LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Grimsby is lucky to have great local service providers. Hello Mike, I had an experience this week that I wanted to share with you.
I recently moved from the Grimsby area to St. Catharines where I used a trusted mechanic for years. We so often hear on the news of people being “taken for a ride” by mechanics and franchise auto service establishments and now I know why these shows exist.
Recently, I was in the Welland area on a sales call (I sell dental equipment). I was driving my ‘09 Ford Escape when it began to make a loud clunking noise while driving. As I cautiously drove it became louder and more intense (or so it seemed). I wasn’t sure if it was safe to drive home to St. Catharines on the highway – so I pulled into a shop to see if they would investigate and advise whether I could make it home or not.
The service manager immediately took my vehicle for a drive to listen to the noise I described. When he returned he pulled it right into the shop and put it up on the hoist.
After watching him tug at the wheels and look here and there under the car and tug and pull on a few more things – he came to me and said it isn’t anything obvious but I have one more thing to check.
Five minutes later he returned to say I needed new struts. He told me that Ford recommends changing them at 100,000kms and I am at 174,000kms. He said it was a three-hour job and the cost would be $1,200. He did say it wasn’t a safety issue – just noisy and I could in fact drive it like that. He was kind enough not to charge me for the inspection.
I drove away and immediately called my mechanic in Grimsby (Noel Pendlebury at Clausens). He said to come right over and he would take a look. I trust Noel completely – he has always been fair and conservative. When I got there he said let’s go for a little drive. He got in the driver’s seat and put the vehicle in reverse, moved about two feet and heard the klunk.
“Is that the noise you are talking about?” he asked. “Yes” I replied. He moved forward two feet and back two feet again.
He said “we don’t need to go for a drive – I think it’s the stabilizer bar but I want to put it on the hoist to be sure”. Well, he was absolutely right! The stabilizer bar had become lose (possibly from driving through a large pot hole). Noel tightened it and the cost was $20.
That’s a huge difference between new struts for $1,200 and $20 to tighten a stabilizer bar. I know in future I will always return to Noel for his professional and fair opinion. Even if it means towing it there.
I just wanted to say how lucky a great community like Grimsby is to have local service providers, and not just Noel, who are looking out for folks’ best interest and not looking to line their own pockets. There are a lot of good, honest mechanics in town.
Just wanted to share my story with you in hopes that you might share it with others who could be “taken for a ride”.