I took my car to a local mechanic a year ago after I got my car to get it running better, and he told me I'd need a new engine among other things. So I paid him the diag fee and left. It still ran okay, just lacked power really, so I just kept driving it. A couple a months ago my car barely made it home, so I stopped driving it thinking it was done :(. Last ditch effort, I figured I'd take it to the Toyota experts even tho I figured I'd just be shelling out $ for a diagnosis for a new engine. Dennis was there right away to greet us as we pulled up. It was nice not to have to hunt around awkwardly, like at local shops and feel like you're bothering them. He was actually pretty cheerful (in a normal way, not a hyper way or a time wasting way) which I really appreciate bc in my experience, happier people take better care of customers, do great work and are easier to work with/talk to. He had us checked in and on our way within a couple of minutes. Even offered us a ride home :) We walked out to our other car mumbling of new engines or head gaskets but absolutely no hopes of fixing my beloved car (my sister bought me this car and she unexpectedly died 2 months later, so I'm really attached to this car).
So one of the other stellar things about my experience is, I'd dragged my feet in calling to make an appointment to bring my car in (bc I loathe dealing with this stuff), so I'd called at 2 on this day and they were easy to talk to and pleasant, she said I could drop it off at 4 but likely it wouldn't get looked at till the next day, which was totally fine with me. My local shop would've been at least a week or more just to be able to bring it in, let alone to be looked at. We left the car there between 3:30-4ish. I'd gotten home and fell asleep and missed a call at 4:31 from Dennis..ALREADY he was looking at it and had started a plan! He asked if he could do a tune-up bc the spark plugs are completely shot. My husband gasped at the price but I reminded him how much one costed me 12 years ago (yeah we don't service our cars much haha) and so it was actually not much more than that- and to have it done with Toyota tech, parts and specs? heck yes. Plus he said it looked as though it had never had a tune-up. But wait- does this mean the engine is fine?! YES! The engine and gasket both are good! I don't think the other mechanic even looked at my car, otherwise he would have seen, what Dennis is thinking are the original spark plugs. Good Lord.
Anyway, so he started there. The next morning he found a gasket that was leaking oil, causing oil to get into my plugs. This is all making so much sense from the problems my car has! He told me the price of that, and we'd see if we find anything else after that. There were the original codes the engine light were throwing when I got the car, so after he fixed those two big things he checked deeper into those. I told him we were at our limit right now, and I wasn't made to feel shamed or pressured, he was so nice and he just let me know that one of the codes will need to be dealt with soon and how it will affect the performance of the car. He even told me how much it will cost to get that fixed too! I know other mechanics would have put me thru the ringer with this car, especially with us already thinking it was shot. But he did the things to get me on the road safely and didn't try to destitute us like he could have. xxxx, we can still buy some groceries even XD. He asked who'd worked on the car before because there were all kinds of hoses and wires unhooked! But no one has except that mechanic I took it to before for diagnosis and whoever had the car before me. He prob wanted me to know not to have them work on my car again, and he said he hooked everything back up and all is proper. So I have my car back for $1100! 😱. I'd thought best case scenario would be at least $3000 (which we did not have for this, so I figured we'd be just walking away with a diagnosis receipt and a shot car). And with the most stress-free experience with a shop I've ever had. Dennis- you have customers for life. And with the reviews I'm seeing about the dealership, I think we'll be going there for my husband next. Thank you, thank you, thank you.