Take it with a grain of salt when you read a ranting review online. There are always two sides to a story, but today I am here to tell you that from my experience, Smith Muffler in Covington is terrible.
Over the summer I found out my Volkswagen Jetta would need a new axle and brakes. I took it to Smith Muffler. They had it done quickly and very affordably. I was happy.
Until I got on the highway. The car sounded like it was about to explode at anything over 50 miles per hour. I took the car back to Smith. They spent several days looking at it trying to find the problem. Again and again I suggested it had to be the axle. No, that can’t be it, they insisted. Eventually they washed their hands of it and wished me luck in fixing it.
I took the car to Auto4N on Montgomery, where they specialize in Volkswagens. Within 24 hours they had discovered that the list of possible causes Smith Muffler suggested were all wrong, and that the problem was, in fact, the axle Smith installed. For whatever reason, it just didn’t fit right.
To Smith Muffler’s credit, they refunded the cost of the axle. I was happy.
So a week ago I needed a new thermostat. I decided to go to Smith Muffler because they were courteous, economical, and not really responsible for an axle that was supposed to fit but didn’t. It seemed like a good faith gesture on my part.
Five days later, an alert went off that I was somehow almost empty on engine coolant–it’s supposed to last forever. The owner’s manual says this is a major issue and should be serviced by Volkswagen immediately. I called Auto4N, where several Volkswagen mechanics work. They are 200 yards from a dealer. Seemed like the safest and fastest way to get a major issue fixed.
Guess where they found a coolant leak?
Yes, the thermostat.
I had Auto4N fix the thermostat and called Smith Muffler to let them know. I thought it only fair that they refund the labor, and again to their credit, they did. But not before scolding me over the phone for not bringing my car to them instead of Auto4N. I explained that I went to Auto4N because I didn’t realize the coolant issue could be connected to the thermostat replacement, and that the owner’s manual said this needed genuine Volkswagen service (it’s my opinion that a VW specialty shop right down the road from a dealer is the next best thing).
When I went to Smith Muffler to get the refund, again I was scolded and questioned for not going to them first. I was told that after Auto4N’s diagnosis, I should have driven the car (with almost no coolant) back down to them. I was accused of not giving them common business courtesy. And, in front of customers, I was told I shouldn’t be getting upset over the fact that they were openly insulting me. In their words, “we see hundreds of customers every day. It’s clear we can’t satisfy you.”
I gave Smith Muffler a second chance after the axle fiasco. If they stand by their work as they claim, they should be doing it right the first time. If they aren’t comfortable or competent dealing with Volkswagens, that’s perfectly fair. But they should save everyone the hassle and say so. Above all, they shouldn’t act like I am somehow an asshole for wanting my car fixed. I don’t go around looking for opportunities to waste my time and money on shoddy repairs so I can demand a refund. I have never been so angry over getting a refund. It sucks when you think you’re doing a small local business a favor by going back to them after a bad experience, only to have another bad experience and then be treated like shit for it. It’s a shame.