IS ‘CHECK ENGINE’ LIGHT A REASON FOR REPLACING TIRES?
A car owner experiences with a car dealer services
For decades, I buy Chrysler manufactured cars and vans and service them at Fitzgerald Automotive Group service centers. In my Fitzgerald doesn’t have Chrysler dealerships, so, when you need to have a look into something dealing with car electronics, they advice to go to the nearest Darcars Chrysler dealership. In March 2021, I got a ‘Check Engine’ light on and took my car to Darcars… They kept my car over a month because of Covid-19 shutdown there was a shortage of spare parts. But the nightmare wasn’t related to Covid. It was caused by Darcars mechanics, management and the dealership owner behavior.
I could file a lawsuit against Darcars, but I preferred to make this public, so, everyone searching for Darcars dealerships and car services would be warned: BEWARE OF DARCARS! Read the entire story below.
* * *
The Letter to Ali Mohamadi, Rockville Darcars Chrysler manager
Re: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica — Customer No. 574256
Dear Mr. Mohamadi:
I am writing you this letter regarding my recent experience with your dealership service center.
On March 11th, I brought my 2017 Chrysler Pacifica to your dealership service center for a day long scheduled diagnostics (a week before that when I brought my car for oil change, I was advised to run diagnostics on my car because of issues noticed by mechanics).
When I bring my car for service, usually I deal with Gus Arndt or Taylor Abel. These guys discuss everything with me before passing orders to mechanics.
On March 11th, Daniel Morgadinho took over. Without even looking into what kind of diagnostics was scheduled, he took my car from me without doing any paperwork.
Because I was told a week earlier that the diagnostics will take a day, I asked for a shuttle to take me home in hope to come back to pick up my car or to discuss what has to be fixed and, if needed, to get a spare car from your dealership. So, I was taken home by the shuttle.
By the end of the day I didn’t here from Mr. Morgadinho as promised. So, on March 12th morning, I emailed him with the message:
“Daniel, Please, update me about my 2017 Chrysler Pacifica status. Thank you!”
His reply at 9:40 was: “Still looking over the vehicle for diagnosis, it will be awhile”.
I wrote back to Daniel: “A week ago, when I was advised to bring the car for diagnostic, I was told that it will take a day. Now, it looks like it takes longer.
If you knew that it will take that long, why you didn’t offer me a car to use?”
Here is what he wrote me back: “I let you know during check in it was going to be a while with the issues I could see regarding the computer information from your vehicle. A week ago scheduling is just set to drop off the car without knowledge of the large issues no one would know how long it would take. We did talk about a rental and you advised me you did not need it. We work with enterprise and get our customers a discounted rate if you are interested in getting a rental please reach out to them.”.
I was shocked with his message and wrote him back: “We did talk about a rental and you advised me you did not need it”. Really?! I don’t recall you even mentioned it. This is very disappointing… :(“.
D. Morgadinho: “I apologize if you do not recall but all the information was provided upon check in and was made very clear. Im sure the car will be down for a while, the vehicle has internal transmission codes which could lead to requiring a transmission replacement”.
Me: “I can’t say that you made it clear. For decades, when I was dropping my car for service that need one-two or more days, a service person provided me with a spare car.
Darcars in Silver Spring offers their own cars without sending to Enterprise with “discount rates” as you did this morning…
It’s very strange of you… It’s very disappointing indeed…”
D. Morgadinho: “I assure you it is no different than silver spring. The process is the same. IF we do not have rental here on site you will be sent to enterprise to get a discounted rate for a rental. Rental cost money regardless of getting one direct from the dealer or enterprise. Enterprise is used as a back up if we do not have any cars. At this time I have none which is why I am recommended you use enterprise as we have a contract with them to help assist are customers with cars and pricing”.
Me: “Too many words, Daniel! I will appreciate if you fix your own mistake. Otherwise I will contact your supervisor and, of course, I won’t give you the best review when Darcars send me its questionnaire afterward. I am really very disappointed with your behavior… :(“
D. Morgadinho: “I’ll have my manager reach out to you regarding your concerns. There is no mistake and I’ve made it very clear with the process. I am doing everything I can to get the vehicle diagnosed as soon as possible. Otherwise if you need a rental again that is up to you on your end. Thank you.”
No manager talked to me, of course, and Daniel was continuing with pushing me toward Enterprise…
Three days later, March 15th, I reached out to D. Morgadinho: “Please, update me on the status of my car”.
The reply was: “Still getting diagnosed, hoping to have more information later today”.
And later: “Working up an estimate now”.
And later: “Estimate for repairs: Vibration inside vehicle / jerky feeling — $2024.60 left right and rear motor mount are all worn out. Oil cooler (major oil leak) — $1450, aux battery (failed battery test) — $350, transmission (fault code) — $235 start with tcm flash update, if issue does not correct further diagnostic is required. This could lead to a transmission replacement. trunk prop (motor noisy/ failing) — $450. 4 tires (worn unevenly can cause drivetrain damage due to wear and tire locations) — $1000, this may have caused damage to the transmission, alignment — $235.
Please let me know how you’d like to proceed; repairs will require time to get parts in. Some parts don’t show availability till 3/25 if ordered today”.
I wasn’t happy with such information… What was strange — tires issue. I had actually new tires installed in October 2020. After that I brought my car a few times for oil change, and tires issue never popped up.
My reply to Daniel was: “Thank you! Let’s split it into two attempts. First, let’s do things to be done without delay ASAP. Second, later (in a week or two) when ordered parts arrived”.
Daniel: “Ok I will give toy a call and ask for a deposit for the repairs. Talk too you soon”.
That day I deposited $3,500 via the phone with a cashier. Because my car couldn’t be ready at least till March 25th, I was hoping that the young man will offer me a spare car. Nothing happened!
Daniel reached me out several days later, on March 22nd, with the message: Aes.
I was shocked by this message. I expressed my feelings in my reply: “50,000?.. That’s how many people are in waiting for the very same part? It’s very strange…”
It was clear that I had to wait until my car is done for uncertain period of time. It was not my fault, and I continued to hope that Daniel will offer me a spare car. Never happened!
He answered my message with this: “Good morning, That is correct, the part is on big time back order. The oil filter adapter or cooler is used across the Pacifica, Chrysler 200, 300, grand Cherokee etc.. The part is the same part for all these models, and it seems there is a supplier issue on their end with putting out the parts. It may be a month or so for parts… Still doing everything to get it here sooner. I will keep you posted”.
On March 29th he sent me the following message: “Good morning, Just wanted to provide and update and make you aware that we are still waiting for the oil cooler which is expected near the end of April. Thank you,”.
So, it looked like I had to wait for other few weeks… No spare car offered!
April 16th message from Daniel: “Good afternoon, Just wanted to make you aware that I will have parts arriving next week for the van. I’ll keep you posted on the completetion of the van. Thanks,”.
April 23rd message from Daniel: “Good afternoon, The car will be ready later this afternoon around 5pm. The remainder balance on the invoice will be $1569.50. This is $675.10 less the original estimate provided after some discounts were applied to make this happen. If you need anything else feel free to contact me. Thank you,”
April 24th was the day when I had to pick up my car. I wrote to Daniel: “Good morning! I will appreciate if you send me a shuttle to pick me up around 9:00 am if my car is ready. Thank you”.
The shuttle picked me up, and I arrived at your dealership to pick up my car. I approached Daniel hoping to hear from him at least a word of apology for my one month and a half journey with Darcars. He didn’t want to talk to me and just showed me the door inside to service managers room.
What an adventure!
From March 11th to April 24th I was with no car. A few days work on my car turned into 44 days of wasting time. Because my car was just standing in your service center waiting for ‘rare’ or high demand parts. Was it my problem? No.
I paid over $5,000 for repairing my car. I can imagine how much I would pay to Enterprise for renting their car even with ‘discount rate’… If it were just for days of actual repairs, maybe, I would pay Enterprise from my own pocket. But for weeks and weeks of just waiting because of Chrysler inability to provide needed parts on timely manner… It would be just stupid thing for me.
You had to offer a car at your dealership expense!
Now, let’s go back to the tires issue. As I wrote, I had tires change just several months ago. Your people did it, and your people could see that something was wrong with tires when they did routine inspection during oil change procedures. They didn’t see anything suspicious.
Now, during engine and transmission diagnostics they suddenly discovered that something is wrong with tires, that alignment is needed, etc. Once again: during engine and transmission diagnostics, Carl! Isn’t it strange?
When changing tires in October, service people discussed with me what type of tires I wanted and how the changing should be done.
This time, Daniel just informed me that tires changing and alignment are needed, underlining that “this may have caused damage to the transmission”. For me, it sounds very strange and it looks like someone just decided to take advantage of me to make your dealership additional $1,000. Convince me that I am wrong (the reasons are to be solid). If you can’t do it, I want this money returned to my credit card account.
I was also surprised reading in final paperwork that “customer requests 4-wheel alignment” and “replace all 4 tires”. There was no request from my side. I was just informed about it.
Now, try to feel the most painful part of my adventure with your dealership. As you already know, I paid over $5,000 for repairs. Because of your lack of needed parts, I spent 40 (forty) days or so for waiting and because of not having a car to move around not doing my business. This means that I couldn’t make at least a half of what I usually make ($1,500 per week). My losses from March 11th to April 24th can be estimated at minimum $10,000 (ten thousand dollars) and maximum $12,500.
I don’t know how Darcars dealership can repair this damage done to me by your employees. I will appreciate your thoughts on this matter.
I am giving you ten days to investigate this case with my car repairs. If I don’t have satisfactory results of your investigation in ten days, I will talk to my lawyer and direct him to take appropriate legal actions.
Thank you for your attention and hope to hear from you soon”.
The letter was emailed to Ali Mohamadi on May 4, 2021.
Ali Mohamadi replied my email the very same day, sharing his letter to me with his employees Jose Adon and Iman Molkara (the latter two will be playing their role further):
“Afternoon, Thank you for taking the time to write to me your unsatisfactory experience at our service department. Allow me to first express my appreciation for your business and apologies for the experience you’ve had during your March and April visit. I’ve included two of our Service Managers, so they can investigate this and advise me on their findings before I can go into more details.
Before I hear back from Jose and Iman, who know about the service and technical issues of your repair visit, allow me to share with you my knowledge of loaner vehicles and back-order parts.
Loaner vehicles, per our agreement with the manufacturer, is available when vehicles are here for warranty works with some additional requirements and stipulations. Other vehicles at the store, like new and used cars, cannot be used as a rental/loaner vehicle. There is no insurance coverage on these vehicles for that purpose.
We, as a dealership, would love to have parts available to us as we request them so we can get the customers in/out in a timely manner, which we do for the most part. However, there are times that the manufacturer is not able to supply us with requested part(s) fast enough, or in some cases they’re back ordered for days or weeks. In cases like this, we try to locate the part at another dealership and if no one has it in stock, we simply have to wait for the manufacturer to provide us with the part when available. This process is entirely outside of our control.
Allow me to wait for Iman and Jose to investigate and respond to me or to this email. We do our best to respond within the ten days that you stated in your email. I certainly hope that we don’t have to resort to legal approach; however, if you choose to take a legal rout, I will have to turn the case to our Corporate attorneys. We’ll be in touch soon. Wish you the best”.
Thanks to Jose Adon reporting to Ali Mohamadi and sending me a copy of his email (I am sure that he was not supposed to) I have learned about something was going behind the scene. So, here is what Jose Adon wrote to Ali Mohamadi:
“Hey Ali, I’m still looking in to this. I’ve pulled his repair order and the tires have a tread difference of 3-4 32nds. I’ve been told there is literature from Chrysler pertaining to damage resulting from this. Give me another day to locate this.
FYI … He did purchase his tires here in October 25,000 miles ago which would indicate he does a lot of driving.
He was also here in March and had 3 patches between 2 tires.
I’ll touch base with you again tomorrow”.
One can just guess how the written was related to diagnostic dealing with ‘Check Engine’ light on.
Neither Ali Mohamadi, nor Jose Adon or Iman Molkara were back to me with their ‘discoveries’ within ten days, as promised, and even in a month. My second letter to Ali Mohamadi, dated May 31, 2021, remained unanswered.
What’s interesting, shortly after each previous visit for services I used to receive a survey email from Chrysler Research
(1000 Chrysler Dr, DEPT 4850044
Auburn Hills, MI 48326). This time, neither at the end of April, not at the beginning of May 2021 I received no survey email from Chrysler Research. Darcars management did their best not to allow me to express my disappointment with ‘Check Engine’ diagnostic and repairing done in my Chrysler Pacifica.
Around May 31, 2021, I started looking for possibilities to contact the Darcars owner — John Darvish. It appeared that he was very hard to reach. I failed to find even his office location. His postal address was Darcars dealership in Silver Spring, MD, but I was told that he is doesn’t work there.
With the help of one of this dealership employees, I got J. Darvish’s email address and on June 6, 2021, sent him my letter saying the following:
“Dear Mr. Darvish:
A month ago, I wrote a letter to Ali Mohamadi, Darcars Rockville location, about my very bad experience I had in March—April when I took their my car for diagnostics because of engine or transmission problems.
Diagnostics took unusually long time, and then even much longer I was waiting for my car to be repaired.
First, I wasn’t provided with a loaner car despite it was the dealership (not mine) problem with waiting too long for a spare part.
Second, somehow service management connected to engine/transmission diagnostics all four tires replacement and wheels alignment. Someone at service management made that decision without even talking to me, and put on the most expensive tires I would never buy.
You can find my letter to A. Mohamadi below my letter to you. In response to my letter Mr. Mohamadi promised me to look into this matter and to inform me within ten days period.
A month is passed since then, but I never heard from A. Mohamadi again.
Meanwhile, I have received copies of emails by two service managers he ordered to investigate my claim, and that’s how I learned some details telling me that those guys along with A. Mohamadi didn’t even get to the point of my claim.
One of their reports to Mr. Mohamadi was telling him that I indeed changed my tires in October, that I do a lot of driving and that I had 3 patches between 2 tires.
There was no explanation how all this stuff (1) is connected to engine/transmission diagnostics, (2) can explain why my car was in repair for a month and a half, (3) why a loaner car wasn’t available for me, and (4) why all decisions were maid without even talking to me.
Yes, unfortunately, I do a lot of driving (1,000+ miles per week). Yes, I get nails in my tires more ofter than people who drive much less.
Driving a lot, I bring my car for service more often, and not just for oil change, and this means that I bring more money to your dealership more than other customers.
But by making their decisions for me in case that wasn’t connected any way to the purpose of engine/transmission diagnostics, service people at Darcars Rockville location took me as just a one-time customer from whom they can grab as much as possible.
Maybe, they were thinking that I won’t pay attention at that (an old man with driving a lot business). I don’t know. Ali Mohamadi had to figure this out and to make his conclusion and decision — what to do to his employees.
It looks like A. Mohamadi is not better in customer relations business that his service managers.
So, my issues remains unsolved.
I asked my lawyer to look into the issue with car part shortage. It looks very suspicious. Depending on the result of this research, I will make my claim regarding my losses.
By this time, I am sure that those who made their own decision for me about changing tires and wheels alignment on my car has to pay me back.
If A. Mohamadi couldn’t find out who was to blame, let him to pay from his own pocket. But I want that $1,000 to be reimbursed no matter what.
I am thinking to make this case public. It’s possible that there are many more people like me who were cheated (let talk straight) by service people at Darcars Rockville location.
I hope that you take this matter very seriously.
Thank you for your attention”.
Nobody bothered to answer my email. After waiting for a while for reply to my email, a couple of weeks later, I decided to print out all my email exchanges with Darcars Rockville location and to used old style communications United States Postal Service, and mailed it to Darcars Silver Spring location via certified mail along with the following letter of mine:
“Attn: John Darvish, DarCars Automotive Group President & CEO
Dear Mr. Darvish:
The attached emails were emailed to your confirmed by your employee email address of yours June 6, 2021.
I did not receive any kind of response from you. That’s why I am mailing this stuff via registered regular mail to make sure that it will be delivered to you in old traditional manner.
In case you really missed my email and after receiving this package you will make a wise decision to satisfy my requests, I will appreciate your move and will be co-operative with you to find a compromise in fixing issues I went through because of your employees at Rockville location.
In case you intentionally ignored my letter and did nothing to correct mistakes (if it ware mistakes) made by your employees and to satisfy my requests, I will make my next steps I promised to do in my email.
I won’t stop until justice will prevail. So, please, be co-operative”.
J. Darvish didn’t respond to my letter, but someone from his office named Samantha Moorish tried to reach me via phone and left a message on my voicemail. I made a few attempts to return that call but nobody picked up my calls.
I believed and continue to believe that it was Darvish’s personal responsibility to contact me. He failed to do so, and I wrote him another letter, sent via certified mail:
“Dear Mr. Darvish:
After I sent my certified letter to you, someone from your office named Samantha Moorish left a message on my voicemail asking to call her. I made three attempts to reach her on 240-800-5621 and 301-706-9786, but she was ‘away from her desk’ (?!). The system didn’t allow me to leave my voicemail for her during business hours. I managed to do it this morning before business hours.
It might seem strange for you, but not for me: this is another sign for me how your business is managed, Mr. Darvish.
Mr. Darvish, it looks like your business is in troubles. If you value your business, you need to start communicating with me directly. In this case assistants and lower level managers won’t help.
I believe that I made it clear in my letter what kind of problems you have at Rockville location. A while before I personally experienced smaller but still similar situation at Silver Spring location (I brought in my car for one day maintenance, it was put in parking untouched for a whole week; fortunately, I got a loaner car)… I am sure there other customers of yours who had such experiences as well.
I have no idea what I would discuss with your assistant, because you are the one and only capable to handle this case and make your decisions.
I will make it easier to do this by offering you three options to choose from.
Any of these actions doesn’t need your assistant to get involved. It’s not a good idea to share your own responsibilities with people working for you”.
[I am taking out options offered to J. Darvish to keep them private. — V.I.]
I hoped in vain that there would be a proper response to this certified letter. Sent from 20906 Post Office to 20904 Post Office, servicing Mr. Darvish’s dealership, the letter was never delivered. It’s tracking was terminated on July 13.
The post office does not know what the fate of my letter would be. Just disappeared… I suspect that John Darvish has been somehow responsible for disappearance of my letter. Of course, he would deny it, but manners how his business treats customers gives enough reason to think that it is quite possible.
I’m sure that I am not the only one victim of Mr. Darvish’s car services. Should be many other victims like me. Because how can treat customers business whose owner misbehaved with his own sister (see: Darcars Asks Judge to Dismiss Lawsuit by Tammy Darvish)?
* * *
…Focusing on my intensive driving and my Chrysler Pacifica tires and other things, Rockville Darcars Chrysler dealership mechanics never discovered the reason for my car ‘Check Engine’ light on. Despite total diagnostics run for days and weeks.
Since then I stopped using Darcars dealership’s “services” considering them unreliable and fraudulent.
I switched to two other Chrysler dealerships services. They were further away from my home, but people there were much friendlier and services were incomparably better.
They did it differently, but every time I stopped by for oil change or other services, my Pacifica was scanned and issues (if any) were shown to me on the computer screen. No cost simple diagnostic…
That’s how they discovered that my car has engine misfire when I got my next ‘Check Engine’ light on. I was advised that this is a very serious issue. Service advisors at both locations continue watching it closer.
As my Chrysler Pacifica was aging, engine misfire became a serious problem, and I was told that mechanics need to open the engine to have a look into cylinders and see what is going on. I was warned that this operation would be costly and there is no guarantee that it will bring a good result.
The second option was replacing the engine. I decided to consider this option and asked how much would it cost. “Around fourteen thousand dollars”, — told me a service manager at Chrysler dealership in Northern Virginia. “Well, it’s like buying a new car..” — I said. “Yep!” — the service manager agreed.
Because of engine misfire, my car didn’t passed the emission test. I was given a few months to fix the car. I decided that in my situation there’s no other way but to continue using the car through these few months and then just take it out of usage.
A couple of weeks ago, it happened to me to give a lyft to a guy named David who advised me that my car needs to be scanned. He appeared to be an independent car dealer and a mechanic with fifty plus years of experience. I explained him that I am aware what is going on with my car, I shared details with him and told that I am going to retire the car.
David told my that my car is too good to trash, and if the engine has to be replaced, it can cost approximately $3,500 — $4,000. “Dealers offering you engine replacement for $14,000 are cheating you”, — he said and continued: “It’s possible that you don’t need to replace the engine. Maybe, all you have to do is just replacing coils”.
I couldn’t believe David, and he noticed it. “Trust me! I will refer you to one of my mechanics”, — he promised. The very next day he texted me his mechanic’s contact information. I took my Chrysler Pacifica to that guy’s shop, and in a few days I got it back running like a new car. He replaced coils and spark plugs, and the cost of this was just $750.
Seven hundred fifty dollars! With no several days “diagnostic”. With no opening the engine and looking into cylinders. With no engine replacement for $14,000.
BEWARE OF DARCARS, GUYS!
* * *
Since I have been unable to contact John Darvish through email and regular mail, I have continued to seek direct contact with Darvish. It turned out that he only has a LinkedIn profile on social networks. The peculiarity of this network is that you can write private messages only to those who belong to your circle of friends.
So, I invited Mr. Darvish as a friend and, you might say, forgot about it. The day my article was published, I was tempted to look at his profile. It turned out that Darvish had accepted my invitation.
“Hi John! Thank you for joining my circle of friends. How are you doing?”, — I have written to Darvish October 31st.
There was no immediate answer, and I started loosing hope. Somehow J. Darvish got a link to my article twitted on X.com. So, on Monday, November 13th, he sent me a screenshot of that post along with the following message:
“Sir, we would all be happy to assist you”.
I was disappointed that there was no a single word of regrets about what kind of experience I had with his people at his dealership. So, I answered him the following way:
“1. The only way you can assist me is to return the money I paid for your dealership services PLUS the income I lost while my car was in service. Would you be willing to pay?
2. What about other people cheated by your service managers and mechanics?
What is amazing — you don’t feel ashamed and sorry about your employees…
I am glad you have found this link on X.com. It will be shared on as many platforms as possible. People need to be aware of Darcars services”.
Later that day Darvish replied with the following:
“I’m happy to have our team contact you.
Please send me your phone number and we will happy to call you. Thank you”.
In two messages sent to me within one day three times John Darvish used the word happy: happy to assist, happy to contact, happy to call…
All happies turned out to be cunning, insidious and mean —after sending me his message the ‘happy guy’ barricaded himself from me.
So, I can’t provide J. Darvish my phone number. If he was smart enough, Darvish wouldn’t have had to ask for my phone number — my phone number is in his dealership’s database, as well as on this website where this article is published. Unfortunately, this gut is not among smart people. Such a conclusion can be drawn from his stingy, devoid of business culture and desire to understand the issue along with honest willingness to resolve ut and simply primitive messages sent me.
I have no business dealing with anyone on his team. I’ve had enough of his employees who are not capable to handle issues and clearly don’t solve anything.
In general, I want to deal with a person who is fully responsible for his business and who is capable to make reasonable decisions. In DarCars, such a person is primarily John Darvish, who, as it turns out, is a one who tries to transfer his own responsibility to others, and therefore simply hides himself from customers.
It looks like John Darvish is not just a very bad communicator. He might be aware of his criminal behavior in doing business or something like that, and that’s what forces him to hide behind his team. Sooner or later this man will destroy the business his father built. Average rating of his dealerships is dancing around 3.0.
Let’s help John Darvish in his self destructions!
October 30 — November 14, 2023