Shop Reviews

Brittain's Automotive

By matt on Wed 05 February 2014

I brought my car in to Brittains Highland because I had burning oil or maybe grease on my exhaust pipe. The diagnosis was leaky valve cover gaskets (I already knew about this) and a leaky crank seal. Taking the shop’s recommendation I got the valve cover gaskets replaced and the leaky crank seal. Because of the location of the crank seal I also got the timing belt, hydraulic tensioner, and waterpump replaced. Upon getting the car back the power steering was messed up. I explained to Rich that I just couldn’t accept the coincidence that it works perfect when you bring it in and it dies completely during the time it was in the shop. I think he was fair on this issue as he charged me half of his cost on the part and free labor to fix the problem, but it took a couple of more days to get this figured out and the fact that they tried to pass the car back to me with a huge new problem is dishonest. Although his employees swear they never did anything that could have remotely caused a power steering problem, I think that’s where my problem with this shop lies. When things go wrong, they cover it up with a lie. Since the car engine was covered in oil and powersteering fluid I continued to have that burning smell and despite asking if they could clean some of it off, it never happened. After leaving town and a few hours of driving later I realized the problem had not been solved. 1. I was losing oil. 2. I noticed new grease or oil splattered on my exhaust. I look as my receipt and sure enough I don’t see a crank oil seal listed in the parts. This is when I call back. Rich tells me that the oil seal was as dry as bone but at the time I didn’t ask “so why didn’t you replace it like every other shop does during the timing belt change?” I did send three emails with no response. To me, things didn’t add up. It’s a $7 part that has always been done in the past and after some research, it’s been done on every timing belt replacement on all of my family members Subarus. I wasn’t even given the option. While he didn’t replace the crankseal, I was charged over $30 to add coolant and replace a hose not only that I was never asked about or given the option for, but also didn’t fix the coolant leak I was having. Another poor diagnosis or poor repair job In the next few months here is what I’ve figured out. The reason I had GREASE on my exhaust is a torn boot on the CV joint. This is not even remotely close to a crankshaft oil seal leak. At the time I didn’t know anything about cars but now I see it’s easy to diagnose because of its “sling” pattern as the axle spins around. What about the oil leak? On the passenger side facing the back of the car there is a cover between the valve cover and the head gasket. I took it to the dealership and believe it or not you don’t find it on the parts list but the mechanics said they just seal it up with gasket sealer. I did and the leak there is stopped. On the other hand, I’ve had two mechanics tell me the head gaskets are leaking. That pisses me off more than just knowing that they’re leaking because to replace them includes doing over all the labor that I’ve just spent with Brittains. I know no one is perfect but hopefully this example drives home the point that it’s important to make an accurate and thorough diagnosis! I spent over $900 at Britains Automotive to fix a problem and none of the work or labor was geared towards that because the diagnosis was completely wrong. Once the shop realized that it was only upon prying into the situation that they admitted that with no apology. I was never told this when I picked my car up and they acted as if everything went well. Once things started going wrong on their end they tried to cover it up smooth things over and conceal the real issues.