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Today's Lesson: Car dealership misdiagnosis & how it can cost you BIG! Please read this.
So it happened again last week, (it happens EVERY week), a new client called in to price shop an expensive repair that the local Nissan dealership had "diagnosed" and quoted a repair on. Suzanne, (our new Client Service Rep), suggested that the gentlman come by for a free preliminary inspection of the problem to verify the dealerships diagnosis and see what we would charge to repair the problem.
In this case the diagnosis from the dealership was a failed Exhaust Gas Recirculation valve (EGR) and they were going to charge this man $863 to repair the problem.
We performed an initial inspection and found that the diagnosis & testing needed on the car would exceed the free inspection we always provide and our new client gladly approved the $100 of testing time to determine the REAL problem with the car.
As happens almost 75% of the time when we get a car in from a dealership, (almost more so from several of the local Chantilly dealerships), the dealerships diagnosis was incorrect AND incomplete. In fact this car DID NOT need an $863 EGR valve - it needed a 79 cent piece of hose that provided a vacuum source to the EGR valve! Thay sure sounds like an $862 overcharge (insert the word that you'd rather use here), to me!
Additionally, this dealership told the man that the reason his car was running poorly was because of this EGR failure - WRONG! The reason that the car was running poorly was due to a failed Knock Sensor that the dealership totally failed to mention. The Knock Sensor repair is pricey, and after taking $863 of this client's money, they would have then had to tell him the real reason the car was running badly and charge him that much AGAIN! I don't know about you, but that is just incompetent and almost fraudulent.
Here are the take aways that I'd like all our clients and potential clients to learn:
1- Dealerships are not always correct.
2- Dealerships are not always correct.
3- We will exhaust all means to find the REAL problem.
4- We will give you a complete picture of what is and what might be wrong with your vehicle so you have the information to make intelligent decisions.
5- Dealerships may have fancy lounges and beautiful facilities, manicurists on Wednesdays, free wifi (we do too), nice coffee (we do too) and other fancy amenities, BUT YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT SOMEHOW - think about it.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you soon!
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For all those clients who have asked us about automotive electrical systems, here is a very detailed explanation on how electricity in vehicles actually works:

“A Treatise on the Importance of Smoke" by Joseph Lucas:
All electrical components and wiring harnesses depend on proper circuit functioning, which is the transmission of charged ions by retention of the visible spectral manifestation known as "smoke".
Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work. Don't be fooled by scientists and engineers talking about excited electrons and the like. Smoke is the key to all things electrical.

We know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of an electrical circuit, it stops working. This can be verified repeatedly through empirical testing. For example, if one places a large copper bar across the terminals of a battery, prodigious quantities of smoke are liberated and the battery shortly ceases to function. In addition, if one observes smoke escaping from an electrical component such as a Lucas voltage regulator, it will also be observed that the component no longer functions.
The logic is elementary and inescapable! The function of the wiring harness is to conduct the smoke from one device to another. When the wiring harness springs a leak and lets all the smoke out of the system, nothing works right afterward.

Starter motors were considered unsuitable for British vehicles for some time largely because they regularly released large quantities of smoke from the electrical system.

It has been reported that Lucas electrical components are possibly more prone to electrical leakage than their Bosch, Japanese or American counterparts. Experts point out that this is because Lucas is British, and all things British leak. British engines leak oil, British shock absorbers, hydraulic forks, and disk brake systems leak fluid, British tires leak air and British Intelligence leaks national defense secrets. Therefore, it follows that British electrical systems must leak smoke. Once again, the logic is clear and inescapable.

Sometimes you may miss the component releasing the smoke that makes your electrical system function correctly, but if you sniff around you can often find the faulty component by the undeniable and telltale smoke smell. Sometimes this is a better indicator than standard electrical tests performed with a volt-ohm meter.

In conclusion, the basic concept of transmission of electrical energy in the form of smoke provides a clear and logical explanation of the mysteries of electrical components and why they fail.

I learned a long time ago that once you let the "Factory Smoke" out of any electrical device, it is next to impossible to replenish it.

And that is how electricity works!
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About Us

“We Fix What Other’s Can’t!”

We are located on Sullyfield Circle in Chantilly, Virginia, where we have been since 1991.  Master Mechanic is the auto repair shop that offers you complete automotive services for both foreign and domestic vehicles. From a simple Oil & filter change, to value priced factory scheduled maintenance, to complex electrical diagnosis or even complete engine or transmission replacement, Master Mechanic is your one stop alternative to car dealer service departments, chain stores, tire shops, and quick lubes.

Master Mechanic has been owned and operated by the same family since we opened.  We are a local small business dedicated to providing value to our clients and service to our community.  Many of our employees and their families are members of local and national community service organizations such as the Lions Club, the Izaak Walton League of America, the Immune Deficiency Foundation, The Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Research Foundation and others.

We welcome and appreciate your business!  As always, we will provide a free estimate or a free consultation on any vehicle related issues you bring us.  We look forward to seeing you soon.

Our Mission

“Honest and Reliable Auto Service”

It is our mission to provide quality service in a comfortable atmosphere. To treat our customers with honesty and respect. To employ only those individuals who will uphold our company’s high standards of integrity and technical skill. To invest in the necessary tools and equipment to diagnose and repair even the most complex vehicle problems.

Read our Code of Ethics

Contact Information:


Street address
14303-A Sullyfield Circle
Chantilly, VA 20151

Emergency Towing provided by Complete Towing & Transport


8am to 6pm Monday thru Friday
Convenient Night Drop available at the rear of the building
State Inspections performed 9am to 4pm Monday thru Friday

E mail
service @


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Auto Repair in Chantilly