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Garage refusing to quote before starting work


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Hi, I took my car in to a local garage to repair an oil leak around 2 months ago.


From what the garage have told me, it looks like there was an oil leak on the car previously which had been badly repaired. It appears that the engine ran low on oil at some point and I've now been told I need a new engine :|


The garage told me they would try to find a replacement engine but after waiting for a couple of weeks, I tried to find one myself.


I've been able to find a reconditioned engine with 12 months warranty which can be delivered to the garage.


I've confirmed with the garage and engine supplier that all required parts will be included etc.


The problem is that the garage is refusing to provide me with a quote (or even estimate) for the work until they have the new engine delivered.


As I have no idea what it could cost to fit the engine, I'm a bit hesitant to place the order for the reconditioned engine.


The old engine has already been removed so I'm unable to move the car from the current garage.


My only other option is for the garage to put the old engine back in the car and take it elsewhere, but this will still mean paying £600 labour for the old engine to be put back in the car.


Is it unreasonable to ask for a quote (or just an estimate) before paying for the engine. I'm a bit concerned that the garage could charge any amount and leaving me with no choice but to pay.


Any help would be appreciated.



Edited by kc89
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Put the car on a trailer/towing dolley along with the engine.


Certainly won't cost you 600£!

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!



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I would imagine that they are wishing to see the new unit before quoting in order to see what ancillary equipment, alternator, power steering pump, air con pump etc needs to be changed over, which would affect the time required. When you say that both the garage and supplier of the replacement confirm that all parts needed would be included, I imagine that this related only to injectors, oilfilter, spark plugs (if petrol).


I can understand the reluctance of the garage to quote (legally binding figure) if they are not sourcing the replacement from a regular supplier with known preparetory work. The replacement could easily have no flywheel or ancillary belt pullys fitted


Remember that you will still be responsible for the time alreading spent in removing the engine for diagnosis, even if you did have the vehicle towed to another garage.

My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

I have no legal qualifications.

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I don't know why some garages have an issue with offering quotes? After-all they are only estimates and can go up, and in some cases down. Main thing is that the customer is kept fully in the picture at all times.


We used to own a few garages over the years and often we would be asked for a quote to fit an engine which the customer wanted to provide themselves. We always gave them a quote based on the engine being complete and in good working order but we offered no warranty on the second hand unit as we didn't provide it. We would always assess the condition of the engine when it arrived and BEFORE carrying out any work, if it needed any new components we would always ensure the customer fully understood the costs etc prior to carrying out the job. Made no sense to keep anything from the customer as we wanted the work, also never made sense to carry out any work which the customer had never agreed to. Understandable that any customer would want an estimate before committing to anything, and so we always made it as easy as possible for them to make the decision, and if the job took longer than we estimated, then that was our problem. Likewise, if they decided not to have the work done because it was too expensive then so be it, saved everyone hassle and no need to chase them for payment when they couldn't afford it after all the work was carried out.


Key to it all is to work with the customer to get the job done and everyone is happy. If they can't offer you a quote without seeing the engine (based on it being in good condition) then go to another garage.

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quite. an estimate is an estimate subject to. and shouldn't be a prob in most cases.

as you say if things change then they should let the customer know. time spent though wld usually be chargeable.

thing is, afaik legally, a garage agreeing to use customer supplied parts etc wld be under the same statutory legal obligation (re fitness etc) as if the garage sourced the parts themselves etc for use?

hence why they would need to inspect first to be satisfied that the customers supplied parts etc are fit/satisfactory etc.




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I've never heard of any garage warranting a customer supplied part, I think only the parts supplied and work carried out by the garage is warranted? I might be wrong but I doubt any garage would carry out such work if that were the case because there are plenty of unscrupulous characters out there who would supply their own known cheap damaged engines etc and plead innocence when it doesn't work and hold the garage responsible for the repairs. When we offered a quote and the customer supplied their own parts, we always stipulated on the quote and invoice that we would not be responsible for the parts supplied by them, thus the customer always knew in advance where they stood. If they didn't agree to those terms then we wouldn't carry out the work and nobody looses out.


Basically if a customer bought an engine or gearbox from another supplier, then the contract of sale is between them and usually most suppliers offer a 12 month guarantee with the engine/gearbox. We wouldn't warrant someone else's engine because although you can spot a few issues when looking over it, it would not be possible to know if it is in full working order until it is fully fitted and up and running, that was a guarantee the supplier offered, especially if it was a reconditioned unit. If we sourced a second hand engine/gearbox from a supplier on behalf of a customer and fitted it, we would be fully responsible.


All our parts were bought from major motor factors and so if there was an issue we could refer back to them as they would guarantee the parts because the contract of sale is between them and us, not the customer.

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