Complaint: When my Head Gasket blew in December last year, my mechanic friend advised that it would be far cheaper to replace the engine than have the old engine rebuilt. So after shopping around I found the Phoenix branch of American Engine Installation to offer a good price, plus the fact that this company appears to specialize in Only doing engine replacements seemed to offer that added feeling of security. And the 3 year 50,000 mile warranty obviously makes you feel like these guys know what they are doing. My Estimate for both parts and labor came to $1695.00, which was obviously a very good price for a V6 Engine for my Chevy Monte Carlo including Installation. Now my vehicle was a 95 Monte Carlo with only 54.000 miles, had been serviced every 3,000 miles religiously, just to give you the background. One of the most alarming problems I faced was getting information. After 2 weeks I had heard nothing from them, so I called only to find out that the new engine had not even arrived from Houston where it appears they obtain their engines. I waited another week to be told that the engine had arrived, but I also needed some $2,000 in additional parts, including New Hoses, New Timing belt and a new Radiator. The funny thing with this request was in fact that only 2 weeks before I had the engine problem the Timing belt and Hoses were replaced with brand new parts and the radiator was replaced only 8 months previously. The excuse from AEI why these parts needed replacing was that they appeared to be aged and worn. Unfortunately I am not a mechanic to even know what some of the parts they eventually talked me into needing were i.e. Harmonic Balancer, Oil Sending Unit, Crank Core and Roller Lifters, the additional parts adding over $1000 to the original estimate. After taking the car in mid-December 2002, on 21st January 2003 over 1 month later I finally managed to reach someone at the office who could answer my question that my car was ready to collect. No calls were ever made to me from AEI Phoenix, I always had to call them for information. I had no problems with the engine for several months until to my horror at the end of July this year I was driving home from work and the engine died on me, I was stuck on the freeway with no cell phone in the Arizona heat (110+) and needed to walk 2 miles to a gas station to make the call to my father in law to tow the car back home. Since January I had driven 8,000 miles on the new engine, followed the service recommendations and changed the oil after 500, and then 2 oil changes at 3,500 and 6,500 miles thereafter. The Phoenix AEI, now under new management was more than willing to come and pick up the car and a tow truck arrived the next day to pick the car up. After another 4 days of calling AEI daily to find out what had happened, again at no time did they call me, the diagnostic was that the New (allegedly) Oil Sender Unit, a $32.00 part had in some way broken and damaged the crank shaft and other internal components. Unfortunately as the warranty only covers labor for 90 days I was therefore responsible for the $995.00 labor charge to remove the engine and send it back to Houston. After another 2 weeks I had heard nothing from them, so I decided to start my daily call regime to see what information we could obtain, the engine had arrived back and would be installed within 2 or 3 days. Finally a time estimate that proved to be correct, 3 days later I went to pickup my car again, in the last 12 months it had now spend almost 2 full months at AEI and cost me over $4,000 – more than the car is actually worth. But I now had my car back and was happy. Its lunch time 2 days later and myself and a colleague are driving to the local burger joint for lunch, the AC quits working. Very strange, as the AC had always been brilliant in this car. Later me and the same colleague are driving home from work now with no AC, it again was a hot summer Arizona day well over 105 and the engine temperature was raising, when it was nearing the red maximum line my colleague advised to turn on the heaters and open the windows, which will help to exhaust heat from the engine. So on a 105+ Arizona day we were driving home from work almost 20 miles with the heaters on full, which was keeping the engine temperature at 3/4 of its maximum, but still alarmingly high if we turned down the fan at all for the heater. The next day I call AEI again and advise the situation, again another very hot day. They advise that it is most likely air in the engine as they did not get chance to run the engine for many miles. They advise to drive the car almost 20 miles from my house to their location. I drive over and leave them the car AGAIN (Now the 3rd time they have had it) and get a ride back to my house from my wife. At this point we are so depressed at the situation, plus we have no vehicle to transport our 3 month child around in, as our other vehicle is a single cab pickup, that we decide to take the risk and buy a new car, while the old car is still with AEI. The next week after 3 days of calls to them the car is ready to pickup. The next day the car is on the corner by my house, and as it is in such beautiful condition with only 62,000 miles it is sold within days. We are now the happy owners of a Nissan XTerra with a lengthy factory warranty and glad to be rid of our AEI hell. I am not saying that all AEI franchises are like this, however I have received some emails from other customers of franchises all over the country. So before taking your car to these people make sure they guarantee the estimate price and include all parts that are required, if you are not mechanically minded then check this list of parts with a qualified mechanic so you are not ripped off as I was. Roger Mesa, ArizonaU.S.A.
Tags: Auto Mechanics
Address: 503 W Watkins Rd Phoenix, Arizona U.S.A.