PHOENIX - Car repairs can take time, especially for big ticket items like transmissions and engines.
But how long, is too long?
Selena Soto, of Phoenix, said her vehicles were held at a local repair shop for months with little work even done.
Soto said her husband took their SUV and small pickup truck to Extreme Autoworks located near 43rd Avenue and McDowell Road to get the motors replaced.
A mechanic named Ping agreed to install two refurbished motors for $1,600, according to Soto. A receipt shows that Soto paid $800 upfront and would pay the remaining balance when the work was completed.
"A week passes by, two weeks, a month," said Soto. Work on the vehicle had yet to be completed and the mechanic's excuses were continuing to pile up, including difficulty finding an engine and a stint in the hospital.
Soto says she spent months going back and forth with Ping -- she finally got fed up and let me know.
"I told him either give me the cars back and my deposit or fix them. He goes 'I don't have the money,'"said Soto.
After weeks of getting nowhere by phone, we stopped by Extreme Autoworks ourselves, twice.
Ping said he needed more money to complete the repairs claiming the vehicles had additional problems. He also said the vehicles didn't run when they were originally dropped off.
Fair enough. So, why didn't he just say that in the first place? According to Ping, he did.
"I have talked to her husband. I have his text messages here where I have called and talked to him and told him what's going on," said Ping.
Soto says that's not true. However, Ping agreed to have at least one of the cars finished by the end of the week.
But we drove up a few weeks later to find the doors locked, keys laying around, cars still inside the garage and an eviction notice on the door of the business.
Ping was gone. He didn't bother to fix Selena's cars or leave the keys before taking off.
We found him at another auto shop, but he refused to answer any questions and slammed the garage door shut.
A woman who claims to own the shop said she relied on Ping to run the business operations. She claims that she had no idea what was going on and now wants to turn the business around and hire new mechanics.
Soto towed her vehicles off the lot and plans to file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office.
There are good auto shops out there, but you have to protect yourself and do your research.
The three C's can help: credentials, complaints and contract.
Credentials are important. Are the mechanics AAA or ASE certified?
What kind of complaints have you read online?
Make sure any contract you sign specifically states what work will be done and when it will be completed.