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Problems with Precision Tune in Santa Cruz

I was a customer at Precision Tune in Santa Cruz 3 times in 1998. They used to catch my attention with $9.95 oil-change coupons. I had a 1985 Mazda 626 with ~ 150,000 miles on it and just wanted to keep that car alive at low cost.

Visit #1:

I got a $9.95 oil change. They also inspected your car while they were at it. They found some other things that should be taken care of, like a bad bearring. I'd say that they did ok that time.

Visit #2:

Got a $9.95 oil change and had the car checked. I knew that the car had vacuum leaks and asked them to check them out. They found 4 leaks, made me $ estimates over the phone, suggested to fix 3 of them. The bill was like $300, I believe. So when I come to pick up the car, they do that little game "Sign here and pay and then you get your keys" and I think "Umm, I'd really like to see the car first or even test drive it before I pay $300" but.. well.. no spine in my back, so I just pay and get it over with.
I walk over to my car and one of the guys is with me. I have about no knowledge about cars, all I ever did was exchange an alternator and fuses but I thought "Hey let's open the hood and see if something looks different for $300". Maybe something is new and shiny or so, right?
I pop the hood open and the first thing I see is that metal pipe that is supposed to connect the motor (black) with the blue box where the air filter is in.. well that pipe was not in place but hung lose around. I think that pipe would suck clean filtered air from the filter box into the "motor".
Hmm... the mechanic admitted that this was not intended, drove the car over to his shack and fixed it.
Hmm... I really wondered what else..

The repair did show effect though. My car used to make 60mph @ 3000rpm, after fixing the leaks it did 66mph @ 3000rpm and similar in higher ranges. It did also run somehow rougher, more noisy, something that was hard to substantiate, of course. So, I was still happy with my $300 repair.

Visit #3: (Now we get to the $399.95 oil change!)

Once more, I wanted a $9.95 oil change. Done, I pick up the car, and it's doing fine. So, later in the night, I drive into the mountains (~ 15 miles) and the car feels kind of funny. Excuse my lack of better words, but I am not an experienced driver, that was actually my first car. Next day I drive another 20 miles and it's acting up. I open the hood and there's oil all over the place. There's no oil cap!
Let me see. I get an oil change and next day my oil cap is gone. The hood to my car is locked while I parked it in the time between. Hm. Only a devil would conclude that.. no, I am not going to accuse Precision here, after all they have proven careful work in visit #2 already.

I had to get the motor washed at a different place: $40
I had to get all kinds of rubber parts exchanged that were damaged by the oil in these 2 days: $350. Needless to say, Precision Tune did not feel responsible.

$9.95 + $40 + $350 = $399.95 for an oil change, and I do not even drive a Porsche.


I would not recommend Precision Tune to anyone. They obviously do not know what they are doing or maybe they are on drugs while they work.

A year ago (in 2000), I bought a new Firebird, and I'd rather drive it over the cliff than have Precision Tune get their fingers on it.

Generated 8:00:45 on Oct 1, 2020