The Auto & Tire Doctor
My car's voltage regulator (part of the alternator) gave up the ghost going over Donner Pass on a wintry Friday evening, and my car was towed to Auto Doctor. Even though they're open Saturdays, the guy who does German cars wasn't there, so I had to wait until Monday evening to get my 01 Audi S4 repaired. Now, as the driver of a heavily modified 12-year old German car, I'm no stranger to fixing the car myself or taking it to a shop to handle jobs I don't have the time or tools to tackle. I've been to a few shops, and what happened at this one left me thoroughly unimpressed. 1. The part in question cost $350 at a local auto parts store (I called when my car broke down to find out if the part exists locally). Auto Doctor charged me $475 for it. 2. When I first walked in through the door on Monday afternoon, the owner (?) was sitting with his side to the door talking to two of his mechanics. It took about 30 seconds for him to turn around and acknowledge the existence of a customer standing like a schmuck in the middle of his shop. Even a "hi, just a second" would have been good, but to not even acknowledge my existence was definitely a calculated power play. Further, in the hour I spent there, I couldn't get their wifi to work (I needed to do some work on my laptop). When I asked the owner (?) if he could reset the router for me (as a computer engineer, I knew that would very likely fix the problem), he gave me some BS excuse "oh, it's locked away somewhere, plus your car will be ready soon". So -- pretty shitty customer service, unless you're one of the locals who comes in regularly. 3. And finally, the big one -- the repair was done with no attention to detail. The job in question requires the bumper and the headlights to be removed. That caused 3 problems that I found pretty much immediately: a. I specifically asked the mechanic to make sure to realign my headlights, which was not done. Luckily I keep the proper wrench in my car and adjusted them after pulling out of the shop...otherwise I would have had to drive to San Francisco with my headlights illuminating only 15 feet in front of me. b. I noticed the low windshield washer fluid light when I first went to check up the finished product and asked them to fill it. After I'd paid and got my stuff in the car, the light was still on, but not wanting to deal with their crap anymore, I decided I'd fill it myself. Of course, as soon as I did that at a gas station 3 miles away, the fluid poured out all over my feet. A T-fitting broke in the headlight washer system (which is in the bumper). Now, the fitting was old and has been previously repaired, and the tech helped me repair it so I wouldn't lose all of my fluid when I brought the car back, but the fact that this little detail wasn't checked before handing me the car is a travesty. c. And finally something I only discovered when I was 20 miles away and not coming back -- they failed to reconnect one of my foglights (also in the bumper). Also a 15 second check, also not done. So these little details make me question just how well the rest of the $1200 job was done. Bottom line -- if you have a choice -- look for a better alternative.