Question about 2004 Mazda 6

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Update After arguing with the dealer, they decided to investigate it farther. They have now replaced a PCV valve and cleaned the oil from the intake. They hoped this would fix the problem, but are saying if it does, it could possibly only be a temporary fix. I've taken my car back and their "fix" appears to have worked for now as it is not smoking. I haven't gotten a clear answer on why this is a temporary fix and how I can know the difference. And we've yet to talk about why all the sudden now they can fix it more cost effectively than replacing an engine. I will be talking with them again on Wednesday after the manager is back and I give them an update on if the car is still smoking or not. It's obvious I'm not getting straight answers from them, now I'm just not sure if the issue has been fixed or if I should have someone else do more investigating.

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  • Master
  • 1,498 Answers

Hi Michelle,

I didn't think it would be over so quickly, thanks for contacting me again.

First off, just hearing that they argued with you about this instead of ticking off reasons backed up by verifiable facts (like the compression test I told you about, Afraid of you getting a second opinion?) pretty much confirms my suspicions. At least one of these guys is trying to scam you.

Standing up to so called 'professionals' is not the easiest thing to do. Guess what, someone is now backed into a corner. They can't justify replacing an engine, they came up with that bogus 'Temp' fix hoping you will go away. You took back the momentum and the power. You didn't play their game, you're making them play yours and the legal system is on your side. I'm proud of you.

As you might imagine I have access to some of the sharpest people from around the world here. Over 90% of the services we provide are given freely just to help people out. There is no hidden agenda, no ulterior motives. The purest definition of service.

We are good at what we do and try to maintain high moral and ethical standards within this site. Keeping it professional.

None of us likes it when a customer is scammed. It gives all professionals in the same field a bad name. With that in mind, I'd like your permission to share your story with a select few to get feedback on a proper course of action for you. I want you to have the best advise possible, for your vehicle, for you and for the next unsuspecting person these people try to take advantage of. Think about it.

In the meantime, I'm curious about a few things. If you could respond to these questions (confirm or elaborate with as much or as little info you feel comfortable with) it will help advise you.

  • Your vehicle is a 2004 Mazda 6?
  • Was this a dealership?
  • To this day, they never actually told you what was supposedly wrong with the engine or why it needed to be replaced?
  • What sort of written documentation do you have from these people (estimates, test results, code reader results, scribble on a napkin, etc)?
  • During this whole interaction, you were able to start and drive your car?
  • The only symptom was white smoke from the exhaust after it starts, which disappears after it warms up?
  • No discernible loss of power, strange noises, fluid level drops?
  • When they told you the price ($7,000), was it in writing? Any other details with it?
  • When confronted, they allegedly 'replaced the PCV valve and wiped oil from the intake', telling you that this was only a 'temporary fix', not telling you what it was temporarily fixing,
  • After this fix, the white smoke problem (dare I say it) dissipated.
  • Anything else that could be helpful?
You said you were scheduled to go back there Wednesday. Between now and then, by all means get a second opinion. Have it checked only, no work done.

Bring it by an auto parts store (I don't know your location so I can't really suggest one) . Many offer free OBD code reading. This is an access to your vehicles On Board Diagnostics. Your car actually keeps a running list of problems occurring in certain areas / systems. I'm pretty sure a problem requiring an engine replacement would have at least one entry. (Sorry, slipped into sarcasm mode again).

If you have ever visited Craigslist, do so again. Post an entry in 'Rants and Raves' asking if anyone else has had a similar experience with these people. You can do this anonymously, but even so, don't get too detailed. It may provide some corroborating evidence and some local people to share notes with. Most folks identify with the person getting scammed, not the scammer. You might be surprised at how a community can rally behind the underdog.

Also, contact the Better Business Bureau (Click here for their web page) to check on prior complaints.

Bottom line:
Michelle, someone acting as a professional mechanic looked you in the eye and tried to steal $7,000 from you. Tomorrow, the next day, next week, they will try it with someone else.

In three days, you will have the opportunity to hear them try to explain their actions.

I want you to be fully aware of your options should their justifications fail to satisfy you.

I also want you to be aware that while I can't legally provide legal advice. I can however make suggestions that may point you in a certain direction. How much weight you you put on these suggestions is totally up to you.

Please let me know as soon as possible with your yes/no on consulting the big guns on your situation. I pity the fool that messed with you.

Mike

P.S. Sorry it took so long to reply. But this took so long to write.

Posted on Sep 08, 2008

  • 2 more comments 
  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Sep 08, 2008

    BTW, wipe oil from the intake? PCV valve? Puh-Leeze!

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Sep 08, 2008

    Michelle,

    I hope things are going well with you
    I consulted with an expert (off forum) and he agrees 100% that they were trying to scam you.

    He also made the same point about getting your vehicle out of there. I'm glad you already did. The 'temp fix' they performed would not negate a problem which needed a new engine to rectify.

    If this was a dealership, they especially need to be reported.

    Whatever course of action you choose, please keep me updated. These types make my blood boil. I want to help in any way I can.

    Mike



  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Sep 11, 2008

    Michelle,

    How did things go yesterday? Please give me an update. It's so rare that someone can turn the tables in a bad situation.

    Mike



  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Oct 12, 2008

    Michelle,

    Checking in, following up. Any good news?

    Mike


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