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Dealership Performed Work Without Divulging What They Did

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AJ15

Ready to race!
Location
MD
TL:DR -- Dealership Service Department did more work on my car trying to fix an issue and didn't tell me what they did. I found out by watching my dashcam. Why? What should I be concerned with?

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I took my GTI Sport 6MT into a Volkswagen dealership service center for routine service a few hours before closing - knowing they wouldn't work on it until the next day. It was a few months and 100 miles out of warranty. I've wanted to take it in for a last checkup before warranty was up, but primarily COVID concerns.. and then baby born, raising baby, weird WFH scenarios etc. Just not great timing.

I provided them a printed letter with all my vehicle details and the services I was requesting. I washed my car, and detailed the engine bay, right before taking it to them. I like to do all this to show I care about the car with the hope that they take a little extra care themselves. It appears that does get noticed.

1. Oil/Filter Change​
2. VAQ fluid flush​
3. Brake/Clutch fluid flush​
4. Alignment​
5. Wheel balance​
6. Wheel rotation​

--They weren't immediately familiar with the VAQ flush (as I expected from what I had seen online) but quickly found the VW service notes on it
--The next day, they called to tell me they didn't have the plugs for the VAQ flush, so I had to wait an extra day. Not a big deal -- I even thanked them for not re-using the plugs. I suppose they could have checked for all the materials they needed and ordered those parts when I dropped it off rather than waiting until beginning the service the next day and realizing they needed parts. But that's likely asking too much, I know - that's just how I think.
--They wanted to double-dip me on the brake/clutch flush. I pushed back on that and asked for clarity on why they'd charge for 2 different services on the same system. They eventually relented and just charged for 1 service.
--They wanted to charge for a wheel rotation. I pushed back on that noting the wheels were off the car for the balance (which is why I asked them to rotate them). They took off that charge.
--They discovered the thermostat was leaking. They replaced under Warranty. Ok!

Typical dealership service 'stuff' that they seem to always try to pull and probably works on most people. The game is what it is I guess... But here's where it gets, weird?

Since they were going to have my car for 3 days at this point... I figured I'd throw them 1 of the issues I've had with the car for as long as I could remember. A single "click" sound I hear on the driver's side when I turned the wheel left or right. Aside from the sound, the car exhibited no issues.

Later in the day, the service advisor calls with the diagnosis: one of the ball joints. We go back and forth about how that could be.. blah blah. But ultimately he confirms this is definitely the issue and 2 techs looked at it. He gives me the cost. I approve the repair.

Towards the END of the next day, I get a call the car is ready for pickup. When I arrive, the service advisor, unprompted, talks about the ball joint failure - says he called VW and was even there until 8PM trying to think about why the ball joint would fail so early and make a clicking sound. I don't say anything, I just smile and nod. Very cordial. It sounds like a BS line. I pay and leave.


I go home and download my windshield-mounted "dash cam" footage... This is what I found:
  1. The tech did appear to take extra pre-caution with my car - at least what was on video. (Also mentioning how anal I was)
  2. They could absolutely replicate the clicking and thought it odd.
    1. They took it to the alignment lift several times so that they could turn the wheels while they got under the car to listen -- even calling that "2nd tech" over to help.
    2. They used a sound tube and potentially a stethoscope.
  3. They believed the sound was coming from a ball joint - but had never heard a clicking like this related to ball joints before.
  4. They replaced at least part of the entire ball joint assembly (there are numerous pieces as part of the service - I was billed for all of them).It could have been the whole thing, that I don't know. They mentioned a few particular pieces.
    1. This did not fix the clicking.
  5. They replaced the drivers side strut mount and bearing.
    1. This did not fix the clicking.
  6. They replaced the drivers side wheel bearing.
    1. This fixed the clicking. The sound is no longer there.
  7. Service Tech, "Fck this car". Service Advisor, "Fck this guy". Irrelevant, but I thought that comical.

My concerns are
  1. From what I've seen online, there's a shot at getting a wheel bearing covered, at such low mileage, under the Powertrain Warranty. It's not a guarantee, but I would have worked hard with this dealer, VW Care, or another dealer to get this covered under warranty.
    1. Will the dealership try and get any of this comp'd under warranty?
  2. Why not tell me all they did? Even if they were frustrated and were going to only charge me the originally stated amount for a ball joint replacement.
  3. What are the future implications on me for having parts replaced on my car of which I have no record?
  4. I was already going to go to VW Care on the ball joint issue. Now, I'm in a weird spot where the actual fix was done without my approval (and opportunity to decline and take to another dealer for warranty) and isn't documented - aside from the audio/video of the tech.

If you've read this far, I'm interested to hear your constructive suggestions/input.
 
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Ghost GTI

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Cockpit
Car(s)
'19 GTI SE DSG
I can't reply to any of your questions with certainty, but I can give you my opinion about number two. A lot of people just have a hard time admitting they are wrong and they made a mistake. Not only that, they may feel it will take away people's trust in their skills.

Edit: Actually, I'll chime in for number 3. None more than likely, since you're the only one that knows.
 

AJ15

Ready to race!
Location
MD
So you paid for a ball joint but got that a mount a strut bearing and a wheel bearing? What’s the issue? Sounds like you made out well.
I'm trying to determine the issue, haha. It didn't need a ball joint, strut mount, or strut bearing. The fix was a wheel bearing which has the possibility of being covered under Powertrain Warranty.
What workdid they charge you for?
The cost to repair/replace a ball joint assembly.
Every dealership that I've been to in the past, they would always print out what was done which had it broken down to service, parts, and labor.
Agreed. And I have that for everything they did -- Except for the Wheel Bearing (the fix), the strut mount, and the strut bearing. No mention of any of those things.
 

IanCH

Autocross Champion
Location
MA
Car(s)
'20 GTI
You're dreaming if you think a wheel bearing will be covered under warranty, ever. Add to that your car is in fact out of warranty so you're double dreaming...
 

AJ15

Ready to race!
Location
MD
You're dreaming if you think a wheel bearing will be covered under warranty, ever. Add to that your car is in fact out of warranty so you're double dreaming...
Power Train Warranty (5yr/60k) would be the likely coverage. I've had many things covered under expired warranties or when they said I needed to pay. Talk to the right people, say the right things, catch someone on a good day. Never a guarantee, but it happens all the time. I'd never accept not trying simply because it's slightly out of warranty by the book.
The point of this thread isn't about warranty, it's that they didn't give me the OPTIONS and did not provide explanations of what they did to my car. It's a tough spot I'm in now. That doesn't seem... right?
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
What workdid they charge you for?
Power Train Warranty (5yr/60k) would be the likely coverage. I've had many things covered under expired warranties or when they said I needed to pay. Talk to the right people, say the right things, catch someone on a good day. Never a guarantee, but it happens all the time. I'd never accept not trying simply because it's slightly out of warranty by the book.
The point of this thread isn't about warranty, it's that they didn't give me the OPTIONS and did not provide explanations of what they did to my car. It's a tough spot I'm in now. That doesn't seem... right?

They were ashamed of themselves and didn't want the embarrassment. At least they did the right thing and only charged you for the part that was the problem. I understand that you would want it all explained but at least it's fixed and you got free parts. Some dealers would have tried to charge you for everything and said that's what it took to fix the problem.
 

IanCH

Autocross Champion
Location
MA
Car(s)
'20 GTI
Wheel bearings are like brakes and oil, not warranty items unless it goes out at like 10k
 

volks6

Go Kart Newbie
Location
TheGreekFreak's mom's bed
Car(s)
GTI
Power Train Warranty (5yr/60k) would be the likely coverage.
Wheel bearings are not covered under that. You'd also be surprised at the amount of parts that touch oil or are integral to keeping the engine running that aren't covered under the powertrain warranty. If you really wanted some type of peace of mind warranty wise you should have bought a separate extended warranty to cover the parts not warranted.

Just move on and take the ball joint charge. And stop being so "anal" it's just a VW Golf.
 

Jumpy

Go Kart Newbie
Location
Austin, TX, USA
Car(s)
'18 GTI Autobahn
--They weren't immediately familiar with the VAQ flush (as I expected from what I had seen online) but quickly found the VW service notes on it

I had a similar experience with this. The tech called it "Haldex fluid" (even though this car obviously doesn't have Haldex), and they wrote up the service as a Haldex fluid change. I asked about that, and apparently it's the same fluid and same price. Does that sound right to you guys?
 

q74

Go Kart Newbie
Car(s)
R
The wheel bearing is a wear item, it would only be covered under the "adjustment/early failure" part of the warrenty, which is 1 year/12,000 miles.

You got charged for the wrong repair, but you paid less overall then you would of otherwise. That's also why they were salty, as the service advisor decided to eat the cost, and the tech won't get paid for the extra labour.

That said, I do belive and agree that they should of been honest, rather then try and hide it.
 
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Hotfart

Ready to race!
Location
LFK Kansas
I had a similar experience with this. The tech called it "Haldex fluid" (even though this car obviously doesn't have Haldex), and they wrote up the service as a Haldex fluid change. I asked about that, and apparently it's the same fluid and same price. Does that sound right to you guys?

Yep, the VAQ is filled with about a quart of Haldex fluid. It's essentially a left to right Haldex unit with the performance pack diff, instead of front to rear on AWD models.
 
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