Car Repair

My ongoing car repair…
I decided to start a blog about my ongoing car repair issue. Here’s a quick background…
2/2/2010 3:50AM – I lost control of my car while it was snowing on the highway and hit the concrete barrier. The front passenger corner and passenger bumper struck the barrier as I spun around.
3/10/2010 – Got the car back from the Repair Shop and thus begins my journey… here’s some pics of the seat cover issue sorry they are from the phone but you can see the issue… click to enlarge

Driver Seat

Driver Seat

Passenger Seat

Passenger Seat

Called Repair shop 10:22AM 3/10/2010
Spoke to **. Told him I was dissatisfied with the upholstery on the passenger seat and told him the alignment was not right and it pulled to the right. He told me he would call Dealership (who they own) and let them know I was dissatisfied with the upholstery since they were the ones that did it and I could go in and speak with them. He also said he would have them take care of the alignment and install the passenger rear mud flap which they had to order so it could all be done at one place.

About 4:45PM  I drove into the service department at the Dealership. I spoke with ** there about the upholstery and how I was not pleased with it. She told me that they do not have thousands of dollars worth of equipment like the Honda factory and they could not stretch the seat cover like they do it. I told her the alignment was also off and she referred me to ** and told him to set me up an appointment she also mentioned that ** asked her to install a mud flap as well. I spoke to ** about the upholstery and he told me that they go on loose since they come all sealed and folded up in a bag and that “over time” the leather would tighten up. I asked him about how long that would be and he just stated again that over time it would tighten up as the heat and cold and humidity got to it. I also mentioned that the engine was making a noise like a loud fan from the time you started it up in the morning till I turned it off. They scheduled me an appointment for Friday to fix the alignment and put the mud flap on.

5:19PM 3/10/2010 Another Dealership (who I used before I moved to MI)
I called and spoke to their service department. I explained to them that I had just had a seat repaired and that it was loose. He told me they do not do the upholstery there but have it done at another company but that it fit as tight as the factory seat and is not loose.

Spoke with the service department at Another Dealership. Explained to them about my seat and the person I spoke with did not do seat repairs and said they could not say anything without seeing the seat. I plan on taking the car by 3/12/2010 before work and having them look at it to see if they can fix or if this is normal (their opinion)

6:45PM Insurance Company – Claims Department
Spoke with a Claims rep. updated her on this info. She told me thank you for the update and that I should let them do the alignment repair and mud flap since they have agreed to do this and to let them know if I am not satisfied with these repairs. She also asked me to keep them in the loop on this case.

After the alignment is fixed and the last part put on (mud flap) I will take it back to Repair Shop and have them look at the engine noise. I noticed this noise more while driving the car home from work and to the Dealership I have not spoken to ** at Repair Shop about the engine noise yet.

March 11

2:50PM Another Dealership
I took the car into them look at it first hand. They had never seen a cover so loose. They said they could fix it but it would be a big deal and I would need to set an appointment up. Also I would be out the repair myself. They told me that it may not be properly installed and all the clips may not be on. If it was clipped and installed correctly they told me that the seat cover should be marked as defective and a new one should be ordered. They assured me they should be as tight fitting as the factory seat and they have not ever had one loose like this. They told me they will tighten up a little bit over time but that a loose fit on a new seat cover would be about 1/8 of how loose mine is.

3:17PM Dealership
Spoke with ** over the phone told her I had spoken with some other Honda dealers about how loose the seat cover was fitting. I told her that several dealers told me that it is not correct and if it was installed correctly the seat is defective. She assured me that is was installed correctly and the guy that does the upholstery has been working there for 20 years so he would know. She told me if it wasn’t installed correctly the seams would not be fitting. She also told me if I wanted to take this any further that I would need to speak to her Honda rep. who was coming in April and if she thought it was not correct they would go from there about fixing it. I verified the appointment to fix the alignment and have the mud flap installed she also told me she would have her upholstery guy take a look at the seat again.

3:25PM Repair shop
Called and asked to speak with ** to update him. The receptionist told me he was with a customer and asked if I would like to have him call me back. I told her I was going to work in a half hour and asked if he would be finished by then. She told me it would be longer and I just told her I would try to call him again tomorrow.

March 12

10:52AM Dealership
Called and spoke to ** in service and mentioned the noise from the engine that it sounded like a high whine/fan he recalled the conversation and added it to the notes on the repair.

10:39AM Called ** at Repair Shop
Updated him on the situation about what the other Honda dealerships said about the seat cover fitting loosely also informed him of the noise in the engine. He asked if I had told the Dealership about it and I let him know I mentioned it to ** when I set up the appointment. He apologized on Repair Shop’s half as well as on behalf of the Dealership for it not being acceptable to me. And told me it seems that if it was warranty work maybe they would have taken more time and done a better job installing it but since it was just a repair perhaps they didn’t feel it needed to be done as well. He said that waiting till April was a long time to just sit and wait so said he would contact the Insurance Company and talk to them about having a local upholstery expert who has been in business for years look at it and see if they can take care of it subletting it out to them. Because what is important is getting it back to pre-crash condition and making sure I am happy with it. (I find this funny as clearly he did not test drive the car since the alignment was way off and the engine noise gets quite loud when you drive. All after he kept it a few extra days so he personally could test drive it :D )

6:52AM Dealership
Dropped the car off at the service department and filled out a night drop envelope slipped my key in it sealed it and put it in the drop slot.

March 13

10:00 AM Dealership
Went in to pick up my car. Spoke to ** she told me the alignment was fine and gave me a print out of the alignment check… which I can’t read it’s a bunch of greek to me with degree’s. She explained that the issue of my car pulling to the right was actually the suspension chamber which was “way out of adjustment.” They had to loosen and shift the cradle to get it back to where it should be. They installed the mudflap and removed and reinstalled the passenger seat cover. She then told me that indeed a clip had “fallen off” and wasn’t clipped on. After looking at the seat cover (which now looks 10X better than it was before) I was satisfied with how tight it is now and clearly it was not just 1 clip but must have been many. I also inquired about the engine noise and she said there were no notes about it. So I got my keys and left. As I drove off I noticed the engine noise was no longer there and ** was not working so I decided to call back Monday.

March 15

I called the dealership and spoke to ** and asked him about the engine noise. He told me he was going to write it down and start trouble shooting it but noticed that a hose on the air intake (by the air filter) wasn’t on. He put it back in place and it took care of the noise. Which made sense to me it sounded like a fan / vacuum. So I finally am satisfied with the car and seem to have everything fixed and back to normal.

May 4

I had my oil changed at the local Firestone here and asked them to check out the suspension and the alignment on the car after explaining to them it had been in an accident and I was still concerned it may not have been fixed properly. When I picked up the car they said the suspension looked new and seemed fine (I didn’t really expect them to see anything and still planned on having the car really inspected by a body shop but figured since it didn’t really cost me anything but time why not have another company look at it.) But they did tell me the car was way outta alignment and their machine could not adjust it. There would have to be work done on it to get the car into the tolerated ranges. I got a printout of the alignment. I got the car home and decided to see if I could find any other issues visually and noticed what I thought was a crack in the metal that the radiator was bolted to. I then proceeded to contact the insurance company about my new findings.

After speaking with a claims agent I told them I refused to take the car back to the original body shop cause of the work that has been repeatedly done and still clearly has not been done correctly. They advised me that I would need to give them 48hrs notice and take it to another shop and they would send out a rep and look over the issues with the new shop. I found another body shop that was recommended to me and explained briefly what happened and what needed to be done. This shop seemed shocked by the $9k worth of repairs already done to the vehicle as well as the previous shop having it for 45 days and being unable to fix the issues after having the car in multiple times after the initial repairs. Feeling a bit of comfort I set up an appointment with them for Friday (8:00AM soon as they opened) and contacted the insurance company to let them know.

May 14

1:18PM NEW body shop
The new body shop (which is certified by my insurance company I came to find this out later which I guess is good at least I won’t have the headache of them not wanting to pay the cost the shop is quoting) called me and said the insurance rep had already been out and they decided that they thought some of the other suspension parts that had not been replaced were the problem. (something about the suspension frame?) He told me that the insurance company authorized him to install new parts as well as fix some caulking that was missing from the metal that the radiator bolted to. They told me it’d take a few days but I should plan on leaving it there a full week (5 business days.) I told them I would make arrangements and get back with them.

1:54PM Insurance Company
I called the insurance company and went around and back and forth with them asking for a rental car (I do not have rental coverage but feel that since this is repairing what was already repaired that I should not have to inconvenience myself of going without my car for another week.) They explained to me that they will only pay for the repairs and would not cover a rental car since at the time of the claim I did not have rental coverage. And told me that I should go after the first body shop for that.

2:27PM Body Shop
Spoke to ** (same person I have been talking to about my car from the inspection I assumed he was the manager since everyone was bringing their issues to him for approval) After explaining my issue to him he said he would have the manager call me back.

I heard from the manager later and went over everything with him. He told me something just didn’t seem to make sense and he would call and talk to the insurance company and get back with me later that day.

Called the body shop since I had not yet heard from them and asked to speak with the manager. They informed me he had already left for the day. I asked if there was another manager and I was transferred over to the service manager. (I had been speaking with the collision manager) I explained to the service manager my situation and he said that I would need to speak with the collision manager again.

May 18

1:53PM Body Shop
Called and asked for the collision manager. Was told he was with someone and asked if I could leave a message. I gave my name and number and said it was in reference to our conversation on Friday. (I have no calls or voicemail from the body shop for Monday and was working during their business hours so I could not contact them either.)

4:02PM Body Shop
Called the body shop again and asked to speak with the collision manager since I had not heard back from him and they are only open 8-5PM. I was put on hold while he was “paged.” The phone went to a ring back (it seems looking back it was a transfer to his extension) and someone said their name I quickly said hello and then heard that annoying *beep* “Please leave a message.” So I left him a voicemail leaving a message to refresh what my concern was about the rental car along with my name and number. I called back to confirm with the secretary that it was the correct voicemail box I had been transferred to as I could not understand his name and she confirmed it.

May 19

8:44AM Body Shop
Called and asked for the collision manager. Put on hold, ringback got voicemail again.
Called back and asked why the collision manager isn’t taking my calls and explained I was getting frustrated with him not returning my calls for the past few days. She told me he was in another building. I asked when he will be back she said he was in some computer training and not sure when he would return. She told me maybe when he gets a break from it possibly noonish.

8:52AM Service department
**, said he would transfer me to a manager and put me on hold. After a minute I got a messaging service asking me to enter the name of the employee I wanted to leave a message for.

Spoke with a lady and asked if the service manager was in cause I got sent to a messaging center she said he might be out getting a car for someone and she would have him return my call. I asked if there was any training going on and told her I had not heard from the collision manager cause he was in training. She told me that she was not sure what is going on at the collision shop since she does not work over there but knows they are doing training this week for some new things. And said she would have the service manager call me back.

9:05AM Body Shop
Service manager calls me back and said from his understanding the car was green (no not eco friendly green but green like stoplight green ready to go!) from the Honda dealership. I explained to him the brief story and how it had first been to the body shop and returned to me I immediately noticed it was not right and took it back. Then it was taken to the dealership and they looked at it and adjusted the cradle and I thought the alignment was taken before hand and after they adjusted the cradle I was not sure if the alignment was checked. I told him the insurance company has already been out to look at the car at another shop and agreed this was from the same wreck and agreed to fix the suspension and fix the caulking that was missing. He told me he knew that the collision manager had not heard back from the insurance company (I offered to call the insurance company and have them call him as I have no problem getting someone on the line) he said that would be great and help them out. He assured me that the collision manager would not be in training all morning and would definitely call me back before noon. He told me he knew this cause he recognized my name and went to look over the notes (I assume from the collision manager) about the car. I told him I would call the insurance company and have the rep who inspected my car at another body shop get in touch with them.

9:21AM Insurance Company
He read the notes on the account and asked what he could do for me. I told him I was going after the body shop for rental since there was additional repairs to be made to fix what should have already been fixed. He told me there was no note of the body shop ever calling. I asked if I could have the person that did the inspection call the shop and he told me he could call immediately after we hung up I said that would be great and told him the two managers I had been speaking with and that service manager seemed to be available since he returned my call just minutes earlier and that the collision manager was doing training.
Meanwhile… my cereal has gotten soggy but I’m eating it anyway :/

12:23PM NEW Body Shop
Called and talked to the guy there and told him whom I had been speaking with there and he said he was out to lunch so I informed him that I would be taking the car back to the first body shop since that is the only way I can get a rental car. (I felt bad for them cause I really wanted to give them a go and not thrilled with the level of service I have been getting.) He thanked me for letting them know I wouldn’t be setting up an appointment.

12:25PM Insurance Company
I called the insurance back and spoke to the same rep I had earlier today and explained that I would be taking the car back to the first body shop since that is the only way I could get rental coverage. ** Wanted to verify that the body shop can refuse rental to me and would only cover it if the vehicle was taken back to them. He said he would call me back with his findings. (I’m really starting to like this new rep and having the same person handling your claim just makes things easier on everyone.)

** called back and said he looked over the body shops contract with them and spoke with other authorities at the insurance company and found that they can refuse me a rental. And if I take it elsewhere they can hold that as leverage so I would take the car back to them for repairs. He explained there was no problem taking it to another shop and they fully support that and wanted to make sure I understood that. I told him I did but since I really wanted the rental instead of having to make arrangements every work day I would take the car back to the repair shop. He asked me to wait 10 minutes before calling them back and setting up an appointment and I told him he could have 20. He also told me to give it a detailed inspection when they finish and if I find anything at all to call him back immediately. (I’m so excited that someone else is joining me in my fight it feels like I’m rallying the masses to go up against a boss!)

1:00PM Body Shop
Called the repair shop and ** answered I asked to speak with the collision manger and he asked who I was and put me on hold. Seconds later the collision manager answered, I told him I decided to take it back to them and give them another shot at fixing it and asked when I could set up an appointment with them. He asked my work schedule and I told him I was all over the place due to working retail. He asked how my Monday was and I let him know I was off that day. He said he would call the dealership and make sure everything was ok and schedule me in for that day (he said if there were any problems with Monday he would call me back). I asked if I should have it there at 8AM (when they open) and he said give it till 9 or 10 that way I can have some coffee (yes me which I don’t drink coffee nor can I understand why I need coffee while I wait for them to fill out paperwork maybe if he would have said donuts I would have understood better :) ) and the rental guys aren’t always available right at open.

May 24

9:30AM Body Shop
I dropped the car off at the body shop and spoke with the manager. I mentioned the A/C not working and asked if that was something he could evaluate. He let me know they would check it as a courtesy and find out what was wrong and go from there. We then went over Enterprise to get me a rental. I asked for the most fuel efficient car they had and the best they could do was a 2009 Dodge Avenger. 173 Horsepower 21 city / 30 hwy. Eh it’s kinda close to the Honda but at least I’m not paying for it. So I get my rental and head back home.

May 25th

2:50PM Body Shop
Phoned to inquire about the status of the car to see what we were up against. I left a message with the secretary for the manager to call me back.

3:36PM Body Shop
Body shop manager calls me back and explained how all alignment machines are calibrated differently (I can’t for the life of me figure out why that’s relative) and let me know that the A/C problem is due to a defective pressure switch. (something inside the A/C system that tells the compressor to start, so my compressor is fine they tested that) They ordered a new one and informed me the system would need to be evac’d and re-serviced after this new part was installed and that would cost me about $175. I told them that was ok since I needed to have this car for my upcoming vacation I wanted A/C driving from Michigan to Texas in the summer heat. (I could have waited and had my father evac and re-service the system but I felt like for $200 I didn’t want to bake in that car on an 18 hour drive in leather seats down there.) He let me know the passenger side was in spec on the machine but they could not get the drivers side adjusted. He let me know that the bolts were to rusted to adjust that side and said they ordered some new parts so they could bring that side into alignment as well. I asked him if the car was not in alignment on their machine (since they are all calibrated differently) and he paused for a moment then responded. “Well, I guess the best thing to say is we are working on the issue.” Umm yeah doesn’t that sound like what a politician would say? I asked a pretty black and white issue and he gives me something bright yellow… At least they have found problems even if they won’t directly admit they made a mistake the first few times.

May 28

1:25PM Body Shop
I called the manager while on break at work and asked him for another update. He said he was just about to call me and let me know they had got the car into the “acceptable ranges” but it was not where he thought I thought it should be. So basically it’s acceptable according to the guidelines they have for that model car but it should be better having everything replaced and what not I assume. He told me they ordered a heavy duty chamber or something. (I asked my car friends and could not figure out what this is.) He told me when it got finished he could show me so I could understand what it was. What it’s meant to do is help support the suspension. So they were getting that in on Friday and going to have to assemble it and install it.