the cost of the part if you are willing to go to an auto yard and pick up the rebulit unit yourself.

    Everywhereasign on
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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I've done some shadetree mechanic work and helped restore/repair a couple of cars, from transmissions to power steering to the dreaded A/C.

    It's one of the most annoying parts to a modern car, honestly. The price he quoted you is pretty much on the line. All modern AC systems, with the exception of the REALLY cheap imports and the REALLY expensive imports, are going to run in the ballpark of 1000+

    The compressor going out could definately cause the noise too. Usually noise of that level is going to come from the AC, the tranny/clutch, or one of the belts wearing loose/breaking. Get the second opinion though, because the guy at the shop might have just noticed a loose fan belt or something and is trying to sell you the compressor.

    Just my .02

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  • fatmousefatmouse Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    stay away from the stealerships!

    fatmouse on
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2007
    FearTheCow wrote: »
    DrDizaster wrote: »
    FearTheCow wrote: »
    having 2 friends as mechanics, one for Disneyland and one who was at BMW then moved to Disneyland, they always recommended taking a vehicle to a dealership since the majority of private shops are shady as fuck. Just because your friend or family member know a "great mechanic" that they use doesn't mean they aren't getting reamed by said mechanic.

    This is pretty much backwards to reality, and I don't care if you have two friends who told you that this is how it is. I'd also imagine that the dealership treatment is quite a bit different when you're buying a BMW vs. buying an Oldsmobile.

    Actually, it's not, when you take a car in a service writer puts down what he thinks the problem is, the mechanic goes off of that. Considering service writers aren't mechanics, this is the cause of a decent amount of problems. To top everything off, if people took care of their cars like they are supposed to, cars would last a lot longer. To the posters saying the dealership messed up their car, did you take it back? how long after the repairs were done did your car start acting up again? what was the original problem and the next problem? these are the questions you need to ask when someone tells dealerships are shitty.

    Stop acting like it's impossible for dealerships to employ the inept or be themselves corrupt. What you described between the service writer and the mechanic is NOT how all dealership service bays work. You want an example? I've got one.

    I got front end collision damage from a jackass running a red light. Took it to the dealership where the guy I was dealing with was also the mechanic in charge of the vehicle getting repaired. The same day I got it back I nearly destroyed the engine just driving it to class and then straight back to the dealership because they didn't hook up the rad properly (or at all, I suppose) and the only thing cooling the engine was the warm summer air. Then to top it off they refused to either fix it that day or give me a loaner to get home with, even after I explained that I lived a 45 minute drive away, 20 minutes of which was highway driving, and that there was no bus I could take at that time on that date to get home.

    This was not the last time ineptitude in both mechanical work and customer service screwed me when dealing with Ford dealerships, but it requires the least back story.

    Dealerships are no more or less likely to fuck you over than anyone independent. There's no difference there. The best one could suggest is that maybe if you own a luxury vehicle or bought a luxury brand you might receive preferential treatment just because you're dealing with the guys who sold you your car. Otherwise it all comes down to personal relationships and building one with a mechanic referred to you as trustworthy by someone else who has a relationship with that place of business is really the best shot you've got short of either learning a good deal about car repair yourself or shopping around any time anything goes wrong to make sure whoever you do deal with isn't lying to you.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I'd head to one of those auto shops/part warehouse places like an Advance Auto Parts or something like it. Some of these places can actually help you find out what the problem is without having you under the gun after they disassemble your engine. I'd trust these guys, THEN the dealership, and THEN some random repair shop.

    Of course, you can also ask family and friends if they have any knowledgable mechanics in the family. These might be worth it because the family can help hold them accountable if they try to give you the royal runaround or if they screw it up. Nothing like thier S.O. or close family member giving them grief for you as to why your car still isn't done.

    But there are some definite things you should do if you ever take your car in for repairs:

    1) Get multiple opinions. Take the car around to a few places and get some quotes. Place these somewhere obvious in case something goes wrong.

    2) Make a notebook of where you took the car, who you talked to, and what they said at what time. This will be useful if they try to pull something. Get the phone records to prove this.

    3) If they DO screw it up, take them to court ASAP. If you have all the notes and papers, it should be a skate. Of course, in most states you'll get either the repair cost or blue book value for the car, whichever is less.

    Jay

    JaysonFour on
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  • beefbeef Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    1) Get multiple opinions. Take the car around to a few places and get some quotes. Place these somewhere obvious in case something goes wrong.

    If you do not have or do not know someone you trust who has a trusted mechanic you can go to, this is your best plan. A second opinion won't hurt and you will be able to do some price comparisons.

    beef on
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    beef wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    1) Get multiple opinions. Take the car around to a few places and get some quotes. Place these somewhere obvious in case something goes wrong.

    If you do not have or do not know someone you trust who has a trusted mechanic you can go to, this is your best plan. A second opinion won't hurt and you will be able to do some price comparisons.

    It's the best plan anyway. Even honest mechanics can make mistakes.

    Feral on
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