Did A Dealership Employee Really ‘Abuse’ This Mazdaspeed3?

Illustration for article titled Did A Dealership Employee Really ‘Abuse’ This Mazdaspeed3?
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A guy with a Mazdaspeed3 was having issues with his air conditioner, so instead of sweating and swearing at it in the parking lot of his apartment, he took it to a dealer to get repaired. When he got it back, he found this on the dashcam. Should he be upset?

We’ve seen plenty of obvious dealer-tech hoonings that sometimes end in damage to the car, and there’s obviously no question the dealer is at fault in those cases. In this particular video, nothing really goes all that wrong; there seems to be a turn on a red arrow at 1:26 or so, which seems to be what the owner is referring to when he says:

Found out the tech decided to take it for some pulls, run a red light, and easily get up to 100 in a 50mph zone.

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There’s no speed indicated to confirm how fast the tech was driving, but it’s clear the car was being driven fairly hard. You can hear the A/C on full blast, possibly suggesting it was being tested by the tech.

Personally, I think the dealership (which seems to be Orlando’s Holler Classic Mazda, because of the presence of a Holler Honda van in the parking lot) owes the owner at least an apology; nothing went wrong, sure, but it does seem clear that the car was being driven pretty hard. We reached out to the dealer to ask about what happened and will update if we get a response.

Now, I know the owner likely drives the car this hard at least sometimes; it’s a fun car. But he’s the owner. He gets to decide when and how much to wring his car out. Did the tech need to do some hard-acceleration tests to see how the A/C performed? Maybe. But probably not tearing ass down public streets like that.

My opinion that the tech was in the wrong here has met with a good bit of disagreement or at least ambivalence from people I talked to—they’re right that nothing horrible happened, and the “RIP CLUTCH” on that video is likely overstated. It’s not nearly as bad as some of these videos we’ve seen.

But I don’t think that’s the point; the tech was still joyriding, at least a little, in a customer’s car. And there is wear and tear associated with that, but, more importantly, it’s not their car.

Is this nothing, or is the owner right to be pissed?

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from the dealer:

As supported by our nearly 80 years in outstanding customer service, nothing is more important to us than customer trust and driver safety. We consider this video highly suspicious and extensively edited to intentionally create a picture that is counter to everything that we stand for. Attempting to disparage our company with a doctored video is poor form. Curiously omitted from the posting was the primary purpose of the repair order: a brake replacement which obviously requires on-the-road testing. Please know that our attorneys are taking this matter very seriously. We will post a review of their findings on a later date.

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Hat tip to Double-O Po!

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

DISCUSSION

damnthisburnershitsux
damnthisburnershitsux

I’m having trouble with the 100mph claim, watching this it seems like 2:10 is fastest and it seems more like 70mph. I’d also want to know what the service was for before condemning the tech entirely. Maybe he brought it in for warranty on the A/C under load or highway speed and this was the mechanics way of testing it, but otherwise yeah probably not the guy you want in the shop handling customer cars, if only for insurance reasons.