LR Dealer vs local mechanic? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old July 27th, 2007, 11:45 PM
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Donald McDowell
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LR Dealer vs local mechanic?

Ok so I thought I would take my truck in Thursday for new rear brake pads and rotors and take it to a local "European" auto repair place rather than the pricey Land Rover service department. Well after leaving my truck with the mechanic he called later in the day to inform me that I also needed new rear springs and mounts in addition to the original brake pad and rotor job. The mehcanic then told me he would order the springs and other parts from a supplier in England???? confidence level dropping...

To make a long story short, he didn't have any of the parts I needed and the truck is sitting in his bay for the weekend and maybe he will have the parts Monday. He couldn't really give me a true estimate either.

This brings up the question, although pricier, is it better to trust a Land Rover Dealer than a mechanic not as familiar or prepared to work with Land Rovers? Noone around here is very familiar with a Defender. I must say his shop was impressive and he had a Ferrari, 2 Rolls Royces, a Discovery and a couple of Mercedes so he does work on high end vehicles and people seem to trust him.

I am not mechanically inclined nor do I have the time to do the work myself. Hopefully replacing brake pads, rotors and springs are something he can do.
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  #2  
Old July 28th, 2007, 12:08 AM
cdb
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Clark Bowen
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I've owned 6 Range Rovers and been to 7 dealers and there is one I might trust: RAB in Corte Madera, CA. Just took my 2004 RR to the nearest dealer (under warranty) for a hydraulic leak under the front "spoiler" pan and they said they fixed it. Still leaked. I checked the nuts (about 20 of them) that hold that pan in place and those nuts have never been touched. I told them this and they got quite nervous and rescheduled me. Found it was a leaking radiator. They could not find the source of the leak unless they removed that pan.
Years ago I worked for a Honda, Mazda, BMW dealer and I know how the structure works. The Owner leans on the General Manager for profits and sales. The general manager leans on the three department managers - sales, parts, service. Then the parts guy pressures the service guy to replace parts as often as possible . Everyone scratches each other's back and you get the itch.
I've had much better luck with the independent guy whose business lives or dies on his reputation and not the closed system of warranty work or taking it to the dealer because only they have the Testbook software.

Clark
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  #3  
Old July 28th, 2007, 12:14 AM
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shane cates
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I would think that you rotors could be turned by the local auto parts store unless they have been abused. Removing them and installing new pads is no more difficult than an American sedan. I'm not sure why they would say that you have a problem with springs other than to take your money. If you wish to purchase springs, lots have had luck with OME and I went with Rovertym. The product was excellent and the phone service matched it.

Follow-up Post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caribsurf
Ok so I thought I would take my truck in Thursday for new rear brake pads and rotors and take it to a local "European" auto repair place rather than the pricey Land Rover service department. Well after leaving my truck with the mechanic he called later in the day to inform me that I also needed new rear springs and mounts in addition to the original brake pad and rotor job. The mehcanic then told me he would order the springs and other parts from a supplier in England???? confidence level dropping...

To make a long story short, he didn't have any of the parts I needed and the truck is sitting in his bay for the weekend and maybe he will have the parts Monday. He couldn't really give me a true estimate either.

This brings up the question, although pricier, is it better to trust a Land Rover Dealer than a mechanic not as familiar or prepared to work with Land Rovers? Noone around here is very familiar with a Defender. I must say his shop was impressive and he had a Ferrari, 2 Rolls Royces, a Discovery and a couple of Mercedes so he does work on high end vehicles and people seem to trust him.

I am not mechanically inclined nor do I have the time to do the work myself. Hopefully replacing brake pads, rotors and springs are something he can do.
A car is a car. It's just brakes dude! don't get ripped off.
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  #4  
Old July 28th, 2007, 12:23 AM
CaptMidnite
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Daniel Choi
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Land Rover Mechanic

Are you sure there isn't a good Land Rover specialist in your area? When I was living in Austin Texas, there were at least two British car/Land Rover specialists in town (in addition to the local LR dealership), and both of them saw a steady stream of Defenders going through their shop. The shop I went to (Motorcars LTD) even had their own Land Rover parts warehouse in Houston. Post something on your local Craig's list, or maybe there's a local land rover club than can give you a recomendation. Overall, I'd lean towards finding a good, small independent mechanic. Many Land Rover dealerships don't even see a whole lot of Defenders going through their shops, so their mechanics might even have less experience with Defenders than a small specialty shop. Plus, the service writers that greet you are on commission, and MAY be motivated to push extra service on you.

Follow-up Post:

BTW..on the brake job...were the rotors turned instead of replaced? I thought Defenders had soft rotors that wore with the pads, and pretty much had to be replaced and never "turned?"
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  #5  
Old July 28th, 2007, 12:33 AM
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shane cates
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don't freak out. rotors are readily available very inexpensively. I would asume you would try to turn what you have if they have metal left to turn. Brakes are brakes, I don't care if the are from Japan or wherever. You can do it. Go for it man!
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  #6  
Old July 28th, 2007, 03:12 AM
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Ade
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caribsurf

This brings up the question, although pricier, is it better to trust a Land Rover Dealer than a mechanic not as familiar or prepared to work with Land Rovers? Noone around here is very familiar with a Defender. I must say his shop was impressive and he had a Ferrari, 2 Rolls Royces, a Discovery and a couple of Mercedes so he does work on high end vehicles and people seem to trust him.

I am not mechanically inclined nor do I have the time to do the work myself. Hopefully replacing brake pads, rotors and springs are something he can do.
Hey Donald, call them up first thing and get your truck back! I'm thinking you will end up paying more at this mechanic shop than at the Stearlership. They may work on Ferrari's,Rolls' and Benz', however, it doesn't make them knowledgable on Defenders. In addition places like that work on exotic cars that people can afford to whip out a check book / American Express and not blink twice at the cost. I believe you will be in for a very disappointing surprise if you allow them to go forward. For what needs to be done, why couldn't they give you a quote? They sound VERY fishy!

I don't have much faith in a lot of LR Dealers to be knowledgable on Defenders, how often to Defenders roll through most LR shops these days??? I'm not mechanically inclined either, and I wouldn't let any shop work on my truck, I think it might be in your best interest to find out from other D-90 members around your area who they take their trucks too. While you are waiting to find an 'honest' mechanic, order the parts yourself.
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  #7  
Old July 28th, 2007, 03:28 AM
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Dennis Lynch
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My first thought is that he is either ripping you off, or ignorant. You can get all those things from suppliers on the east coast. I am no mechanic, but I have already done the things you mentioned to my Rover.....It's easy and fun.
Good luck
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  #8  
Old July 28th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Donald McDowell
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Thanks everyone for your input...aside from not being very mechanically inclined, the HOA prohibits working on cars in the driveway and my garage doesn't offer alot of room.

The shop where I left my truck was recommended to me by another D-90 owner so this is my first experience with them. They claim they work on Land Rovers often, but when he told me he was ordering parts from England that kind of through me for a loop. I told him about Rover's North, Atlantic British etc..and I am leaving behind a catalogue for him. He did seem very knowledgeable and the items he suggested replacing were all things I was keeping an eye on and didn't come as a great surprise and made my confidence rise a bit.

Originally I was going to order the parts myself and have him install them, but he said he won't warranty any part that he hasn't supplied. I know they want to make money on the parts as well as the labor. I know what the parts cost so it klls me to pay more

After speaking with him again, we decided to do the brake pads and rotors but the rear springs don't need replacing they just need the "seat" or mounts they rest on replaced.

I guess in the future I will take to the LR Dealer in Ft.Lauderdale Martin P and Ken who often post on this forum work there so it gives me a good level of confidence.

The thing that pisses me off is the job would have been done in 1/2 a day at the dealership, but since this guy had no parts, it will be a 2 day job plus leaving the truck there all weekend.

If anyone from south Florida knows of a good mechanic please chime in

Thanks
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  #9  
Old July 29th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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Paul / Boultbee
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Don,
To answer your question - it is hit and miss but my prefence has been non-LR shops because of time to complete work and overall cost - both better at the indies. MY local LR dealership has no one onsite who can work on a Defender and have messed up the last 2 repairs. Good dealership, but focused on Rangies, not Defenders so I can not go to them. When I was in NJ, had a great shop 7 miles from home. I now live in California, just north LA and there is little here as LA has a list of good shops.
So what do I do today? Bough the wife the 3rd car, work with a Jag indie mechanic, I order the pieces, and he does what I can not. Any repair 1 week off the road.
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  #10  
Old July 29th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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Donald McDowell
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Thanks for the advice Paul I will keep looking for a good , honest mechanic and who knows, maybe the shop where my truck sits today will do a good job for me. They must some idea of what they are doing as they have an amazing inventory of high end customers and have been in business 21 years. Even so, Defenders aren't an everyday vehicle. I see many more Bentleys and Rolls Royces's around these parts

Ideally, I would like to order the parts and have the mechanic do the work, but so far two mechanics I called weren't too open to that idea knowing they wouldn't make any money on parts.
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  #11  
Old July 30th, 2007, 06:45 PM
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Hunter Seley
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Call The Rover Shop. 954-744-6665. Shayne Young is the man to ask for. He's on Broward Blvd. I stopped there a few weeks ago to ask some questions about some minor mechanicals I'm having. He spent a lot of time with me showing me differnt stuff on the vehicles. Seemed really nice. Going to start bringing my rover there and see how it goes. If anyone has had experience there please post.
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  #12  
Old July 30th, 2007, 07:47 PM
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Donald McDowell
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Hey Hunter thanks alot for the information. I will keep the number on hand and call them.


I also got an e-mail today from Martin P from land Rover of Ft.Lauderdale...apparently there is another dealer in Pompano

British Rover.
Number for him is 954-445-8651.

To update my current situation, the brakes were done and done well, but I opted not to have them touch the springs or anything else. The brake price was very good, and the garage was very appreciative when I left behind a Rover's North catalogue.

Good to know there are at least 2 garages that specialize in Rovers..
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