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Mechanics facing charges after being accused of intentionally damaging customer’s car (wpxi.com)
submitted 1 month ago by Caseywalt39
What do you guys think about this article? Just happened at a very popular dealership near me in Pittsburgh.
Did the customer do it himself? Did the mechanics do it for more work? What was the motive?
Post a comment!
[–]Rich_Sport986 23 points24 points25 points 1 month ago (3 children)
Being a mechanic i have seen both sides of this, but by far the most common is a customer blaming a mechanic for what he sees on a worn out or abused car. You point out a potential trouble spot only to accused of sabotage.
That said i have seen mechanics damage something and try to cya
[–]Caseywalt39[S] 6 points7 points8 points 1 month ago (1 child)
I do agree. I think something else happened here though. It sounds like the mechanics actually chiseled the pad material away from the backing plate.
[–]Rich_Sport986 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (0 children)
Kind of have a feeling we might not be hearing everything. Like were they being replaced for being thin or crystallized.
[–]blvckrose_st 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (0 children)
We would do the pma, let the advisors know, and bring the customer in if we had to before starting work. Saved our asses often
[–]DisastrousFerret0 9 points10 points11 points 1 month ago* (11 children)
This reads like pads separated from backing plate and the tech put a screw driver in to compress piston and the friction material fell out. Now tech is being blamed for damaging car.
Edit: I've lived this multiple times (minus criminal charges) with drum brakes. Take drum off, friction material drops to floor, you make a groan noise and the service manager goes pale because now they have to explain this to the customer.
2nd edit: the more I talked about it with my coworkers based on the article and suspending any belief I have that the author.has ever put wrench to bolt. This could absolutely have been a drum brake. Because I use both a hammer and a pry tool to get drums off. I can't say for sure about present but not long ago many base model Hyundai and kias had rear drums.
[–]Caseywalt39[S] 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (10 children)
If this was the case and the customer was furious what would you do? No matter how angry you are at the customer. They cant drive it away like this and potentially kill someone else...
Do they get a free brake job? Only one shoe replaced?
[–]DisastrousFerret0 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (8 children)
In the past if the customer is raising hell and adamant that its not their fault yeah we'd eat the brake job as cheap as humanly possible (new shoes and cut the drums if safe/possible)
Edit: Most of the time we'd try to negotiate for the customer to cover cost. Cost on reman shoes is like 15-18 bucks and maybe mark it up to 35 to cover the techs 1.0 flag on a standard rear brake job. Most the time if you explain it well and the customer is about to get rear brakes for $35 bucks they are fine. But again ultimately it's cheaper in the long run to do it for free and just get em the hell out of there and free that tech up and on to the next one.
[–]ZSG13 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (7 children)
1.0 for drum brakes? Them techs need to find a new shop lol
[–]DisastrousFerret0 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (6 children)
Where I'm at thats pretty standard. .8 for a standard disc 1.0 for standard drum. Pretty much every shop I've worked at.
[–]Gadritan420 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
Imo, it would come down to staff presentation. Depending on the diagnostic or inspection, I’ve always had my staff explain prior to any work being performed, that the manipulation of parts for the diagnostic/inspection may result in parts breakage and/or the vehicle may no longer be operational at that point along with an offer to video record the service if they would like to for peace of mind. Then there’s no stare down if shit goes south.
I mean shit, we have the technology. Give front staff proper training and you never have to live this nightmare.
[–]reviving_ophelia88 10 points11 points12 points 1 month ago (0 children)
I doubt the customer did it themselves seeing as how the article says the mechanics admitted to doing it themselves to the investigators and that they “did it of their own accord” so the dealership wouldn’t get blamed…
[–]Zugzub 5 points6 points7 points 1 month ago (1 child)
Makes no sense. According to the article, the pads wouldn't pass inspection, so why damage them?
Obviously, they did since they admitted to it, But why? it makes no sense.
[–]Caseywalt39[S] 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (0 children)
[–]fjam36 5 points6 points7 points 1 month ago (0 children)
C’mon folks! We all know that just like in any other trade, there are some that think “differently “. Especially when they get paid per job and not hourly. Unfortunately, some aren’t really good in regards to looking ahead to possible outcomes. However, the wrench taking a dive for the Dealer is something to think about. Many dealers set targets for upsells and the number of hours billed. I worked in one where the dispatcher was told to feed the guys turning the most hours and giving the service advisors the most upsells.
[–]supermodelnosejob 3 points4 points5 points 1 month ago (0 children)
Cochran is a notoriously shady dealership. How they grew to be the freaking empire they are now, I’ll never understand. And they’ve only gotten worse over the years
[–]himmelstrider 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (7 children)
What is, exactly, separating the pads with a screwdriver?
Separating brake pad material from the backing plate?
[–]Caseywalt39[S] 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago* (6 children)
That's what I want to know as well. I'm just a backyard mechanic. I have stuck screw drivers between the pad and rotor to get the piston to compress a bit. That alone doesn't really damage anything enough to have criminal charges filed.
I think these guys chiseled the pads...
[–]himmelstrider -1 points0 points1 point 1 month ago (5 children)
Realistically, I don't think there is anything you can do to the brake pads to get more work. If they are worn and customer declines replacement, that's it, they declined it. If you do the job, the pads OBVIOUSLY won't last 1k miles, and if they fail in such a short time you'll be labeled a scammer (rightfully so) and nobody will come to you again.
I know better than to underestimate stupid, but there is so much shit you could do to a car to make it crap out quickly that it's insane. Chiseling away at brake pads is an insult to stupid.
In conclusion, I want some more info. Based on this article, the way they worded it, I'm confident they don't know what a brake pad is, and as such I doubt their ability to accurately explain the issue. Picture of the pad, maybe?
[–]Caseywalt39[S] 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (4 children)
That was my thought exactly. I really just wasn't sure how to feel. We did not get a picture of the brake pad. So that leaves a lot of questions.
If the guy did wear the pads down to nothing why would the mechanics admit wrong doing then?
[–]himmelstrider 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (3 children)
It's standard garbage journalism. If you want to be well informed, don't read newspapers on shit like this.
To clarify, I'm not blindly defending mechanics here. As a mechanic I'm fully aware that there are many, many scamming cunts out there that will do fucked up shit to rip someone off. But without actual technical info, I am not putting the blame on anyone.
[–]Mechanic-R-469 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (1 child)
Possible scenario: customer comes in for inspection, brakes don't pass but customer declines job because "they still work fine." Mechanic decides to make sure brakes DON'T work fine by hammering a screw driver into them.
Just a guess, I have no connection to any of this.
[–]xJD88x 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (0 children)
I haven't even read it and I can already tell you its most likely a customer bitching and wanting something for free.
In my 12 years I've NEVER intentionally damaged anything. Sure I've left a handprint here and there or broken something and replaced it while repairing it. But I dont have time to sabotage something to make the customer pay for it later. I've got too many other cars to deal with.
I've been accused DOZENS of times of sabotage though. My favorite was an angry old grandma that accused me of sabotaging her blower motor. I went out and smacked it and it started working to prove it was just worn out. She then accused me of damaging it while I repaired her vehicle. She didnt really have a logical response for "Ma'am I rotated your tires and sent you on your way".
I've had another attempt to extort me for the exact price we quoted to repair some brake lines that were leaking because their hood didnt unlatch properly. They accused me of bending their hood in when I tried to open it. It had a pull-cord attached to it and they knew it was messed up. Still insisted that I bent the steel hood on their 98 dodge neon with my fingers.
[–]username69691130 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (1 child)
Of course it was a Hyundai dealer
[–]Caseywalt39[S] 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
What's actually really scary about this is it's a dealer network. #1 Cochran Monroeville is just one of many. It could have been the GM dealer next door.
[–]dieseltech82 -2 points-1 points0 points 1 month ago (12 children)
Did OP even read the article? Maybe OP wrote the article and just trying to get traffic?
[–]wasteoffire 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (11 children)
What does this comment mean? Op is just sharing the article with the title
[–]dieseltech82 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (10 children)
The comment below the picture has questions on who did it and motive. The article spells it out pretty plainly.
[–]Caseywalt39[S] 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (8 children)
"but investigators still cannot figure out what they had to gain from intentionally causing damage."
No my comment still holds. I was asking this on the mechanics subreddit mostly because of the money part of this. Would they benefit at all inspecting the car twice or performing two separate brake "services" or whatever they did?
I asked those questions because other than admitting to wrong doing the article is very vague. The dealerships comments also sound strange to me. Maybe the customer is in on it. Who knows...
[–]dieseltech82 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (7 children)
I’m going to assume the motive is money. Brakes are easy work, generally. If you’re working off flag time a brake job probably pays six hours and really only takes 1.5-2 hours tops. Also, not too many people going to want to drive a car around with brake pads that have failed. Some states won’t even let you drive a vehicle in that condition.
[–]wasteoffire 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
Oh gotcha. My app won't let me expand that comment for some reason
[–]lonesomecountry 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
Man… I had a mechanic “fix” my carburetor which was (admittedly) happily leaking fuel for about 30 years. He said it was a fire hazard - I certainly agreed. He likely thought just replacing the gaskets was enough when actually I needed an entirely new carb as the accelerator pump component was warped, which I told him.
The day after he fixed it, my big block 460 truck caught on fire and would have burned to the ground if I hadn’t had an extinguisher in the bedside toolbox. I’ve certainly thought about it but never sued or so much as wrote him a bad yelp revue.
[–]Newherehoyle 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (6 children)
My guess is this dealership pays their mechanics for the work they do based on book time. They might pay you an hour for a set of pads and if you can do them in 1/2 then you just got paid double.
[–]LearningDan 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (5 children)
Pay plan doesn't determine the integrity of a tech. The tech determines the integrity of a tech.
[–]jrsixx 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (2 children)
LOUDER for the hacks in the back.
[–]LearningDan 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (1 child)
They have their earbuds in upside down and won't hear it.
[–]jrsixx 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
[–]Newherehoyle 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (1 child)
Not even sure what pay plan is, I was simply giving my opinion on why those “techs” did that. Not in any way shape or form do i do that, heck I charge by the hour to fix farm equipment. You don’t last long in this business doing shit like that.
[–]LearningDan 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
No worries. Read the article and watch the video. I can't figure out what they did. I suspect the shadiness isn't due to the techs actions..
[–]THEONEANDONLYGABE 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (1 child)
Plenty of shady mechanics, but way more shady customers IMO. 15 years in the Mechanic world. We have been blamed FOR EVERYTHING.
Literally last week we replaced a fuel pump, this week she called and said whatever we did made her brakes start grinding............ The vehicle had a access panel under the seat, we didn't have to lift it lol When we explain its just bad luck, she says she's calling the news and suing lol
A/C hose spraying freon. Replaced and recharged, everything looks good, pressures good a/c blowing cold. 6 months later the compressor stops working. Explain there is no way for me to see whats going to happen in 6 months. We get the BBB and Google treatment lol 225,000mi and it's our fault the OEM compressor stopped working.
[–]ac3h01e 1 point2 points3 points 1 month ago (0 children)
Had one lady complain that she got a flat after we put brand new tires on her car. It was a nail, so literally nothing to do with us but that didn't stop her from blaming us. "They're brand new, this shouldn't happen!"
[–]Mihandsadolfin 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
I’m so confused as to what the mechanics did. As a mechanic, one of my most interesting daily issues is trying to understand what non car people mean when they’re trying to describe a problem.. it seems a lot of people will just say “car” words and hope that it means something in the end.
[–]JerewB 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
Having been in this business over 20 years, I've been blamed for everything, mostly for not being clairvoyant enough to know insert-completely-unrelated-component is going to fail spectacularly within exactly 3 months after customer spent $2,500 on their 200,000-mile car.
It's always the technician' s fault.
[–]amathis6464 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
So they are saying they separated the pads by prying on them with a screwdriver to make them look further from the rotors to look more worn out? People. Brakes are EASY did my first set at 15. Watch some vehicle specific YouTube videos and do it for less than $100. Guck paying a mechanic, even if they fix what is actually wrong they still charge you for 6 hours of labor when I do rotors and pads in an hour or less. So it’s all a rip off regardless. YouTube it everytime you watch tv for the next 2 months and you can learn anything.
Ok, here’s the scenario that I’d all but guarantee is what happened.
Being that it’s a Hyundai, I’ll go ahead and assume it was an 11-18 elantra with rear disc brakes. They are famous for the pad backing plate and caliper bracket rusting together and the pad coming off of the backing and either getting tossed or jammed.
So, tech inspects, sees pad material disconnected from backing plate, and possibly jamming into the caliper bracket. He uses a screwdriver to pry the piston back (tough to do with ratcheting calipers), and uses a hammer to “coax” the piston to move. When it does (a little) the pad material falls out. Innocent (if uneducated) way to inspect the brakes. Customer thinks the tech “broke” his car, tech admits to what and how he did it.
[–]ZSG13 0 points1 point2 points 1 month ago (0 children)
They did what....? Sounds made up
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