Engine replacement labor question

Tiny
CHI ANN GROSS STEVENS
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 TOYOTA CAMRY
  • 2.2L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 130,000 MILES
Sent our car to the shop to have the engine replaced.
The message we received was that we would have a thirty day warranty on the engine, no parts/labor. Makes me think when we pick up the car, we have thirty days.
We have not even received the car back yet and shop calls to tell us that the replacement engine is also bad knocking.
Shop says we have to pay for the labor for removing our engine. Installing the replacement engine, and now the labor to remove the replacement bad engine.
I cannot wrap my head around that. Because now we'all also have to pay for the installation of another replacement engine that may/may not be bad. And if it is the removal of that one as well?
Is this normal?
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 AT 5:31 PM

12 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Absolutely, if you supplied the engine and asked a shop to install it. They did what you requested and deserve to be paid. It is not their fault if you supplied a defective part. Bringing your own parts is the same as bringing your own food to a restaurant and asking them to cook it for you. If you do not like it, who do you blame?

If you simply brought the car to the shop, and they told you an engine was the best repair solution, and they acquired the used engine, that is a different story. At this point you have not received what you asked for, which is a good-running engine. The reason you pay for parts supplied by the shop is part of the profit goes to cover the costs associated with exactly this problem. The mechanic did not do anything wrong, so he deserves to be paid to do the job the second time. The shop owner knows he cannot charge you to do a job twice. Where does the money come from to pay for labor a second time, new oil and filter a second time, paying someone to haul the engine back to the salvage yard and get another one, and things like that? You cut out their profit on the parts when you bring your own, but on a few rare occasions a shop might ask you to supply something. That typically occurs with old or collector cars that replacement parts are hard-to-find for, or require considerable research. If the shop has to pay someone to find a part and get it to the shop, they may try to save you some money by letting you do that yourself, but it's important to have an agreement in place stating how a defective part will be handled.

As a side note, some auto parts stores will reimburse a shop for part of the additional labor if one of their new parts is defective. They do that to make up for the extra expense incurred by the shop for doing the job twice, in an attempt to keep their business. They do not usually offer that to do-it-yourselfers or low-volume customers.

In your case, it boils down to who acquired the engine, and who did or did not make a profit on it.
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Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 AT 6:06 PM
Tiny
CHI ANN GROSS STEVENS
  • MEMBER
We supplied the antifreeze, oil, filters, etc. The shop said he could get the engine and we let him.

He said that the salvage would not reimburse him his labor so he has to pass that on to the customer. He said he has had dealerships have to do this same thing three times!
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Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 AT 6:34 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
From the sounds of it the shop should not be charging you to remove and replace the defective engine, the salvage yard supplied it and said it was good, they should be paying the labor for the bad engine as it was not your fault it was bad. If they refuse then the shop eats it and does not do business with them again.
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Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 AT 7:01 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Who else do you know who can get away with charging you for something you did not get? The shop is expected to mark up the cost of the engine, just like at any other retail store, and that profit goes into the "fund", so to speak, that covers the cost of this problem. This type of problem occurs all the time and is one of the shop's expenses that has to be factored into their hourly labor rate and parts markup. You are also paying for their heat, their electric bill, and their other expenses, but they do not bill you for those. From what you have shared, it is not appropriate to charge you for replacing a defective part they supplied.

You providing the shop supplies is weird, but if that was agreed to, you can be expected to supply them again for the next engine. My concern now is a reputable shop owner would be apologizing to you for the delay, and in the case of the very nice family-owned Chrysler dealership I used to work for, they would be going above and beyond in an attempt to keep you happy. That could include a loaner car, future oil change, or something like that. I am worried you might be dealing with a mechanic who will be crabby and frustrated if he is forced to do the job twice, and he may intentionally do other damage or a less-than-perfect job. If I was in his shoes, I would be staying late at night and I would be doing this on my own time when I could be home watching "Last Man Standing"!
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+1
Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 AT 7:02 PM
Tiny
CHI ANN GROSS STEVENS
  • MEMBER
Caradiodoc,

Thank you. This is a friend of family, who has been a mechanic for a long time and recently opened his own shop, so we were just trying to be "friends" and send him some business and give him his shot. We bought the filter and stuff to save us a bit of money, because we have friends at Autozone and get a pretty damn good deal there.
My dad was a certified Toyota master mechanic for years but is getting "old and tired" as he puts it, or I would've just done it myself with him supervising. I also do not have a lot of time which is why it was Worth it to me to spend a few hundred bucks on labor and help a "friend" out.
At this point my dad says he afraid the guy never really pulled the engine, just pulled the crank and polished the cams and then found the lower end is knocking so now wants to replace the engine "again" and just make more money
I have half a mind to go check the serial number on the engine and make sure.
I called the guy back up and now he says he's just going to charge me the original 10 hours of labor and the price of the engine.
Do not know whether to let him "make it right" or pay the ten hours of labor cut my losses and pick up my car and original engine.
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Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 AT 7:48 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
What was the issue with the original engine?

I also wonder just how long this guy will be in business. Word of mouth and these days social media will make you or break you very fast.

I might give him a second chance because he may have messed up thinking the yard would reimburse him for the bad engine. As for the dealerships. Most will not install a yard engine, they will install a re-manufactured engine. (Which sometimes is even more of a crap shoot when it comes to quality).
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Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 AT 10:17 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup.

Also, I was going to make a comment to the effect of a backyard mechanic doing the job. It was just a feeling I got from the way things played out. If this new guy is fairly young, he will not have much experience watching how his former bosses ran their businesses. I taught in a community college for nine years, and always asked my kids what their goals were. About half wanted to own their own shop some day, but none had any clue what was required to run a business. When I showed them my two-column list of typical expenses, they could not understand how any shop could afford to stay in business when only charging around $100.00 per hour for labor.

No one should even try to open their own repair shop until they have worked for someone else for a good ten years, and worked with crabby and happy customers. If the person doing your repairs is always complaining about what his boss does, or always finds some reason to be unhappy, that is not going to change when he has his own business. The complaints will still be there, but about his customers instead.

There are already plenty of people in our field who think they will appear to be better when they cut down their competitors. In my city, we are lucky to have over a dozen new-car dealers and about fifty independent repair shops where the people extol the virtues of the guys down the road. We only have one new-car dealership owner and one former independent shop owner who are well-known crooks, and the independent guy is out of business now. No one will defend either of them, but the rest of the shops are happy to help each other out, sometimes by sharing service manuals, and sometimes by repairing each other's trade-ins. We never have to worry about being bad-mouthed by the competition, unless it is deserved. The reputations of our shop owners makes it easier to work with people who have big problems like you are dealing with. It is also important for the mechanic to be the customers' advocate, not adversary, and the car owner should feel that too. That is learned by watching your boss.
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Thursday, February 9th, 2017 AT 5:41 PM
Tiny
CHI ANN GROSS STEVENS
  • MEMBER
In reply to Steve, the original engine.
This was my grandpa's car. He is getting up in age and I think maybe a little forgetful. He is someone who will work till the day he dies. He's in the yard working on something daily. Except Sunday. He was changing the oil and then went to town and made it about three to three and half miles and the car just quit running it just stopped. He could not understand it. Got back home, got his truck and trailer and went back and picked up the car, and got it back home. He was walking back in the house and there on the table next to the carport were five quarts of oil.
He had drained the oil, replaced the filter, and then forgot to put the oil back in it.
Heartbreaking when a man says maybe he needs to quit doing some of the stuff he loves to do because of one mistake makes him lose all confidence in his abilities at his age.
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Thursday, February 9th, 2017 AT 5:50 PM
Tiny
CHI ANN GROSS STEVENS
  • MEMBER
In reply to Caradiodoc,
I agree. To tell the truth, he is very knowledgeable as far as diagnosing, but maybe a big difference in that and internals. I do not know if he is a backyard mechanic or not. Like I said, just trying to give a guy his shot.
This will be the only shot I can tell you that now. He says he has been in business for twelve years, but this location just recently opened. He was not happy when I told him I was not trying to tell him how to run his business, but that this was just bad business.
Still waiting to hear back from him on what LQK tells him about the engine return and I assume labor.
I should have asked but I do not know if this guy's verified at all.
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Thursday, February 9th, 2017 AT 5:54 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
This is definitely not an age-related problem. No sir! This has happened to every professional mechanic who will admit it, and to those who are too insecure or ashamed to admit it.

My first time was on an old Chevrolet that made it about five blocks down the road before the "oil" light turned on. Fortunately the owner stopped the engine right away and walked back to the shop. No permanent damage done, except to my pride! That was in the mid 1980's.

Second one was a few years later when I was working at a very nice family-owned Chrysler dealership. Forgot to reinstall the drain plug. Figured that out after pumping two or three quarts of oil onto my foot, but I'll never admit it!

Third one was a car that came back after a coworker left the oil cap off. The timing chain sprayed oil all over the hood and engine. I learned to always double-check that I did not do the same thing, then, about fifteen years later, I forgot to put the cap on after letting a bottle of oil drain into the engine overnight. (Gotta get every last drop out, you know). Threw the bottle out. Slammed the hood an hour later, and never checked the cap. That was on my 1988 Grand Caravan. The engine was of a different design so the oil did not spray out very fast, but I am still thankful I did not have to face a customer and explain that.

Not every engine incurs serious or major damage right away from lack of oil, especially since there is always about two quarts that never drains out, but three miles is asking a lot when out of oil.
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Thursday, February 9th, 2017 AT 6:04 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
BTDT. Missed a filter O-ring on a change. Started the engine and backed out of the bay. Undercoated most of the bottom of the car and the parking lot.

If that was an LKQ engine will just say this, go here and read their policies.

http://www.lkqcorp.com/Portals/1/PDFs/Warranty%20PDFs/mechanical_warranty_rec.pdf
http://www.lkqcorp.com/en-us/Recycled/Mechanical-Repair
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Thursday, February 9th, 2017 AT 6:54 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Oops. I forgot about the time the old oil filter gasket stuck to the engine, and I "double-gasketed" the new filter on my 1980 Volare. The instructor who I replaced, (when he retired), saw the trail as I was backing out of the shop. Another humiliating experience, but it could have been worse if the gasket hadn't blown out until I was halfway home.

As another wondrous point of great interest, I was buying car radios by the dozens a few years ago. UPS smashed 17 out of 57 in three years, plus a $3,000.00 piece of test equipment. They would not go good for any of them, even those that were insured. Obviously I do not ship with them at all any more or buy things that must come through them. One very expensive radio came from an LKQ yard with not a single piece of packing material in the over-sized box. The display crystal got so scratched, the numbers couldn't even be read. They sent me a replacement, and it was packed exactly the same way, but by that time I had other radios so I could transplant the face plate. That is another company that lost my future business because of how I was treated.
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Thursday, February 9th, 2017 AT 7:33 PM

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