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Damaged Parts

In the state of California do you know if a Mechanic is required to show me a damaged part? My situation - I had a check engine light issue and as part of that service the dealer did a 100 point inspection. I took my car home, an hour later I went into the garage and the floor was covered in coolant. When I got my car back to the dealership they said that coincidentally the seal on the coolant reservoir cracked and that is what caused the huge leak. After it was fixed I asked to see the cap and they said that they had shipped it off to Land Rover as they need to track such things as it may become a warranty or recall issue.

Here is what California law says:

"Return of old Parts

When you sign the written estimate or work order, you can ask the shop to return to you any parts that were replaced. The shop is required by law to return the parts to you only if you ask for them before the work is done.

If the shop installs a rebuilt part, the old part is usually returned to the supplier as partial payment for the rebuilt part. This payment is called a “core” charge. If you want the old part back, you may have to pay the core charge.

If the shop must return the replaced parts to the supplier under a warranty, you will not be able to get those parts back, but you have a right to see them.

If the shop charges for hazardous waste disposal, the technician or service writer must list the charge and its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) number on the invoice."

That is exactly what I needed to know, thank you!

And you also need to know if the parts that are returned to you are actually from your vehicle.

I mean, if I returned to you a used timing belt/water pump, would you be able to determine if it actually came from your vehicle?


I have had 2 of the “old parts are gone song and dance”. The first was when I had my 1991 Jeep Cherokee serviced. They replaced my Trico windshield wipers which were 1 day old with crappy OEM wipers for free! They did other “services” which were not required or authorized. When I discovered my brand new wipers were gone I insisted they retrieve and reinstall them. Of course they were no were to be found. I suspect they were already installed on an employee’s Cherokee. The second story is the $669 fuel pump that was not replaced. There is 100% proof of this which was addressed in a previous thread. When I returned to the independent shop 3 days later to confront them. Car picked up on Friday, car failed to start on Sunday. Confronted on Monday. I requested the old fuel pump. They replied that garbage had been picked up that morning. I drove to the alley behind their shop and photographed their nearly full dumpster. They were totally in the deny, deny, deny mode. Fortunately I paid by VISA and was able to furnish them with State Attorney General confirmation of the scam. The charge of $669 was erased from my VISA bill. Unfortunately VISA eats this and the crooks still get paid. I have advised everyone I can by Facebook, e-mail, and word of mouth to avoid this shop. I hope it hurt them.