The Auto & Tire Doctor
First of all: I have come to find out that 3 people (all women) in my family have been overcharged by this place. Second of all: DO NOT TAKE YOUR CAR THERE! Are they honest? Hahahahhaah. (For reference: I am a young female, so, yeah, you can imagine...). Let me tell you what happened to me... I was in Truckee for an appointment when my car overheated and tons of white smoke started billowing out of the hood. Meanwhile, a friendly individual stopped his car and helped me push my car onto the shoulder until I could get a tow to a mechanic. This random, helpful stranger asked if I knew where I could find a mechanic, and I mentioned that I was going to the Auto Dr. (this was the only repair shop I had known about). He said, "You shouldn't go there--they have a really bad reputation in the local community for overcharging." He then suggested another repair shop and even looked up their phone number for me. I called this place, but they didn't do any major engine repairs. They recommended A1 Automotive, but my phone died before I could contact them. I ended up (for reasons of convenience and unfamiliarity with Truckee) taking my car to the Auto Dr. and simply hoping for the best. One of my uncles is a mechanic, and he accurately diagnosed the issue as a blown head gasket. Perhaps this is standard practice (?), but I have never once been to a mechanic who charged me $105 to look at my car and determine what was wrong...this was the first indication of what was to come. By testing the emissions of my car they determined it was a blown head gasket. For the replacement of the head gasket and coolant system I was quoted $3100. If that seems exorbitant to you, then your estimation is correct. I had, by this time, done extensive research on what was a reasonable price to expect for a head gasket repair. Most of the message boards I read said to expect about $1500 for the make, model, and year of my car. My uncle, the mechanic, said that a private mechanic could repair it for about $600-$700, while I should expect to pay around $1500 at a repair shop. This information confirmed my research online. When the Auto Dr. called me with the $3100 estimate, I said there was no way I could or would pay that. He said that I had 3 choices: 1. pay the amount and have them repair it, 2. get my car towed and taken elsewhere, or 3. sign the title over to them and they'd "waive" the $105 diagnostic fee and "take care of" my car for me. YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY: $105 FOR THE OWNERSHIP OF MY (4WD) VEHICLE. The parts alone for this car would be worth at least $1000...and that's probably a low estimation. I shared this information with my father and he drove up there and communicated his dismay with their taking advantage of a young woman in distress/quoting a ridiculously high price. They knocked the estimate cost down to $2200 upon this encounter. $900 LESS just b/c a male went in and confronted them about the overcharging. He told them we'd take our business elsewhere. Over the next week I tried to decide what I would do, how I would find a more honest and affordable mechanic. A week later I received a voice mail from the Auto Dr. saying that if I didn't get my car "today", then I would be charged $45/day, starting THAT DAY for "storage" of my car. I could not believe this was all happening. I live and work one hour away from Truckee, and so had to find a way to get there immediately after work to avoid accruing additional $45/day fines. Please also note that they have a HUGE, 1/2 empty parking lot (as in, half the size of a grocery store parking lot). Since I wouldn't be able to make it before their closing hours (due to work), I paid the $105 diagnostic fee over the telephone and said I'd pick my car up around 7pm that day. He said that if it wasn't gone by the morning, I'd be charged $45. I picked my car up that night and bid adieu to that corrupt business. I took my car to A1 Automotive, and they fixed everything the Auto Dr. said they'd fix and much MORE (including welding my exhaust for free--something not associated with the head gasket repair at all). I ended up getting my car fixed for $1300 LESS than I was quoted at the Auto Dr. And that included repairs not even included in the estimate from the Auto Dr. (e.g. cylinder head repairs/ valve repairs). That should give you a good idea of the overcharging and dishonest ways of the Auto Dr. Additionally: my sister told me later she took her 2006 Jeep there for a transmission tune-up, was charged $250, as well as encouraged to spend $1000 in unneeded repairs. She declined the latter. To add insult to injury, my mother drove my sister to the Auto Dr. to pick up her Jeep and my mother's battery died in the parking lot. The Auto Dr. charged her twice the normal cost for a battery. Bottom line: save your money. Avoid a business that is known to rip off its customers.