My Day, Yesterday(Garage Experiences Abroad)
Let me tell you about my day.
Since a week ago, my dual exhaust dropped after taking it to be repaired in France, by a garage that had a torch nothing bigger then something you would use for camping or creme brule, 2 weeks prior to that.
I was promised in that case to have my exhaust repaired, rear bearing changed, oil change, radiator flush, filters, and few other things done.
I am still discussing with that garage about that, so before I drop the bad name experience, but I will say this garage is in Saint Louis.
Yesterday I had been waiting a full week to drive my car. Because the volume is just shattering. I took it to ATU in . A week prioor I roared in with it, waited in line for 45 minutes for a customer service rep, and another 30 minutes explaining and showing him in full what needed to be done, full exhaust system(or what they deemed necessary), rear wheel bearings, and winter tires. I really couldn't afford if the price spike on the exhaust or the bearings so I tried to prioritize what I wanted done so I could atleast drive it home and wait until next month for everything else.
So i had the reminder, 2 days before of the appointment yesterday, and the order sheet in hand. But because of my poor french experience I decided to stand by the car(outside viewing in) to make sure everything went well.
After about 30 swigs on a Red Bull and walking back and forth for almost 40 minutes the mechanic put the car up on the lift. He immediately went to change the winter tyres first. My German is getting better so I asked why he wasn't going to look at the exhaust first as it was the biggest job obviously and I reminded him of the money involved. He had a more senior mechanic come over to it, and bounce it up and down and said as if he had no idea the exhaust was going to be done today "ja alles kaput".
I mean I know that. It's why we are here today. You drove it in. You heard it being echoed all over the Schwarzwald. So they continue with mounting the tyres. I get the guy I checked in with, who worked at the desk and spoke some English to come outside. He went to the senior mechanic. This guys response was, no, it's far too expensive to repair. You have to go to Munich.
Munich? I mean, first I don't understand why, but even if this was the case I could've known about this a week ago instead of standing here today hearing about Munich. He said at ATU they couldn't order the parts. (Yes they could have). And that it was going to be far to expensive to repair for such an older car and the value. So they kept working on the winter tyres.
Do you see where I am going here?
So I told him in to stop what he was doing. He was like you don't want Winter Tyres now? And kept fitting them and un packing. I started to very sternly yell in english profanities. The guy insisted on a translator. I told the translator to clearly repeat "Listen Motherf@cker, take that sh"t off my car and put my old wheels on. In fact make sure you say m@therer. Don't even bother with much else" And so he did. I got alot of apologies and an insistence it was a great value on the tyres.
Great value on the tyres, of a car that won't be running anymore. Outstanding.
So I got all the work reversed, and the other customers came to me with contacts for other garages in the area. I then went to Audi direct.
They were very professional considering my car could be used as a handi wipe compared to what they had for floor models. They propped it up and had a look. Explained I didn't need to change the whole exhaust, but the parts I did need plus labor would come to 2400 euros. And even gave me a list of suggestions of where I might find the part cheaper. And garages that charged less per service per hour. And no he didn't try to sell me winter tyres.
So, I went to McD's for 5 hours to scour in the internet for used car parts from 3 countries, made countless phone calls in all 3 languages, and basically had nothing. I had decided to hit the many exporter lots in the area, to look to see if I couldnt just buy an Audi of the same age, and strip the parts out that way. Based on several different people I came upon a garage I had been told about for the last couple of months as a DIY garage. I just brought up the Audi as a matter of fact cause I had basically given up. He looked at the 2400 euro bill and laughed, and said he could do the repair then and there.
As I have already been to France I expected it was the same ole gum and spit, creme brule torch routine so I had no expectations expect total desperation...then it became Detroit in there.
They cut the pieces of exhaust out, grinded the exposed bits down, and the lead mechanic disappeared to a parts store to return with exact fittings they cut off, grabbed some pipe, then proceeded to weld(without eye protection)(he said he had been doing it 30 years that way so the damage was already long done), saw, grind, sand, and so on. Machining, actual en work. I wasn't sure if I should feel pissed off for the last year or so's experience or ecstatic that I found real mechanics that really knew what they were doing inside and out.
And now it purrs. I basically rode home in silent shock. I have more repairs in a week to be done there, wheel bearings, so before I give out this guy's details let me see how they do that(french garage if I could find them a bigger fire torch they could do the job right...seriously).
Oh yeah, parts and labor...160 euros.