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Post about dealer experiences

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 #174690  by boatsalltheway
I am making this post just to vent and inform others about this dealership's sleezy ways. I love my car and never plan to sell it, but I have to say that Chrysler has not offered the reliability or customer support that I have experienced with our Toyotas. Feel free to read my long horror story below.

Problems under factory warranty:
When my grandmother owned the car, she lived in Oregon and had a few occasions where she had to take the car in for a repair. The dealer in Oregon repaired the few problems as they should have. When I got the car, I began having problems after the first few months. My closest Chrysler dealership is Larson Chrysler, so that is where I began taking it. The first time I took it in was a bad experience. The car was making 3 different noises. These include a rubbing noise in the steering column, a screeching noise when turning the wheel, and a front end clunking noise while going over bumps. They magically couldnt hear the clunking noise or screeching noise, but they recommended replacing the clock spring to eliminate the noise in the steering column. They charged me $47.50 just to listen for the screeching noise and another $47.50 to diognose the clock spring. Local Shops dont even charge me $47.50 to listen for a noise! They said the clock spring wouldnt be covered by warranty even though the car has the max coverage warranty. I decided just to put up with the problem for a while to save some money. A little less than 1000 miles later, I stopped in a DIFFERENT Chrysler dealership to have my oil changed and a different problem taken care of. This time I had a leak in the EVAP hose. This dealer replaced that AND the clock spring for me and covered it under warranty. Funny Larson told me the warranty wouldnt cover it. After this experience, my 2 radiator fan relays went out. This was a cheap repair, so I paid a private mechanic to fix it for me since the other dealership was too inconvenient to get to and Larson would have found an excuse why they wouldnt cover the repair under warranty.

After Factory Warranty Expired:
I made the BIG MISTAKE of not insisting that Larson hear the clunking noise in the beginning before the warranty expired. After it expired, the clunking got worse and worse. I looked at the suspension myself and found that the coil spring isolators were shredded on both sides. I called Larson and told them about this hoping they would still fix it since it was a previous problem they supposedly looked for and couldnt find while under warranty. Even though I had the reciept proving they looked for the clunking noise and couldnt find it, they said I was out of luck. This ended up costing me $412 to fix by a private mechanic! Atleast it fixed the clunking noise. Also, I am not a mechanic and was able to find the problem just by looking behind the tire, so I do not believe that Larson inspected my suspension to even look for the cause of the clunking like they stated on the receipt.

The above experiences happened within the past two years, and my car has been somewhat trouble free ever since. However, about one month ago I decided to buy an extended service contract through Chrysler due to the car's problematic history. I purchased the added care plus plan for 5 additional years of coverage. This cost me about $2500. I simply got it for the piece of mind. Unfortunately, I believe I cursed myself by doing this. About 1 week after I purchased the additional coverage, my radio began acting up and as I was driving one day the car began making a bad rubbing noise up front and handling sloppy. I brought it in to Larson greatful that I had purchased the extended coverage. They immediately told me I needed a new radio and needed new front struts. They said that due to the one blown strut and the other about to blow, the car was unsafe to drive. They said they had to verify with Chrysler that it was covered under my warranty even though the warranty pamphlet specifically stated these items were covered. He said they had no time that day to get it done even though I brought it to them that morning with an appointment. I now had to choice but to tell them they could keep the car overnight. The next day they called and said the warranty wouldnt cover the radio and struts. When I asked why the hell not, they said that they determined that the problems were pre-existing before I purchased the additional coverage! I told them that the problems started days AFTER I had purchased the additional coverage and asked how they came up with that verdict. They couldnt explain why! All they said is that they called the Chrysler Warranty center in Denver and thats what they said! This is poor business practice on Chrysler and Larsons part. The Chrysler center in Denver had obviously never even seen my car and just said that to save money. Also if Larson was a company with ANY moral values or ANY care for the customer whatsoever, they would have argued with Chrysler in Denver. On top of this, I was given a sheet with over $600 in recommended maintenance. This included a new air filter which I had just replaced a month earlier and is totally clean, a tranny flush which the manual calls for at 100,000 miles and I only have 30,000 miles, and new belts which my private mechanic told me are totally fine!

These past experiences have given me no doubt that Larson Chrysler is not on the customer's side. They will recommend unneeded services and gladly take your money, but never support you. It is a one way street. Also, if Larson truly did contact the Denver Chrysler Warranty center and be denied the claim, it proved that Chrysler is just as bad. However, them calling could just be a lie like the other ones they have told me.

Thanks for reading my horror story. I am trying to do everything I can to keep others from being ripped off by Larson.

User avatar
 #174698  by Bill Putney
BTDT about 25 years ago. That's why I don't purchase extended warranties or have anything to do with dealer service departments unless absolutely necessary (apologies to those who really do try to do the right things).

I agree the dealer is FOS. Strut dangerous? B.S. That's called covering their butt. Plus handling issues are much more likely to be something else. Many shops almost always knee jerk that the struts are the problem for any complaint of handling handling or steering - no skin off their teeth - they get to extract considerable money out of the customer with follow up work almost guaranteed when it doesn't fix the problem.

If you could buy a warranty on axes, a lot of these companies would cover *everything* except the head and the handle - sounds kind of like the deal you have.

You might be able to go to small claims court on the items they didn't cover - might win, might not.

Or just walk away and consider this a life lesson.

User avatar
 #174716  by 300maximilien
So what exactly did you pay to have done for the $412 front end noise?? I hope you didn't pay that for them to install just isolators!! You should have got 2 new struts/isolators/strut plates installed for that kind of money at a local shop. IMO

User avatar
 #174723  by Bill Putney
And did replacing the isolators fix the clunking problem?

 #174726  by boatsalltheway
I paid a private machanic $412 total to replace the upper and lower front coil spring isolators. This also included an alignment. It did fix the clunking noise which made me really happy. I do not know if it could have been done for less, however, the dealer quoted me close to $600 for the same thing.

User avatar
 #174744  by EasyRider300M
my 00 M also has very worn isolators but I don't get the clunking noise. I did have a clunking noise in the past and it turned out the be the sway bar bushings---It was less than $100 to have them replaced.

User avatar
 #174766  by 300maximilien
EasyRider300M wrote:my 00 M also has very worn isolators but I don't get the clunking noise. I did have a clunking noise in the past and it turned out the be the sway bar bushings---It was less than $100 to have them replaced.
Keep in mind though...

Bushings take 1 hr / jack stands / lug wrench / ratchets and some strong hands to do yourself.

User avatar
 #174767  by 300maximilien
boatsalltheway wrote:I paid a private machanic $412 total to replace the upper and lower front coil spring isolators. This also included an alignment. It did fix the clunking noise which made me really happy. I do not know if it could have been done for less, however, the dealer quoted me close to $600 for the same thing.
OUCH!! Time to find a new mechanic. IMO

Like Easy mentioned. You probably need Sway Bar Bushings. Buy them at Advance Auto Parts.
 #174768  by boatsalltheway
Easyrider300m: I dont know how worn yours are, but mine were so bad that the uppers were totally shredded and pieces were hanging down and caught in the coil spring and the lowers were shreded enough to allow metal to metal contact between the spring and the plate (I dont know the technical term for the plate). My local mechanic said that he had never seen any other car that uses isolators that are made out of this material. I guess most other cars use polyurethane isolators. Is there any advantage to the material Chrysler uses? I saw a thread here about after factory polyurethane isolators for the 300m right after I had mine replaced with the factory ones :x :x

I am now using a different mechanic that my mom has used for a long time and been happy with. Honest mechanics are hard to find nowadays.

 #183360  by jayblair77
Wow Im just now seeing this thread for the first time and all I can say is wow. First off let me just say I know this dealership well and go there quite often as I know people who work there. Second I have to say this kind of treatment really isnt normal for them. Third off if you ever EVER need to go to a dealership for service please contact me. Both Larson Chrysler Jeep and Puyallup Chrysler are competitive with each other even though Robert Larson owns them both now. I use to be a salesman at Puyallup Chrysler when it was owned by Phil Bivens. I am a personal friend to much of the sales staff at both dealerships including the Sales Manager of Puyallup Chrysler, Lewey Mawrence. Lewey was also the Sales Manager at Larson for a little while too. Personally the best way to approach a dealerships parts and service department is through the sales department. People get mad when the sales guys approach them when they first walk in but if you have them take you to what youre looking for (which theyre are supposed to do at any customer friendly dealership) the person in the next department feels they need to be a bit more customer friendly. The last thing anyone wants is to be talked to in private why they just screwed up a potential future buyer. Yes this does happen and Lewey teaches this and lives by it. Ive seen the man stretch way beyond his means just make things right with a customer. Hes also a man who enjoys the products he sells so that makes it even more personal for him. Im very sorry you had a bad experience with Larson but dont let that keep you away from any other dealerships around here. Besides if you never go to Puyallup Chrysler youre really missing out on alot. Afterall it was until recently the largest Chrysler only store in the U.S. and has a kick (CENSORED) speed shop. Plus they give huge discounts on parts that surpass our club discounts.

 #188925  by boatsalltheway
JayBlair77: Thanks for the reply. That is some good advice and interesting information. Also, thanks for giving me the name of your mechanic in the previous post. I havent been on here in a while. I too was surprised about how Larson handled the situation. I had only been to them 1 or 2 times prior and they seemed fine. However, I do have to hand it to them. Shortly after my bad experience they agreed to cancel my extended service plan and refund me for the cost of it with no dispute. I would still be hesitant to go back, but I was sure happy to get my $2500 from the extended warranty refunded. Also, I have been to Puyallup Chrysler a couple of times and they provided me with excellent service.