Cars, garages, trauma. What would you do?

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  • Cars, garages, trauma. What would you do?
  • Premier Icon steveh
    Subscriber

    He has to put you back in the position you were in before it happened. i.e. he fixes it, gives you a car or some cash. Figure out how much it's worth before you go.

    Does the bill for the car mention any belts? Did he mention it to you? Start out nice get him to do the talking/offering to begin with and then start mentioning solicitors etc if you're really getting knowhere.

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    This is going to get painful, what car do you have?
    Most cam belts have a cover to stop this kind of thing happening, I'm interested in the set up of yours.
    Good luck.

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    I agree initially go in and see what he has to say, they seem at fault from your story and should rectify. Sounds like he knows they are at fault.

    See what he offers, you're not obliged to say yes, just listen to it.
    You can always walk away and think about it.

    I guess if its anything less than 'sorry mate we screwed up but we'll completely fix yer car' then its time to consider the options.

    Hopefully he's genuine and will offer a free fix. If he does then ask to get the work inspected at his cost if you can.

    Otherwise maybe get trading standards involved.

    Premier Icon steveh
    Subscriber

    Oh I forgot to say that the decision is yours not his as to what to do.

    ourkidsam
    Member

    Steve – he said he'd looked at the aux alternator belt and 'it looked alright' so he hadn't changed it.

    Brief look on autotrader suggests the max it could be worth is 2.5k. I think it's more like 1 – 1.5 for mine, possibly a bit less. 2000 Polo (but a nice spec) with 97k on it.

    2u2r – yup, there is a cover over the top but it wrapped around underneath or possibly around the lower pulley

    coffeeking
    Member

    Probably bent valves, not piston. Still expensive. Still his fault. If it was still turning over it might need valves and valve stem overhaul – maybe a tenner per valve, some valve guide work and new seals, plus effectively a cam belt change and head gasket change in the process.

    However its more likely he didnt *adjust* the belt/alt properly – fairly rare for a belt to go walkies due to being old, normally they just snap, its only if they have re-fitted it badly that they wander off etc. I've re-used alt belts COUNTLESS times on cars. Its highly possible he forgot to tighten up one or all parts of the alternator mounting, which would cause it to walk off the pulley due to misalignment.

    Never trust garages. Buy a book and some spanners and do it yourself.

    ourkidsam
    Member

    In the interests of fairness, I'm going to try and give a full account of this.

    Friday morning on the motorway the battery warning light starts flashing. I'm late for work so ignore it, roughly fifty miles later get to work in one piece still.

    Set off from work to go home, no lights flashing, all good. Stop off halfway for fuel, start the car again and it's dead – won't even turn over. Breakdown chap comes along, diagnoses the alternator is rogered and drops me and car at home. I check out a couple of garages online, give a couple of calls, select a chap who sounds reasonable and has good recommendations.

    Saturday morning, car is collected from mine, dropped at garage. Yesterday alternator is replaced.

    This morning I pick car up, all working fine, pay for the work and drive off happy.

    A mile down the road there is a very weird knocking sound, 200 yards further on battery light comes on again and 200 yards later all power to the car is gone.

    Ring garage back – 'oh that's weird'
    'I'll call breakdown and bring it back to you'
    'Yeah no problem'

    Breakdown man arrives. I explain the above to him. Pops bonnet and pulls a mangled length of cord from the depths. 'This is your alternator auxillary belt. It should be changed when the alternator is changed. Are you sure you want to take it back to the guy that did this?'

    Okay maybe not, so pop back to the garage he's come from. Mechanic there has a look, tries to start it. 'The timings out. Cam belt looks a bit mangled. Looks like alternator belt has wrapped itself around cam belt.'

    Okay says I, I'll take it back to chap who did the work originally and ask him to sort it.

    Original chap rings this afternoon. Timing has gone out, bent a piston. Engine rebuild, will cost more than car's worth, basically it needs scrapping. Come in for a chat tomorrow.

    What would your thoughts be and what angle would you be taking for this chat?

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    It could be one of the rollers or something else like the waterpump/ac compressor has seized & caused the belt to snap, this could be because the alternator bearings going have put unnecessary strain on other components leading to the failure.
    It's a fine line on whether or not to change the whole lot at the same time, but most customers will moan or say someone else has quoted less, so you don't advise or insist they change the lot.

    I hope you get it resolved soon.

    coffeeking
    Member

    2u2r – btw its apparently very common on the HDi pugs for the bottom pulley to fail "partially" and make the belt walk off the pulley, taking the timing cover and belt with it so I suppose it's not unheard of even on covered cars, but you'd not expect it would you? Replaced mine only last month for this very problem thankfully.

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    Fair enough, but on a polo I would think it was the plastic veined waterpump to be the possible cause.
    I certainly wouldn't replace an alt belt just because the alt failed, but I would obviously inspect it closely before making the call.
    My gut instinct would be that it was a cheap recon alt that is to blame, I've had relatively expensive Bosch units fail within a few months, but thats rare, there was/is a place on the A406 that reconditioned starters, alternators etc, we used to laugh & take bets about how long they would last (after giving the customer the choice based on cost & recommending the expensive option).

    coffeeking
    Member

    Buy cheap, buy twice 'n' all. Works in most areas! Recently did the stupid thing of doign a cam belt and not replacing the w/pump on my other halfs car, needless to say the damn thing is leaking within months!

    ourkidsam
    Member

    Cheers for the responses guys.

    With regard to the actual alternator – it looked pretty shiney (although I guess that doesn't mean much) and cost £110. I don't know what that means.

    The alternator belt was in a mess. Sounds like it snapped to me – there was a sudden banging as though it had snapped and the end was banging about inside the engine bay. It was raining at the time and I at first thought it had started coming down really heavy 😕

    When it was pulled out had a frayed end so yeah, had definately snapped

    samuri
    Member

    beware, the chap is almost certainly going to try to blame the damage on the original failure and not his crapness. Unless you're really lucky. If he does, be prepared to walk out and engage legal advice.

    Premier Icon coolhandluke
    Subscriber

    I'm surprised you've not been advised to wee in his shoes actually!

    I'd be speaking to Citizens Advice before you go in or look at your car insurance policy as you may have legal advice cover with it. Do the RAC or AA or similar also carry free legal advice? maybe worth checking.

    To be frank, the garage chap is hardly likely to offer you a pile of cash for ruining your car now is he.

    Also, go onto google maps, find his garage on it and leave an appropriate review 😀

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    Typical STW. Garage man hung, drawn & quartered 🙂 already…

    Yo never know, he might just come good…

    hora
    Member

    steveh – Member

    Oh I forgot to say that the decision is yours not his as to what to do.

    Totally agree. Garages/dealers will sometimes talk to you as though they are doing you a favour when something is seen to be 'technical'. I personally wouldnt listen much when he says its not his problem. Speak to your insurance company (if you have legal cover) before going down. Do you have the name of the breakdown guy(s) who you spoke to- could you find this out from a reference log etc? Find this out as well.

    sobriety
    Member

    This happened to my megane, if it's been run with the timing off it will probably have done multiple valves (the knocking noise) and probably the overhead camshaft as well, if you're really unlucky it'll have bent a piston con rod too. Fortunately my dad's a mechanic so it all got fixed, but he still won't tell me how much it cost!!!

    ourkidsam
    Member

    No legal cover with my insurance, unfortunately. I've just spoken to consumer direct. They seem to think I've got a good case – work should have been carried out with 'reasonable care and skill' and they mentioned Supply of Goods and Services Act and small claims court. Right, guess I better go and have a word with the garage.

    hora
    Member

    Good luck.

    coffeeking
    Member

    Fortunately my dad's a mechanic so it all got fixed, but he still won't tell me how much it cost!!!

    In parts – not that much. In time and effort – probably more than your car is worth. Buy the man some beers 😀 Full strip down, proper check and rebuild even on a simple engine is 10+ hours labour at the minimum, even at mates rates thats pretty steep.

    ourkidsam
    Member

    I've been offered the money back that I spent on the alternator + £200 for the car.

    He's saying he's never seen it happen in 10 years and that he'd checked the aux alternator belt and it was fine.

    I also spoke to the guy who looked at it yesterday at the other garage and he said he couldn't be sure whether it should have been replaced without having seen it – it's not replaced with the alternator as a matter of course.

    So, it could be negligence or could just be bad luck.

    I don't know what to do really.

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    money back that I spent on the alternator + £200 for the car.

    And he'll have your car on Autotrader next wk for £1500.

    Small claims court without delay.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    That's a crap offer least he could offer is value of car without any problems.

    hora
    Member

    What is the car/year and when was it last serviced and by whom?

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    I've been offered the money back that I spent on the alternator + £200 for the car.

    Sounds a lot like he accepts some sort of liability if he's offering you anything!

    Sounds a bit rough on you as he could reasonably claim it was co-incidence that the belt snapped at the same time (as it wasn't necessary to replace at the same time).

    Did he charge you for a new one?

    ourkidsam
    Member

    Mastilles – no, nor did he fit one

    sobriety
    Member

    In parts – not that much. In time and effort – probably more than your car is worth. Buy the man some beers Full strip down, proper check and rebuild even on a simple engine is 10+ hours labour at the minimum, even at mates rates thats pretty steep.

    Parts was over £800, we did all the work between us as I spent a chunk of my youth lying under various cars (funny that), but yes, he won't have to buy a beer around me fot the rest of his life!

    Junkyard
    Member

    To be fair to him he has also been unlucky with this sometimes things just happen and it is not really his fault but he would need to prove he did not damage the belt and he fully inspected it before re fit (which is not reallly possible) and is some what countered by its catastrophic failure so close to his premises.
    He pays for a scrapper engine and you £100 for his time to fit?
    You are out of pocket so is he but hassle free solution for you both?
    I think you have probably both just been unlucky.

    hora
    Member

    As said. Offering you cira £300 for a £2k car seems abit like he will be carrying out the rectification after all… just not returning the car to you. Cost to him? I'd say he'd make a profit from your loss. I doubt hes paying you scrap value.

    Comes down to a burden of proof though. I'd post this thread on http://www.pistonheads/gassing

    Premier Icon rickk
    Subscriber

    Well at least he's talking to you.

    Quick look on ebay says around £300 for an engine, perhaps he has contacts for a cheaper deal.

    Maybe there's also some sort of residual value in the old engine.

    So the cost to him to replace the engine is not that great over and above the £200 he's already offered, I'd push for (at least) that with a written guarantee.

    Otherwise he buys the car from you at the pre damage value?

    ourkidsam
    Member

    An update in case anyone's interested

    Has offered to do the work on fitting a new head for free if I pay for the parts. That's still going to be circa £600 though, so I've asked him to have a look for a 2nd hand engine. Going to get back to me later today

    hora
    Member

    ourkidsam, if he fits a different engine though it'll have to be noted on your V5. That will really affect your resale so you wouldnt get 'book/internet' prices of 2-2.5k if you sold it on. Worth noting.

    ourkidsam
    Member

    I did wonder how that might work. Cheers, will bear that in mind

    hora
    Member

    Im guessing on this bit- different engine number. so it wouldnt match on the records so needs recording. I might be wrong on this being the reason though.

    All the best though. IMO, hes showing his hand that hes in part to be blame for this.

    coffeeking
    Member

    Change of engine number wont affect sale price, surely.

    Interestingly, I know a lot of people who modify/swap engines in cars regularly, never known one to let the authorities know unless the size changed.

    hora
    Member

    CK, if there are a choice of 10 Polos and the 11th has a different engine would you pay market price/the same as the previous 10?

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    Why would anyone notify the dvla of a engine change?
    And even if you did, unless you tell people how will they find out?

    In all the years I have sold cars I can count on one hand the amount of times people have checked engine numbers, chassis numbers yes, but matching chassis & engine numbers only mater on very important classics.
    HTH.

    hora
    Member

    times people have checked engine numbers

    I have 🙄 but then Im a nerd 🙁

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