A few weeks ago, I brought in my Jeep Wrangler JK, to the Stephen Wade service department, in St. George, Utah, for a red electrical symbol light that came on my dash. On the way there, both of my passenger side windows stopped working as well.
I was on my way to a funeral, in SLC, and planned on being there for several days, with a rental car. When I arrived at the service department, there were several employees talking to each other and it took about 5 minutes before somebody even asked me what I needed. They periodically looked at me, while they were talking and laughing, but just kept walking by me, without any type of customer service, or even a, "Somebody will be right with you."
When I finally got somebody to help me, I explained the problems I was having, with my Jeep, and the situation with the funeral, the rental car, and the time frame. I was assured they would get right on it and contact me ASAP.
After I didn't hear from them, two days later, I had to contact them to find out what was going on with my Jeep. I was told that the radiator thermostat was the culprit, for the electrical symbol, on my dash board. I was also told that my front and rear brake pads needed to be replaced, both of my window regulators, on the passenger side needed to be replaced, and my front driver's side door power lock needed to be replaced. This person also told me the small line from my transmission cooler was leaking. This was an upgrade I had installed a short time before, which included a small radiator for cooling the transmission.
It seemed odd that both of my window regulators, would fail at the same time (during a half hour drive from Mesquite, NV) and the person I talked to said the odds of that happening were about the same as winning the lottery. I had previously had problems with the window regulators and the auto door locks, on two or more of the doors, which were all replaced without fixing the problem. It turned out to be some type of computer controller issue, which also had to be replaced, before the problem was resolved. All of this work was done at the same service department, so I was a bit sceptical about this person's answer; I mentioned this to this person, but he didn't seem to care.
So, I asked how much it would be to fix all of these issues: one door power lock mechanism, two window regulators, one radiator thermostat, and replacement of one small line for the above mentioned small radiator that cools my transmission. He responded that it would be a total cost of $4,200.00!
I understand that dealership service departments are generally more expensive than other mechanic shops, but that price was unbelievable! You can purchase a rebuilt engine and have it installed for 4k-6k. I know this because I have been researching the costs of replacing the engine in my Jeep, since it has 90k miles on it and I've done so many upgrades to it.
So, I obviously told him that I could not afford his service department to do all of that work, for such an inflated price. Since, I'm sure I was already billed at least $100.00 or more, just to have them look at my Jeep, I asked how much it would be just to have the thermostat replaced. He responded that it would be $300.00! This is only a $20.00 part and is something that even I could have done; my wife was nervous about the light on the dash board, so I agreed to have this part, even with this ridiculous price, installed.
I reminded this person that we were returning from SLC, the following day, and had to turn in our rental car. He assured me the thermostat would be installed and the Jeep would be ready to be picked up.
So, the following day, I'm about half way back to St. George, Utah, from SLC and have not heard anything from the service department. It was about 2:30-3:00 PM, so there was a couple of hours before they were suppossed to close. However, we were a few hours out of St. George, Utah, still, so I wanted to make sure the job was done, pay the bill with a credit card, and have the keys waiting with somebody in the sales department, so I didn't have to pay for another day on my rental car and make the drive back to St. George, from Mesquite.
I called the Stephen Wade Service Department, at least 20 times! I got hung up on, before anybody even said hello, for about half of those calls, disconnected several other times, when they transferred me to speak with another person, but eventually got through to the same guy I had been speaking with throughout my adventure with Stephen Wade.
At first, this person assured me that it was done, but after putting me on hold and disconnecting me again, I had to call back once more. This time, this person told me he would have to check on the status of my Jeep and he would call me back. Fast forward about 1.5 hours; no call back from this person... I went through the phone game with them once more, calling at least another 7-8 times, before finally getting this person back on the line. This time he told me the thermostat had been installed, but they were not getting any readings on the temp. gauge, so it would have to be reinstalled. LIAR! In my opinion, it was never installed in the first place and he was just making up an excuse.
So, I had to rent my car for another day, drive home to Mesquite, and my wife had to drive the rental car back to Stephen Wade, in St. George, the following day. This was on a Saturday. When she arrived, they told her the Jeep was still not completed, because there were no technicians working on Saturday (even though their service department is supposedly open on Saturday)!
Luckily, my wife had brought my mother-in-law with her, to help get the rental car back and pick up the Jeep. So, she was able to drop off the rental car, so we didn't have to pay for 2 or more extra days.
Finally, the simple job of installing the radiator thermostat was completed on the following Monday. My bill was just short of $300.00. No apologies for the poor service, no explanations of why a thermostat installation took nearly 6 days, no discounts, nothing!
Just as a note, I ordered all of the before mentioned parts, that the service department employee had mentioned, other than the gold plated thermostat that they installed. All of these parts cost me less than $350.00, with free shipping. In fact, I was so pleased with the low cost of these items, I ordered a Rugged Ridge Fender Flare set as well!
I had a local mechanic, in Mesquite, complete all of this work, including the installation of the Rugged Ridge Fender Flare set, and he charged me less than $400. I've always been told, that generally your labor costs should be about the same or just a bit more than the parts' costs, so this was a great deal. The Rugged Ridge Fender Flare set cost me $399.00, the other parts cost me almost $350.00, and the labor, including the installation of the fender flare set, cost me $400. That comes to $1,150.00. Now, if I didn't buy the fender flare set, the total cost of parts and labor, in Mesquite, with a trustworthy mechanic, would have cost me about $600. Remember, the Stephen Wade Service Department wanted to charge me $4,200.00 (which didn't include the upgraded fender flare set). I'm sure that would have been another $2,000.00, or more, based off what they charge for the simple jobs.
I marked one star for my rating, for the Stephen Wade Service Department, but only because there was no skull with crossbones, or a negative star option! To sum up my experience with the Stephen Wade Service Department, in St. George, Utah, BEWARE! They have horrible customer service, or actually none at all, don't seem to care about their customers, do not complete even simple jobs in a timely manner, and must have some type of competition to see which service department employee can rip off a customer the most, with their outrageous parts/service prices!!!
Not only am I never going to use this service department again, I am going to tell everybody I possibly can, for the remainder of my entire life, what a rip-off the Stephen Wade Service Department is!