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DODGY GARAGE PROBLEM
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Just wondering what you all think of this.

My gran was telling me the other day about a bad experience with her local garage who she’s been using for years.

She called out the AA about 3 weeks ago after the engine warning light came on on her Rover 75 2.5 V6 (year 2000, 70,000 miles). The breakdown guy discovered that for some reason, it had no water in it at all and he took it to her local garage, on the form he gave her he said the engine may have a weakened head gasket due to the lack of water.

The garage took the car in and did an MOT and service as it was due soon. The garage manager gave her a verbal estimate of £550 which she accepted. The final bill came in at £1051…

Now, after all this work was done, head gasket checked and the thermostat was replaced, the garage claimed that the car was absolutely fine and all was well, except for that bill which she wasn’t happy about.

3 days and 30 miles later the head gasket’s blown and the car needs a new engine.

The guy asked me if we’d like to get a new engine at the cost of £4000! I laughed in disbelief and asked him if he was fucking joking, it’s a 13
Year old Rover 75!

I’m pretty angry that this has happened as she’s been left with no car and a bill for over £1000.

The garage claim that the head gasket was fine when the car left and if it was weakened when it came in, there’s not much they could do to check it. Is this correct?

I suspect it’s a case of a dodgy garage trying to rip off an old customer.

Cheers for any help.

Edit - This is the bill they sent in, engine blew 3 days later.

Updated February 5, 2013 at 10:48 AM

It's impossible to check a head gasket, a pressure test wont be enough as you can't mimic running conditions at all as this is your cylinder peak pressure, which on a car will be around 160 bar or thereabouts.

If this was my car, I would have changed the headgasket as a safety measure.

It's probably the head that has warped slightly due to lack of cooling, if they had done a proper job at the start then it wouldn't be an issue but then a lot of people would rather just try it and see instead of doing a proper repair?

I don't see how it needs a new engine though unless the headgasket failed spectacularly and it had a water and oil mix running through the bearings?

Dave!

--

I came here to drink milk and kick ass..... and i've just finished my milk!!!!

GraniteV8 said...

I don't see how it needs a new engine though unless the headgasket failed spectacularly and it had a water and oil mix running through the bearings?

This.

I see a thermostat and some pipes (not clear what type) on the orig invoice. Did they diagnose that it lost all it's water by leaking from either of these?

Updated February 5, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Looking at it from the garages side I think they did the right thing, they should though have said that the gasket cannot be checked without removing the head and that a gasket change should have been the best course of action.

This is what I do when looking after our stuff with work.

Dave!

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I came here to drink milk and kick ass..... and i've just finished my milk!!!!

A KV6 presumably has two head gaskets. So they could have replaced one and the other one gone (can't see the bill to see what they say they did).

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JL said...

Oh b*llocks you're right

Cheers chaps. I'm just not sure how to approach the garage about it. From her side, the car's gone in with a specific problem for repair and then the engine's apparently blown with a related problem 3 days and £1051 later...

I only skim read the first post an assumed the £1k bill for an overheating car with possible headgasket issues would have included doing the heasgasket(s)

Sounds like a crappy situation but probably very little comeback :(

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cheers,

Harry

Too many old sheds.

The garage may have been dodgy but you don't have much of a leg to stand on.

If they had replaced the HG and then it went bang then you would be covered by their 3 month limited warranty. If you want to fight it then you'll probably be off to court.

Alex88 said...

Cheers chaps. I'm just not sure how to approach the garage about it. From her side, the car's gone in with a specific problem for repair and then the engine's apparently blown with a related problem 3 days and £1051 later...

Seems to me like a lot of that bill is the service, oil, an exhaust silencer and labour/ancillaries related to that. What's left if you take all that off?

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Tim

M135i 8 Speed Auto. Alpine White. Faster than Yu.

Orange Cola said...

The garage may have been dodgy but you don't have much of a leg to stand on.

If they had replaced the HG and then it went bang then you would be covered by their 3 month limited warranty. If you want to fight it then you'll probably be off to court.

With a hope that they don't want the adverse publicity and they come to some agreement with you.

Tim said...

Alex88 said...

Cheers chaps. I'm just not sure how to approach the garage about it. From her side, the car's gone in with a specific problem for repair and then the engine's apparently blown with a related problem 3 days and £1051 later...

Seems to me like a lot of that bill is the service, oil, an exhaust silencer and labour/ancillaries related to that. What's left if you take all that off?

Ah I'd forgotten about the silencer. Will need to find out the total cost of it.

At the very least they should have advised her that the bill would be nigh on double before they continued to do all that work...?

I doubt you'll be able to prove they are liable for the engine going though, as harsh as it is.

--

BMW Car Magazine @QuentlyBentin

I think it comes down to a couple of things.

  • What work was agreed up front at what cost?
  • Was extra work carried out beyond what was originally agreed?
  • Was this additional work agreed prior to it being carried out?
  • Did the garage recommend that the head gasket(s) be changed?
  • Did they advise that the head gaskets did not need replacing or did they advise that they were fine but their longevity could not be guaranteed?

If I were the garage owner, I'd have recommended a gasket change and carried it out once I had the go ahead. If the owner chose not to go ahead, I'd have printed that on any invoice I subsequently produced for the work that did go ahead.

IANAL so not sure how this actually would work legally, but my understanding is that you don't have to pay for work that was not approved. If the garage did advise that the gaskets were fine and did not need replacing (with no caveats), then I would suggest that could possibly make them liable. But then the law is not always common sense. If it were, MitoBoy would've been thrown off his course months ago.

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Jobbo said...

Rev is correct, of course

Anyone who takes advantage of any vunerable person should be hung out to dry. By all means take a know it all to the cleaner but not an old lady.

If they gave a verbal estimate of £550 then charged almost double, I would say that is grounds for negotiation straight away.

In Scotland the £550 would possibly constitute a verbal contract.

I am not sure how fitting the few bits and pieces they did came to such a massive labour bill though?

CAB is your friend, unless Jobbo is online.

Like Rev says, Shirley they have to get your approval before doing any work beyond what was agreed? It's not hard to pick up the phone and say it's going to need X, Y and Z doing.

--

+ Non-limited edition of the Exige 240R
- Uninspiring soundtrack

Can't weigh in with anything really useful, but their labour cost alone almost matched the quote! Start there..?

Playing devil's advocate, was the verbal estimate for the head gasket inspection,service and MOT or just the head gasket.The silencer (MOT failure?), MOT and VAT total £393.44 alone.Take this off your total and you are a lot nearer the verbal estimate

Updated February 5, 2013 at 5:16 PM

now i've had a look at the bill it's annoyed me more.

Apologies to those who own / work in garages, but how do they get away with blatant overpricing?

stuff like antifreeze, £34.60 for 3.5 litres. any member of the public can walk into eurocarparts and buy 5litres for £12, and you can't tell me garages can't buy it for less?

And the £420 labour for a pretty simple service, a few hoses and an exhaust backbox? probably 4 hours labour tops.

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cheers,

Harry

Too many old sheds.

integrale_evo said...

And the £420 labour for a pretty simple service, a few hoses and an exhaust backbox? probably 4 hours labour tops.

I assume the engine was stripped down to check the head gasket so not just a simple service.

integrale_evo said...

now i've had a look at the bill it's annoyed me more.

Apologies to those who own / work in garages, but how do they get away with blatant overpricing?

stuff like antifreeze, £34.60 for 3.5 litres. any member of the public can walk into eurocarparts and buy 5litres for £12, and you can't tell me garages can't buy it for less?

And the £420 labour for a pretty simple service, a few hoses and an exhaust backbox? probably 4 hours labour tops.

I was wondering that when I looked at it earlier.. and £70 for a hose? :?

I've just spoken to the garage and the guy says that when they looked at it, it wasn't necessary to replaced the head gasket. When I asked why he said he didn't know and he'd have to get his mechanic to call me back tomorrow :roll:

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