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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I own a 2003 CAMRY LE 75,112 miles. I bought new from Toyota. I have taken good care of this investment. At a recent oil change I was told of two issues:
I took it for a oil change and mechanic I’ve been to for many years who is probably 65 yrs old said:
2 ISSUES:
  1. FRONT FLEX PIPE IS LEAKING. I BELIEVE THIS WILL FALL OFF WHEN DRIVING IF NOT REPAIRED (PER SIMCA MECHANIC). THIS PIPE HAS TO DO WITH THE EXHAUST.
  2. ENGINE OIL PAN IS RUSTY & SWEATING OIL & NEEDS TO BE REPLACED.
I wanted to get a 2nd opinion and took it to another local mechanic, MMechanic that the neighborhood listserv posts had good things to say by a handful of neighbors.
I had always INTENDED TO KEEP CAR FOR 10+ YEARS.

I told the reception man I wanted to be in the back when the mechanic owner looked at these 2 issues so we could discuss them better. Reception man said I could only come back After mechanic/owner did his look/overview of my car. WAS THAT A MISTAKE leaving owner/mechanic alone with my car, a place I've never been before? Could he have done damage to my Coolant System Repair (WATER PUMP) thereby creating a leak in my car? Again, first mechanic never mentioned this. Not sure it was wise to have left my car in his hands/out of my sight without being back there the whole time.

When MMechanic owner allowed me in back to look at my car and discuss it was a bit amazing. He starts up with a Scare orientation, telling me that my car is very bad ALL OVER due to the environment taking a big toll and rusting and corrosion is everywhere. As you can see from the below written estimate, MMechanic found a number of other issues that NO ONE has ever said are issues. I’ve had such little issues w/ this car and I don’t have much experience with mechanics. First off the Customer Comments Recommendations he wrote at the start of his estimate that you can see below is a lie. I only went there w/ two known issues as I've stated above. So, he has decided to LIE in his estimate to me, which entirely negates him from ever touching my life again.
But, I need to learn from this bad experience to avoid these types in the future!
He alleges
WATER PUMP has a small leak and this is real bad.

Description Price QTY HRS Subtotal
1 Remove and replace Engine Water Pump -Includes: The removal of
component and all necessary components for access.
2.1 $189.00
2 OEM Water Pump and gasket. $122.19 1 $122.19
3 Extend Life Coolant $25.00 1 $25.00
Tax (6%): $8.83 Total: $345.02

He also says the battery is about to die as it was installed 2013 per a label I did see this label he pointed out on my car battery top corner though I don't ever recall seeing that before yesterday.

HOPE YOU CAN PLEASE SHARE THOUGHTS / RECOMMENDATIONS.
MMechanic seemed like a ‘polished’ sales guy and after reflecting on him I have solid concerns on all that he said. I'm not going back.

Here is MMechanic full quote.
Customer Comments Recommendations

Would like a quote for an oil pan replacement and front
flex pipe replacement up to the catalytic converter. Car has
a myriad of issues going on, will need new brakes up to
5,000 miles left, water pump needs to be replaced. Also
the tail end of the exhaust has a significant amount of rust
particularly where it connects to the exhaust exit pipes.
We can also repair the current exhaust system you have,
instead of replacing the entire component. Battery is old
dates 11/13, makes this battery 9 years old! It will also
need front brakes in about 5,000 miles, Engine Water
pump has a small coolant leak.

Engine Repair (Oil pan)

Description Price QTY HRS Subtotal
1 Remove and replace Engine Oil pan and gasket. Includes: The
removal of component and all necessary components for access,
time to add fluid.
4 $360.00

2 OES OIL PAN ASSY - NEW $137.66 1 $137.66

3 OIL PAN GASKET $18.78 1 $18.78

4 TOYOTA OIL PAN BOLT $2.95 10 $29.50

Tax (6%): $11.16 Total: $557.10

Exhaust Repair/ Flex Pipe


Description Price QTY HRS Subtotal
1 Remove and replace Front Exhaust Pipe Assembly complete
section. Includes: The removal of component and all necessary
components for access.

2 $180.00

2 EXHAUST PIPE WITH INTEGRATED FLEX PIPE AND CATALYTIC

CONVERTER ASSY -NEW

$809.91 1 $809.91

3 OES EXHAUST PIPE GASKET AND HARDWARE KIT FRONT AND

REAR

$45.98 1 $45.98
Tax (6%): $2.76 Total: $1,038.65

Coolant System Repair (TOYOTA WATER PUMP)


Description Price QTY HRS Subtotal
1 Remove and replace Engine Water Pump -Includes: The removal of
component and all necessary components for access.
2.1 $189.00
2 OEM Water Pump and gasket. $122.19 1 $122.19
3 Extend Life Coolant $25.00 1 $25.00
Tax (6%): $8.83 Total: $345.02


Created: 12/31/2021

12/31/2021 MMechanics

Page 1 of 3

Battery Replacement

Description Price QTY HRS Subtotal
1 Load test, Remove and replace battery, clean terminals. Includes:
The removal of component and all necessary components for
access, and saving Computers memory information.

0.35 $31.50
2 S35 Series 550 CCA EXIDE Battery -New (Two years warranty) $164.89 1 $164.89
Tax (6%): $9.89 Total: $206.28

Remove and Replace Front brake pads and brake Rotors, service calipers.


Description Price QTY HRS Subtotal
1 Remove and Replace Front brake pads and brake Rotors, service
calipers.
2 $180.00
2 Premium Front Brake Rotor -zing coated $67.95 2 $135.90
3 Premium Front Brake Pad Set -Ceramics $70.45 1 $70.45
Tax (6%): $12.38 Total: $398.73

Manufacturer Special Policy Adjustment Programs

Federal law requires manufacturers to furnish the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) with bulletins describing any defects in their vehicles. You
may obtain copies of these bulletins either from the manufacturer or N.H.T.S.A. In
addition, certain consumer publications or organizations publish this information,
which may be available for a fee or for free. NOTICE: Under certain circumstances, the
repair facility may not be responsible for damage to the customer’s vehicle while it is
on the facility’s premises. You should ask the management about the extent of its
responsibility and its insurance coverage.

CUSTOMER'S RIGHTS

1. You are entitled to a written estimate upon request if repairs will exceed $25.00.
Do you want a written estimate? Yes No

2. You may not be charged an amount more than 10% above an estimate without your
consent.

Parts ................................................. $1,560.26


Labor .................................................... $940.50

Subtotal ...................................... $2,500.76

Tax ................................................... $45.02


Grand Total ..................................... $2,545.78

Paid To Date ........................................ ($0.00)


3. You are entitled to the return of any replaced parts except those that must be returned to the manufacturer under a warranty agreement. If you do not
want the parts, Initial here:

4. Repairs not originally authorized by you will not be charged to you without your consent.

I hereby authorize the repair work listed you and your employees may operate the above vehicle for purposes of testing, inspection or delivery.

Signature

Notes

12/31/2021
Below is a link to the quote you requested from MMechanics. Please review and let us know if you have any questions.


12/31/2021 MMechanics

Page 2 of 3


File: Quote_4896_-Engine_Repair__Oil_pan__and_4_More-__-_2003_Toyota_Camry_LE.pdf

12/31/2021 MMechanics
Page 3 of 3
 

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2008 Toyota Camry Base / CE
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Do you want to be told what is wrong or do you not want to be told what is wrong? Would you rather have them lie and pretend everything is alright?

The information has been noted so that should you get an issue and you come back to blame them that they broke something that they TOLD YOU it was an issue and you chose to ignore it.

Everything they listed is what you asked for and for issues they recommend. It is all valid. Surprise, cars need maintenance and parts replacement. You CAN choose to ignore everything and fix just the two things you wanted fixed. YOU are liable for ignoring what they recommend.

I'd rather not get stared down in the back too while I do my work.
 

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some people have 'trust' issues and are quite 'protective' of their property
just because you have an ASE plaque or whatever certs on the wall does not mean you a worth a friggin' crap as to the quality of your work
i can present my nice old taco that was butchered and fukkd by one of these 'shady mechanics', of which i got a very good rec and review from a semi-trusted' source

I'd rather not get stared down in the back too while I do my work.
when i was a lubeTech at JL eons ago many people would stand in the door and gaze upon us techs, especially that state trooper and his mustang patrol car!
the gazes did not phase me whatsoever, i was proud to show i could take the utmost care of THEIR property

if you are honest and trusted mechanic you ought to have no issues with a customer wanting to know all about THEIR property, for whatever reasons they just want to know what is going on. I can name quite a few personally as you might or might not understand

its a new year! cheers!
 

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2008 Toyota Camry Base / CE
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some people have 'trust' issues and are quite 'protective' of their property
just because you have an ASE plaque or whatever certs on the wall does not mean you a worth a friggin' crap as to the quality of your work
i can present my nice old taco that was butchered and fukkd by one of these 'shady mechanics', of which i got a very good rec and review from a semi-trusted' source



when i was a lubeTech at JL eons ago many people would stand in the door and gaze upon us techs, especially that state trooper and his mustang patrol car!
did not phase me whatsoever, i was proud to show i could take the utmost care of THEIR property

if you are honest and trusted mechanic you ought to have no issues with a customer wanting to know all about THEIR property, for whatever reasons. I can name quite a few as you might or might not understand
They gave her the information about her property. Each of those issues they listed are valid. She can always choose to ignore those issues and get her two issues she wanted fixed.

I guess it's liability. If she gets those two issues fixed and then her water pump goes out or her battery dies, she can't blame them because they told her. Coincidences are interesting. Because ever since...

We can always ignore the old battery, the seeping water pump, and the low brake pad material...

I get it, trust is hard. On the other hand, I rather let the party do the work "the right way" than stress them out by glaring at them for four hours. Or you do the work yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
some people have 'trust' issues and are quite 'protective' of their property
just because you have an ASE plaque or whatever certs on the wall does not mean you a worth a friggin' crap as to the quality of your work
i can present my nice old taco that was butchered and fukkd by one of these 'shady mechanics', of which i got a very good rec and review from a semi-trusted' source



when i was a lubeTech at JL eons ago many people would stand in the door and gaze upon us techs, especially that state trooper and his mustang patrol car!
the gazes did not phase me whatsoever, i was proud to show i could take the utmost care of THEIR property

if you are honest and trusted mechanic you ought to have no issues with a customer wanting to know all about THEIR property, for whatever reasons they just want to know what is going on. I can name quite a few personally as you might or might not understand

its a new year! cheers!
This is a great reply. I am living and learning. I didn't come with knowing my car inside and out but I TRY and I do listen! But, imo, when everything the mechanic is doing is normal operating procedure, and I OWN THE CAR and have maintained it for almost two decades, yes, I ought to be able to watch as he does the inspection. That was my major concern here, he barred me from doing that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Do you want to be told what is wrong or do you not want to be told what is wrong? Would you rather have them lie and pretend everything is alright?

The information has been noted so that should you get an issue and you come back to blame them that they broke something that they TOLD YOU it was an issue and you chose to ignore it.

Everything they listed is what you asked for and for issues they recommend. It is all valid. Surprise, cars need maintenance and parts replacement. You CAN choose to ignore everything and fix just the two things you wanted fixed. YOU are liable for ignoring what they recommend.

I'd rather not get stared down in the back too while I do my work.
I am thankful for your thoughts. Yes, I do always want the real diagnosis. It was other nuances and factors that got me feeling concerned. Thanks and Happy New Year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do you want to be told what is wrong or do you not want to be told what is wrong? Would you rather have them lie and pretend everything is alright?

The information has been noted so that should you get an issue and you come back to blame them that they broke something that they TOLD YOU it was an issue and you chose to ignore it.

Everything they listed is what you asked for and for issues they recommend. It is all valid. Surprise, cars need maintenance and parts replacement. You CAN choose to ignore everything and fix just the two things you wanted fixed. YOU are liable for ignoring what they recommend.

I'd rather not get stared down in the back too while I do my work.
It could be prudent to do all of this now, but, the brakes IMO are entirely fine. I don't drive car much and 5,000 miles of left life is A LOT.
 

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2008 Toyota Camry Base / CE
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18,382 Posts
This is a great reply. I am living and learning. I didn't come with knowing my car inside and out but I TRY and I do listen! But, imo, when everything the mechanic is doing is normal operating procedure, and I OWN THE CAR and have maintained it for almost two decades, yes, I ought to be able to watch as he does the inspection. That was my major concern here, he barred me from doing that.
Some places will and some places will not allow you to watch. That is all there is to it.
 

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2008 Toyota Camry Base / CE
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It could be prudent to do all of this now, but, the brakes IMO are entirely fine. I don't drive car much and 5,000 miles of left life is A LOT.
Brakes can feel fine but that doesn't mean anything. That is what a brake inspection is for.
 

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Hello
Getting proper diagnosis is a major challenge that most people face. I am sorry that sometimes these numbers vary per mechanic and it gets outright confusing and scary.
I do not know about every issue you had pointed out with your car.
However some of these items such as brake rotors and pads needs periodic replacement just because they age and so the performance deteriorates. It appears that you do not drive a lot on a regular basis as your miles are still under 100k. If you changed your battery in 2013 it is definitely time for a new one I think. I recently changed mine and paid close to 180 and I changed it after 4 years. The fluids are also time based even if you drive low miles? Someone else can comment on this as I am not very knowledgeable in this area.

I changed my brakes (front brake pads and rotor, back pads and not rotor) close to $450 as I can feel the braking became an issue and I could hear the sound. I keep tab every service also my mpg per fill so I can monitor my performance as it reliably tells me if there are bigger problems that I may be missing out.

Hope it helps.
This is my tab
I get 28-31 mpg (city and mostly daily long commute) Camry V6 XLE 2007
The services before 170k (It was done by someone else so it might be missing some services as I do not have any records of it)
ODOSERVICE_TYPE
82808Front and back brakes
108695Battery
108695CV Boot Front
108695Spark Plugs (120k life plugs, will replace it at 210k)
109000Toyota Long life coolant Replacement
109000Alternator
121654AC evaporator replacement
149159Toyota 100k Long life coolant Replacement (will replace after 50-60 k)
149159Radiator replacement, Radiator Hose, Radiator Cap
154492Battery
175242Four new tires/ Cabin Air Filter ($400)
177654Front and back brakes and front rotor ($450)
183216Tire Rotation (Free)
188000 Battery Change ($180), Lamps Change ($50)
Upcoming (190k)Brake Fluids, Power Steering Fluid, Tire Rotation
I got my car at 170k 3 years back.
The services before 170k (It was done by someone else so it might be missing some services as I do not have any records of it)
 

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2008 Toyota Camry Base / CE
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And, it is their shop and if a customer is not OK w/ that, said customer needs to go elsewhere or accept their modus operandi.
Exactly. Or do the work they shouldn't be doing themselves and they will be back in tbr shop regardless.
 

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I didn't start
This is a great reply. I am living and learning. I didn't come with knowing my car inside and out but I TRY and I do listen! But, imo, when everything the mechanic is doing is normal operating procedure, and I OWN THE CAR and have maintained it for almost two decades, yes, I ought to be able to watch as he does the inspection. That was my major concern here, he barred me from doing that.
I didn't start serious DIY repairs on my three Toyota's (1979 Celica, 1982 Cressida and 1995 Avalon) until about 10 years ago. Until then, the most I did was changing out alternators, valve adjustments, brakes, etc.

I'm currently working on my 1979 Celica, and I've done about 10 major repairs recently (exhaust manifold, steering box, A/C expansion valve (I am EPA 609 certified), front struts, oil pan gasket etc.

Almost all the work until 2010 was done at a Toyota dealership in Massachusetts. The exhaust manifold and oil pan gasket was replaced by them previously. When I had to do the repairs again, I noticed: 1) Huge gouge on bottom of engine block where the pan mates. Tech couldn't be bothered taking a mallet to free pan from block?. This can never be repaired 2) NO gasket in place for exhaust manifold. 3) Radiator mashed where Toyota tech placed his impact wrench to remove crank pulley (If I were watching him, I would have insisted that he pull radiator to make more room- even if it meant paying more. I'm currently working on the oil pump, so I just noticed that one recently).

As far as being bothered by being looked at, I am a retired commercial pilot. I have been observed by FAA inspectors, and company "check airmen" who routinely rode in the flight deck and observed every move we made. If a professional gets annoyed by someone watching over them, well, that, to me indicates they're unsure about themselves.
.
 

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2008 Toyota Camry Base / CE
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I didn't start

I didn't start serious DIY repairs on my three Toyota's (1979 Celica, 1982 Cressida and 1995 Avalon) until about 10 years ago. Until then, the most I did was changing out alternators, valve adjustments, brakes, etc.

I'm currently working on my 1979 Celica, and I've done about 10 major repairs recently (exhaust manifold, steering box, A/C expansion valve (I am EPA 609 certified), front struts, oil pan gasket etc.

Almost all the work until 2010 was done at a Toyota dealership in Massachusetts. The exhaust manifold and oil pan gasket was replaced by them previously. When I had to do the repairs again, I noticed: 1) Huge gouge on bottom of engine block where the pan mates. Tech couldn't be bothered taking a mallet to free pan from block?. This can never be repaired 2) NO gasket in place for exhaust manifold. 3) Radiator mashed where Toyota tech placed his impact wrench to remove crank pulley (If I were watching him, I would have insisted that he pull radiator to make more room- even if it meant paying more. I'm currently working on the oil pump, so I just noticed that one recently).

As far as being bothered by being looked at, I am a retired commercial pilot. I have been observed by FAA inspectors, and company "check airmen" who routinely rode in the flight deck and observed every move we made. If a professional gets annoyed by someone watching over them, well, that, to me indicates they're unsure about themselves.
.
Congrats.
 

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1995 T100 2WD & 1993 MR2
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Since you appear to have a decent repore with your original mechanic you could go back and get the work done that both shops agree upon and then introduce your concerns about the other issues mentioned when appropriate without sharing the other shops info directly. You wanted a second opinion which you got, what you decide to do with it ,like sharing and asking questions here with other owners is just good due diligence.
Time is a bigger enemy to cars than mileage.
 

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yes, I ought to be able to watch as he does the inspection. That was my major concern here, he barred me from doing that.
What follows is neither meant to be snarky or nasty, but I have no idea where you got that idea.

Most automotive repair shops have not allowed customers into the actual service bays for some years now, and, for the most part, that's a direct requirement of their liability insurance policies. There are all sorts of things in an automotive repair shop that are just accidents waiting to happen if "the uninitiated" are allowed to wander around.

You should definitely seek out mechanics you believe you can trust, and the best way to do that is to talk with your friends and acquaintances to see who they use, and for how long. There are very few people who use incompetent or untrustworthy mechanic over a long period of time. Where I'm living at the moment, that's how I found my current primary and secondary mechanics, and I've been using the primary for 20 years and the secondary for about 12 (there are things the primary can't fix [as in does not fix given the equipment in his shop] that the secondary does.

And unless you know what you're looking at, and what it should look like, a mechanic can tell you anything they please and it may, or may not, be accurate. Honest mechanics don't do this, whether you're looking or not.

As @Vangm25 has said, there's nothing in either of those lists that's completely unexpected for a car of this age, depending on "where it lives" and how it's been maintained. Things do break, corrode (particularly exhausts), etc. It goes with the territory of an aging car.
 

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What follows is neither meant to be snarky or nasty, but I have no idea where you got that idea.

Most automotive repair shops have not allowed customers into the actual service bays for some years now, and, for the most part, that's a direct requirement of their liability insurance policies. There are all sorts of things in an automotive repair shop that are just accidents waiting to happen if "the uninitiated" are allowed to wander around.

You should definitely seek out mechanics you believe you can trust, and the best way to do that is to talk with your friends and acquaintances to see who they use, and for how long. There are very few people who use incompetent or untrustworthy mechanic over a long period of time. Where I'm living at the moment, that's how I found my current primary and secondary mechanics, and I've been using the primary for 20 years and the secondary for about 12 (there are things the primary can't fix [as in does not fix given the equipment in his shop] that the secondary does.

And unless you know what you're looking at, and what it should look like, a mechanic can tell you anything they please and it may, or may not, be accurate. Honest mechanics don't do this, whether you're looking or not.

As @Vangm25 has said, there's nothing in either of those lists that's completely unexpected for a car of this age, depending on "where it lives" and how it's been maintained. Things do break, corrode (particularly exhausts), etc. It goes with the territory of an aging car.
Yeah, it's easy to forget how dangerous a garage can be. Fumes, liquids on the ground, stuff falling, sparks, cookie cutter wheels becoming shrapnel...

Unfortunately it is not as safe as a cockpit.
 

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Some places will and some places will not allow you to watch. That is all there is to it.
most definitely the insurance liability is a big part of it
i walked into the Firestone shop while they were doing an alignment and i bumped my back crawling through the cramped garage lol
i did ask beforehand that i could see how bad my wheel was wobbling
and they have windows where you can observe most of what they do in there
 
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I didn't start

I didn't start serious DIY repairs on my three Toyota's (1979 Celica, 1982 Cressida and 1995 Avalon) until about 10 years ago. Until then, the most I did was changing out alternators, valve adjustments, brakes, etc.

I'm currently working on my 1979 Celica, and I've done about 10 major repairs recently (exhaust manifold, steering box, A/C expansion valve (I am EPA 609 certified), front struts, oil pan gasket etc.

Almost all the work until 2010 was done at a Toyota dealership in Massachusetts. The exhaust manifold and oil pan gasket was replaced by them previously. When I had to do the repairs again, I noticed: 1) Huge gouge on bottom of engine block where the pan mates. Tech couldn't be bothered taking a mallet to free pan from block?. This can never be repaired 2) NO gasket in place for exhaust manifold. 3) Radiator mashed where Toyota tech placed his impact wrench to remove crank pulley (If I were watching him, I would have insisted that he pull radiator to make more room- even if it meant paying more. I'm currently working on the oil pump, so I just noticed that one recently).

As far as being bothered by being looked at, I am a retired commercial pilot. I have been observed by FAA inspectors, and company "check airmen" who routinely rode in the flight deck and observed every move we made. If a professional gets annoyed by someone watching over them, well, that, to me indicates they're unsure about themselves.
.
i tried to change the fan and fluid clutch coupler on my truck a number of months ago because the 24yr old one passed the indie Toyota mechanic inspection ...yet i just knew it was not operating to factory specs in the summer heat with that loud growl on super hot days.
i would consider this to be a 'minor repair' yet i was unable to finish the job because my neck seized on me real bad, was basically paralyzed to continue getting the coupler back on the front after i had to bump the engine to get it off, which threw the 3 accessory belts off that no way was i physically able to do any of that :( had to get it towed (to a different shop) and shell out 80$ to put the belts back on proper.
it was a real sucky week! i felt so embarrassed i was not able to fix my old truck
 

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What follows is neither meant to be snarky or nasty, but I have no idea where you got that idea.

Most automotive repair shops have not allowed customers into the actual service bays for some years now, and, for the most part, that's a direct requirement of their liability insurance policies. There are all sorts of things in an automotive repair shop that are just accidents waiting to happen if "the uninitiated" are allowed to wander around.

You should definitely seek out mechanics you believe you can trust, and the best way to do that is to talk with your friends and acquaintances to see who they use, and for how long. There are very few people who use incompetent or untrustworthy mechanic over a long period of time. Where I'm living at the moment, that's how I found my current primary and secondary mechanics, and I've been using the primary for 20 years and the secondary for about 12 (there are things the primary can't fix [as in does not fix given the equipment in his shop] that the secondary does.

And unless you know what you're looking at, and what it should look like, a mechanic can tell you anything they please and it may, or may not, be accurate. Honest mechanics don't do this, whether you're looking or not.

As @Vangm25 has said, there's nothing in either of those lists that's completely unexpected for a car of this age, depending on "where it lives" and how it's been maintained. Things do break, corrode (particularly exhausts), etc. It goes with the territory of an aging car.
would an honest mechanic (ASE certifiied) just leave the cotter pin out an upper ball joint castle nut and not even remove the one they broke inside in the first place?
then damage nearly 300$ of parts on a warranty claim and leave you to find out for yourself the damage done
 
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