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Fault reappears after car repair, now the garage says problem is something else?


rkrishna
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Hi, my car was overheating and I got it repaired at a local independent garage after paying a huge bill (£1365). warranty company has agreed to bear some of the cost (£450). I am yet to receive money from the warranty company. they said they replaced the head gasket and other parts like drive belt and drive belt tensioner etc. But after driving for around 10 miles, the I got the "engine oil" and "check engine" warning lights once again. I was about to take it back to the garage next day morning and my car was stolen in the night, but luckily it was found within few hours. the thieves drove it for only two miles and no damage done to the car because of theft.

I took it back to the garage (I told them the car was stolen, but not driven for long distance and I got the warning lights before theft) and now they say head gasket is fine, cylinder head is also fine and the problem could be with engine block. they are saying they found the problem with head gasket and they replaced it and thought that the problem will go away after that and they say they don't normally check the bottom half of the engine for more faults and say it is very rare for something like this to happen. I wouldn't have paid the bill in the first place, if it was such a serious problem. now I am not sure if I should be going to the warranty company again and what their response would be. fault with the engine may be covered under my warranty, but since they have already agreed to pay for head gasket, I doubt if they are going to pay more and may refuse to make payment at all blaming the garage. I also have a maximum limit on my single claim and total claim with the warranty company.

should the garage not diagnose the problem properly before carrying out the repair? what are my options right now? should I make a complaint to trade association? I would like to solve this problem as quickly and amicably as possible and don't want to get into lengthly legal battle which is not good for me and for the garage. I am without my car for past three weeks despite paying so much money and not sure how long I have to wait more until this problem is solved. it is causing me lot of stress, Please help me to find a way out from this problem

 

I already spoke to them, they said they can't fix it free of charge, because it is a major problem and will cost them a lot. they keep saying they fixed the problem with head gasket and thought the problem is solved and say no garage strips the whole engine to diagnose the problem.

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Very Important

 

You need and 'must' get a written diagnosis of this 'major problem', don't agree to any work being done whatsoever until you have the diagnosis on paper.

When you have that, come back here and tell us what it says.

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obviously I haven't done that, learnt a lesson now, I should have asked for a diagnostic report before carrying out the repair. This is the first time I encountered such a problem. but Is there anything I can do now? Is it not possible to diagnose the problem with the engine beforehand without carrying out the repair? Is there a quick fix to this solution without going to court? I have even asked them if they are ready to buy my car and they said they don't buy or sell cars. it is Ford Focus 2003 diesel. I am not sure if I can even sell the car in this state and what price I am going to get. it is a huge loss for me and I am eagerly waiting for some expert opinion on my issue.

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Mmm, i'm a bit tied up atm getting son ready for school but i'll be back later. In meantime, I suggest you do as Conniff says.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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obviously I haven't done that, learnt a lesson now, I should have asked for a diagnostic report before carrying out the repair. This is the first time I encountered such a problem. but Is there anything I can do now? Is it not possible to diagnose the problem with the engine beforehand without carrying out the repair? Is there a quick fix to this solution without going to court? I have even asked them if they are ready to buy my car and they said they don't buy or sell cars. it is Ford Focus 2003 diesel. I am not sure if I can even sell the car in this state and what price I am going to get. it is a huge loss for me and I am eagerly waiting for some expert opinion on my issue.

 

The amount you have paid so far is not necessarily too much or work not required, the head gasket may well have been gone and if the repair was carried out correctly, the bill could come to that.

 

Yes the problem 'can' be diagnosed without stripping the engine down, and the garage saying to you " because it is a major problem and will cost them a lot" says to me they have diagnosed what the problem is, if not, then how do they know it's in the engine block.

 

I don't want to say anything too technical that could confuse you, so it is very very very important (and I can't stress that enough), that you get a diagnosis in writing before you give your permission for them to dismantle any more of your engine.

 

I'm not certain why you are asking about 'court', you would need to show that there was no problem with the cylinder head so work was done that wasn't required, or show that they haven't in fact done any work but have billed you.

You could take it into another garage and ask them to tell you if the head gasket and timing gear has been changed, that isn't difficult for a mechanic to do. If you do decide to do that, don't tell them who done it.

 

Overheating could just be the thermostat failing.

Edited by Conniff
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Ok couple of things I would like to ask seeing as you mention a warranty; how long have yoy owned the car for? What does the warranty say obout the headgasket failure exactly? Where is the car now?

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Excuse me but are all these threads linked to the same car? If so there may be some confusion as to where this problem exactly started and by what? can this be clarified by merging the threads.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?312100-car-stolen-and-recovered-and-caused-a-bigger-problem-(a-painful-story)-please-help&p=3479113#post3479113

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?311522-Please-check-this-garage-bill-and-let-me-know-if-it-is-reasonable-or-not&p=3472981#post3472981

Edited by afcwben
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they are not the same, but are related and I posted the questions as the events unfolded. one of them was to see if the bill is high or reasonable, second one was related to my car theft. they all are related. I am going through a very tough time in my life right now. I was already in trouble with the garage repair and on top of that my car was stolen (recovered later) and I had to pay money to get it recovered. if I had gone to a reputed (branded) garage, I wouldn't have faced this problem. I am regretting a lot for going to this garage who don't seem to have the skills to do major job. it is a small, but old garage. right now they are still checking to confirm 100 percent what else is wrong with my car. its been almost three weeks since I gave my car for repair. they said they will get back to me tomorrow with their findings. once that is done, they may ask me to pay even more and I am not sure if I should be paying more, because I lost trust in this garage now. I wouldn't have agreed for the repair in the first place, if the cost of repair going to exceed the value of the car and I would have saved some money at least. it is eight year old focus diesel car and paying any more won't be right for that car.

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Ok couple of things I would like to ask seeing as you mention a warranty; how long have yoy owned the car for? What does the warranty say obout the headgasket failure exactly? Where is the car now?

 

I bought the car in Nov 2009 from a dealer for £3600 and I bought a three year warranty on the car for £600. I haven't got it inspected when I bought it. I did a test drive and looked OK to me. but within a span of less than two years, there were two major problems with this car. the clutch and dual mass flywheel had to be replaced which cost me £800 and warranty company didn't pay for this saying they only pay for things that are broken. they say it is worn out, not broken and mechanic says it never breaks and warranty is not worth the paper it is written on. now major engine problem with the car (again I lost trust with this garage after they failed to diagnose the full extent of the problem, I am not even sure if the head gasket is really gone or not). this one cost me £1365 out of which warranty company is paying £450, so effectively £900 paid by me. in total I spent around £2000 for repairs (excluding warranty cost and their recent payment). after all this, the car is now almost worthless, I can't drive and I can't sell it. now I have to pay more to buy another car and can't recover some of that by selling this car.

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Krishna,

 

I think you need to give a full account of what has gone on without going into chapter and verse.

 

You need to include when you bought it, what else you bought ie the warranty and how it was financed. What has failed and how much you were charged and when. Who the Warranty is with? Mileage on car when bought and now might be useful as well.

 

It's important to keep it all together as has been pointed out so if you could do this it will enable the forum to have a closer look at the whole issue.

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ok. I didn't want to deviate this thread by providing too much information than the actual problem I am facing right now. I could have put this info in my original post, but there is no button to edit the post.

 

car purchase date: Nov 2009, mileage when bought 66000, current mileage 71300. I paid the full price, it was not financed. it is Ford Focus 2003 diesel car. I haven't bought anything else extra apart from the warranty.

 

warranty sold by the dealer, but provided by some company called "warranty management services". it is a five star warranty, covers only major problems but with some conditions. they don't cover some parts damaged by overheating. not sure if they cover engine block, though it is a major failure (can't find it in my warranty booklet, if I call them now I am afraid they may refuse the payment that they authorised already for head gasket saying garage didn't diagnose the complete problem).

 

first major repair was done in Oct 2010 for clutch and dual mass flywheel replacement (some grinding noise was coming from the car while driving the car). this cost me £800 (including VAT) as I said earlier, warranty company said it is wear and tear and didn't pay for it. next major one is what I explained already in this post.

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if the garage had given me a report of what's all wrong with my car and how much it will cost to fix before carrying out the repair and if it is going cost me more than what I paid already, then I would have decided not to go ahead with the repair, because it will exceed the value of the car and I would have sold it for whatever price I am going to get. I kept calling them every day when I first gave it for repair to know how much it will cost, they kept telling it is not possible to diagnose everything before. I think their approach seems to be fix something, run it and if it doesn't work, check again what else is the problem.

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Warranties will mainly cover things which are most unlikely to fail. Even the most basic one should cover the main engine components so you need to check the policy. As for them not paying out because of a miss-diagnosis by the garage, well if you can show that then it's the garage who should be 'paying'. Ideally you should be getting it diagnosed by a different garage who should be able to determine what work has been carried out (head gasket change/timing belt ect) and whether the current problem is associated to the repairs previously carried out. If that is not possible, get the garage who did the repair to do a WRITTEN diagnosis as advised by Conniff.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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We can't put blame on or accuse the garage of anything at this stage, did you ask for a diagnosis and quote to repair ??

 

What's happened in the past is all bye the bye, so what are your intentions now ??

Edited by Conniff
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first of all thanks for all the responses to my question. it is not about blaming garage. right now I am stuck with this faulty car and ran out of ideas to solve this issue and so posted the question in this forum. I spoke with the mechanic again and he says he double checked the HG is fine, cylinder head is also fine and checking if there is any other part that needs fixing. if that turns out to be OK, then he suspects the problem could be with engine block (I know nothing about car parts, so please excuse me if this doesn't make sense) and says even confirming 100 percent if that is the problem and fixing will involve lot of work and will be another major job. if tomorrow he says the whole engine needs to be rebuilt, then I plan to get a quote from RAC or AA and if it really requires engine rebuilding then I will speak to the warranty company and try to get it fixed at another garage, if the warranty company agree to bear some of the cost, because the car in this state is no good for me. I spent almost £6K on this car in total till now (including its original price, warranty and major, minor repairs). regarding a written diagnosis report, as I said earlier they said they will have to strip the engine down and is time consuming and costs a lot and there isn't any other easy way or tool to find that out.

Edited by rkrishna
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But he must have some idea of what is wrong with it. If he says the head is ok so it must be the block, then ask him "What can go wrong with the block to make it overheat?"

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finally some good news for me after a long stressful time. they found something wrong with the "heat exchanger" which they replaced with a second hand part (they warned me new one costs £200) and also they charged me £50 extra for that (so luckily no problem with engine block which would have cost me lot more). in total they took three weeks to fix the overheating problem (replacement of head gasket, other parts and now the heat exchanger). I collected my car now. when I told them to absorb the cost of this part since they charged me main dealer price, they were very angry saying main dealer price would be much more than that and said they spent a long time diagnosing the fault and had to use the service of some engineering firm few times which cost them a lot and said they did me a favour by not charging more this time. but they said its all fixed now and the problem shouldn't come again and can drive long distances without worrying about breakdown. Thanks a lot for all your replies

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finally some good news for me after a long stressful time. they found something wrong with the "heat exchanger" which they replaced with a second hand part (they warned me new one costs £200) and also they charged me £50 extra for that (so luckily no problem with engine block which would have cost me lot more). in total they took three weeks to fix the overheating problem (replacement of head gasket, other parts and now the heat exchanger). I collected my car now. when I told them to absorb the cost of this part since they charged me main dealer price, they were very angry saying main dealer price would be much more than that and said they spent a long time diagnosing the fault and had to use the service of some engineering firm few times which cost them a lot and said they did me a favour by not charging more this time. but they said its all fixed now and the problem shouldn't come again and can drive long distances without worrying about breakdown. Thanks a lot for all your replies

 

So what does all that mean exactly, well if indead the head has been removed to replace the gasket then of course an outside engineering firm was used if the job was to be done properly.

If they used the words 'Heat Exchanger', then they are full of bull. The only heat exchanger I can think of to do with overheating is the radiator and that is probably the easiest job on the car to diagnose a problem with and just as cheap to repair.

 

Have you had a mechanic check that the head gasket and cam timing gear has been changed ??

Also get that same mechanic to check the radiator for replacement or recore.

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I may get AA or RAC to verify if the job has been done properly and get the garage to fix it if they found any issue with it, so that I can stop worrying about another breakdown due to overheating. this whole story is a lesson for me to avoid local garages and go to big branded/reputed garages. even if they charge more, at least the repair and the customer service will be very professional and there won't be any doubts about the repair. this is not to say all the local independent garages are bad, but it is a bit risky if the one I chosen turns out to be bad. this garage is part of good garage scheme, but it seems the scheme can't be trusted. the main complaint about this garage is their inability to diagnose the problem, tell me how much it costs and how long it takes before doing the repair, so that I can decide whether it is worth going ahead or just sell the car as it is. they said that's not possible and I believed it.

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obviously I haven't done that, learnt a lesson now, I should have asked for a diagnostic report before carrying out the repair. This is the first time I encountered such a problem. but Is there anything I can do now? Is it not possible to diagnose the problem with the engine beforehand without carrying out the repair? Is there a quick fix to this solution without going to court? I have even asked them if they are ready to buy my car and they said they don't buy or sell cars. it is Ford Focus 2003 diesel. I am not sure if I can even sell the car in this state and what price I am going to get. it is a huge loss for me and I am eagerly waiting for some expert opinion on my issue.

 

need to clarify this because it contradicts with what I said later. I did call them to ask what is the problem and how much it costs etc, but they said it is not possible, they have to fix HG first which was obvious, then see if it solves the problem and check it further if that doesn't fix the problem. then I believed what they said and they carried on with their work.

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