Mechanic dispute, request for advice

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by Jenny867, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. Jenny867

    Jenny867 New Member

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    My dear longtime mechanic just retired, and I went to a new mechanic. I showed the new mechanic the battery cutoff switch my old mechanic had installed, and the new mechanic said he would have to charge me extra to work around it. When I got the car back, the switch didn’t work anymore. I’m writing this thread to ask people’s advice on how to deal with this, if at all.


    My old mechanic put the switch in because when I purchased the Prius used, the Toyota dealership who looked it over for me warned me that this particular car needed to be run regularly. It wasn’t driven for years by the prior owner. This posed an issue for me because I travel a lot, and the battery kept draining. Since my old mechanic installed the switch, I haven’t had any issues - except when the pandemic hit and I forgot about my car completely and the battery drained. When I met the new mechanic, I showed him the switch, and he said he would have to charge me extra to inspect the battery because of the switch. When I got the car back with a new battery and noticed the switch didn’t work, I also noticed a wire in the trunk. I came back to the new mechanic, and he blamed the switch, my old mechanic, and he tried, but he could not fix it. He said that wire was old and served no purpose so he took it out, but my old mechanic didn’t make mistakes like leaving an extra wire inside the car. The new mechanic said he’d be willing to buy me a new switch, but that he won’t install it because he thinks it’s a bad idea to have one at all. His tone came off as arrogant to me. He kept trying to get me to run my mouth so that he could get me to say something he could use to defend himself. He also pretended he couldn’t hear me through my mask when it suited him to do so. I stayed calm and left.


    This is what I want to ask him for in writing, and please chime in. However, please be nice. Like many of you, I have been under a lot of stress and know people who have gotten sick and died recently. I want to show the new mechanic the receipt from my old mechanic and ask him to pay me what my old mechanic charged me to install the switch. I also want the new mechanic to refund the surcharge that he charged me for having to work around the switch.


    Thank you for having read all fo this, and for any (kind and fair) advice.





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  2. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Your new mechanic is conditioned to be terrified of any kind of custom work that he didn't do himself. It has kept him safe. If he isn't willing to step outside those bounds at all, then he's not the right guy to maintain your car modified with that cutoff switch.

    Recover whatever you can and find a new new mechanic. To be honest I doubt there's anything wrong with the switch, just needs to be re-incorporated into the battery circuit by somebody who understands what it is and how it should work.
     
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  3. Jenny867

    Jenny867 New Member

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    Thank you
     
  4. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Sorry to hear about your stress and challenges during this time.

    I tend to agree with Leadfoot, without even bothering to figure out what this mechanics psychology might be.

    I could say more, but basically, if you're not comfortable dealing with, or happy with the work done, you have every freedom to choose a new mechanic.

    Give the stress of the times, I wouldn't even bother with any escalation between yourself and this mechanic. I would just move on.
    I would just seek out another mechanic. Wouldn't even bother seeking refund or replacement here.

    The path of least resistance here is to just look for a new mechanic.

    I have to say, warn, that maybe quite a few independent mechanics and surely dealership mechanics might be hesitant and refuse to work on an aftermarket installation or modification. They can be held liable if anything goes wrong and is traced back to that modification.

    But you have right as the owner of the vehicle and as the paying customer to be comfortable and happy with your chosen mechanic. If this isn't the case....keep looking until you find another mechanic you like better.
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    try hybrid fix
     
  6. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    @Jenny867

    If you do end up needing to replace it, that switch was purchased at Harbor Freight, $8, but is discontinued. A new one is item 63425. A similar one is available from Grainger for about $40 but is also made in China. Made in USA models are typically $100+ range

    Battery Cutoff Switch

    It should be installed in the battery (-) cable circuit to ensure there's no chance of bare terminals causing problems.

    The negative cable from the battery, in OEM configuration, is fastened to the rear wall of the trunk, just to the rear of the 12v battery. To install the switch, remove the fastener at the rear wall and attach the cable to one of the switch terminals. Using a wire similar to the one found in your trunk, attach one end to the other terminal of the switch and the other end to the wall where the negative cable was originally fastened. Make sure everything is tight and you're done. Switch is installed. It just doesn't get any easier than that. I would be seriously concerned about the new mechanics competency if he's unable to understand that. Actually, if he told me he needed to charge extra, I'd have likely told him to .... off.

    Most likely, your new mechanic just removed the switch and new cable from the circuit, then just fastened the battery negative cable back where it belonged so it was placed back to 'factory original' condition.
     
    #6 TMR-JWAP, Jul 11, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  7. Jenny867

    Jenny867 New Member

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    Thank you.


    Thank you
     
    #7 Jenny867, Jul 11, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2020
  8. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    To be honest, the first guy's solution to the problem wasn't the best.

    An SAE battery connector pigtail and a small battery tender would have been a much better solution.
    And that still applies.

    BUT.....if the car is driven regularly, NEITHER of those things need to be done.
    Your car should take care of the new battery just fine with no help at all.
     
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  9. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    There's a million ways to skin that cat and infinite space for debate over which solution would be best. All that matters in this case is that the OP's second mechanic refused to adopt and support the first mechanic's solution. Then in the course of troubleshooting a "no-ready" has un-done the modification that OP originally desired. That wasn't on the work order request.

    I don't need to get involved in why OP wanted a cutoff switch. I already know firsthand that they're occasionally useful and have installed and used a few myself and that's good enough for me.

    OP just needs a mechanic as knowledgeable about and supportive of custom electrical work as her original mechanic. This should not be hard in LA, @bisco's suggestion is worth following.

    utterly savage electrical joke detected
     
  10. Jenny867

    Jenny867 New Member

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    Hello again, thank you for your advice again. I heard back from the new mechanic. He seems to be ready to reimburse me some of the money. I offered to find the invoice from my old mechanic for the installation of the battery cut off switch, but I’m not finding it. Do you have any idea what a fair price might be this kind of job?
     
  11. AzusaPrius

    AzusaPrius Member

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    Your new mechanic is trying to keep you as a customer, he doesnt have to return any money to you.

    That was previous work done and he wasnt going to mess with it, it is called liability. You agreed for him to remove it and the charge.

    Now you are upset about it but your car is working now so drive it.
     
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  12. iceman13

    iceman13 Member

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    There is a lot of missing info here that most likely we will never find out. Installing a battery cutoff switch is not unheard off but this is a first for me in a Prius. My opinion is that a cutoff switch is a safety mechanism not a solution for a battery drain issue, that is just sloppy work. The first mechanic, if it was a competent one, should have found the drain and fix it. The Prius has a very small capacity 12v battery so it’s bound to fail sooner than normal sized ones if the car is not driven enough. That said, the battery should have been replaced the moment she bought the car because the dealer told her it was not driven enough. Installing a cutoff switch seems to be an attempt to prolong the life of a bad battery that wouldn’t even survive the night connected. Just my two cents considering so little info.
     
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  13. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    @Jenny867

    When the original switch was installed, where was the switch located? What did you have to do to operate it?
     
  14. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    It's difficult to try and backtrace a labor estimate like that.

    The answers to @TMR-JWAP's line of questions would help inform a somewhat better labor guess.
     
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  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    there have been several members here who have installed them. it's not a bad way to go for an infrequently used car, or those times when you are away, and the car is home alone.

    the new mechanic sounds like a loser
     
  16. Jenny867

    Jenny867 New Member

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    I found this photo on my harddrive today. I would have to crawl in the back and flip the switch. That would cut power to the car, and I could safely leave the car for months. When I got back into town, I would open the car with the non-electric valet key, crawl in back, and turn the switch on.

    Any ideas for what it would cost to get it fixed would be greatly appreciated. New mechanic seems ready to pay.
     

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    #16 Jenny867, Jul 13, 2020
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  17. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    personally I’ve installed them myself using parts from fleet farm. You can buy ones that either bolt on both the cable and battery or ones you crimp.


    it is rarely worth the effort to trace a battery drain, especially when it’s “by design “
    a battery disconnect is cheap insurance
     
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  18. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    For the second time:
    Installing a battery tender connector would be a MUCH better solution to the problem,
    IF you have access to power where it is parked.
    MUCH BETTER.

    Then......if you still have the switch in hand.....and that cable......re-installing it should take about a half hour.
    The cost depends on the hourly shop labor rate.
     
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