This post should serve as a warning to everyone to go with their gut when it comes to maintenance on their Elements. This winter, we noticed the tell-tale groaning coming from the rear axle of the E and took it in to our normal shop. We told them about the diff. and that I was 99% sure that is what the issue was. They claimed that they checked the fluid and it was "clear". As you can see in my email to the owner below, that was not the case:
Just be careful to trust your gut if you take your car into the shop and you think you know what needs to be fixed.I just wanted to voice my concerns to management over some recent service that my wife and I have received. My wife and I have gone to Calabros for about 6 years and my wife's family has been bringing their cars in for maintenance, repairs, and tires for as long as we can remember. We have always been happy with the service that we receive related to tires, inspections, and oil changes, however this spring we have been very concerned with the services that we have received.
Earlier in the spring, my wife brought her Honda Element in complaining of a groaning sound coming from the rear axle when turning at low speed (pulling into parking spaces, making 3 point turns, etc). I have been active on online Element forums and knew that the problem was likely due to the rear differential fluid needing replaced. The car only had about 35K miles and the maintenance schedule shows that the fluid does not need replaced until 50K or 60K, however she wanted it to be looked at. We were told that the fluid was checked and was "clear" and that the problem was actually the brakes. With only 35K miles on the car, we were charged almost $500 for all new brakes and rotors, both front and rear. I can understand needing brake pads in the front after 35K miles, but new rotors? And considering that the front brakes do most of the work, there is no way that the rear pads/rotors needed to be replaced. I had my wife ask a second time regarding the diff. fluid and she was told that it was definitely not the problem and that it was the brakes.
It was no surprise to me that the groaning sound still had not dissipated after the brake job, and this week I had the time to check the fluid on my own. Sure enough, the fluid was reddish/brown instead of a tan/yellow color. It took me 10 minutes and $20 and I solved the problem on my own in the driveway. We are extremely disappointed in how we were treated, I don't want to use the word "scammed" but I sure feel that way. We have told our family members about our experience and we surely will not be bringing our business back. I have already begun to take car repair classes so I can do these simple repairs and fluid changes on my own so that I can prevent being taken advantage of again.
Again, we were extremely happy with the service that we received and the people that we had dealt with prior to this experience, but I do not think I can overlook this in the future. No matter how good the service was, being taken advantage of for $500 for a job that would have cost $20 is unspeakable.