My first instinct is that the first shop was not very professional. When a vehicle is delivered to a customer, it should be test driven and any issues brought to attention before it is picked up. Before that happens, the car should be looked at and the service tech should take into consideration the mileage, last service done and the condition of anything he will be working around and the overall condition the car is in. A lot of people don't like it when a service tech suggests more repairs. It is selling more for the shop, but a dependable repair shop will suggest items that need to be serviced. If he had just asked when the last time the spark plug wires were replaced, a lot of this could have been avoided or you would have at least felt like you were not being blind sided like you do now. If the plug wires have never been replaced, that is a no-brainer. If they are going to get pulled, they are going to probably fail and while the plug wires are off anyway, it would only cost for the parts as this is, "Overlap Labor". Meaning that the plug wires had to be, "Removed and Replaced", (R&R), so there is no extra labor charged since they are going to be R&R'ed anyway.
So, I do agree that the first repair shop is somewhat un-professional and should have done things differently. It should not cause Check Engine Lights to come on. Switching coils should not do that and I am not sure why he did not suggest the service that you are getting done now. All I can figure is that he did not want to look bad for not telling you how much the vehicle really needed.
The $900.00 is not an unreasonable estimate considering the diagnostics the repair shop had to do. In fact it is about right for the services stated and the vehicle certainly needs them and you will be amazed at what replacing said items will do for the trucks performance. You will get better gas mileage as well. So, don't take it all as bad. The services needed to be done, you just went to a repair shop that did not tell you everything it really needed and at least tell you that things like the plug wires may get damaged. Other than the plug wires though, I have to take your side as saying something like, "maybe I wired it wrong. Or, I tried switching coils", does not sit well with me either. There is not anything I can think of that could get wired wrong just from doing valve covers. If there is, a good tech would certainly keep up with it.
So, I am sorry you are in this position and I hope that you can sort of see the good side of the situation you are in.
In the future, when picking a repair shop, although if things go well with this one, (keep using them as loyalty to any merchant is a give and take and is good for all), there are links on this site to help you find a reputable repair shop near you. Look at the condition of the shop, is it clean and reasonably tidy? Does the equipment look outdated and worn? Does the staff carry a professional attitude?
These are a few things to look for in a good repair facility, not a guarantee though.
Let me know how it turns out.
Saturday, February 19th, 2011 AT 7:52 PM