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So we take one of our cars in for a basic oil change. Then they say it needs some new breaks, tires, and spark plugs. Okay, the car was about due I must admit. Usually, I would rather take my car to either Bill Clark Automotive or AWS Automotive for anything like breaks or something more complex, but the car was already at Sears. They do the work, we pick up the car and leave. The check engine light comes on. What the heck, it was not on before we took the car to Sears. Take the car back. Oh your IAC Valve is bad, lets replace it. Gosh, that's odd, so the IAC Valve failed the very day we came in with the car? Whatever, so they replace that. Pick up the car and leave. The check engine light is on again. WTF. Take the car back to Sears again. Sears says oh we must not have reset the engine control system. Leave the car again. Later they call. "Oh gosh Mr. Johnson, we don't know what the problem is. It is probably a problem with the electronics in the engine control system that we are not set up to fix, you should take it to a dealer. They have the equipment to solve this mystery". Because the dealer is so expensive I take it to Bill Clark Automotive instead. Bill Clark calls me later to inform me that the problem was that the Sears mechanic forgot to reconnect the vacuum line at the throttle body, causing a severe vacuum leak. Additionally, Sears forgot to resecure the intake ducting causing still more air leaks at two other points in the system.

Oh and before I forget. When they did the basic oil change above they spilled some oil on the engine. They did mention it this time so we would know why there was any smoking or burning smell after. They spilled oil all over one of our cars engines once before and did not say anything. We only found out when driving down the street and then seeing smoke come out from the engine.

So after leaving Bill Clark automotive the car is running fine. I go to Sears and they refund me the $102.50 that Bill Clark charged to fix their mistake. However, if I had gone to the dealer as they suggested that bill probably would have been $200 to $250. Yet, they won't refund any more than the $102.50 despite the fact they not only made the original error, but did not realize that error upon bringing the car back. Plus we had to go another day without the car, I had to take time off work to get the car to Bill Clark Automotive and more time off work to pick it back up. It was tempting to have my credit card company reverse the whole charge from Sears and then later write them a check for the amount they charged for service less $200. But I decided it was not worth the bother. I think a small claims court judge would agree that was reasonable, but you never know.

I am also left to wander if the IAC Valve they replaced was actually fine, they could have possibly started that problem when replacing the spark plugs by not properly securing the intake duct after if they removed it go get at certain spark plugs. I was going to have Bill Clark also test that IAC Valve, but my problem was the labor to go through all that would have been about as much as the part cost and it is a part that is known to fail.

Yeah, Sears Automotive has the hours that make them easier to use. But think about what your car is worth. Is it really worth letting poorly qualified mechanics and people paid on commission who have a reason to up sell have access to your car? I have come to the conclusion it definitely is not worth it. Use Sears Automotive at your own risk.

Attached is a copy of Bill Clark's findings and a photo of Bill Clark showing where they vacuum line should have been reconnected.

Review about: Sears Auto Center Oil Change.

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