I wrote a poem a couple of weeks back about feeling a bit "done" in car maintenance related situations, the event in question was tyre replacement where I was triumphantly sold 3 tyres, having been told by another local expert that I need 2. Anyway....
I have learned that if you find a special car mechanic, who you trust, and who gives you information, good service, efficiency and never leaves things unplugged in your car - you should probably stick with him, marry him if you can, or else move in next door.
Here is my experience with garages since moving south:
1. I booked my car for a service and pre NCT check.
Arrived with the car, talked through what was to be done - was told come back at 1pm, left them my mobile no in case there was any change in plan, arrived back at 1pm, and was told it was not ready, but I could wait - Oh joy! in a room with gloss-less magazines and a crappy heater. Was charged 76 euro - they didn't fix my wipers, couldn't figure it out, but thought the car should still pass the NCT, also didn't do a full service, and I only had to wait 45 mins later than the time they had promised.
Left in a huff.
2. Went to get the 2 tyres they had said I should get, was sold 3, as one was bald.
3. Failed NCT because of wipers.
4. Booked in with another garage - again asked for a full service (as I still needed one) and the wipers to be fixed. They called to say the car was ready, wipers weren't fully fixed, the receptionist who called me told me that she wasn't sure exactly what the story was but I could come pick up the car anyway. They said they needed a new part for the wipers and would call when they got it. The guy returning the car said he didn't know there was supposed to be a service, so they hadn't done a service - they'd do one next week.
5. Discovered the next day that the wipers were now not working AT ALL. They had somehow completely turned them off, where they had been sometimes going too often - now they were dead.
6. Dropped car back for the immediate problem of the wipers to be turned back on, which they did, along with a full service, still waiting for the part for the wipers to come in though - I was to ring them later in the week to see when they got it.
7. Power in the car was lower after the service, acceleration much slower.
8. Called the garage and left a voicemail, they called back (2 days later) to say they now had the part (once again Oh Joy!) and I could call in any time for the wiper to be fixed. I booked in with them to call in this morning.
9. Called in this morning - no part, the man there didn't know anything about it. I said to him about the acceleration and we opened the bonnet, and found another thing unplugged in the engine, that should've been plugged in. Then we got hold of the owner again on the phone (the man who had got the receptionist to ring me to tell me the part was there) and he told us that the part he had got was the wrong part. The part place is closed, they may or may not manage to get a part today and get the wipers fixed.
I'm worried that if I go back in to get the wipers fixed they will accidentally cut the brakes or something...
Nigel, my lovely Dublin mechanic, I will come back to you, I'm sorry I ever strayed, I'll never even look at another garage again if you'll only forgive me. Please say you'll take me back...