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  1. #1
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    Need help on car repair

    I need to get some gaskets replaced on a car that is off warranty. The local dealer repair costs are ridiculous.

    I'd like to find a less expensive option. Does anyone know of a lower cost, reliable auto service business in the Des Moines/Ames/Central Iowa area?



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    Re: Need help on car repair

    Sinclair in Ames is actually a really good place to go


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    Re: Need help on car repair

    Tuffy in Ames ripped me off big time back in 2000 - that's one to steer clear of if you're not able to cut through the BS.



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    Re: Need help on car repair

    I just got my car worked on at Denny's Automotive in Ames. They did a good job of not screwing me over since my regular mechanic is in CR, and I already knew what was wrong, so I compared with him and it was pretty close.


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    Re: Need help on car repair

    Quote Originally Posted by clones_jer View Post
    Tuffy in Ames ripped me off big time back in 2000 - that's one to steer clear of if you're not able to cut through the BS.
    I've heard similar reports about Tuffy's in West Des Moines. A friend took her car in for minor service work and was told all sorts of other things needed to be fixed or replaced. Some of the explanations were pretty far-fetched and she said no. That's when lots of things that had worked fine prior to her visit stopped working. After several angry conversations with Tuffy, she eventually had a mechanic friend fix everything.


    Yeah well, ya know, that's just, like uh, your opinion, man.

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    Re: Need help on car repair

    Are you talking about intake manifold gaskets? Take it from someone that tried to save money by finding a cheap place to do it, it's worth the extra money to take it to a dealer that is certified for that kind of repair. My Grand AM had the intake gaskets go bad, I took it to a "ma and pa" place that did it much cheaper than the dealer then 2 years later the work they did went to crap and I had to have it done all over again and this time I just took it to a dealer that has certified GM mechanics that knew what they were doing. There are some repairs that the ma and pa places are good for but a major repair like manifold repair I'd do your homework on the place before you go the cheap route.



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    Re: Need help on car repair

    I have a friend who works at En-tire Car Care in Ames. I have them do all my work and they do pretty well. I think they usually compare favorably with most places cost-wise.



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    Re: Need help on car repair

    Tuffy in Ames ripped me off too. I have not been back to a Tuffy's since.

    Firestone in Des Moines is great. They have the cheapest prices (believe me, I do a lot of comparison shopping) while still doing quality work. The one I go to is located by Merle Hay Mall on Douglas Ave.



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    Re: Need help on car repair

    I'll echo the others here...Do not go to Tuffys! I had a friend who brought his car in and they told him a bunch of things were wrong...one being a hose replacement. He agreed to have them fix a couple of the "critical" items...one being the hose. They charged him over $500 to replace this hose.

    Later, he was at an O'Reillys and just asked a sales person about this same hose out of curiousity. The sales guy told him the hose was $70 and could be replaced by anyone in 15 minutes. My friend actually wrote 2 or 3 letters to the Better Business Bureau...

    They are absolute crooks there. And if you are a girl, they will really screw you over.



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    Re: Need help on car repair

    Check out Woody's , on first street in Ankeny. I real good guy



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    Re: Need help on car repair

    What are shop rates? Dealership's are probably around $75. Local private is probably closer to $50. Good mechanics can be found in both. Parts of equal quality are frequently less at a private, but not necessarily.

    In my neighborhood I find the privates to be much more honorable than the local dealership.



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    Re: Need help on car repair

    En-tire is generally a good place to go. Very reasonable prices and good quality of work.

    I'm surprised nobody has ripped on HabHab yet. They have to be, without a doubt, the worst in town. They are like vultures driving up and down 35 looking for stranded motorists. My car died back in like 2002 on 35 and Habhab came to the rescue. Since they were already there to tow my car I agreed to let them out of convenience. After getting my car up and starting the trip back to ames. The driver conveniently "missed" the exit for us to turn around and come back to Ames. I believe he said something like, "whoops, guess we missed that exit" ...and yes, they charged me for the mileage.

    Then they proceeded to run a diagnostic on my car without asking and tried to charge me $80 for it.

    I have NEVER encountered a more dishonest business in my life. Stay away from them.


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    Re: Need help on car repair

    I'd "recommend" Butch's, but I don't know the guys who work there anymore. I used to have a lot of friends that worked there, but they all graduated. They did quality work, and didn't screw me, but that may have just been because they knew me. I haven't really ever heard anything bad about them though, so take that as you will.


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    Re: Need help on car repair

    I would suggest staying away from Firestone. I knew I was going to need new front brakes soon so I had them take a look. They said I needed new brakes on all 4 wheels (and I'd better get it done within 2 weeks as it was dangerous to drive) and that I needed new rotors. The total bill was around $800. To compare, I took the care to a small shop in Ankeny and he said the rotors were just fine, the rear brakes were also fine, and the front brakes were worn down to about 15-20% so I had just those replaced for slightly over $100.



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    Re: Need help on car repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone62 View Post
    I'd "recommend" Butch's, but I don't know the guys who work there anymore. I used to have a lot of friends that worked there, but they all graduated. They did quality work, and didn't screw me, but that may have just been because they knew me. I haven't really ever heard anything bad about them though, so take that as you will.
    Butch's is 1 place in Ames I'd be careful about because I've heard some horror stories from there from several people. The 1 time I had a window fixed there they didn't put the right tension on the crank when they put the new window in and I had to take it back again because it came off the tracks rolled down in the middle of the winter. My ex-girlfriend had her SUV towed by them because she parked in a spot on campus she was not supposed to. When she went to pick it up the tailgate had a dent and her back window that was open some was stuck because of it and got rained on that night on top of it. The tow report said there was no damage when they towed it but they claimed they did not cause the damage despite not writing it on the tow report and refused to pay for the body repair. The repair costs was not worth it to take them to small claims over which is what they probably knew when they refused to pay for the damage they most likely caused when they towed it.



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