2008 Dodge Avenger Head Gaskets

  • 2.4L
  • 4 CYL
  • 13,200 MILES
Hello I have a 2008 Dodge Avenger. It started leaking water so I had the car diagnosed, I had to get the water housing complete done. I taken it to Dodge dealership and they claim they replaced everything. My car started leaking and running hot I taken it back they said bad part on the thermostat. Once I picked it up a mouth pass same thing again car running hot I taken it back they said again thermostat. Now they tell me the head gaskets is leaking and it cost 1200. I said and who is paying that because I'm not. U guys didn't fix it it's not my problem. So I called customer care and they are willing to pay 850 and I pay 350. I want to know is that fare and what do this consist of because 1200 I feel they should be doing the heads also.
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have the same problem?
Friday, November 29th, 2013 AT 10:17 PM

1 Reply

No, it's definitely not fair that you expect someone else to pay for your car repair. It's possible an intermittently leaking cylinder head gasket was the cause of the trouble all along, and that's not the mechanic's fault. The fact that he may have tried to find a less-expensive cause to save you money, and he overlooked the head gasket is unfortunate, but still, he didn't cause the problem. Also, cylinder head gaskets don't always leak under all conditions. If it wasn't leaking when / if he tested for it, of course he would not tell you it needed one at that time. Most people get angry when they think they're being sold parts or services that weren't needed. You're angry the mechanic didn't sell you the most expensive repair right away. Weird, huh? Sometimes they have to eliminate the simple stuff to narrow down the cause. When that requires multiple trips back to the shop, we assume they're incompetent. Try to save you money, or sell you the most expensive service, ... Either way you're angry.

It's funny that we hold mechanics to much higher standards than doctors. Let a doctor misdiagnose an illness, and we either keep going back or we run to another doctor, but we never say, "who is paying the bill, because I'm not". Let a mechanic lay a finger on a machine we know very little about, and we blame him for everything that goes wrong with it in the future.

If you want to really figure out what is going on with your car, you need to include a real lot more detail and information. What are you referring to by "water housing"? Do you mean the thermostat housing? The water pump housing? The heater core in the housing in the dash? A leaking thermostat housing is very uncommon and would be real easy to see and diagnose. That can be a totally separate issue from a leaking cylinder head gasket.

"Replaced everything" is not correct. Your car is made up of thousands of parts, and it's highly unlikely they replaced all of them. Knowing exactly what was replaced can help determine what happened, and possibly why.

The real reason I know the mechanic didn't cause a problem is you said, "Once I picked it up a mouth pass same thing again car running hot". I assume you meant to say "month". If the car was originally misdiagnosed and not repaired properly, why did it not overheat for a month? Regardless what is done now to repair it, are you going to blame the mechanic for everything that goes wrong with it for years to come? Until I have more information to go on, this sounds like the too-common scenario mechanics hate as much as you do. Of course you want your car fixed right the first time. Believe it or not, so does your mechanic. We want our illnesses diagnosed and cured the first time too, but we know that doesn't always happen. Ask the mechanic how he determined the head gasket is leaking. If it was "an educated guess", it's time to find a different shop. If he performed a chemical test and it came up positive, take your lumps and pay for the needed repair. It's one of the costs of owning a car, and it wasn't caused by a failure to diagnose it earlier.

One thing you might consider, since you listed such a low mileage, is to ask for a meeting with the district representative. That is probably one step above calling an 800 number. The district rep. Visits each dealership once per month to handle things the dealer can't. When a car is under warranty, the dealer does the repairs without getting any prior approval, then assumes they're going to be paid by the manufacturer. If, for some reason, the claim is rejected, the dealer doesn't hunt you down and make you pay the bill. That rarely happens anyway because they follow very strict guidelines. There are things they simply can't do, then expect Chrysler to pay the bill. That is not the case with the district rep. He has much greater leeway in what he can authorize. If he says Chrysler will take care of the repairs, you can be sure the dealer is going to be happy to hear that. They want your car fixed too, and they don't enjoy handing out big repair bills. Typically even more parts will be replaced to insure the quality of the repair. The mechanic will often reuse questionable parts when you're paying the bill in a misguided attempt at saving you some money. When one of those parts fails, he's the bad guy again.

Be aware though, the dealer has input in the decision-making process and they'll sit in on the meeting with the district rep. At the very nice family-owned dealership I worked for, courtesy and politeness went a real lot further than anger. If you bought the car new from that dealer, you can expect more than if you bought it used somewhere else. I even had my district rep. Ready to warranty the battery in my '93 Dynasty. I didn't take him up on it because it went bad from the car sitting in storage for years. There was no defect, and nothing was done wrong by anyone other than me, so I told him it wasn't fair to expect Chrysler to cover my mistake.

I'm not sure what you mean by "they should be doing the heads also". It sounds like it will cost $1200.00 to do the head gaskets, and Chrysler is willing to pay a percentage of that bill. That is done to restore some customer satisfaction and to help out their car owner, not because anyone did anything wrong. I would not only be grateful; I'd be overjoyed if a manufacturer was willing to help pay one of my repair bills. You should be too, at least until there is more information to go on.
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Friday, November 29th, 2013 AT 11:41 PM

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