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Garage changed oil & filter - car suffered major engine failure before leaving garage


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Should i take this garage to small claims court? I took my BMW 1 series in to the local garage for a routine oil & filter change because the on board computer said it was due. The garage changed the oil & filter then phoned me to say as they were driving it off the ramp the oil light came on so they put it back on the ramp. They told me the engine would not start now they think the oil pump has failed and they think the timing change has come off at the top.

Result is that my car now needs a new engine. I've had a quote for reconditioning my engine for £4505.22 from another garage.

Original garage have never stripped one of these engines and has quoted about 12 hours to strip and diagnose.

2008 2ltr BMW 1 Series 118d 95,000 miles. Full service history. One owner before me.

Please help what should I do??

I did write to them asking them for £2000 as a goodwill gesture in full and final settlement and if they did not respond I would take court action for the full amount of £4505.22.

I have heard nothing whatsoever from them.

Would I have any chance of winning a small claims court case?

Edited by JennPett
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If you think that you will be able to demonstrate convincingly that the problem was caused by the garage then yes, you should bring a small claim.

 

However, I'm not sure that I see anything in your story so far which puts it beyond question that they are responsible.

 

Second point is – why on earth of you send them a letter before action when really you're not sure whether you should be bringing that action?

 

Do you realise that companies all over the country received bucketfuls of legal threats every week and probably less than 2% of them are ever followed up.

 

Letters before action are routinely binned and no one takes any notice.

 

If you send a letter before action then you should only send it when you are sure that that is what you're going to do and that you are clear in your own mind that the expiry of your deadline, you will be taking that action. Otherwise it's a game of bluff which just leaves you losing face – as has happened here.

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What a coincidence that they changed the oil and filter and while driving down the ramp the engine blew.

Something fishy here...

I remember an old bmw 320 with the filter in an awkward position and to reach it it would be easier to strip a few bits and bobs.

I wonder if something similar has happened here and then they failed to put things together properly

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hi king12345

I was shocked that it was such a coincidence and that they offered no help or even a lift home. They just said they'd never stripped one of these engines and that they book time was 12 hours just to diagnose!

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Ultimately to bring a claim you need to prove "on the balance of probabilities" that they were negligent somehow.

 

To support your claim a report from an expert backing you up would help.

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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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Thanks SabreSheep,

I have contacted an independent assessor, so I will have to wait and see what they say, if they think it is viable for them to inspect and how much they charge.

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Not a very well love engine I'm sorry to say. A lot of timing chain problems with breakages from as low as 70k.

Are you aware of how the car was used before you owned it? Town driving will have put a heavy strain on an already problem ridden timing chain. Stop start makes the chain jerk in this engine and chains don't like being jerked.

I suspect this is your problem, the timing chain failed due to the badly designed engine.

It matters not what class of engineer you have examine it, they are not going to be able to say that changing the oil and filter caused the problem especially if they are familiar with this engine and its failure rate.

 

 

If you believed the service station had anything to do with it and the rebuild was £4.5k, why would you accept £2k, why wouldn't you go for the full amount,

 

 

BMW really are not all they are thought to be.

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BMW really are not all they are thought to be.

 

Sorry if off topic, but Conniff made me remember that the most reliable car I had in all my life was also the cheapest (free from a friend who was about to scrap it).

It was a Peugeot 405 1.9 diesel, 50mpg at least, but very slow.

I kept it for 6 years without even doing an oil change and never let me down.

All other cars I had, including the so called "high class" BMW, Audi and Mercedes costed me a lot in maintenance and bits and bobs breaking every so often.

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When was the last timing belt change? Oil light came on after a filter change? did they even put the oil back in before they started it up again? Was it even the correct oil?

 

Too much of a coincidence with an oil & filter change, then the engine reports a problem with the oil, then suddenly something completely unrelated happens and the timing chain/ comes off? Those chains don't just fall off.

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I'd tend to agree. Most engines with chains have hydrollic tensioners which run from the oil pressure ... Thus problem with oil, tensioner fails and you have chain slip/comes off = dead engine.

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I'd say it could potentially be a coincidence that the timing chain tensioner has failed (very well known fault on some of the N47 2.0 litre diesel engines), and this happened right after the oil change occurred as the oil was drained, and upon starting the engine the oil needs to recirculate around the engine, maybe in these few seconds after the engine was started the timing chain/tensioner has very little oil on it and failed.

 

If this is the case, then the pistons inside the engine will strike the valves as the engine timing is lost. Basically, the engine is a write off.

 

You'd need to get the fault correctly diagnosed, and then seek the relevant action through the county court should they refuse to fix the vehicle and you can prove that it was their negligence that caused the problem.

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All the hypotheticals are correct, but proving there was negligence is another thing. This engine is known to have a design fault.

 

 

And just for info, not all 'interference' engines get damaged when their timing chain/belt breaks, some get no damage at all, so it can't be assumed the engine is written of until an examination has been done. If there is damage it could be as little as a dig in the top of a piston and a bent valve.

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