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  • FIRST POST
    • sartois
    • By sartois 18th May 17, 9:20 AM
    • 151Posts
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    sartois
    Garage ruined engine when car took in for MOT
    • #1
    • 18th May 17, 9:20 AM
    Garage ruined engine when car took in for MOT 18th May 17 at 9:20 AM
    Hi there,

    I hope someone can help here as I am not sure what the rights are in this situation.

    My friend took her car to a garage to have a service and MOT carried out, and whilst I don't have the full details the garage have contacted her to tell her the 'engine blew up' during whatever they were doing with the car.

    They haven't given her any more details than this and have said that she would need to speak to the owner of the garage who is not in until Friday to 'sort it out'.

    She has asked me to go to the garage with her for support tomorrow. I am wondering what rights she has here as she basically took a working car into the garage for a standard MOT and oil change, and from the sounds of it her car may now need a new engine.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Page 1
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 18th May 17, 9:29 AM
    • 1,102 Posts
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    Aylesbury Duck
    • #2
    • 18th May 17, 9:29 AM
    • #2
    • 18th May 17, 9:29 AM
    Wait and see what the manager says, but as I understand it, the testing station has to rev the engine to relatively high speeds for the emissions test. When submitting the car for the test, you implicitly agree to the test being carried out. A car with an old engine, an engine that hasn't been maintained correctly, a worn part or just bad luck, can mean damage as a result but there's nothing the garage can do, it has to carry out the test properly.

    Unless your friend can prove the garage was negligent or carried out the test incorrectly, she's relying upon the garage offering to help as much as it wants to.
    • sartois
    • By sartois 18th May 17, 10:18 AM
    • 151 Posts
    • 232 Thanks
    sartois
    • #3
    • 18th May 17, 10:18 AM
    • #3
    • 18th May 17, 10:18 AM
    Thanks for your response. Just a few more details although from the sounds of things its not going to make a lot of difference.

    So her car is a Fiat 500, 8 years old and has done 55,000 miles, full service history, no warning lights or anything.

    She basically took a working car in excellent condition (as far as I can tell) to the garage for a service and MOT and now the engine has (from the sounds of it) blown, and there is nothing she can do apart from ask nicely? Ouch.
    • tykesi
    • By tykesi 18th May 17, 10:39 AM
    • 1,810 Posts
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    tykesi
    • #4
    • 18th May 17, 10:39 AM
    • #4
    • 18th May 17, 10:39 AM
    Thanks for your response. Just a few more details although from the sounds of things its not going to make a lot of difference.

    So her car is a Fiat 500, 8 years old and has done 55,000 miles, full service history, no warning lights or anything.

    She basically took a working car in excellent condition (as far as I can tell) to the garage for a service and MOT and now the engine has (from the sounds of it) blown, and there is nothing she can do apart from ask nicely? Ouch.
    Originally posted by sartois
    You seem to think this is the garages fault?

    Who would you your friend be looking to blame if this had happened while you were driving on the motorway?
    Last edited by tykesi; 18-05-2017 at 10:55 AM.
    £2017 in 2017 - £5396.83
    • kmb500
    • By kmb500 18th May 17, 10:53 AM
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    kmb500
    • #5
    • 18th May 17, 10:53 AM
    • #5
    • 18th May 17, 10:53 AM
    As above, it's better for something to fail at the MOT than fail while you're driving. I know that's not very comforting. See what they say though.
    • sartois
    • By sartois 18th May 17, 11:02 AM
    • 151 Posts
    • 232 Thanks
    sartois
    • #6
    • 18th May 17, 11:02 AM
    • #6
    • 18th May 17, 11:02 AM
    You seem to think this is the garages fault?

    Who would you your friend be looking to blame if this had happened while you were driving on the motorway?
    Originally posted by tykesi
    Just asking what (if any) rights she had. Just like any other transaction involving some sort of service. Not sure why you felt the need to write this particular comment but hope it makes you feel better about yourself
    • WestonDave
    • By WestonDave 18th May 17, 11:13 AM
    • 5,021 Posts
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    WestonDave
    • #7
    • 18th May 17, 11:13 AM
    • #7
    • 18th May 17, 11:13 AM
    Whilst "asking nicely" doesn't seem a good option, you need to consider the alternative. If you want the garage to accept responsibility (assuming it doesn't confess that the trainee was drag racing it down the nearest dual carriage way!) you will need to prove (not suggest) that they've done something wrong in the process. That will most likely involve you paying for an expert independent motor engineer to examine the car and report that the likely cause of failure was what happened in the MOT testing not a pre-existing weakness in a component etc. I suspect proving that will be very hard - looking at say a snapped cam belt isn't easily going to say whether that snap was due to a one off testing procedure or a manufacturing flaw that has gone un-noticed up to now but cause premature failure or just wear and tear due to the driving methods used. You could easily end up spending more than the cost of a repair on that report only to find it doesn't help you.


    I'd start with a charm/sob story approach - the fact that the garage is wanting to discuss things hints that they might just be willing to be helpful and sympathetic rather than just pushing the smoking wreck outside and saying "tough". See where that gets you before starting being too assertive about rights etc. A decent person running a garage will not want an unhappy customer even if the problem wasn't really their fault - and I suspect they don't like seeing cars "blow up" on their watch either.
    Adventure before Dementia!
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 18th May 17, 11:14 AM
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    Inner Zone
    • #8
    • 18th May 17, 11:14 AM
    • #8
    • 18th May 17, 11:14 AM
    Most if not all MOT test stations should have signs up in the test area and customer waiting area if there is one, advising of the possibility of this type of issue when testing.
    • welfayre
    • By welfayre 18th May 17, 11:19 AM
    • 161 Posts
    • 140 Thanks
    welfayre
    • #9
    • 18th May 17, 11:19 AM
    • #9
    • 18th May 17, 11:19 AM
    Few scenarios I could see happening.

    Scenario 1.
    Your friend hasn't been checking their levels regularly and the oil level has dropped. Friend then presents car for Service and MOT, garage decide to do MOT first and engine blows during the test /driving into the garage = not the garages fault.

    Scenario 2.
    Engine was on it's way out anyway and it just happened to have blown when the garage have had it = not the garages fault

    Scenario 3.
    Garage carry our service first and forget to put in oil/put to little oil in/don't recheck oil level after service. Garage then carry out MOT/road test and engine blows = garages fault.

    How you figure out/prove which it is I don't know.
    • Nodding Donkey
    • By Nodding Donkey 18th May 17, 11:19 AM
    • 2,461 Posts
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    Nodding Donkey
    Until you find out what the fault is anyone on here can only guess.
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 18th May 17, 11:22 AM
    • 15,651 Posts
    • 8,962 Thanks
    motorguy
    Thanks for your response. Just a few more details although from the sounds of things its not going to make a lot of difference.

    So her car is a Fiat 500, 8 years old and has done 55,000 miles, full service history, no warning lights or anything.

    She basically took a working car in excellent condition (as far as I can tell) to the garage for a service and MOT and now the engine has (from the sounds of it) blown, and there is nothing she can do apart from ask nicely? Ouch.
    Originally posted by sartois
    Timing belt may have snapped.

    Was the timing belt changed in accordance with manufacturers schedule?
    You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.
    • Joe Horner
    • By Joe Horner 18th May 17, 11:27 AM
    • 4,138 Posts
    • 3,624 Thanks
    Joe Horner
    If it's a diesel then the DVSA guidance is that the garage should check service history with the presenter before stating the test - particulsrly regarding cam belt changes. At 8 years old the car is probably overdue a new belt regardless of mileage unless it's already been done.

    If she was asked and said it was ok then there's mot much comeback because the test had to be carried out. If she wasn't asked then she may have some leverage.
    • sartois
    • By sartois 18th May 17, 11:29 AM
    • 151 Posts
    • 232 Thanks
    sartois
    Whilst "asking nicely" doesn't seem a good option, you need to consider the alternative. If you want the garage to accept responsibility (assuming it doesn't confess that the trainee was drag racing it down the nearest dual carriage way!) you will need to prove (not suggest) that they've done something wrong in the process. That will most likely involve you paying for an expert independent motor engineer to examine the car and report that the likely cause of failure was what happened in the MOT testing not a pre-existing weakness in a component etc. I suspect proving that will be very hard - looking at say a snapped cam belt isn't easily going to say whether that snap was due to a one off testing procedure or a manufacturing flaw that has gone un-noticed up to now but cause premature failure or just wear and tear due to the driving methods used. You could easily end up spending more than the cost of a repair on that report only to find it doesn't help you.


    I'd start with a charm/sob story approach - the fact that the garage is wanting to discuss things hints that they might just be willing to be helpful and sympathetic rather than just pushing the smoking wreck outside and saying "tough". See where that gets you before starting being too assertive about rights etc. A decent person running a garage will not want an unhappy customer even if the problem wasn't really their fault - and I suspect they don't like seeing cars "blow up" on their watch either.
    Originally posted by WestonDave
    Thanks a lot for your response. It helps. But it does appear that there are no 'rights' as such and she will be relying on their approach to customer satisfaction rather than doing something because they have to.

    Just wanted to be clear about where she stands before going all guns blazing and making a prat of myself!
    • sartois
    • By sartois 18th May 17, 11:32 AM
    • 151 Posts
    • 232 Thanks
    sartois
    If it's a diesel then the DVSA guidance is that the garage should check service history with the presenter before stating the test - particulsrly regarding cam belt changes. At 8 years old the car is probably overdue a new belt regardless of mileage unless it's already been done.

    If she was asked and said it was ok then there's mot much comeback because the test had to be carried out. If she wasn't asked then she may have some leverage.
    Originally posted by Joe Horner
    Well it is actually a diesel. I don't know if they did check that with her she said she just left them the keys in the morning and they phoned up in the afternoon. Sounds like it's worth mentioning tomorrow... thanks!
    • WestonDave
    • By WestonDave 18th May 17, 11:33 AM
    • 5,021 Posts
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    WestonDave
    She has rights to them doing the job properly - the problem with rights is that they aren't worth much if you can't enforce them which you can't if you can't prove its their fault.


    Might be worth getting on a Fiat specialist forum and seeing if they can give any technical advice either before you go into the garage or afterwards once you know more about exactly what happened.
    Adventure before Dementia!
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 18th May 17, 11:58 AM
    • 1,128 Posts
    • 754 Thanks
    m0bov
    You need the fault diagnosed, I would be tempted to get it towed to another garage in case they try to cover up a mistake. Do you have RAC or AA cover? Could ask them to attend site and find out what's happened. I would'nt get fobbed off with waiting for the owner. Get down there now and see the car and find out what happened.
    • Hermione Granger
    • By Hermione Granger 18th May 17, 12:02 PM
    • 776 Posts
    • 1,199 Thanks
    Hermione Granger
    Do you have RAC or AA cover? Could ask them to attend site and find out what's happened.
    Originally posted by m0bov
    I would be very surprised if either AA or RAC membership would cover something that happened whilst the vehicle was in the care of a garage.
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 18th May 17, 12:07 PM
    • 1,128 Posts
    • 754 Thanks
    m0bov
    The OP might benefit from a second opinion if they are looking at a written off car.
    • BeenThroughItAll
    • By BeenThroughItAll 18th May 17, 12:10 PM
    • 4,582 Posts
    • 3,987 Thanks
    BeenThroughItAll
    The OP might benefit from a second opinion if they are looking at a written off car.
    Originally posted by m0bov
    They may well, but possibly the least useful person to give that would be the average roadside breakdown recovery bod. I've lost count of the number of random misdiagnoses I've read or heard about here, on other forums, and from friends and colleagues.
    • Iceweasel
    • By Iceweasel 18th May 17, 12:16 PM
    • 4,242 Posts
    • 3,089 Thanks
    Iceweasel
    The way I see it your friend was under the obligation to present the car in 'testable' condition.

    If it couldn't withstand revving to the speed required for the smoke test then it obviously wasn't in testable condition, and could have failed at any time.

    Loads of big clear warning signs about that requirement at every MOT station.

    My local guys check the oil-level and the oil temperature before doing the smoke test.
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