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Beating the secret society of car repair people
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Next, hours of negotiation ensued between the car sales guy, the manager and me.

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They started by offering to reduce the price of the Mustang to $8,450 and to buy the truck for $1,000. I countered with an offer of $5,300 for the car, demanded $2,700 for the truck and insisted they throw in a pair of roof racks, an accessory for the new Honda CRV at home.

After several back-and-forth proposals, we ended up buying the Mustang for pretty close to retail value, got trade-in value for the truck and a set of roof racks. I felt defeated, though my daughter perceived me as heroic.

But on the way home, we noticed that the car seemed to slip when shifting between 40 and 50 mph. Why didn't we hear that during the test drive?! It sounded like a subtle, but potentially ominous transmission problem. The next day at 7:30 a.m. we took the car (on which we had a two-month warranty) back to the dealer and asked them to service it. Long story short, the mechanic said it was a "lockup of the torque converter," a standard characteristic of these cars. He might as well have been speaking in Japanese. He claimed it was normal, that there was nothing to fix.

On top of that, the roof racks were the wrong kind and did not fit the Honda CRV.

My husband didn't buy the mechanic's story and insisted that we return the car, tear up the co-signed loan note and retrieve the truck. I called an unrelated third party, a local Ford dealer, and asked the service technician if the torque converter lockup is a common phenomenon among Mustangs. He confirmed that this was true, and explained it had to do with the mechanic coupler ... continuing on in the gibberish that was incomprehensible to me.

  1. What should we do?

    Return the car and roof racks and get the truck back. This deal has gone sour.
    Take a chance and keep the car. The lockup of the torque converter is not a problem, according to two different mechanics.


Next: One more car problem.
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