Wednesday, January 24

Franz Foreign Car Service Review

If you have an older foreign car, there are never too many options for getting the car fixed. Youtube  and forums have helped me quite a bit, and if you also own an older Saab, you know what I mean. That hesitation and cylinder error is likely a $50 part, not something catastrophic. As is the climate control problem. However, there are some issues that require pros with pro tools and experience. If you have a Saab in Jacksonville, that might include a trip to Franz Foreign Car Services.

I both like and dislike Franz, mostly for the same reason. The atmosphere is friendly and loose, like you're taking your car to your uncle's garage. That's great, and the first time I took my car here, it was done the next day. All sorted out and working. And then they asked me how much they'd told me it would cost, wrote it up, and I was on my way. Cool.

The next time I took my car here, if suffered from the same atmosphere. The job was a transmission, and I got the feeling that it was a hard job that got delayed several times for customers who brought in something simpler. I finally called after three weeks. I was told the hurricane had a lot to do with the delay, but that probably just meant there were lots of other cars with simple issues coming in after the hurricane. I think it took between five and six weeks to get my transmission in, and that was after having to wait a week to bring the car in to begin with. Not cool.

Also, because the car sat out in the rain, the SAME issue that I'd initially brought it in for recurred: water getting under the driver's seat and shorting out the whole starting system. Not cool. When I told the owner I'd already paid them to fix that problem, it was done for free. Cool. This time, the drain was cleared, leading me to wonder whether that should have been done in the initial repair.

That's my entire experience. I'd say rates were reasonable. Work was done quickly for a simple repair and very slowly for a complicated one. I was able to get a used transmission and installation for under $2000 by buying it myself online and having Franz install it. And even though it rattles too much in Sport mode, I think it was installed mostly right. Honestly, I don't want to drop it off again to have it checked because I'm not sure when I'd get it back.

They also forgot to change the belt, and I'm sure I'll be angry when it fails and I'm stuck with a wrecked car, but I could have reminded them, I suppose. Six weeks is a long time to remember an added request, I suppose.

If you own a Saab in Jax, I'm not your mechanic, but I'd be willing to help out for a few beers if you need to do any of the stuff I've done--alternator, climate control, radiator, ignition coil, and more. On the other hand, if you know someone willing to help me with the belt, I'm open to trying another Saab mechanic.

If you're in the market for a Saab shop in Jacksonville, I'd recommend giving Franz a try. My wife would not agree because she sees the month without my car as time/money lost. I just see it as part of Saab ownership.

Oil light went on, and I brought the car in for service. While it tested out OK, there was one part leaking, so that was replaced. The car still beeps at me, but it's better than an oil pressure problem. Also, Franz Foreign Car Services, when told they'd forgotten to replace the belt last year, added that service for free. The owner said he felt bad and wanted to make it right. That's enough to increase the star-rating: I have yet to find another service provider of any sort in Jacksonville who has felt bad about anything or tried to make anything right without very specific complaining. Because of the honesty in that one moment, I will continue to take my cars to Franz, even if I have to go and buy another Saab one day when mine goes off to Swedish heaven. 

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