First, let me say that I have been in the auto industry for 47 years. So, I brought my wife's car into their service center because the windshield was fogging and I could smell antifreeze. Being in the auto industry, I knew it could be the heating core leaking, and it was. I get a phone call back from Silver Lake and they told me that in order to put the heating core in, they had to replace the instrument panel. Normally the job calls for 3 hours, but they said they were going to charge for six.
I gave them the okay, and a while later I got a call back saying they found other things wrong with the car. They told me the tires were worn, the struts were leaking, the battery was junk, and the intake manifold gasket was leaking. The prices they gave me were roughly $3,500 to $4,000. I know that the intake gasket manifold is nothing to mess around with, so I gave them the go ahead to do the intake gasket and heating core. I got it all installed and I left over $1,200 at Silver Lake.
The next time out, I went to a dealership to get and oil change. While I was there, I asked the mechanic to measure my tires. Now, I have a tire gauge at home, and I could not believe that they were worn out, so I tested them and they had 7-30 seconds left on them. And, the technician who tested them also said there was 7-30 seconds rubber. He also said there was nothing wrong with the battery, and while the shocks and struts were leaking, changing them would not improve the ride. So, they made three different recommendations, the struts, the tires, and the battery, that were untrue.
The car is a 1988 Chevy Camero, and probably in a novice's eyes it is a junker, but it is not. It is cared for meticulously. If it leaks anything, I take it to the service department to be fixed. It is seldom even driven.
I had Silver lake do this work in March, and then in October I returned because I had a problem with flashing lights. I figured when they removed the instrument panel to do the heating core, one of the plugs got loose. But, when I spoke with Silver Lake, they told me they never removed the instrument panel. Backing up a bit, their reason for charging the six hour rate to remove and replace the heating core was because they needed to go through the instrument panel. And, here they were telling me, no, they never removed the instrument panel, they went through the access panel to get to the heating core.
They needed diagnostic time to find out why the lights were flashing on and off, and they concluded that the headlight switch was bad, so I said okay to the repair. They put it in, and $300 dollars later, I had a headlight in.
Somehow, all these quotes were wrong. It is my contention to this day, that when I let them put the intake gaskets in, there was nothing wrong. I will not go back, I promise you.