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Service mechanic claims my Prius was involved in an accident

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles' started by stati, Apr 18, 2012.

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  1. stati

    stati New Member

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    I wouldn't say I'm new to PC but this is my first post in this forum.
    Till date I was a passive user who used to get clarification on various issues/doubts. Today I had an incident with a service adviser at a local Toyota showroom that made me write this.

    I have a 2010 Pri IV that I purchased from the previous owner in Oct-11. I've been using it for past 6 months w/o any problems. One feature I didn't use till now was the remote AC. I tired it a couple of time before and it didn't work. I thought it must be one of those infinite conditions that were not satisfied. This week though, I had everything right, outside temp was ~85F and the AC was set to auto at 72F. Still the remote AC did not work. I took the fob to test for battery and the signal strength from the AC button was very strong.

    Today I left the car at the Toyota dealer for him to check what is wrong. He called me and told that the car must have been involved in a small collusion or fender bender. He claims either me or the previous owner had this accident. This accident neither came up in Carfax or in Toyota's own records. He claims some parts inside the hood on the passenger side were replaced. He showed me a metal part close to the fender that he claims was replaced(because it is more shiny than the one in the drivers side). He also said that must have caused some wiring to have be damaged which was not replaced.

    I have a tough time believing his story

    1) Is it possible for a metal part under the hood to be damaged w/o it leaving a visible mark on the body? Can any mechanic fix it to perfection? I don't even see any hint of repainting around the region. It was so close to the headlight that I can't believe the headlight unit was intact.

    2) To fix this, he claims there is no part change needed. Just some wire that needs to be replaced. He is charging me $300 just for labor. At this rate mechanics should live in mansions and drive Bentley cars to work.
    And of course, I can't claim warrant because it was, well, an human error the resulted in this.

    I request experts in this form to look at my case and suggest how I should take this forward. Btw, I'm planning to take some pictures of the car tomorrow and post them for your reference.

    And thanks, you were patient enough to go thru the entire post :)
    It will be a bonus for me if you have any comments to write!
  2. Yogi56

    Yogi56 New Member

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    Carfax is only good if the body shop does their job and reports the repair. Did they show you the issue or just describe it? I would think the brains for the remote A/C are under the dash or somewhere in the interior?
  3. Mike500

    Mike500 Interessen-Gemeinschaft Prius

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    No having seen the car or the part in question, I cannot determine whether the mechanic's claims or right or wrong.

    The part could have been damaged on the "assembly line," of all of the parts attached laterappear to be factory perfect. This could and does happen. The quality control technician or operator could have passed it on as "adequate" or deid it to "save face" hoping that it might not be notice.

    Then, again, not all fender benders are registered with Carfax or other data bases. The owner might have paid cash and had it fixed. The hood is aluminum, I guess, and required special tools to repair. That leads me to believe it might have been a "factory" job.

    Agaim without examining it, myself, I cannot come to a valid conclusion.
  4. cproaudio

    cproaudio Speedlock Overrider

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    I think in order for accidents to show up on carfax, the damage must cost above certain price. cleanliness of certain part doesn't mean it's been replaced. Previous owner could have buffed the hell out of that part to test out wax pr polish. Major body parts on the Prius have VIN numbers, check if they match. Wires don't go bad unless there's physical element that cause it to go bad like corrosion. If wires need to be replace, then it needs replacement wires, therefore it needs parts. I would only pay the money if the mechanic can show you the work involved. If something got unplugged, then I can see why the repair doesn't require any parts but then again, $300 for him to plug in a plug seem kind of steep.
  5. krazypriuslady

    krazypriuslady Member

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    Can you take it to another dealer for a 2d opinion and for the experts, would the first toyota dealer document this under the VIN so you can't get a 'clean' new estimate from a 2d dealer?
  6. ImeanGreen

    ImeanGreen Prius v Five BP Brigade #236

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    Maybe the previous owner lost a remote and got a remote with an AC option which the car did not come with that feature in the first place. Always get a second opinion from a different dealership.
  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    does the a/c work fine and just the remote that's the prolem?
  8. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    Why? It all sounds very plausible. You don't know the car's history because you are not the original owner. It is possible that the prior owner had a minor incident and paid out of pocket for repairs, esp. if underneath his collision deductible.



    I don't know of any mechanics that are particularly well-off. The reason that you are being charged $300 is that you don't have the expertise to fix it yourself. But, it is your choice to waste your time and that of others to get a second opinion because you are a cheapskate.
  9. mickey513

    mickey513 Member

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    The vehicle "could be" in a accident or not. Every car dealership will have some kind of paint measuring device on premise that they use to tell if any type of paint work has been done on the car. The device isn't really that expensive and very portable.
  10. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator Staff Member

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    That's likely not the case as the OP has Solar Roof Package IV listed as their model type. Solar Roof means it includes Remote A/C.

    I'd suggest a 2nd opinion too.
  11. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    Stati, can you post the dealer service history so we can see if something looks odd?
  12. toyolover

    toyolover Member

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    Please post a picture of the shinny metal and the specify the location of this part. We'll see if this particular has anything to do with the AC remote function.
  13. stati

    stati New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the reply.

    I had a look under the hood today. I have to agree with the mechanic that something was replaced. I've attached a picture of the car portion that is in question. The metal plate did appear newer and shiner than that on the drivers side. I also noticed that the fender on this side does not have the VIN where as the one on the other side has the VIN sticker. I checked this on my friends 2010 Prius and his car has VIN on both the fenders. How about your car? I believe all Prius will have the VIN on both fenders, can you let me know if you car is missing one VIN sticker?

    I'm still finding it difficult to understand what kind of impact would result in this. The hood had not be changed. In fact the mechanic believes there was definitely no work done on the hood itself. This is so close to the headlight unit, which is intact and was not replaced. I also going to talk to the original owner if he is aware of this. Surely this is a $1000-$2000 bill for which most people would have called insurance.
    Anyways, looks like I have some work done on my car for which I don't have any paperwork.

    @toyolover: Looking at the pic, do you think AC wiring will be anywhere close to this?

    BTW folks, my car does have the remote AC and yes the AC works fine when switched on from inside the car. My only problem was that the remote AC on the FOB does not work.

    After some talking, I was given a quote of $200 to fix the AC issue.
    I'm going to take this. I don't mind paying this sum . I'm now worried that in the future I'll be asked to pay for any mechanical problem around this area...I will have to argue and bargain each time :(

    Attached Files:

  14. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    It is cheap people like you who are pushing the good people like galaxee's husband out of the business. I personally have been on the fence as to whether to open a shop full time or go back to work in finance, and this story has definitely pushed me towards the latter. By shear luck, you happened to stumble upon an outstanding dealership tech, who told you exactly what had happened and gave you information worth far more than $300 in terms of this and future repairs, yet all you have done is put the chinga to him.
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  15. tach18k

    tach18k Member

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    Looks like the headlight may have collided with a protruding object, like a steel pole or side of a flat bed truck, taking out the headlight and bracket behind it.That being said, I would guess all remote wiring is done under the dash/or firewall and not wired to the front of the car.
  16. kbeck

    kbeck Active Member

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    Look, seilerts, give the OP a break.

    There's a ton of good mechanics out there. No problem with that.

    There's also mechanics who shouldn't be touched with a ten foot pole. Or maybe that's OK, if one is swinging the pole.

    This guy gets a pretty good story about what's wrong with his A/C, he doesn't know if the guy is on the level or not, so he asks for advice. He got it, and it looks likely the previous owner put the car into a pole.

    Remember: Con men (not saying this mechanic is one, mind you) are successful because they >do< appear trustworthy and reliable. Especially when they're not. Heck, you say you work in the financial industry: There's plenty of good brokers and such out there. And there's that list of, what, ten or so people every week in the Wall Street Journal who're being thrown out of that industry on their ear by the SEC. And that's the ones who were caught. How long did Bernie Madoff go before he turned himself in?

    Asking for advice when one isn't sure if the story is right or not is a good idea. I'm glad the guy came here. So, lighten up, hear?

    KBeck.
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  17. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    If the bill was $300, the tech would have seen at most $100 of that. Knock $100 off, and now the tech is down to $66. The fact that a repair estimate was not given that would have involved replacing computers and wiring harness for thousands of dollars shows how unusually lucky the original poster was.

    I am dead serious here, good guys are leaving the field because they don't get paid crap for diagnostic work, or repairs that don't involve new parts. Most people will not spend that much on actual repairs on their Prius over the life of the car, but when something happens, you definitely want an expert to fix it. If something goes wrong and it is only a few hundred bucks to fix it, be thankful that it was so cheap and quick, lest you find in a few years that the experts are nowhere to be found.

    To be honest, I found the original poster's comment of mechanics living in mansions to be grossly insulting, and about the furthest thing from reality.
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  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    agreed. if there is something seriously wrong with my car, i want a great technician and am willing to pay for it. what gives the industry a bad name and makes people sceptical is when you want an oil and filter change, they try to hard sell you the 15,000 mile $400. 'lookover' service and then proceed to add too much oil. you find a good tech, you stick with him/her. most of us never need it with these cars.
  19. stati

    stati New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the response!

    I wanted to add some notes before this thread is closed.
    I did get my A/C fixed. A wire had to be plugged properly. Nothing more was needed.

    seilerts, Sorry if I offended you in anyway. When I told the Toyota guy that the A/C button on the key doesn't work, his first reaction was "what is that button supposed to do?". Not all mechs are equal. I need to find a better one.
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