Galaxee's unnecessary brake replacement adventures

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by galaxee, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    Hey guys! Sorry we haven't been around much. It's for a good reason- things are going well and we're just really busy with life. Also, we're preparing for a little one due to arrive in the spring. :)

    Anyway, I posted a while back showing our brake pads at 108k miles compared to a brand new set. I promised I'd share the rest of the story once I'd sorted things out some more. So here I am!

    The story starts with me minding my own business and a large piece of tree debris attacking my car- it tore up a lot of suspension and took out two tires. Fortunately I was going slowly and had the right of way in the intersection I was entering, as I was left with little steering or brake power! Nobody was hurt. After a flagrantly unacceptable amount of time/screwing around on Progressive's part, we wound up with a comprehensive claim and two new tires, a strut, control arm, and various plastic undercar pieces. No frame or body damage, fortunately.

    But that wasn't the end of it. Soon there were other noises. Rather than take it all back to the body shop and have them argue it out with Progressive, DH diagnosed a bent axle and consequently the bearing was toast. That was pretty straightforward once we pointed it all out, and after the hell I raised at Progressive's offices they got it taken care of for us pretty quickly. We did have to pay about $300 for an OEM axle, they wanted to put an aftermarket one in there.

    But, still we hadn't found the end of it. There was a leftover wobble noise after all of this was said and done. I once again called Progressive, spent entirely too much time dealing with my (jerk) claim rep, managers, regional people, and FINALLY got a new adjuster who was much better. We decided to take it to the dealership, as we didn't know if there was a drivetrain issue involved.

    That dealership is Jim Coleman Toyota in Bethesda, MD. You might guess I'm calling them out- you'd be right.

    Their first guess (I say guess for a reason) was that the very minor rust tracking on the brake rotors was causing the wobble noise- a maintenance issue, not an insurance issue. They would not consider other diagnoses until the brakes were done at their low low price of OMG Wth. After the steam stopped coming out of DH's ears, we realized we had to comply so we bought their overly-marked-up brake pads and had them turn the rotors to the tune of ARE YOU #$*&^ KIDDING ME. But we thought we'd give them the business in good faith.

    Mistake. First, of course the brakes were not the problem, any idiot would know this. (They just wanted the gravy job sans putting in diagnostic time, and were happy to take advantage of someone stuck in the insurance process.) Second, things only got worse from there when we discovered they had warped our rotors on the lathe.

    DH was less than happy with having wasted our time and money on what were perfectly good brakes. He spent entirely too much time over there trying to get the car in the hands of someone who could diagnose his way out of a paper bag. The result? We got a brand new bearing to replace the brand new bearing we got a few weeks prior and they said there was nothing wrong with the rotors. Yeah, that helped. Or not.

    Meanwhile, the rotor thing was making the car that much worse, so we ordered new rotors (and a second set of new pads, sigh) from a place that doesn't mark up +100% or more. I took the car back and said, damnit, these are warped rotors. On the test drive, the master tech condescendingly insisted all the racket the car made was not warped rotors, it was due to improperly done brake work and oh, they're happy to fix that right up for me for the low low price of OMG Wth. They're only warped if the pedal shakes- riiiiiight. By the way, still never heard the original noise we were taking the car in for.

    I sensed a pattern, and I was pissed off. Narrowly avoiding lighting off a scorched-earth verbal tirade in front of everyone, I said we'd fix our own $%^@ brakes and left. (Like I'm going to reward them for screwing us over and lying to us by handing them more business. Nice try.)

    New rotors and pads got done yesterday- tada, now the car is back to normal except the original noise we are trying to nail down. Rotors not warped- my nice person, Jim Coleman.

    So these clowns and their failed three-ring circus of trying to get us to do unnecessary gravy-work as a gateway to actually fixing the car? They got about $250 of our cash, and another dealership parts department got another $200. For brakes that were perfectly fine. And we've gotten nowhere on the reason we went there.

    Fools. Little do they know what a loud voice I have, and that I don't handle being talked down to, lied to, and cheated very well.

    So I think we're heading back to the original model of DH diagnosing the problem before taking the car in. It's hard, because we have a lot less free time and still fewer daylight hours than we'd like, but next weekend is a 3-day weekend and he's got a few ideas to chase down. Sucks to do all this without a lift, but nobody else is gonna figure this thing out.

    I give Progressive a total fail on the first adjuster (and the body shop, well, they did their best despite this dude), the second adjuster gets an A+ from us so far.
    Jim Coleman? They no longer exist as far as I'm concerned.

    Further updates when we track the other noise down...
     
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  2. rogerv

    rogerv Senior Member

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    Sorry to hear about all the trouble you've had getting the car fixed properly. But I do have a question. How did you get Progressive to handle this under comprehensive? Sounds like you ran into or over the tree debris, which would make it collision, with the applicable deductible. For example, if the tree fell on the car as you drove under it, that would be comprehensive damage; but it the tree fell in the street and you ran into it, that would be collision. At least that has been my experience.
     
  3. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    It rolled off the hill on the side of the road as I drove by. I did not hit it- it jammed itself in the wheel well as I passed by! There was no opportunity for me to have done anything.
     
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  4. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Wow what a chance that was! Glad to know that no one got hurt. Sorry to hear the bad experiences with the insurance company and car dealer. Hope things will get better. Congrats on the future newborn!
     
  5. kohnen

    kohnen Grumpy, Cranky Senior Member

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    CONGRATS! :welcome: TO THE WORLD, LITTLE ONE!!!!!
     
  6. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    You're buying a C?!
    Just kidding, Congrats!

    Also, keep us posted on the story.
    And come around more often. :)
     
  7. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    Congrats on the little one. Condolences on the retards at the dealership.
     
  8. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    i would send the brake job redo bill to Coleman. he broke it, he can pay to fix it. there has to be some sort of warranty on the job he did and the fact you had to redo it in such a short period of time.
     
  9. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    i have no more time to waste at the dealership. they denied time and time again that the rotors were warped, and they said instead that DH did the pads wrong. (LOL, yeah, sure.) of course he did it the exact same way the second time, and with new rotors it's perfect again. with all the other bull i have to deal with in my life right now, Coleman is best written off and warned against to others.
     
  10. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Coleman may indeed be incompetent schmuks, but the moral is more general: if a customer hears a repair assessment s/he thinks is likely wrong, get a second opinion. The overall cost will be less.
     
  11. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    :p
    Contrary to your avatar, Is the above stuff, the part that is not 'Mostly Benevolent' ?

    Yea, I feel your pain. Our hybrid SUV (hyhi clone, the RX) has had an alignment issue (and yes, there IS a TSB on it) that the lovely folks down at the shop have YET to fix ... which of course has caused the death of TWO whole sets of tires now. We just mounted our 3rd set.

    After Lexus replaced the defective part, one would THINK the tires would track straight. Oh yes ... they DID. Of course (you gotta laugh) the pressures on the pulling side were set 15 pounds higher than the other side ... and when I adjusted them properly? BOOM same ol' same ol'. Thank you Tustin Lexus.

    And ... as a parting shot? (the alignment process requires them to pull the aux battery to do the alignment, which causes you to loose some programming) ... we noticed the sun roof no longer has proper memory, nor do the seat memories ... and the worst thing of all is the idle cut off takes for EVER now (stage 2 warm up) ... all because the reprogramming apparently wasn't covered under warranty.

    By the time they were done having me grab my ankles, I was wishing their parts department sold rope, so I could just go hang myself for ever going down there in the 1st place.

    .
     
  12. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

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    All this simply reinforces my belief that it is better to buy a car that's already out of warranty and do all the maintenance (preventive and corrective) yourself. I cannot stand dealing with dealers and I've never had a good feeling when I left that they did the right thing. My wife ran our 2001 Prius out of gas and the usual lights came on. After adding gas, I took it to the dealer to make sure nothing was hurt (b/c the lights were still on) and they told me I needed $1200 in repairs which included a new gas tank. Needless to say, I refused the repairs and haven't had another problem with it. I know there are some good Prius techs out there and they will likely be offended by this but, I haven't met any of the good ones at the dealer.

    I am so glad that both of my Prius' are out of warranty and I don't have to deal with the stealer's service dept.
     
  13. Michgal007

    Michgal007 Senior Member

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    Nice to see you around Galaxee, and congrats! Sorry to hear about your troubles with the dealership and insurance people.
     
  14. danl

    danl New Member

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    Good read. Galaxee, I feel your pain. You're not alone. I'm currently going through the exact same process. Girl slammed into my passenger side rear wheel, force of the impact spun me 180 degrees. Insurance is being the usual PITA jerks that they are. I took the car to my dealer's collision center, and so far they're been OK. I did have to argue with them that my wheel was leaning into the car at an angle. They insisted it was fine until they tried to do an alignment and couldn't. Not they tell me a new replacement part, "rear axle assembly" (Prius doesn't have a rear axle!) is on the way.

    Oh and the gravy jobs you described so well? Yup, fell victim to those in the past.
     
  15. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    second opinion... LOL... yeah, we know. DH is a former diagnostic prius tech who initiated several of the early TSBs and repair manual corrections/clarifications on the 2nd gen prius. he was the second opinion, he knew it was a load of crap designed to make them some free money, but we didn't really have a choice but cater to their demands because we're stuck going through insurance. insurance doesn't pay for you to fix your car in your parking lot, no matter how much more competent you are. ;) DH was, however, the party who actually replaced the brakes (the right way) initially, and then again (with new rotors) after the dealership warped my rotors. he knew early on, before he got out of dealer service work, that eventually people "working on" hybrids would have no idea how to actually fix them. consequently, this stupid insurance issue is the one and only reason that ANYONE other than DH has so much as touched the car. it's terribly frustrating to not be able to do this ourselves. argh. hill... i know, i know... were i younger/less exhausted/not a professional/etc and if my car didn't have a direct (parking sticker) indication of where i worked and therefore what organization i indirectly represented... let me tell you.
     
  16. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    i'm back, for a quick update anyway. somehow all my time keeps on disappearing on me. :)

    after a discussion with my claims adjuster following this last three-ring-circus dealer experience, he was alright with me trying a different dealership for another shot at fixing this issue. kudos to my adjuster for sticking with me here.

    i just walked into the next dealership and asked them to please check out the strange noise my car was making. their tech heard it right away, and identified it as transmission damage. they got a move on, worked with my adjuster, and are installing a replacement- approved by us and paid by insurance (used, but very low miles and with lifetime warranty backed by the insurance company) right now. we should have it back in a few days.

    few things would make me happier right now than for this to all be fixed BEFORE our little one arrives. (until now i have felt very pessimistic about this.) i am duly impressed so far but i'll laud the dealership by name when i test drive the fixed up car myself. i reserve the right to make my final judgment then.
     
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  17. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Yipes, what a nightmare...I would have taken someone's head off by now.
     
  18. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    So, can you get the old trans and do an autopsy?
     
  19. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    The cool part is that you could sew it back on so they could get back to work!
     
  20. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    Got my fingers crossed, my toes crossed hoping for a good outcome. I figured why not? My eyes are already crossed just trying to understand why this issue is still going on!
     
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