2004 Hyundai Elantra



January, 23, 2013 AT 11:33 PM

Hi, recently a mechanic found a leak in my water pump. He fixed it, insurance paid him, it was all good. When I got it back, it was making a noise when I accelerated on the gas. I took it back to him and he said they put to much antifreeze in a chamber, or something along those lines and to drive it some more, and if it didn't change then they had to fix their mistake. It didn't, so I took it back to them and they called this morning saying its not what they said it was, its a pulley in my timing belt and they are calling around to see who has my part. I said ok that is fine an told him to price it and I would have to bring my car back to him when I got the money. He called back again and said nobody has the part, he oiled it up and is putting the car back together. And there is a labor fee. So my question is, when I go to pick it up, what do I do as far as arguing about (any) cost. Its like thanks for fixing it but I didn't ask you to fix something you didn't do. What price should I argue, if I have to pay? Please help!


2 Answers



January, 24, 2013 AT 12:10 AM

Tell him to call the insurance company and open a new claim.

Make sure the timing belt idlers are covered. If it is not covered, then you are responsible for the repair




January, 24, 2013 AT 12:14 AM

Amazing. How long did they work on it? Getting the engine disassembled enough to find that problem is at least a half day's work. When you go to work, and the boss doesn't like what you did, do you expect to go home that week with no paycheck? Professionals expect to get paid for their service unless it's related to a problem they caused. That doesn't change if you're dissatisfied with the outcome.

It's not the mechanic's fault if no one has parts available locally. Given the nature of the diagnosis, I would leave the car with them until they do get the parts shipped in and the repairs are completed, AND the problem is solved. You didn't list the engine size but most import engines are of the "interference" design. That means if the timing belt breaks, or any pulley or other component related to it fails, severe damage will occur to the valves inside the engine. That turns into a real expensive repair. If the mechanic does the repair incorrectly and that damage occurs, then you can legitimately point out the engine was running fine when you brought it in, and the shop would have to cover the additional repair cost. That comes out of their profit, which, unlike some politicians think, they deserve to earn. You would still be expected to pay for the original repair. If you continue to drive the car and a part fails, you could be sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. If the potential for that failure to occur is real, someone at the shop would have warned you. If the problem is more of an annoyance rather than something that could turn expensive, THAT'S where they would likely allow you to take the car and drive it until parts arrived.

Normally the mechanic has to disassemble enough of the engine to determine what is wrong, then they figure out a repair estimate and call you. From calling around for parts prices, they find out they'll have to wait for them to be shipped in. All the people at all the parts stores will tell them right away whether those parts are in stock or how many days it will take to get them. At that point the course of action is left up to you. No mechanic wants to do the job twice if it means they do it one time for free. They will normally push the car outside so they can do other jobs, then they push yours back in when the parts arrive. When you said you'd bring the car back later, regardless of the reason, you were telling them to put it back together and they could expect to do the job a second time. You can be expected to pay for both jobs. The mechanic did nothing wrong.

You also run the risk of having additional parts wear out or break. Those may or may not be related to what is needed right now. When you get the money saved up and call the repair shop, they are going to have to remember what parts they need to order, get them delivered, pay for them, then hope you actually show up. Too often people never do show up so they are likely to not even order the parts until they get your engine disassembled again and reinspect what is needed. Now if additional parts are needed, they have to call you with a revised estimate. They hate doing that and you think you're being ripped off, but they didn't do anything wrong.

There is a lot of misinformation in your post. Some of that could be your misinterpretation of what you were told and some of it could be poor communication from the mechanic. If a service writer was involved as the middle-man, even more misinterpretation can be expected. There is nothing related to the timing belt than can be oiled. I'd want to know what he was referring to. I can't think of anything I'd call a chamber, and there's no such thing that can cause noise if it's over-filled. There are some things that DO correct themselves with a little driving, but noises usually aren't one of them.

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