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  1. #1
    AYarter is offline Junior Member
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    I need to sue a mechanic, what can I sue for?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California.

    I need to sue a mechanic who recently worked on my car. I'd taken it into a shop and was told the head gasket was probably blown, and quoted $2100.00. I took the car to a shop that gave me a better quote -- big mistake on my part. Its worth noting that I called the new shop and asked what their recommendation was, and a mechanic names Willie Jr. told me that the head gasket was indeed blown.

    After five days and $1100.00, I drove the car off. The same night the car started blowing smoke, and exhibiting the same symptoms as before. After three more days, and $350.00 later, I was told that the intake manifold was warped, and that was the cause of the problem. Never mind that the part had already come off when they did the first job, and was told that they don't inspect the manifolds when they take them off, and I'd have to pay the labor again. The shop manager told me that it probably didn't even need the valve job (the $1100 job). Letting that go by the wayside, I took the car. They mentioned that my throttle position sensor was throwing the check engine light, and I needed to replace it. So I did. And the light still came on after multiple resets. I still can't believe that they'd send me home with a new problem.

    Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I decided to replace the sensor with a top of the line sensor, thinking that maybe the replacement was bad. Unfortunately, the light is still on, and a call to the dealer confirmed that the code doesn't call for the replacement of the TPS, but that the engine idle speed is wrong, and was probably due to a shoddy job putting the manifold back on. I can't believe that they sent the car home with me with a NEW problem. Then about a day later, the engine started to squeal, and looking under the hood, I can clearly see the belt (which they removed and put back on) is actually weening its way off of the pulleys.

    In total, I'm out $1500, and the car still doesn't work properly. I've had to take the train to work everyday (and for those of you that know Los Angeles, I have to go through Watts around 12:30 am to get home.

    I'd like to take them to small claims court, but I don't know what to sue for. Tomorrow I will take the car back in and demand that they fix it, or take it to someone who can. Or, give me my money back, which they won't do.

    I'm not looking to get away with a ton of money; I'd really just like the car fixed, and to come back to me running right (at least without a check engine light on). If they could just fix the car, I'd be happy. If someone else could fix the car, and they'd cover it, I'd be happier. I'd really rather have it repaired than receive any monetary damages.

    If the court date is more than a few weeks away, for my own personal safety, I may rent a car. While the trains do go to my work, I've been mugged once, and attacked a few other times in Watts or Compton. Would I be able to ask for a percentage of the car rental fees in the suit?

    Also worth noting, there's a 30 day warranty on the job, noted on my reciept.

    Thank you for your time!

    Adam
  2. #2
    I_Got_Banned is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by AYarter View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California.

    I need to sue a mechanic who recently worked on my car. I'd taken it into a shop and was told the head gasket was probably blown, and quoted $2100.00. I took the car to a shop that gave me a better quote -- big mistake on my part. Its worth noting that I called the new shop and asked what their recommendation was, and a mechanic names Willie Jr. told me that the head gasket was indeed blown.

    After five days and $1100.00, I drove the car off. The same night the car started blowing smoke, and exhibiting the same symptoms as before. After three more days, and $350.00 later, I was told that the intake manifold was warped, and that was the cause of the problem. Never mind that the part had already come off when they did the first job, and was told that they don't inspect the manifolds when they take them off, and I'd have to pay the labor again. The shop manager told me that it probably didn't even need the valve job (the $1100 job). Letting that go by the wayside, I took the car. They mentioned that my throttle position sensor was throwing the check engine light, and I needed to replace it. So I did. And the light still came on after multiple resets. I still can't believe that they'd send me home with a new problem.

    Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I decided to replace the sensor with a top of the line sensor, thinking that maybe the replacement was bad. Unfortunately, the light is still on, and a call to the dealer confirmed that the code doesn't call for the replacement of the TPS, but that the engine idle speed is wrong, and was probably due to a shoddy job putting the manifold back on. I can't believe that they sent the car home with me with a NEW problem. Then about a day later, the engine started to squeal, and looking under the hood, I can clearly see the belt (which they removed and put back on) is actually weening its way off of the pulleys.

    In total, I'm out $1500, and the car still doesn't work properly. I've had to take the train to work everyday (and for those of you that know Los Angeles, I have to go through Watts around 12:30 am to get home.

    I'd like to take them to small claims court, but I don't know what to sue for. Tomorrow I will take the car back in and demand that they fix it, or take it to someone who can. Or, give me my money back, which they won't do.

    I'm not looking to get away with a ton of money; I'd really just like the car fixed, and to come back to me running right (at least without a check engine light on). If they could just fix the car, I'd be happy. If someone else could fix the car, and they'd cover it, I'd be happier. I'd really rather have it repaired than receive any monetary damages.

    If the court date is more than a few weeks away, for my own personal safety, I may rent a car. While the trains do go to my work, I've been mugged once, and attacked a few other times in Watts or Compton. Would I be able to ask for a percentage of the car rental fees in the suit?

    Also worth noting, there's a 30 day warranty on the job, noted on my reciept.

    Thank you for your time!

    Adam
    You'd probably be better off starting here: http://www.autorepair.ca.gov/80_BARResources/07_AutoRepair/Auto_Repair_Guide.html

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page and read the section titled "How to File a Complaint"
  3. #3
    AYarter is offline Junior Member
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    I'd looked at that earlier.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think what I may do isto

    Bring it back tomorrow, and tell them to fix it.

    If they can't/won't, I'll go to the dealer, and get an estimate for repair, and to confirm that their work was the likely culprit.

    Send them the estimate via registered mail, with a request to pay for repair, within two weeks from signing.

    File a complaint with the Bureau of Automotive Repair

    If that doesn't work, I'll sue for the damages.

    Does this sound like a feasible course of action?
  4. #4
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Here's the problem .

    Blowing smoke usually means bad valves ,etc .

    That's where they started .

    One thing leads to another and different issues arise ,each one separate from the other .

    Your warranty covers work the have already preformed ,not additional .

    Example : My brother ( not mechanically inclined ) poured wrong fluid into an engine .Engine had to be replaced for X amount .After engine is replaced , it need all new sensors . Extra amount .

    If you feel the original repair shop did something wrong ( hard to prove with needed additionals ) , you get a DX and repair at a manufacture authorized repair facility ,and have it noted in their professional opinion ,the prior repairs were not needed or their work caused the current issue(s).

    Then if so ,try negotiating with the original repair shop ,or take it to small claims for your actual damages .
  5. #5
    Stevef is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by AYarter View Post
    I'll go to the dealer, and get an estimate for repair, and to confirm that their work was the likely culprit.
    I doubt you can get an estimate. A problem with the TPS will likely only be diagnosed when it's fixed. I suspect they pinched the wire when putting the manifold back on. It's either shorted or broken.
  6. #6
    AYarter is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
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    Update

    The car runs great now. The guy didn't install the PCV valve correctly, and shorted out the ECM when he installed the manifold.


    The smoke was blowing because he never checked the manifold after doing the valve job. The manifold was pouring water into the cylinders. Dealer says I never needed the TPS sensor, that the computer was fried most likely when the manifold was installed (shorted wires around the work). Also noted that this is a common issue with my model car, and a valve job was probably not needed.

    All in all, the dealer cost around $800 to clean up the mess this guy left behind.

    I'm thinking about suing for the labor costs, or a percentage of them. I don't expect to get the money from the parts back.

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