26 December 2007
Please present Y chromosome for estimate
If you're female and you drive, you already know about this; us guys, maybe not so much. There isn't much research on the topic, and what there is [link goes to PDF file] isn't exactly conclusive, and yes, it is true, several anecdotes do not necessarily constitute data, but there seem to exist at least some situations in which, all else being equal, the mechanic is going to assume that a female customer isn't going to know any better and will start padding the tab and/or bringing on the verbal condescension.
[A]gainst my better wishes, she took it to a dealer for an estimate.
The estimate involved a new oil pan (it was totally destroyed, according to the written) and gasket ($1400, parts and labor) and a new pair of upper and lower ball joints (desperately needed, please do not drive the vehicle under any circumstances).
First note: this is a Ford Taurus. Struts up front. No upper ball joints. Og looks at the lowers, and they look fine.
So about that oil pan:
The gasket has just worked its way out. So I loosen the pan bolts, let it sag a bit, push the gasket back into place, and re-tighten the bolts.
Total time spent: fifteen minutes, including the de rigueur oil change. (Easier to work on the oil pan if it isn't full.) Total expense: $19.
I'm sending a copy of the estimate and the pictures to Ford Corporate to let them know how their shops are treating old women.
I have no idea if the younger ones are being treated any better, but I have no real reason to think so.
(Disclosure: During my last few months as a Mazda guy, I got to deal with a female service manager. While she always played straight with me, I have no idea how she might have treated other customers, male or female, though I have no reason to suspect she might have been up to something shabby.)Posted at 3:13 PM to Driver's Seat