Mr. Lube — broken transmission
Contrary to advice from friends and the fact that I was going to be pushed timewise to do this myself, which I normally do, in May of 2009 I went to get an engine oil change from Mr. Lube for my 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Whilst I was there I saw that they offered transmission oil change. Since I wanted to do this soon myself, I thought I could kill two birds with one stone. The spotty kid told me that they could do it but it would take 30 mins. He asked when was the last time I'd had it done and I said I didn't know because I had only had the car a year. No problem, until they started the work.
Initially they were unable to get to attach one of the hoses from the transmission flushing machine to my transmission because they had the incorrect plug. Fluid went everywhere. Once that plug had been secured the other was inserted, (the transmission flusher circulates by pushing the old fluid out and the new in) and the machine turned on. As it turned out the outlet hose was not attached properly so no circulation occured, which over pressured the transmission and as I discovered later, broke the inspection cover seal allowing the fluid to leak out. After three tries at getting it right the flush was finally completed.
Upon parking the Jeep, I noticed oil was leaking from the transmission area and thought nothing of it as it was a messy affair and there would be residual oil dripping off. Next morning this was not the case. There was a pool of transmission fluid under the car. I took the vehicle back and complained. The spineless manager didn't even confront me and got in his car and drove away leaving one of his staff to deal with the project...
I went into the pit to see what was going. When the vehicle was turned on fluid started dripping from the inspection plate. The employees, because they are not trained mechanics, didn't know what was going on and recommended that I go to a garage they use (why do they use it!). Mistake on my part. I should have gone to an independent garage.
Upon driving there, only a few kms up the road, my transmission was failing badly so much so that 30 km/h was the maximum I could drive without feeling the transmission was going to drop out. They inpected the transmission and told me that the inspection plate seal had gone due to it being over-presssured and is why the fluid was draining out (outlet hose coming off and no flow through during "flush"). Also it was possible, due to flushin, that metal particles from wear and tear went back into it. (There is a magnet on the pan base to collect these particles so they don't go back into the transmission; every automatic car has one.) I asked if they would put that in writing. Of course the answer was no. I got the feeling they were protecting Mr. Lube for future business, after all they were recommened by Mr. Lube. So, due to the fluid coming out, the transmission failed.
$3000 later I decided to sue Rycor Holdings who own the licence for that particular Mr. Lube store. During my research I ask Jeep Chrysler what should have happened. I told them I had 150K on the clock and I didn't know when the fluid had been changed in the past. They said they should have dropped the transmission pan and done an inspection and to remove all metal particles that are attached to the magnet in the pan so they don't go back into the transmission, then flushed it if there were no signs of wear and tear. They said Mr. Lube should not have even attempted to do a change knowing the Jeep was old and that there was no previous history. Several other garages said the same. Non would commit in writing so I lost the court case due to lack of evidence. I wished I told the court to demand to see the video of the event that Rycor Holdings said they had. Another mistake.
I urge everyone who has had problems like these, from any garage, to write them down on the web, just like travellers have one on Tripadvisor. Together we can change and raise standards in garages.
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