BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Mar 2012
Vehicle: 1994 E320
Location: California, US
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Is my mechanic being honest?
Hopefully this is the correct forum to post this thread. If not, I trust admin will move it to where it belongs.
As stated in my introductory thread, I bought my first MB, a 1994 E320, 6 weeks ago, with 160K miles on it. I paid $2,200, thinking the engine was in good shape. It didn't leak and sounded great. Cosmetically, not so great.
I've sunk $1,500 into it since: serpentine belt, tensor for the serpentine belt, differentials front and back, new radiator, rebuild alternator, and a new battery. Now, supposedly, an ABS relay went bad and drained my battery Sunday night. Mechanic disengaged the ABS while he looks for a used part (new is $140ish at the dealer).
I didn't know this mechanic before I bought the E320. The guy I bought the car from gave me his card. He has good references, but I can't check them because the shop he said he worked at in the San Jose area has closed. He seems to know what he's doing but the thing is, stuff doesn't stay fixed. I know little about cars and almost nothing about MB (until surfing into this fine forum).
I'll cut to the chase: just before he followed me to the auto supply store to put my new battery in for me (see? a great guy), I asked him if I'd have to input the radio code after the new battery was installed. He said my car didn't need a radio code. Well, the code is visibly displayed in the trunk. I was pretty sure that's what the large five-digit number was for, having owned a couple of Acuras.
He put the battery in and drove away. The radio wouldn't operate without the code being input.
Here's the thing, he's told me he took my battery out twice to have it tested for warranty replacement.(Will never buy Interstate again.) Yet, he always returned the car with the radio working. He doesn't seem daft, or busy, enough to have forgotten inputting my radio code into my radio twice.
Also, after he replaced the serpentine belt, the car began making that horrible screaming screeching sound again, the same sound it made before the belt was replaced. (The day we're supposed to leave for a nice little three-day stay in Monterey. We had to take our daughter's 99 Sentra, which barely made it over Pacheco Pass.)
He looked at the car when we came back and said the radiator was cracked and was dripping antifreeze on the serpentine belt, making the belt slip, or whatever. And the alternator wasn't charging correctly. (The car wouldn't start and had to be towed the day before he looked at it.)
Two weeks later I got to thinking, how could the radiator only drip on the belt and not the ground? There was no radiator fluid on the ground.
Now I'm ready to take the car into another mechanic I know and trust, who doesn't work on MB, to have him look at these parts my mechanic has supposedly replaced. I can see that the belt is new, but the radiator appears to be covered with plastic pieces to the point you can hardly see any metal.
Finally, he's willing to trade services for the labor portion of his bill so for the most part his only profit is his parts markup. And he's really a nice guy. But...
Do you think this guy is ripping me off? Or am I, being ignorant in the ways of MB, overreacting? Not wanting to be an ass, I haven't said anything to him.