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Taking it to the repair shop
As an auto journo, and a good one I might add (no false modesty here...), I'm expected to know quite a lot about cars. I do (continued modesty). In fact, I'm a trained automotive technician.

Because of this, I enjoy manufacturer technical presentations as I more often than not grasp the basics, and more. Quite the build-up, eh? So given all of this, I'm the car guy in the family. I look after tires, oil changes, DOT stuff, insurance and garage references, the lot.

My wife and I own three cars. Actually, she has her 2004 Volvo XC70 and I've got Big Bird and my 1992 Volkswagen Jetta. Obviously, I'm in charge of maintenance and all of the above.

Recently, the Volvo was in need of some love. The wife noticed some unusual suspension noise (her training is progressing; I still can't figure out how to work the washing machine) and brought it to my attention. In no time flat, I had figured it out: sway-bar end link. As well, we had both noticed that the brake pedal was getting jumpy and low.

2004 Volvo XC70 (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre/

Because of the fear of killing my spouse due to massive brake failure (I'll risk it on my turd-boxes), I made an appointment with my Volvo specialist. It's always good to have one of those...

Once there, I shared my diagnosis with the service manager and asked to be contacted with an estimate before any work be done. The call came in only to find out I was wrong on another issue and the brake situation was far worse than I expected. Estimate: $650. I agreed and the work was carried out.

At the end of the day, I set off to recover the car. The final bill tallied $750. When I enquired about the price difference, I was told that taxes were not included in the estimate nor was a bulb replacement.

My initial reflex was to protest, however I decided to accept the situation and pay the bill. When I got into the XC70, my old link or what I'm expected to believe is my replaced part, was on the passenger floor.

The moral of this story? However good and vigilant you think you are, the peeps at the garage are better. Same thing with stealerships, I might add.

Next time you get a quote on a repair, insist on the price with taxes included. If extra work is required after the estimate, insist once again that you be contacted unless it's a $10 part or a sub $50 job.

And should a part be replaced, tell them to keep it because, if you don't see them remove it, you can never be sure that it was yours to begin with so it turns into trash once you get home.

Taking it to the repair shop was originally published by AUTO123.COM - RSS. Read the full story by clicking here.

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