Just wanted to relate my experience.
Normally, I have regular maintenance done at another shop, and if I can wait to get an appointment, I use Folsom Motor Works (who are great). In this case, my wife had some Big O coupons that she would normally use by her work, but when she went to the Folsom Big O on Blue Ravine, she recognized one of the staff from our other shop. My daughter ended up taking her 2009 Toyota in to the shop. Her complaint was excessive oil usage (with no leaks), and a rattle at startup.
Their diagnosis was timing chain slop and a leaky front seal...total with new guides, phaser chain and seal...2400. Our deal with my daughter is that we buy the car, and she pays for half the major mechanical and normal maintenance. We discussed at length with the manager whether it was worth putting that much into the car, but our contact said because it was a Toyota, he would recommend the repair.
Here is where it goes wrong. Silly me, I trusted the guy working there, and didn't really put much thought into the diagnosis and repair. My 19 year old daughter was handling things (quite well I must say). We got the car back, and it had a rough idle. Back to Big O. I would have to look it up, but I'd say the total time in the shop was over 8 weeks. During this time, the communication was terrible. We would be promised phone calls and get nothing. We would call and be told someone would call back. Nothing. We would call and ask about the car, and no one seemed to know anything about it. We found out it was at another mechanics shop, and it had been diagnosed with a blown head gasket.
During the time they had the car, I did a quick online search and found that this particular toyota motor has issues with stripped head bolts, bad piston rings and timing chain issues. You would think a professional mechanic would be aware of these things. You would also think that with a complaint of oil consumption with no leak, you would look at the oil and coolant to see if they were contaminated (head gasket). So essentially, we paid 2400 dollars to then be told that the motor was bad and would cost 2900-6500 to fix (depending on complete motor replacement or head gasket replacement).
So, due to a misdiagnosis, we are out 1 car, and 2400. We would have never gone forward with the repairs had we been given accurate information. When we finally picked up the car, our original contact had been fired. The new manager said he would talk to his regional manager and get back to me...I finally stopped in nearly a week later to see what they could do for us. Basically, their offer was that if we supplied a new motor and paid to have it put in, they would do it. Thanks for nothing!
I then contacted the Big O "contact us" site and filled out a form. I made sure to check the "would you like someone to get back to you" box in the affirmative. After a few days, I had not received a phone call or email acknowledging my complaint, so I called the contact us number. The nice lady found my complaint and said she would escalate it About an hour later, the local manager I had already spoken to called me and said he was calling regarding my complaint. I asked him if anything had changed, and he said no, he was just responding to the complaint. So I told him he could check the box that he called, and I would move on to other avenues.
So, that is my tale. Take it for what it is worth and decide on your choice of mechanics.
I would like opinions as to whether you think Big O should have offered...SOMETHING due to their misdiagnosis.
Also, know any backyard mechanics that want a great deal on a 2009 Corolla?