Car Trouble

Pross
Pross Posts: 41,151
edited September 2017 in The cake stop
I know there's a few mechanically minded people on here so I thought I'd ask:

We needed to get the cat replaced on my wife's car as it failed the MOT on emissions (original cat was broken). It should have been relatively inexpensive but the garage are having issues with the studs connecting to the manifold being seized. They've tried drilling them out without success and have bought a new set to replace them but it sounds like they are still struggling. Two things - is there anything else that can be done if the bolts won't come out and if they fail to get them out does anyone know my consumer rights with respect to the cost of labour if they fail to fix the issue? It's one of those annoying situations where the original cost would have been £200-£300 but if the labour keeps mounting up at £60 + VAT per hour the cost is going to get out of control but at the same time calling it a day is just going to leave abortive costs and no working car. I don't know how much time would be reasonable to resolve the situation (they originally said an hour if the bolts were OK but 1.5 to 2 if they had problems but it seems like the problems are mounting up).

I've used the garage a lot and they have always been fair and reasonable but I'm worried that the bill is going to be extortionate with a risk that the problem won't have been resolved.

Comments

  • fat daddy
    fat daddy Posts: 2,605
    I don't get how they have tried drilling them out without success. Drilling is the last option when you have ballsed up a job enough that no parts can be salvaged, you drill them out and use bolts !

    the only other option I see would be to replace the section the other side of the cat as well OR cut the next session and weld on a new flange
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,151
    It might be they haven't actually tried drilling yet then, they just said they may need to in the original conversation. To be honest, I'd have been happy for them to go straight to that after a cursory attempt and loosening the bolts as a new set will be less than half and hour of labour.
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,441
    If it connects to the manifold replacing the manifold is probably fairly major surgery so I can see why they would avoid that. Drilling them out should be straightforward, but access can make it awkward to say the least. Not sure where you stand with regards to your rights I'm afraid so can't really answer your question I'm afraid. By the time they've spent 2 hours on it they should have a fair idea on how much longer it would take.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I remember having the downpipe drop off the exhaust manifold on my (very) old diesel Cavalier. Bank holiday weekend in S Wales; struggling to find anyone open. Ended up in a tiny independent exhaust shop, but he really knew what he was doing. Went straight to heating the nuts to a nice cherry red with a gas flame then they spun straight off when he attacked them with the impact gun.

    Mind you, that was on a very old car. Plenty of room around the engine to be waving a welding torch and good access to the fixings
  • Its knackered and will cost more to repair than its worth.

    Set fire to it with fire and do ll it into next door's garden then buy a Mk1 Capri or Escort Mexico. The little lady (or "sweet pea" as she will now be called) can catch the bus everywhere as punishment.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,151
    The work got done but I'm not happy that the labour escalated to 6 hours without them updating me, it even included a ball joint having to be replaced as it got broken making working space. I'll be making a complaint, not so much at how long it took but the lack of communication. I was having to chase progress and even then I didn't get told how many hours it had been taking or that the ball joint was having to be replaced. Shame as I've used them for most of our work for at least 10 years. I could have replaced the car quite easily for what I've had to shell out but because of the way it increased bit by bit just didn't want to waste the money I'd already committed.
  • Pross wrote:
    The work got done but I'm not happy that the labour escalated to 6 hours without them updating me, it even included a ball joint having to be replaced as it got broken making working space

    If it was not on the job card and not parted of the quoted cost inc labour you don't pay it. If they made you , put in complaint.

    Btw was this a dealer or a indie back street garage?
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,441
    Pross wrote:
    I could have replaced the car quite easily for what I've had to shell out but because of the way it increased bit by bit just didn't want to waste the money I'd already committed.
    Have you already coughed up? If not you could tell them to keep the car and get something else.
  • Deffo don't pay for the ball joint - they can jog on that. They broke it, they fix it.

    Chuck some paint pots through their window. That'll learn the robbing bastards.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • lesfirth
    lesfirth Posts: 1,382
    I owned /ran an independent car repair business for 34 years and employed 22 on two sites.That was back in the days when cars went wrong. I have done this sketch hundreds of times. I always worked on the basis that I should know the pitfalls of any job and should advise the customer of the likely cost.If you warned the customer of the absolute worst case you would probably frighten the customer and lose the job. If the rare worst case happened we took it on the chin and charged what the customer was expecting.
    It does sound as though your garage made hard work of this and Keef66 should have taken it to s Wales for you.However the problem here is communication.
    Often the reception /customer contact person has no flexibility with the bill he gives you . If Charlie ( the ex fast fit mechanic) took 8 hours on the job, your bill had to be 8 x hourly labour rate. Even if Charlie was rubbish and had a hangover. In this case you have to seek higher management.
    You have to ask them what your goodwill is worth. A discount off this bill and they will keep your custom. If they lose your custom they could lose your mates / relations who will also be their customers. This gives you a bit of bargaining power.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Its knackered and will cost more to repair than its worth.

    Set fire to it with fire and do ll it into next door's garden then buy a Mk1 Capri or Escort Mexico. The little lady (or "sweet pea" as she will now be called) can catch the bus everywhere as punishment.

    What a ridiculous post. Mexico my ar$e; get an RS2 and be done with it.

    Saw a lovely Mex at the Festival Of The Unexceptional the other week at Stowe. Was tempted to part with cash tbh. :)
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    We've been using a local independent garage for years. If they quote for a job then they usually stick to the agreed price. Sorting a coolant leak on my son's diesel Fiesta took them a lot longer than they'd anticipated but they didn't charge us. (They did however say they wouldn't do it again...)
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,151
    Thanks all. I'm going to email politely expressing my disappointment and the reasons. I was expecting it to be higher than the original £250-£300 and knew there was going to be an extra for a new O2 sensor of about £100. I had prepared myself for a cost of £600 including the MOT and original 1 hour investigation of the fault but the final bill of just over £800 was a shock. I'm not sure if the person I was speaking to all along was the MD (I've done some research and they have the same first name). It's an independent garage although they do also have two dealerships attached to it, I've always been happy with their work previously and would be happy to keep using them if they respond favourably to my email.

    Unfortunately I was travelling yesterday so paid over the phone so my wife could pick the car up and didn't have a chance to query it at the time.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    That's the only time I've had to pay up and move on. Said diesel fiesta failed MOT on emissions, but son needed the car for work. Seems previous owners hadn't used the correct grade of oil and had neglected to change it frequently enough. The whole engine cover and crankcase breather system was terminally gunked up. Quicker and cheaper to replace the critical components than attempt a clean up. Got shot soon after; suspect that the poor servicing was also to blame for the apparent wear in the turbo, and we didn't want to risk that going pop.
    He's now driving my ex company car, which has been cosseted from new and serviced punctually by the main dealer...
  • the bolts can be seized. I have been here on an old BMW but in that car there was space to do something about it. Drilling out ios awkward on a newer car as there is no space and lots of bits may have to come out to get a drill in there.

    Remember these are steel bolts into an alloy cylinder head and it gets hot. They will corrode in time and thats it means an expensive job can be the result. sometimes heating them till they are really hot works but that is heating one bolt at a time and removing it takes time.

    It is a communication problem. It is hard to say how long the job should have taken as we were not the ones doing it. unless you talk to them as ask how it got so high you wont know.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,151
    Yep, I'm not doubting the time it took but I would have expected to be informed that it was looking more like 5 hours than 2 hours or so that was originally mentioned and I don't think I should have to pay for replacing a ball joint they damaged making working space for themselves. It's an older car (1999 Beetle) but I'm not sure how good they are for working space.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    So mechanically it's a Golf? I've never worked on one, but thought they were fairly simple things.
    How on earth have they damaged a ball-joint trying to separate the cat from the exhaust manifold I wonder?

    (must resist the temptation to waste another hour looking for youtube videos of Russians doing it with nothing more than a hairdryer and two litres of vodka...)
  • the ball joint will be under the exhaust manifold or exhaust pipes possibly therefore it might be possible it was damaged in removing the pipes or the drill slipped and that is easy to do. It wont be the manifold to cylinder head bolts they removed (i misunderstood)but the studs connecting the manifold to the exhaust pipes. these are a pain to get out and space will be tight. I remember replacing the exhaust and exhaust manifold on an old BMW E28 and everything was seized and it took all day in a workshop with all the tools available but I was also trying to mate an E30 manifold to an E28 custom exhaust system so i did make life harder for myself.

    We can argue on here if the garage is being reasonable or not but if the bolts are seized and they had to drill out you were facing a decent bill anyway in conjunction with a new cat. you better talk to the garage not us.

    This is why I buy pre 1990 cars although they are getting thin on the ground now. Things were simpler back then.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,151
    We can argue on here if the garage is being reasonable or not but if the bolts are seized and they had to drill out you were facing a decent bill anyway in conjunction with a new cat. you better talk to the garage not us.

    I think you'll find I've acknowledged that several times. I was also happy that they were able to get an after market cat rather than a VW genuine part that would have cost as much as the whole bill (although if that hadn't been the case I would have cut my losses at that point).

    My main gripe is that having originally been told it might take 2 hours rather than 1 that I didn't hear anything different on the several occasions I checked on progress to say it was significantly more than that. The first I heard about the ball joint being replaced was when my wife called to run through the bill and again, I don't think they should charge to replace something they damaged or they should have at least warned me there was a risk of it being damaged and checked I was OK with that risk. I don't think it's unreasonable for regular updates if costs are escalating.

    The original reason for posting on here was more to get an idea if there was a risk they wouldn't be able to finish the job and if that happened whether anyone had experience / knowledge of where I would stand on having to pay for the work.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,151
    I dropped a polite email to the MD of the garage this morning expressing my disappointment at the lack of communication whilst stressing that I wasn't suggesting the work had been unnecessary. Within about an hour they had tried to call me but I was in a meeting, they just called again now to say they agreed with what I had said and that they should have communicated better and also worked out sooner the best way to proceed. They are working out what would be a reasonable reimbursement and will contact me tomorrow to make a refund.

    As always, good customer service is about how well you resolve issues as anyone can get something wrong and I don't think anyone could ask for a better or faster resolution than that. I'm very happy with the outcome.

    Thanks for all the input, it came in useful to reassure me that I wasn't being unreasonable.
  • joe2008
    joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    Great song
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,441
    Pross wrote:
    As always, good customer service is about how well you resolve issues as anyone can get something wrong and I don't think anyone could ask for a better or faster resolution than that. I'm very happy with the outcome.
    Good, pleased to hear it.