historiavita on Citysearch
10 years ago
06/04/2010, 06:43 AM
A Positive Experience – The Foreign Car Hospital was recommended to my gf and I by a long-time Hyde Park resident who had had his car serviced at FCH for years. When the gf's Volvo was in an accident we took it first to FCH for estimates and some related repair work.
Pat and his staff spent a good deal of time with us on the phone and in-person, discussing the options for the car given the damage, as well as performing some work himself. In addition, he recommended a good auto body place for the remainder of the work, and although we didn't use that shop's actual services, we did use them for the insurance process, and they were very courteous, helpful, and professional (and didn't make a dime out of it).
Pat has fixed the alternator on my Toyota for a reasonable price with quality work. Is he the cheapest? No, and it's not an especially convenient shop schedule nor payment policy (no credit cards or check). However, I'm willing to pay more for an honest and worthy mechanic who is also nearby, and I came away satisfied.
A note on some of the reviews below, in defense of Pat: the review complaining about his inability to diagnose the problem doesn't seem quite fair, given that when you don't know, you don't know. When asked if the car was safe to drive, he said he didn't know. The user complained about that, but why? What's Pat supposed to say? If he truly doesn't have enough information to answer the question, then "I don't know," although perhaps frustrating, is honest and not a negative against him.
The review where the "hot wire" was done also is flawed. Again, Pat wasn't sure of the problem and was upfront about that. The fact that the Winnetka shop had the user "hot wire" a fix to get the car in to the shop isn't necessarily a plus in their favor and a strike against Pat. I don't know the details of that "fix," but it may not have been the most responsible thing to recommend.
The third review does sound like a frustrating experience, and it's unclear what the "logic" vs. "diagnosis" meant. That may have been a bad call on Pat's part. Still, though, the user makes it sound as if there's some magic "diagnosis" process that is completely separate from logic and, frankly, guessing. I've worked for years in audio and IT, and diagnosis is *very* often logic and guessing. There's no "Diagnose" button to push that kicks off a fix-it process. I'm not saying the user didn't have a right to be upset, but that logic and guessing are part of diagnosis.
I think Pat is honest, not out to take anyone's money for shoddy work, and is not going to promise the world. In my experience, if he doesn't know or can't do it, he will tell you. His costs are a bit higher, and he may not be the most convenient, but he's definitely a worthwhile call to make if you're in HP and need work done on your import vehicle.