Being taken for a ride by a dealership service department

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So a few days ago I noticed my car (an 12' Hyundai) flashed a check engine light because the temp spiked. I quickly got the temp down, and parked the car.
I found that the radiator fluid was low, and appeared to be leaking.

Got it topped off, and everything seemed fine except for the slow leak.
I took it into a Hyundai dealership thinking that they would be able to do the job right and maybe more quickly as it was one of their own cars
The dealership told me I had a leak in the radiator, quoted me a price, and I agreed to have them replace it.

Fast forward to today, and I get call from the service manager saying that they finished the work, but my instrument cluster was not working.
My initial reaction was WTF? Everything (other than the leak) was working just fine on the car.

I know the gauges were working fine before I dropped it off. I had just filled up the gas, and I use the tach when driving all the time.
They agreed to look at it after the holidays, but would not say if I would be stuck with the bill for the new diags or any parts that might be needed.
I did out right ask them, and all they would say is that they were not promising to replace the cluster and that they claiming no fault as the radiator is not near the instrument cluster. 

I didn't make a video of everything else working ok before I dropped it off. I didn't really think that would be necessary. Though I am finding myself regretting not going to that extreme that now.
Has any one had an experience like this before?
Do I have any recourse other than to pay for the work I agreed to, and go somewhere else if they refuse to take responsibility for the damage?

Edit- WA state location if that matters. 

Edit 2.
Issue seems to be resolved, but what can I do in the future to avoid this kind of problem?
Cars always need maintenance. Do you need them to do a walk through and verify that everything is working before giving a service dept the keys?
 

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So far this is the most useful suggestion.
Thank you for the idea.

wizardking (Dec. 29, 2016 @ 12:43p) |

Another suggestion is look at Yelp, you can easily see if your local guy is a bad or good.

forbin4040 (Dec. 29, 2016 @ 12:47p) |

I wish I had that resource to take advantage of.

wizardking (Dec. 29, 2016 @ 12:53p) |

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Did they actually replace anything other than the radiator? I'm presuming the BTB warranty is no longer applicable? Did you agree to pay anything in addition to the radiator replacement when you dropped it off? Is there any chance they could claim you authorized additional work over the phone?

In all probability, the cluster will resume normal operation as soon as you pick up the vehicle.

Ask to see the service invoice before they do the other work. See if the mileage is noted on invoice. If it is and is part of the instrument cluster that isn't working, it would show that it was when you brought it in.

DTASFAB said:   Did they actually replace anything other than the radiator? I'm presuming the BTB warranty is no longer applicable? Did you agree to pay anything in addition to the radiator replacement when you dropped it off? Is there any chance they could claim you authorized additional work over the phone?

In all probability, the cluster will resume normal operation as soon as you pick up the vehicle.

No. The only work that was approved was the radiator, and the warranty is long gone.
There is a chance they could claim that I authorized additional work, but it wouldn't be the truth.

I would be ok with the car starting to work fine again when I get it back. If it misses me, I can respect that. 

 

VegasVegan said:   Ask to see the service invoice before they do the other work. See if the mileage is noted on invoice. If it is and is part of the instrument cluster that isn't working, it would show that it was when you brought it in.
This is a great idea. I just had a similar thought a few moments ago. Unfortunately they all went home 3 hours early for x-mas, so I can't verify that the odo is or is not working right now. I only know the gas and tach are not working for 100% right now.
Still at a loss as how they could work on the radiator and break the cluster. 

 

wizardking said: ....Still at a loss as how they could work on the radiator and break the cluster.

First good luck.


Slightly OT but still car related your above quote brought up a thought. Specifically leaving ones car with another. Years & years ago I used to be a parking attendant. Ever after I never let an attendant park my car. Because I know intentional or not, thousands of $ of damage can be done in seconds. Not talking about external damage either or not necessarily immediately noticeable mechanical damage. The damage might not show up for a while resulting in a early/rare repair or one that should never be needed. If self parking is not available or close safe parking. Then I'll tip/bribe an attendant to park the car myself & take the keys.

zapjb said:   
Years & years ago I used to be a parking attendant. Ever after I never let an attendant park my car. Because I know intentional or not, thousands of $ of damage can be done in seconds. Not talking about external damage either or not necessarily immediately noticeable mechanical damage. The damage might not show up for a while resulting in a early/rare repair or one that should never be needed. If self parking is not available or close safe parking. Then I'll tip/bribe an attendant to park the car myself & take the keys.

  As a former CPA myself (Car Parking Attendant), I agree.

Thanks for the advice on parking. However if the dealership tries to blame me for the cluster not working, do I have any recourse other than posting a bad review online and looking for someone elsewhere to fix my new problem?

Which part of WA?

I assume no more warranty coverage at this point? I would take it to a trusted (Cross-reference Yelp and AAA) shop and get a 2nd opinion. Also, exactly what had they done to fix the coolant issue?

For posterity, the dealership called me up today and stated that it is all working fine now.
They are stating that it was a low battery causing the issues.
How you could get the car to start with a battery that was too low to get the instrument cluster to function is also beyond me. (They said that the tech noticed the cluster not working during a test drive)
I will be keeping a very close eye on it. Fingers crossed that it will behave.

Glad you're sorted.

wizardking said:   For posterity, the dealership called me up today and stated that it is all working fine now.
They are stating that it was a low battery causing the issues.
How you could get the car to start with a battery that was too low to get the instrument cluster to function is also beyond me. (They said that the tech noticed the cluster not working during a test drive)
I will be keeping a very close eye on it. Fingers crossed that it will behave.

  Sounds like alternator, not battery.  Alternator problems can be notoriously sporadic.  Is there any chance they had to adjust or remove the alternator or alternator belt to access the radiator or radiator brackets?

That's an old ruse.put a blown fuse in say they replaced it.pop fuse back in.walla.. Money for beer and drugs..

Moral of the story - don't bring your car to a dealer for service, find a trusted local mechanic.

bandofbrothers said:   Moral of the story - don't bring your car to a dealer for service, find a trusted local mechanic.
 Wish I had one.However the only way I know to find one is to just keep trying new places until my ass doesn't bleed from the experience.
 I was hoping the 4/7/5 star rating on google reviews would help me hedge my bet at this dealership.

Still not sure how to keep a new place from taking me for a ride without requiring them to do a 40 point inspect at the time of drop off.

Look for a shop that got the AAA Top Shop award.

wizardking said:   Still not sure how to keep a new place from taking me for a ride without requiring them to do a 40 point inspect at the time of drop off.Learn about your car and do your own "40 point" inspection.
  

wizardking said:   
bandofbrothers said:   Moral of the story - don't bring your car to a dealer for service, find a trusted local mechanic.
 Wish I had one.However the only way I know to find one is to just keep trying new places
 

  
Ask friends, particularly those with the same make of car.

That's how I found an honest shop local to me which specializes in Japanese cars.

NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
wizardking said:   Still not sure how to keep a new place from taking me for a ride without requiring them to do a 40 point inspect at the time of drop off.
Learn about your car and do your own "40 point" inspection.
  

  I do not understand how my knowledge of my car working will prevent a shop from breaking something and then trying to blame me for it.
Can you please elaborate?

And for the record, I am very knowledge about my car. Thus the reason I was able to tell them what was likely wrong when I dropped off the car.
I would have done the work myself, but I don't have a good place to do the work at the moment.

ZenNUTS said:   Look for a shop that got the AAA Top Shop award.
  So far this is the most useful suggestion.
Thank you for the idea.

Another suggestion is look at Yelp, you can easily see if your local guy is a bad or good.

doveroftke said:   
wizardking said:   
bandofbrothers said:   Moral of the story - don't bring your car to a dealer for service, find a trusted local mechanic.
 Wish I had one.However the only way I know to find one is to just keep trying new places

  
Ask friends, particularly those with the same make of car.

That's how I found an honest shop local to me which specializes in Japanese cars.

  I wish I had that resource to take advantage of. 



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