How a half price coupon for a state inspection almost cost me $700 at Portsmouth Ford.

…or how the service department at Portsmouth Ford tried to get me to purchase unneeded services for over $700.
March is car tag and state inspection due month for my 2010 F150. Being thrifty, I looked online at Portsmouth Ford’s coupon specials and found a half price coupons for a state inspection and another for an oil change. Portsmouth Ford is conveniently just across the highway from my office so I dropped it off on Monday. They called a couple hours later to tell me the front shoes were “frozen” and had ruined the rotors and that the rear rotors were “rotted”. Of course it wouldn’t pass inspection until I paid over $700 for calipers and shoes all around. It didn’t sound right to me, I had my last oil change at Bill Dube Ford in Dover in September. I called them and they checked my records and said my front shoes were half worn at the time.

I decided to get a second opinion and called Steve’s Accurate Auto in Madbury. They were highly recommended by a good friend, and I had recently discovered that Jeff Sinon who we used a decade ago was one of their mechanics. Jeff and I put together a chicken coop a couple weeks ago for the PCA fund raising auction.

Steve’s checked it out and the rotors were fine and the pads pass as well.

I may file a complaint with the state.

One thought on “How a half price coupon for a state inspection almost cost me $700 at Portsmouth Ford.

  1. I would file the complaint with the state if you have the time. Make sure you have copies of what got from Portsmouth Ford, along with pictures of what the brakes actually look like now.

    I had Autofair Ford of Manchester restore my “lack of faith” in car dealerships last September when I had them give my car (a 1998 Ford Explorer XLT) a good once over for about $80. I told them what my primary concern was (a grinding noise while driving that I thought came from the front end) and how I had tried several things already to fix it myself (including change the CV axles).

    They came back to me with a $2100 bill for various problems they found. My first thought was “the car isn”t worth that kind of money – maybe it”s time to find a new(er) car?”, so I let them show me a new(er) used Ford Explorer. They wanted $17K for what they had. They thought I”d be happy to go from no car payments to a several hundred dollar multi-year car payment.

    What to do? What to do??

    Among the list of issues was the front drive shaft (the Explorer is an all-wheel drive). That had to be the source of the grinding noise. Their bill indicated the repair for that part of the car would be $800. When I took the Explorer home, I decided to take another look for myself. When I saw what piece they were talking about. I looked up the part on http://www.rockauto.com, then I called AutoZone in Manchester and they had a front drive shaft I could put my hands on in a few days for $300, so I got it, put it in (mostly just a bunch of bolts), and viola! Been driving that Explorer all winter with no problems. Sure, there are some small issues still, but it works and I know what I”ve got.

    So they tried to get me to buy a $17K car when all I really needed was a $300 part!

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