I am new to the forum, but have been a lover and owner of CRXs since 1990. I moved to NYC in 1999 and sold my original (Big Mistake!!) 105K original miles, Honda serviced, CLEAN!!! in 2001. I moved to NJ last year and bought a beater/project (all stock) car in August and that's where my story begins....
I am not much of a mechanic, but I know this car, having owned one for 12 years previously, so when I bought the "decent shape", 150K miles, "Ugly Betty" for $950 I knew I could take her and make her a car to love. I drove for about 3 months and was having a ball, when my Dad suggested a tune up for the winter. If you know Jersey City, NJ, you know I don't have a driveway or garage, so I took it to pep boys since I didn't want to give the Honda dealer the $300+ they wanted for the tuneup.
$225 and two days later, I drove her off the lot and within a mile, she ran hot!!! Smoke coming out of the hood, it was scary and a big mess!!! I took it back to "the Boys" and asked what happened!!! They had no clue, but agreed to replace the fan.....2 days later (they had to order the new fan- I later found out that wasn't true) I drove her off the lot and within a day, she starts SPITTING oil out of the hood!!! What the he--???!!!!
Took it back to "the boys", thinking I had a MAJOR problem. The mechanic who worked on her wasn't there so someone else checked it out and saw that he had not put the oil cap back on properly.....Now my front end was covered in oil and I was afraid to drive her.....But I put her back on the road as this is my only car and within a month, she's running hot again....
I took her BACK to PB (I know I am a masochist) and was told that the radiator hose was leaking and I had MAJOR engine issues. They "fixed" this for me, but now, my heater did not work. Told me it would cost $350 to get the heater running. Well, I love the CRX but it was becoming too much of a headache. I wanted to wait for my tax refund for a new car, so I had to keep driving until one night, around 1AM coming back from New York, sitting in traffic at the Holland Tunnel she POPPED!!! The resevoir bottle burst open and I was in BIG trouble. Back to PB (Hey, I don't have family in NJ and didn't know where else to go) I was told the new resevoir bottle was $320 and they would charge $40 to put it on for me. (I found the piece on the internet for $25). By now I was really done and considered selling Betty AS IS for a few hundred, but I still needed transportation. A friend told me about Performance Honda in Jersey City and suggested I run her by there as he knew these guys to be honest and good!
When I went back to PB for my car, it wouldn't start..... I was told I needed a new battery, then that the battery ground was corroded and I needed new wiring, then that the engine was blown and it was unsafe to drive. I was almost hysterical, since my home and the Performance Honda shop were less than 2 miles away, but the Mechanic at Pep Boys (the same guy who had been "working on my car") for 3 months told me he didn't think I would make it that far....
"With the blown motor, the car is only worth maybe $250, but I'll buy it from you for $500."
WHAT???!!!!!! I can get $800 for the shell!
Another Pep Boys mechanic comes around the corner and hears our conversation and offers to give me $750 cash on the spot.
I told them both to F--- Off, I would take my chances, I bought a new battery and some anti freeze ($100 total) and proceeded to drive S-L-O-W-L-Y to Performance Honda. I parked the car and one the mechanics from a shop next door walks over and offers me $1200 for the car. I was almost in tears. I am a girl and not a mechanic, but I LOVE BETTY and want to keep her and make her beautiful again. But I can't spend money on her appearance if I can't get her to work!!!
The owner of Performance (Dexter, a great mechanic and an honest guy) told this guy to back off, then he opens my hood to take a quick look. Guess what he found?
The mechanics at PB had CUT my battery ground wire (there was a clean slice, a little corrosion but it wouldn't have caused this cut he showed to me), they used an off market fan that didn't fit and wired it to the windshield wipers?????, which was why it wasn't working and the car was running hot. Also from the tune up, 3 months prior, the air filter was not properly sealed, they had not changed the PVC? pipe and a few important bolts were missing or loose (he was able to turn the bolt on my valve cover with his bare hand). The spark plugs were not properly "gaped" and the resevoir bottle, was only $40 bought direct from Honda.
He told me the engine lloked great and should be able to go another 100,000 miles, you basicly have to KILL a CRX and thats what the Pep Boys mechanic had been trying to do. He also did not think that I needed a new battery as he put Black tape on the cut wire, but the deed was already done.....I paid $175 for the parts and labor, it took less than 2 hours to fix, now Betty drives like a new lady....I called Pep Boys to complain and they promised to reimburse me for the cost of geeting her properly fixed and a new tuneup done by Performance Honda. They also claimed they would fire the 2 mechanics, but I went over there this past weekend, and they are both still there.....
Bottom line, these guys were trying to STEAL my car by making me think it was more trouble than it was worth.
The morals of this story, there are a few:
1) Know your car!
2) Know your mechanic! If at all possible, get references or do the work yourself! If all else fails get a certified Honda mechanic!!!
3) Guys will do anything to get there hands on a decent CRX and you can not trust a national chain to keep them honest!!!
4) Stay away from Pep Boys in Jersey City, NJ!!!
Betty and I are now happy again and I am looking into a paint job (Porsche Black Pearl) and some new seats to have her sitting Pretty by Summer. Once I have her ready, I'll post some pics.....
Sorry for the long post, I left out a few OTHER things that they had done to the car at PB (pulled the drivers window off track, cracked the glove compartment, cause they couldn't get it opened, the windshield wiper fuse blew because they wired the fan to it....) Crazy story, right?
Thanks for giving me a place to vent.
Anyone else have stories of crazy mechanics who don't understand (or don't want you to believe) that the CRX is a car that will run forever with proper maintenance and care?