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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    1

    Default What Can You Do if an Auto Repair is Taking Too Long

    My question involves court procedures for the state of: Arizona

    Auto repair facility towed my vehicle on August 9th for repair. At that time I mentioned I wasn't in too big of a hurry. My first mistake. Almost 2 weeks later still no diagnosis on vehicle had been done. I stopped in unexpected on the 22nd, he has the engine torn down and we discuss the repair and I told him I would get the parts. I ordered the parts that day, $1800 worth. Parts ship the 25th and I finally get them Sep 1st and drop them off the next day, Friday the 2nd. Don't hear from him for weeks. I txt him Sep 16th asking when it will be done, he says next week. Next week comes and goes, no contact from him. Oct 6 I txt him saying this needs to be done. He never replies. I stop in the next day, he says vehicle is back together but engine still isn't running right but will be done the 10th-11th and he would call me. I asked him to give me his word, and he did. The 10th-11th came, no contact from him. I stop in on Oct 14th, he's not in, leave a msg, he actually calls me that day saying he thinks the valve in the head is sticking, gonna have to have another head put on. Said it would be done next week, 17th-21st. That week went by, no contact again. I txt him Oct 25th, he replied-you will have it this week. That was last week, still have not heard from him. I actually drove by the shop Tue and Thur of last week, truck was in the lot, in the same spot both days.

    They sent me an invoice Aug 19th for $1200 to be paid in cash at the time of picking up the vehicle after the repair is done. I've not paid them anything, just bought the parts.

    Sorry for the long story, but it was important to define the timeframe.

    What would be my recourse?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Auto Repair Taking Too

    Well, to start with you should hope and pray one of your parts isnt the problem. If it is, expect a bill to replace the defective part and either you run and get a replacement or plan on paying the mechanic for the new part he has to acquire.

    In situations like this you have two basic courses of action:

    1. Continue to communicate with the guy urging him to get the car finished

    2. Give an ultimatum that if it is not completed by some future date you are going to retrieve the vehicle (paying for the work completed of course) and try to find another mechanic that will take over and complete the work. That can be difficult as many mechanics do not want to jump in where somebody left off having no idea what they did and whether what they did was correct.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,843

    Default Re: Auto Repair Taking Too

    What did the mechanic say was wrong with the engine when he first looked at it and what parts did you supply to him?

    Being a mechanic is like being a doctor when it comes to identifying what the problem is. Any good mechanic should be able to know what the problem is that is causing the problem before they start fiddling with the engine only to find out that they did not fix anything.

    For $3K or slightly more, you could have replaced the engine with a remanufactured engine and have been done with it. So what exactly did this mechanic do?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Auto Repair Taking Too

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    What did the mechanic say was wrong with the engine when he first looked at it and what parts did you supply to him?

    Being a mechanic is like being a doctor when it comes to identifying what the problem is. Any good mechanic should be able to know what the problem is that is causing the problem before they start fiddling with the engine only to find out that they did not fix anything.

    For $3K or slightly more, you could have replaced the engine with a remanufactured engine and have been done with it. So what exactly did this mechanic do?
    So you're saying any doctor that recommends exploratory surgery is a quack?

    sometimes things aren't so obvious when diagnosing a car. I've been doing it for
    a long time, and am actually pretty darned good at it, yet there are times it comes down to a couple possibilities or it's just unique enough to shrug my shoulders and say; darned if I know.


    When I have the time I'll tell you the story about a forklift I was working on that was making a noise nobody could figure out. Several engineers (it was a brand new model of forklift so the engineers were very interested in figuring out what was making the noise) and basically every mechanic in the shop (about 20 of us) and nobody could figure it out. It was simply a lucky find that discovered it and it was the simplest thing that was causing it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,843

    Default Re: Auto Repair Taking Too

    A doctor isn't going to recommend exploratory surgery for the entire body. They would isolate it to something specific. The same applies to a mechanic. They will isolate it to something specific. In the old days (before all the computer controlled sensors and control elements) an engine was simple to diagnose. But today you need some readers and manufactures trouble shooting flow sheets to find the problem.

    In this case, the vehicle was towed in meaning that it was not running. It is not a case where the engine was not preforming up to standards or making some sort of noise. Not running. That suggests to me that there is something in the control of the engine is not right or there is a catastrophic failure which would be self-evident to any mechanic worth his salt.

    And after replacing $1,800 worth of parts and $1,200 worth of labor, to now say there is a stuck valve and the engine needs a new head is just laughable.

    It's called the gas station game. That is what we use to call it back in the 70's and 80's. You get what you can to repair a car even when nothing is really wrong with it or it can be repaired for a $100 bucks.

    My classic example is back in the 80's, when I worked for a highway gas station as a junior mechanic, client brings in a deliver truck that is overheating all the time. Owner of station sells him a short block rebuild before checking anything. We did the rebuild for about $2K and it still overheated. The problem was just bad ignition timing. It could have been fixed for $65.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Auto Repair Taking Too

    the "exploratory surgery" in this case is the engine, not the entire car.

    So you can disgnose a bent valve in an engine that isn't running. Many of today's engines are "interference engine" where when a timing belt slips or breaks, a valve can hit a piston and bend a valve.

    Oh, it can put a hole in a piston as well.

    Can you tell the difference by walking up to the car? It's hard to determine the difference until you tear the engine down.

    Of course since the belt slipped you have that issue as well that can cause a no start (although it will crank over).

    Some issues I have repaired that caused a no start;

    broken timing gear
    broken crankshaft
    broken camshaft (that one is very unusual which makes it hard to find because you don't look for things like that)
    slipped timing chain
    bad starter
    bad starter relay
    bad solenoid
    loose wires on the starter
    loose battery cable clamp


    Hhmmmm, let me see. What else have I run across that resulted in an no start;



    squirrels chewed a ground wire to the ecm (that one was a bear to figure out)
    no gas in the tank (and a customer that swears he just put gas in it)
    Bad fuel pump
    bad fuel pump relay
    clogged fuel pump screen
    bad ecm
    bad Hall effect sensor
    bad "pickup" in the distributor
    transciever chip in key no longer recognized
    roll pin that holds the gear to the distributor shaft sheared off

    and a really odd one; the rotor in the distributor had s pinhole in the center of it
    the rotor which caused all high voltage power going to the distributor to go to ground


    I can go on and probably fill a page. Shall I?

    Want to talk about overheating?

    bad thermostat
    plugged radiator (internal)
    plugged radiator (external)
    bad (electric) radiator fan
    bad fan relay
    bad thermo sensor
    bad fan clutch (mechanical)

    a big problem in some cars; an air pocket in the cooling system

    thermostat put in backwards
    no thermostat


    soft radiator hose (collapsed under suction)

    bad head gasket



    With the car in question here we have no idea what parts were replaced. We have no idea what was done to determine the original issue. There isn't enough info to even guess is the mechanic did anything wrong.

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