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Brakes Plus Blew It?

I took my 1994 Saab 9000 CSE Turbo into Brakes Plus. I needed new brakes (total; drums, rotors pads=well over $600) I asked them to check the AC and recharge it unless it had leaks as the AC was not very cold. I was not happy about the brake cost, but I had put quite a bit into this car so far, so my son could drive it confidently and it was in great shape otherwise. It drove great. I got a free oil change thrown in for my pain. When I got the car back, they said they drove it around 7 miles and it seemed to be runnig well. I personally did not notice the car being much colder as i drove it a mile or so to get new tires, all around. That would fix this car fine until it needed a new clutch or until the noise coming from the air blower/fan behind the dash drove us nuts. I give the car back to my son new brakes, tires, new freon. Within a few days of being at Breaks Plus, being driven at night (that’s if they wrote the mileage correctly to begin their brake job), it suddenly stops on my son in the middle of the night. He says he never saw any dashlights come on, but he is 24 and going on 12. I have the car towed into a repair shop as the battery was dead and upon charging, the engine was making a clacking noise. The shop calls me, and says there is not one drop of motor oil in the car. I say the blankety blank BP people must have forgotten the oil during the oil change! I come to the shop and they say the oil “leaked out” of a loose hose connection near the radiator. There was in fact some oil about that area which they had re attached and tightened. They denied that they thought BP forgot the oil. But…not more than like 1/8 of a cup of oil in the area? Nothing on the motor or under the car? None on the back of the car and none under the hood… I am perplexed and still suspect BPlus, so they tell me to have it towed there (it has a bent rod now by the way. Hence the noise and inability to be driven) so they can look it over and I don’t tell them what the other guys said, they just insist that the oil leaked out pointing to the small amount around and below that hosey towards near or maybe attached to the radiator, I donno. "It can’t be because of us because the car has bee driven 40 miles since we took it in and it never, ever would have been able to go that far if we had drained the oil out and forgotten to put oil back in afterwards. No car can do that. I have it towed to a dealership, they loosely supported the BP people and are willing to put in a new or rebuilt engine and replace the clutch for $1000 (not including the engine). I went along with it. I was overwelmed, did not know who else to go to so I take the BP people’s word and tow the car home. There it sits, I now have a disability so I can’t afford to fix it even though I have like $1500 of repairs and maintenance to a $2000 car. I am getting ready to sell it for $350. THEN I think… THE CAR GUYS…they can tell me if Brakes Plus is being BoooooooGUS! And the repair shop protecting them, maybe even staging the very small amount of oil around that hosey…and the dealership just wants to get the work? So the question is…
Could this car have been driven 40 miles without any oil in it after only HALF an oil change was done to it? Could they have loosened the hosey mistaking it for something to do with the AC and freon recharge which was worthless?

Do I have a case? And is it too late since extenuating cicumstances had me accept their response from August 2010 to now? The car has not moved since having it towed home.

Kate Keeling
Scottsdale, AZ

I don’t think off-hand that B-P is BoooooooGUS. Besides, you settled this case 8 months ago. Getting it re-opened now would be a miracle.

The car is 17 years old. Even if everything looks OK and all the maintenance has been kept, this car has survived well past its designed life-span. This car has reached the point where anything can break at any time.

Also, a car cannot travel 40 miles with no oil in the crankcase. The engine would burn up in less than a mile. The oil light would be on, and the engine would sound like it had marbles rolling around in it as the lifters would collapse with no oil pressure.

If the hose on the oil cooler were to have become disconnected, the oil would have streamed out quickly as the car was driven, leaving the oil on the ground. Once the oil streamed out, the car would have gotten a little bit of distance before the engine stalled, with all lights burning!! You’d be surprised how little oil you’d see over the engine with a leak like this. It won’t necessarily look like an oil bomb went off. In one old car I had, it had a crack in my timing cover right at an oil port. Hard to spot, because it only leaked when the engine was hot and running above idle speed. The oil was dripping out, and streamed when the engine were revved up. The oil dripped straight down, and left nearly no trace when at rest.

Also, consider the cost of replacing the engine in this car vs. a good used car. A Saab engine doesn’t come cheap. Especially when the turbo may also be compromised. And, when it is done, you’ll still have a 17 year old car, where anything else can break at any time. With a book value of less than $2,000 if it was in good shape, I think this car has given you a good life.