The Victim of these so called ‘Saturn Experts’ Facts: My 18 yo daughter blew the engine in her 1998 Saturn with 164,000 miles. We reviewed the option of either repairing this car or scrapping it and buying again. figured that the cost of replacement car (under $2000) would end up with another piece of junk that could end up the same way, so we researched local salvage yards and various options of repairing the vehicle. In doing so, we found the ad for 6th Planet – the “expert” on Saturns. We went to Arcadia to discuss the options of either selling the car to them, buying a used engine and installing myself or having them check out the car and install the engine with their “magnificent” 1yr warranty. Although they were a little more expensive than local shops, they sold me on the boasted 12 month warranty and the claim of being the foremost Saturn specialist. After discussions with Melissa, we chose to have them check out the car and a used 60,000 +/-engine installed by these “professional Saturn Experts”. Cost of engine $750, install $750 and an AC System repair (new used compressor and hoses) $300 = Total of $1700.00 plus tax and misc, for a car worth maybe that, but something that we thought would be dependable for an 18 yo and last her about a year or 2. Picked up the car about 4 days later – it never made it home, The transmission bound up and car had to be towed home. OK, the busted transmission isnt their fault – they should have checked it out before installing a new engine, after all we did pay them to inspect the vehicle as part of the engine install, and it did have 164000 miles and it was attached to a blown motor, but they obviously didn’t. The $300 AC repair didnt make it home either – the system leaked out and went hot even before the car broke down. The car was towed about 75 miles back to Arcadia (at our cost). When car was brought back to Top Notch, they “test drove” and couldn’t duplicate the problem. We waited another 3 or 4 days to allow them to test / inspect the car and find the problem. We Brought the car home again where it lasted 2 days this time before the transmission locked up for a 2nd time. the AC re-repair made it about the same amount of time – System leaked out and AC went hot for the second time. This time I brought it to a local Transmission shop where I knew the people. They opened up the Transmission and immediately visible upon inspection confirmed it was broken up inside, so I assume that the ‘Experts’ never did anything more than test drive the car with 164000 miles and a previously blown engine. OK – lets give them the benefit of the doubt. I did bring it in for an engine and even after the initial install and inspection and a return trip for the same problem, they didnt find the transmission problem (or correctly fix the AC). My local Transmission shop quoted nearly $2000 to repair / rebuild the Transmission. Now that I’ve already spend over $1700, we have no choice but to repair the transmission. Since the car already has more into it than its worth, we reluctantly towed the car back to Arcadia for a used transmission (again at our cost). A used transmission is sold (with no discount) to me for $400 and they charge me FULL labor again ($750) to replace the transmission, which should have been picked up in the beginning, perhaps changing our decision to repair the car, but definitely saving substantial labor cost. The Transmission is installed and the AC System refilled for the third time and we drive home. AC – Dead again within a couple of days. Decided not to bring the car back to Arcadia for a 4th attemp at fixing the AC, as it is costing more to make the trip back and forth (150 miles +/- round trip) than for a local repair. About 3 weeks later, the Alternator breaks off the engine. Brought the car to a local repair shop. Saturn design includes an aluminum tab on the block or head, which is a part of the engine casting, that holds the alternator on. So – was the newly replaced engine, still under the magnificent 1 yr warranty, bad? Not according to Top Notch – this is a common problem, which they would be glad to fix (again) for between $250 and $400 – Engine Warranty includes “internal parts only” – No appologise, no compassion, no concern, no responsibilty – actually blamed it on abuse without even seeing the car!! – just ‘Bring it back again and we’ll fix it again – at your expense’. Obviously irate at this point, I would rather pay a local shop to fix the problem than these guys AGAIN. This experience hasn’t been trying (and expensive) enough, but when I complained on line, Melissa called me back claiming slander, then had Joe Cutrone call a second time to threaten legal and ‘other’ retribution (from a blocked phone number), he told me that he isnt responsible, wont repair the engine, invited me to come to his shop to ‘settle’ this like a man, informed me that he has spent ‘$25,000 fighting a $25 traffic ticket just because the police officer pissed him off’ then told me he had “friends” and to Google his name so I would know the person I am dealing with should I pursue this further. The car has now been sitting in my driveway for about 3 weeks waiting to either be sold for parts or find someone who can repair the engine casting. Well, not to my surprise, the first thing that came up when I Googled the name – numerous complaints against the Cutrone’s, 6th Planet Auto Parts, Inc and Top Notch Automotive and Marine Services. Nice Customer Service – I wouldnt wish this on anyone and hope nobody out there ever rely’s on the sales pitch of these Saturn “Experts”. Jim Tampa, FloridaU.S.A.
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