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rob's garage


I recently purchased a Chevy Equinox. However, prior to its delivery, it had a solenoid malfunction - the shifter wouldn't come out of Park. The dealership kept the vehicle, taking two weeks to fix the problem. When I picked up my car, it had more than 800 kilometres on it. (When I test drove it, it had 90 kilometres).

Was putting an extra 800 kilometres on the vehicle necessary for the replacement of the solenoid?


Having been in the position of a technician working on electronic problems myself Lily, I can tell you that this kind of mileage rack-up is quite common. That said, 800 kilometres is a little excessive.

My bet is that your shifter malfunction was intermittent - these problems are the worst and most difficult to diagnose and repair. In order to duplicate problems like this, it is common for the technician to take the vehicle home and drive it as the "owner".

If you consider that the shop had your Equinox for two weeks, it is possible to pile on 800 kilometres.

Typically, an average commute is 25 kilometres one way - 50 clicks per day - five days per week for two weeks, gives us a starting point of 500 kilometres. If the tech had to drive the vehicle over the two weekends, it is possible to add another 200-300 clicks on the odometer, again, trying to duplicate the problem. But typically, technicians are not allowed to drive a customer vehicle on non-work days unless prior permission is given by the owner.

All right, there's the defence. The problem with your experience is the fact that this was not explained to you. Any customer service-oriented shop should be using full disclosure when it comes to the diagnostic and repair process and is commonly done because of the technical wizardry found in newer vehicles. This has apparently not happened in your case, Lily, but should have.

Do not be afraid to ask questions at the service counter. You have every right to know what goes on with your vehicle, after all, it is your vehicle and you are paying for a service. The repair shop is working for you. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right and you deserve an explanation or better yet, a description of the diagnostic and repair process up front - full disclosure.

So Lily, go back to the repair shop to ask the obvious question: Explain to me why there is an extra 800 kilometres on my Equinox.

If the service advisers can't justify the added mileage, you should be having another discussion - with the service manager. It may come to some form of compensation such as free maintenance or general services for an agreed amount of time.