Private Mechanic Horror Stories (or Why You Should Visit a Service Center)

If you visit a service center at your vehicle’s applicable dealership, you’re going to be receiving unrivaled maintenance and expertise. These mechanics work specifically on one brand’s vehicles, and their understand of your car’s nuances won’t only save you money, but it will improve the operation of your vehicle.

Of course, if you visit a private dealership, you may run into some issues. Now, we’re not saying that all of these private businesses offer below-average service, but there are certainly some that don’t offer a good value. While it’s helpful to understand why you should be avoiding these mechanics, it’s also fun to giggle at some other people’s misfortunes with these businesses. Sure, maybe it’s schadenfreude, but that’s not gonna keep me from laughing.

Continue reading to see some dealership horror stories that we’ve compiled from throughout the internet. When you’re finished reading, you’ll understand why you should be opting for a Chevy dealer service


This story, as passed along by Freddy Hernandez of, helps confirm a major reason why you’ll want to visit these dealerships for service: trust. You know what you’re getting from these mechanics, and you can be assured that they’ll be using the proper, most affordable parts. Sure, maybe you can find a more affordable deal elsewhere, but you never truly know what you’re getting into when you visit a private mechanic.

If the business has been recommended, then you shouldn’t be apprehensive. However, if you’re just seeking a business online, make sure you read some reviews on the place. If the reviews are not favorable (or not existent) you should avoid. Just see what could happen:

I had a 2001 VW Jetta 1.8T that the oil pan decided to get a fist sized hole and nuke itself with a quickness. I took it to a shop with decent reviews, a clean yet busy shop that focused specifically on German autos. I was quoted for a new motor, new T3\4 turbo, Revo Tuned and matching ECU for the new block, all the good [stuff] to get back up and running faster than before. Total was about $6000.

I put $3,000 in his hands right there, and STUPIDLY got a title loan to cover the rest. A week goes by and they haven’t pulled it into the shop. 2 weeks, same thing. By the 3rd week, I called and asked when they would start. That day they pulled it into the shop and confirmed that the turbo and long block was shot, which I already knew. Week 4, the car is in the shop, no updates. that continued for another month.

I drive up to the shop one day and knock on the door, since I’m getting no return calls. Door is closed, no lights or cars but mine. I knock on the Big Truck shop next door, and they tell me that they haven’t been there in days.

Fast Forward three days. Inside the shop, every tool and bolt is gone, except for the 4 post in the back corner. the 2 post lifts, and the compressor lines, everything else is gone. I call the owner, no answer. I go to the shop next door and ask what the hell happened. turns out they were leaking money faster than my car lost its oil, and went out of business. I finally reach the owner and he states that they are bankrupt, and that the money I put on my repair is gone, I’ll have to file a lien with the bankruptcy court on their business or something. I immediately call a paralegal buddy, who tells me that since they are an LLC, there’s nothing I can do other than a lien. I call the shop owner back and get all the info I need to file a lien.

I wake up the next day to go to the shop and get my car towed home until I find a place that can fix it for me. I get to the shop, and to my surprise, the car is gone. I call the Police, and my car was towed by the company I got the title loan from (I was current on my payments, mind you.) I call the title loan company and ask why I’ve been towed. they say that the owner of the shop called them and said I had never paid them for the work they did, and that I had no intention of paying them, so to come tow the car as the shop was bankrupt and they needed it gone. Interestingly, My car was parked back in a corner, in gear, doors locked, e-brake on, wheel full left, knowing that it would be impossible to tow unless they had keys to the car. I got a hold of the tow company who said I needed to come up with $600 and drive down to San Antonio to get it. They refused to tow it back. I ended up going carless for 6 months as I payed off the Jetta, and I never got a single penny from the shop who took my cash and got my car towed.

So, how much for a new motor in a Jetta? $6,000 and a Jetta. Oh, and all you get is a title for a car you’ll never see again.


Sometimes these private mechanics will capitalize on your need for a car repair, and they’ll often bump the price as a result. At a dealership, you can be assured that the repairs each have a consistent value, and you’re not going to be scammed out of your money. Just see what happened to this driver, via

The weary traveler stranded roadside due to a blown tire has his vehicle towed to an auto repair shop in the middle of nowhere. Completely at the mercy of the mechanic on duty (who sometimes, depending on who’s telling the story, also plays double duty as Sheriff “in these here parts”), the hapless traveler is informed that the tire he needs to get him on his way will cost him $200. Not wanting to stay stranded forever, the traveler forks over his credit card and signs on the dotted line with an audible gulp. Days later, safe and sound back in the welcoming arms of civilization, he learns that the actual going cost of the very same tire he spent a small fortune on is $50. Lesson learned?

You’ll also want to make sure you have all your requests in writing. Dealerships will automatically keep meticulous notes on all of your desired repairs, but these private mechanics may be lazier about the entire process. Just see what happened to one driver from down south (via Craig Howie of

Mark Essig, a writer in a small town in North Carolina, says he was astonished to be charged $150 by a local mechanic to replace a missing cover for the trunk-release switch in his ten-year-old Mercedes CLK. While expensive repair bills are not uncommon for upscale European marques, Essig says this one was the icing on a frosty $2,000 repair bill he’d expected to come in at much less. He also noted it came as an additional cost not included in the estimate.

He says: “It was part of a $2000 repair bill that included valve cleaning and brake work, and I was so sick to my stomach that I couldn’t quibble over $150. Best part was, I didn’t ask him to do it.”

Scary right? As we mentioned, you shouldn’t avoid all private mechanics, as you may come across a great deal. However, you know you’ll be receiving the best possible service (and the most trustworthy value) at a brand-specific dealership.

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