What is the name of your state? West Virginia
A couple of months ago, I had to have my engine replaced. The mechanic I took it to had the vehicle for 5 weeks, but I finally got it back and it seemed to be running okay (not great, but okay). After about 2 weeks, I noticed a really strange sound and thought it could possibly be a suspension issue, so I took it to a nearby garage to have it looked at. The mechanic that looked at it told me I had a severe oil leak (which should not be happening in a brand new engine) and that I needed to get it checked out. Because I had previous problems with the service from the original mechanic, (He forgot to hook some things back up and also busted my oil cap, glued it back together, and put it back. It broke in half upon the first oil change after the engine replacement.), I was advised to take it somewhere else to pinpoint the leak in case it was the original guy's fault. I called the mechanic that did the engine replacement and let him know that if the leak was due to faulty workmanship, I would be sending him a bill for the repairs. When I took it to the third mechanic, he found missing bolts (exhaust hanger, bell housing, transmission cooling line hanger), cross-threaded bolts (torque converter - he had to retap those), and told me that everything that had been mounted back on the engine had been done improperly (I had leaks all over the place). Basically, he had to take the entire engine back out and redo EVERYTHING. He took pictures during the repairs and told me that, in his professional opinion, every problem he fixed was because of faulty workmanship, not bad parts. Oh, and it also only took him 2 days for the job as opposed to 5 weeks for the other guy.
Here is my question:
Can I hold the original mechanic liable for the repairs, and how should I go about enforcing it? Or should I ask for a refund and only pay the second guy that did the job properly? The second mechanic also feels that I was considerably overcharged for the original job.
I know that usually you have to take a vehicle back to the original mechanic (he did guarantee his work) when something has been done wrong, however, given the severity of the screw-up, I did not feel comfortable AT ALL letting him touch my vehicle again. The problems he caused could have made me lose control of the vehicle at any time, and I (AND my children) could have been in a major accident because of it. So how should I handle this?
Thanks for any input.