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  • FIRST POST
    • sartois
    • By sartois 18th May 17, 9:20 AM
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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 2
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 18th May 17, 12:22 PM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    Diesel engine, 8 years old, 55,000 miles. Perhaps it's had a lot of tootling about on short trips which has led to an unusually high level of wear on the engine and its components? Has its service schedule been adapted to match the pattern of driving?

    As others have said, until you speak to the garage you don't know what's failed and it does sound as if they may make some sort of proposal - offering to "sort it out"? I'd agree that an innocent charm offensive should be the stance you take and then assess your options once you know what the failure was and what, if anything, the garage are offering by way of assistance.
    • welfayre
    • By welfayre 18th May 17, 12:29 PM
    • 161 Posts
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    welfayre
    Timing belt may have snapped.

    Was the timing belt changed in accordance with manufacturers schedule?
    Originally posted by motorguy
    Think the diesel 500s have a chain.
    • sartois
    • By sartois 18th May 17, 12:40 PM
    • 151 Posts
    • 232 Thanks
    sartois
    Diesel engine, 8 years old, 55,000 miles. Perhaps it's had a lot of tootling about on short trips which has led to an unusually high level of wear on the engine and its components? Has its service schedule been adapted to match the pattern of driving?

    As others have said, until you speak to the garage you don't know what's failed and it does sound as if they may make some sort of proposal - offering to "sort it out"? I'd agree that an innocent charm offensive should be the stance you take and then assess your options once you know what the failure was and what, if anything, the garage are offering by way of assistance.
    Originally posted by Aylesbury Duck
    Well, we live in London so it's probably had a life of short trips pretty much taking the dog to the park, trips to tescos etc... I doubt she has even ever taken it on a motorway. I think she just gets it serviced once a year along with the MOT.

    I think charm is the way forward here. I've had a look at the reviews of the garage and the owner has responded to the few negative reviews they have had (they have mostly positive reviews on google) so it doesn't sound like they are in the business of ripping people off.

    Thanks again
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 18th May 17, 12:45 PM
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    Inner Zone
    Think the diesel 500s have a chain.
    Originally posted by welfayre
    Chains still snap, BMW and Vauxhall (petrol) two examples.
    • EdGasketTheSecond
    • By EdGasketTheSecond 18th May 17, 12:48 PM
    • 295 Posts
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    EdGasketTheSecond
    Sounds like diesel runaway; see here:

    https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/askhj/answer/50998/what-has-caused-a-major-engine-failure-in-my-fiat-500-multijet-diesel-

    and

    https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/askhj/answer/49422/why-is-my-diesel-fiat-500-suffering-repeated-engine-failures-
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 18th May 17, 12:50 PM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    Well, we live in London so it's probably had a life of short trips pretty much taking the dog to the park, trips to tescos etc... I doubt she has even ever taken it on a motorway. I think she just gets it serviced once a year along with the MOT.
    Originally posted by sartois
    This could very well be a contributing factor to whatever's gone wrong. Engines, particularly diesel engines, don't respond well to mileage made up of frequent short trips where the engine perhaps doesn't get up to optimal working temperature. Also, town and city driving places a disproportionate level of wear on the engine, gearbox and clutch because of all the stopping, starting and gear changes.

    If your friend's driving patterns are going to remain the same, she should ask for advice on a suitable service schedule. More frequent servicing may be appropriate rather than waiting for the 12 months to elapse. If she ends up changing cars (through choice or because the current one is beyond economical repair), she should look for a vehicle more suited to her driving pattern. A small petrol engined car would be more forgiving of her driving pattern but the advice on a suitable service schedule would still apply.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 18th May 17, 1:00 PM
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    AdrianC
    I think she just gets it serviced once a year along with the MOT.
    Originally posted by sartois
    But, this year, she was just taking it in for the MOT?

    What's being meant by "serviced with the MOT"? Does she mean just a nice cheap oil and filter, or proper by-the-book intervals and maintenance list?

    At the end of the day, the maintenance and condition of her car is her responsibility 100%. The MOT does not place particularly great mechanical demands on a car - the engine is basically only run to ensure that the emissions are to spec, the exhaust isn't leaking, and the brake assistance is working. The way everything is tested is specified by the government. The emissions is as simple as tell the computer what age/fuel the car is, plug the sensor into the exhaust, and follow the instructions on the screen.

    If her car did not survive that, then that's not really the tester's fault.

    OTOH, if the car had "been serviced" before the test, and they'd forgotten to put the new oil in...
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 18th May 17, 1:23 PM
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    motorguy
    Think the diesel 500s have a chain.
    Originally posted by welfayre
    Yes, thats correct.

    When i posed the question, the O/P hadnt told us yet....
    You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.
    • macman
    • By macman 18th May 17, 1:51 PM
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    macman
    OP, you say it has a full service history, so has it been serviced annually? With an annual mileage of only 7K, a lot of people are tempted to stretch 12 months to rather longer.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • Glover1862
    • By Glover1862 18th May 17, 2:30 PM
    • 212 Posts
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    Glover1862
    I think the OP has a good case, if you pay for a service and MOT it's reasonable to expect the service to be done before it goes in for MOT (obvious reasons). I would bet that the garage did something while servicing, ie ran the car with no oil or something similar. A car with only 55k miles in good working order, good service history suddenly dies in the few hours the garage has it while they happen to be tinkering with the very parts that have failed... big coincidence I'd say. Ask nicely first but don't take any rubbish, I'd also bet that they are buying time, hopefully trying to fix it or changing the circumstances to suit them.

    Long and short, perfectly good car goes in, they mess about with it and now it's dead. If the service was not carried out then they have a much better case.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 18th May 17, 2:33 PM
    • 5,693 Posts
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    bugslet
    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.
    Originally posted by welfayre
    If you really thought that it was the garage had been negligent in some way arther than your friend being unlucky, you could have it independently assessed by an automative engineer. However that would be costly.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 18th May 17, 2:42 PM
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    AdrianC
    I think the OP has a good case, if you pay for a service and MOT it's reasonable to expect the service to be done before it goes in for MOT (obvious reasons).
    Originally posted by Glover1862
    Actually, it's normally the other way around. MOT first.

    That way, if something's noticed in the MOT bay, it can be flagged as PRS (Pass, with Rectification at Station), and sorted when the car's in the service bay, saving chargeable time. Also, if the car fails the MOT badly, it allows the customer the chance to not actually pay for a service on a car they're about to bin...
    • BeenThroughItAll
    • By BeenThroughItAll 18th May 17, 2:57 PM
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    BeenThroughItAll
    I think the OP has a good case, if you pay for a service and MOT it's reasonable to expect the service to be done before it goes in for MOT (obvious reasons). I would bet that the garage did something while servicing, ie ran the car with no oil or something similar. A car with only 55k miles in good working order, good service history suddenly dies in the few hours the garage has it while they happen to be tinkering with the very parts that have failed... big coincidence I'd say. Ask nicely first but don't take any rubbish, I'd also bet that they are buying time, hopefully trying to fix it or changing the circumstances to suit them.

    Long and short, perfectly good car goes in, they mess about with it and now it's dead. If the service was not carried out then they have a much better case.
    Originally posted by Glover1862

    I'd argue the opposite. The MOT should be done first, in order to allow any items requiring a fix to be done at the time of the service.

    You're also falling into the 'only 55K miles is a good thing' trap. It isn't. It's catastrophically low mileage for a modern diesel-engine. 7-8K a year over 8 years, lots of short trips, only one annual trip to a garage. I would be surprised if the bonnet is lifted more than once a year at that visit.

    I know the OP won't share the registration so we won't be able to check, but low mileage cars of that profile with that type of use very often have similar histories when you look at the previous MOT records - lots of fails or advisories for tyres, bulbs, wipers, empty washer bottles, warning lights on, and the like.

    Just because the car was running OK when it went in for it's annual bit of care and love, and 'only' has 55K miles on, doesn't for one second mean it was in 'good working order'. It just means it was in 'working order'.

    The garage may well want to help sort this out, but I certainly wouldn't expect them to bear 100% provable liability. I've witnessed a Ford Focus blow up in a garage during the MOT test. It was very low mileage, a diesel, did a lot of short runs and suffered from diesel runaway during the smoke test. It went pop, and the owner ended up with a big bill - not the garage's fault.
    Last edited by BeenThroughItAll; 18-05-2017 at 3:37 PM. Reason: Corrected age
    • warehouse
    • By warehouse 18th May 17, 2:59 PM
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    warehouse
    Running any engine (and especially a diesel) at speed "off load" is potentially very damaging and high levels of torsional oscillation can cause catastrophic engine failure - usually a crank web. The MOT "smoke test" is crude, non-representative, (no load), and potentially damaging. Engine failures during testing are thankfully rare due to safety factors in design, but the test has the potential to over stress several engine components if a resonance occurs.

    You need to check that they raised the engine revs to no more than 2500rpm in a controlled fashion. Ask straight off the bat how they do the emissions test?
    Pants
    • Glover1862
    • By Glover1862 18th May 17, 3:23 PM
    • 212 Posts
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    Glover1862
    We'll agree to disagree, if it's an old banger then yes, maybe better to do the MOT just in case it has major faults. On a reliable relatively low millage car that has value (like a fiat 500) then doing the service first should make MOT failure much more unlikely as a lot of the checks would have been done. Saves advisory notes. Also, if the MOT is so stressful, maybe new oil at the right level would help.

    I don't buy this 7 year old car with 55 miles will mean it's on it's last legs, it could have been used on relatively long runs just not that often, very often the case in London were public transport is good (and often already paid for) and parking is a pain and expensive. I know several people who only use the car on the weekends, one couple for weddings and parties only!

    bottom line, I wouldn't accept this without a good fight, seems very fishy it would die in a very small window when they are handling it.
    Last edited by Glover1862; 18-05-2017 at 3:25 PM.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 18th May 17, 3:25 PM
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    AdrianC
    it could have been used on relatively long runs just not that often, very often the case in London were public transport is good (and often already paid for) and parking is a pain and expensive.
    Originally posted by Glover1862
    You've not read the thread, then?
    • BeenThroughItAll
    • By BeenThroughItAll 18th May 17, 3:26 PM
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    BeenThroughItAll
    We'll agree to disagree, if it's an old banger then yes, maybe better to do the MOT just in case it has major faults. On a reliable relatively low millage car that has value (like a fiat 500) then doing the service first should make MOT failure much more unlikely as a lot of the checks would have been done. Saves advisory notes. Also, if the MOT is so stressful, maybe new oil at the right level would help.

    I don't buy this 7 year old car with 55 miles will mean it's on it's last legs, it could have been used on relatively long runs just not that often, very often the case in London were public transport is good (and often already paid for) and parking is a pain and expensive. I know several people who only use the car on the weekends, one couple for weddings and parties only!

    bottom line, I wouldn't accept this without a good fight, seems very fishy it would die in a very small window when they are handling it.
    Originally posted by Glover1862
    From an earlier post you must have missed:

    Well, we live in London so it's probably had a life of short trips pretty much taking the dog to the park, trips to tescos etc... I doubt she has even ever taken it on a motorway. I think she just gets it serviced once a year along with the MOT.
    ETA: Value-wise, it's probably about three and a half grand's worth, four at a push. It's not a Rolls - and unless someone's servicing rigidly to the manufacturer schedule (which I suspect they won't be, even the main dealers don't bother), many potential MOT fail points are probably not being inspected at all in a 'service'. I'd be surprised if a car with 'once a year bonnet lifting service' schedule at that age will be getting more than oil and filter, maybe if it's lucky an air filter and a damp rag wiped over it.

    If the car's choked up with soot, has worn out turbo bearings from never being warmed up properly, a clogged DPF, or any of the other multitude of low-mileage faults a modern diesel suffers from, no amount of servicing, before or after the MOT, will prevent it blowing up if it runs away or the cambelt/chain fails.
    Last edited by BeenThroughItAll; 18-05-2017 at 3:38 PM. Reason: Corrected value - misread age prior
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 18th May 17, 3:33 PM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    I think the OP has a good case, if you pay for a service and MOT it's reasonable to expect the service to be done before it goes in for MOT (obvious reasons).
    I disagree, for the reasons explained by other posters which are more obvious than those you are perhaps thinking of.

    I would bet that the garage did something while servicing, ie ran the car with no oil or something similar. A car with only 55k miles in good working order, good service history suddenly dies in the few hours the garage has it while they happen to be tinkering with the very parts that have failed... big coincidence I'd say.
    I disagree. 55k of city miles in a diesel isn't good mileage. We don't know it has a good service history and even if it's been serviced annually, it perhaps should have been on a different service schedule for the mileage type it does. For me, the bigger coincidence is the failure of the car given what we know of its mileage history and of the examples of similar failures cited with the same model.

    Ask nicely first but don't take any rubbish, I'd also bet that they are buying time, hopefully trying to fix it or changing the circumstances to suit them.

    Long and short, perfectly good car goes in, they mess about with it and now it's dead. If the service was not carried out then they have a much better case.
    We don't know it was perfectly good. When you say "mess about with it" do you mean "carried out the MOT test" or "carried out a service?"
    Originally posted by Glover1862
    I think you're pre-judging the garage's competence and honesty. None of us know the exact circumstances so we're all hypothesising but it would seem to me that the most likely scenario is that an eight year old car with a harsh usage history and minimal servicing has broken down whilst being tested, either as part of the MOT or perhaps during a post-service test-run.
    • Jackmydad
    • By Jackmydad 18th May 17, 3:40 PM
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    Jackmydad
    I'd be extremely suspicious about the engine "just failing" at the MOT time. Makes you wonder what was actually done to it. How it was used, and who by.
    Getting any proof though is a different matter.
    Without proof it's their word against the car owner.
    I'd see what they offer first.
    • BeenThroughItAll
    • By BeenThroughItAll 18th May 17, 3:43 PM
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    BeenThroughItAll
    I'd be extremely suspicious about the engine "just failing" at the MOT time. Makes you wonder what was actually done to it. How it was used, and who by.
    Getting any proof though is a different matter.
    Without proof it's their word against the car owner.
    I'd see what they offer first.
    Originally posted by Jackmydad
    As discussed, diesel engines are run to their governor at MOT time - that's not something most people do in normal use, and certainly not unloaded.


    The process is known to carry a significant risk, and that is why test centres have 'ADVICE TO OWNERS PRESENTING DIESEL VEHICLES' posters up.
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