I took my Ford diesel pickup into Traywick's Garage because it was losing coolant. I told Elizabeth that, because my engine was a diesel, that it needed to have supplemental coolant additive added to the coolant to protect the engine—she knew nothing about this required additive. Supplemental Coolant Additive (SCA) is vital for the health and longevity of any diesel engine. Diesels, particularly the Ford Powerstroke (my engine), are prone to a problem called cavitation (or liner pitting).
They pressure tested my cooling system and said I had leaks at the upper radiator hose and at the water pump. They over-pressurized the cooling system and managed to spray coolant over the top of the engine area causing spotting of the area. They replaced the water pump and tightened the hose clamp on the upper radiator hose and sent me on my way.
After leaving the business, I discovered that my coolant reservoir was COMPLETELY EMPTY and that the radiator petcock was broken. I thought that I was still losing coolant somewhere, maybe into the engine itself—it scared the "h…" out of me! After refilling the coolant reservoir myself, and test driving the vehicle, I determined that there was no leak and that Traywick’s had simply failed to completely refill the system.
I called Elizabeth at Traywick’s and told her what had happened and that I had taken my truck to a Ford dealer, out of the area (I was traveling), for remedial work and asked her to reimburse me for that work. She agreed to have me email her and provide her with photographs of the broken petcock and of the invoice from the Ford dealer. In my email, I asked her to call me after she reviewed it—she never called. After two weeks, I called her. She was defensive and unapologetic, said they “never touched the petcock,” and refused to reimburse me. Below are the written communications I had with Traywick’s (in reverse chronological order)—read them, if you like, and judge for yourself about the level of service that I was provided.
January 8, 2018
I think you have made poor business decisions on a number of issues in dealing with me:
1. Failing to respond to my e-mail from almost two weeks ago, after YOU asked me to send it to you, and simply hoping that the problem would go away.
2. Not apologizing for the problems I have had after having your shop work on my vehicle and for the aggravation/worry that I went through when I saw that my coolant reservoir was EMPTY after your shop supposedly refilled the system.
3. Not agreeing that your shop's work should have been better--i.e., taking responsibly for releasing a vehicle to a customer without making sure that the coolant system was properly refilled--I believe that fits the definition of "substandard" work.
4. Not recognizing that in the interest of customer relations you should have agreed to pay for the follow-up work that I paid for, as a gesture of "business goodwill."
5. Being argumentative in your follow-up e-mail today.
We consumers of automotive repair services must rely on the competency and integrity of the businesses we ask to provide services. We can ask for recommendations from friends/family and check reviews on internet business review sites, but ultimately, we have to trust that businesses will treat us fairly and do the work we ask them to do in a competent fashion.
I do believe that your mechanic did not touch the radiator petcock (not "peacock" as you wrote). He, however, obviously did not run the engine after replacing the coolant to be make sure that an "air bubble" was not in the system--this is why the coolant reservoir APPEARED FULL, when in-fact, the system was six (6) quarts low. If this had happened to other, less knowledgeable, consumers in my position, they would most probably have taken their vehicle to a shop for diagnosis and repair, resulting in additional costs to them.
At this point, and based on the five issues listed above, I will be utilizing the internet to post comments on various business review web sites about my experiences with your business. I will also be contacting Winter Gardens RV Resort and relating my experiences with your business and suggesting that they reconsider recommending your services to their customers and, further, suggesting that they consider removing your ad from their park's brochure.
Again, I think you have made a series of poor business decisions in dealing with me.
Please consider what I have written, instead of being angry with me--and look at what happened to me through my eyes.
January 8, 2018
Per our discussion today, we did not have to go near the radiator drain peacock when replacing the water pump. We also replaced the coolant that was missing from the water pump leak. We did not replace all the coolant, otherwise we would've had to replace 8 gallons of coolant vs the 3 gallons you were charged. The peacock most than likely broke due to age. The fact that you drove 200 miles after you left the shop, proves that the coolant was not leaking right away and further more it was not leaking from the water pump. Our work was in no way substandard being that there was never a diagnostic from the previous shop regarding the water pump.
Elizabeth and John
Request for Reimbursement
December 26, 2017
1045 S. Vineland Road
Winter Garden, FL 34787
I spoke with you this afternoon about two problems I have had to deal with after your shop replaced the water pump in my 2001 Ford F350 diesel truck on November 27th. Those problems were:
1) After driving about 200 miles, I discovered that there was NO COOLANT, NONE, in the reservoir and had to add six quarts of 50/50 antifreeze to refill the reservoir—my cost was about $15.00 for the antifreeze. I then had to drive the vehicle about 50 miles to make sure a leak in the cooling system was not causing the problem—it was not--the coolant system had simply been under-filled.
2) Last week I decided to check the antifreeze protection level and the diesel additive (SCA) level in the coolant—I took a sample from the reservoir. I paid $30.00 for the test strips and a bulb tester. When I tested the antifreeze level it showed ABOVE 60% (highest level that is shown on the bulb tester), and the nitrite level (SCA) showed too low. A couple of days later I decided to test the coolant again, and this time, I wanted to take a sample of the coolant from the bottom of the radiator. When I put a wrench on the plastic petcock, the head of the petcock FELL OFF—it was barely being held in place by a tiny thread of plastic—the petcock had obviously been over-tightened and broken.
Since I was out of the Orlando area and could not return the vehicle to your shop, I took it to a Ford dealer in Wauchula, Florida—they removed the remnants of the broken petcock, installed a new one and replaced the antifreeze and the SCA additive. I had to spend two hours of my time waiting for this work to be done.
I am asking you to reimbursement me for the cost of this service ($149.96). I would not have needed this service if the work done at your shop was not substandard. Please do the right thing.
I am attaching copies of photos I took of the broken petcock and a photo of the invoice from Alan Jay Ford of Wauchula, Inc., for the remedial work.
Please call me at xxx.xxx.xxxx and I will provide my credit card number for your use.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
You and I communicated very well. When you asked my only Spanish speaking tech something yes it was impossible. This is why you can't scream questions across the shop. We wait for a report and it is my duty to explain as a sevice manager. Our pricing is by the State Labor guide not a penny over. We saved your engine from damaging and got you back on the road. Elizabeth
Mr. Traywick has not been owner since 2001. It was annouced in the local paper and it is old news. We perform complete auto repair and go as far as to install new engines and tranmissions. I remember you are a backyard mechanic that needed Traywick to find the real problem with your vehicle and alingn it. You got upset because you were incapable of installing a tie rod end and asked if we could do it. And I told you we do not take parts from the outside in. We are a reputable shop that is fully insured and certified. We are closed on weekends and still have a great following Thank God! We enjoy our families and are very active with our church on weekends.
Usted defamo mi caracter y entro diciendo que yo le dije que la aliniasion hiba incluida. Detras de mi cuando usted me llamo a mi cellular personal estaba mi papi y otro empleado y me olleron decir balanceo incluido. Le di el precio y a la hora de pagar pregunto que porque tan caro? Que descarado es usted. Simplemente las personas como usted ponen de mal genio a cualquiera. El aliniador lleva haciendo aliniasiones por 59 anos y usted queria que le trabajara gratis. Talvez usted trabaja gratis? Cuando uno hace un servicio uno tiene que pagar. La clientela de aqui es esclusiva. Y porfavor no hable de lo que dicen los demas porque lo que piense de mi jente que usted conose no me quita el sueno. Su hija me da muy mal servicio y yo le doy buena propina.
We are sorry that you thought the oil change was high. The invoice amount is the same as it was last time. Your luxury sports car takes 6.8 quarts of synthetic oil and an extra cost for the cartridge filter. We top off all the fluids, check tire pressure and reset the oil life indicator. Also, keep in mind we are a family owned and operated shop and cannot compete with larger chain bulk prices. We offer great quality work and personalized service. If you ever need us again it is our pleasure to serve you.
I will be back again as needed.
Side note - the bathroom was spotless! An unexpected find at an auto repair shop