Help! crooked mechanic or honest mistake? What do I do now?!

We took our AWD 2003 Pontiac Aztek in to have a grumbling noise checked-out and to have the brake pads checked and ,if needed, replaced. The mechanic, a long time honorable family aquaintence told us the grumbling noise was bad wheel bearings and that the brake pads were just fine and we have a lot of use left in them. He said the sqeaking was just from a bit of dust. Well, I discovered that the bearings were under extended warranty/recall and that it can only be serviced at an authorized GMC dealership. So, I called the local dealership, made an appointment for a day later, took the car in and they serviced the bearing for free. When I went to pick-up the car they proceeded to tell me that I needed my brakes replaced. I told them I just had another mechanic tell me the exact opposite and that I might look into it. This is where it gets good… 24 hours later we are driving down the road and the low brake fluid light turns on. As we try to find a safe place to pull over and inspect the brakes start to feel very soft and unreliable. We slow down and pull off to find brake fluid spraying out all over our front wheel, tire and everywhere else that is in the way. Apparently they did not tighten the line when they changed the bearings or suspicously tampered with my car. Now, it is the holiday weekend, we have no car and no way to get a hold of the mechanic until Tuesday when they reopen. What do I do next to state my claim so they don’t think we tampered with it? Do I call the cops? Do I find some mechanic as a witness? Or do I just wait, without a car, until we can get a hold of the mechanic who did this? Please help us. By the way, we know we can tighten the line ourselves but we don’t want to touch it and have the mechanic deny it was his fault. Also, we will now have to have the brakes bled and pads and rubber parts replaced due to this problem. Thanks for your help and comments! Have a good weekend! :slight_smile:

I think that this was probably an honest mistake. It would be criminal for a mechanic to purposely leave a hydraulic brake fitting loose as retaliation for not having the brakes relined. I think that a reputable service department would want to make this right, and, during business hours would be willing to send a mechanic out to make things right.

There’s no reason a brake line or bleeder nipple should be touched to check your brakes. This is either a weird coincidence, or you made the sleazeball mech. pissed off… which would be a criminal act. Plus the dealer will just deny any wrongdoing anyway. Take it back to your friends shop.

They had to remove the brakes to replace the wheel bearing, but they should have been able to do that without removing a brake line. Sometimes they remove the caliper to keep from damaging the brake line.

I think the dealer will make it right.

It would be possible to want to disconnect the brake hose to work on wheel bearings.

I would categorize this as a stupid mistake by the mechanic who changed your wheel bearing.

It’s not sabotage but could possibly be a mistake.
I’m not familiar with the recall on this vehicle, but usually a wheel bearing repair means removal of the steering knuckle (housing for the wheel bearing).
The brake caliper does not have to be removed, but can be allowed to hang from an attachment wire while the repair is performed.

If someone allowed the caliper to hang by the hose the weight of the caliper can damage the brake hose. The same applies if someone hung the caliper and it came loose.

If that was the case, or someone actually removed the caliper (?) and left the line loose then the shop is responsible no matter what.

Carless on Labor Day is a pain but I suggest you not touch the vehicle and leave it as is. Speak to the service dept. first thing on Tues. AM and let them know what has happened.
They should (no doubt will) send a wrecker and resolve this problem. Brake fluid contaminated brake pads should be replaced and since a proper (key word) brake job means rotor service also, they should perform this part of it too. Free of charge of course, along with any cleanup involved.

If brake fluid has hit any painted areas I would suggest you use soapy water and clean it as brake fluid is corrosive.

When you deal with the service dept. be firm but polite about it. No sense in jumping on a service manager or advisor who has no idea what has happened.
My feeling is that they will promptly take care of any problem as there is a serious liability issue involved.

I’m assuming here, and giving you the benefit of the doubt, that this problem was caused by someone’s mistake and not a brake line popping due to a sheer fluke. The latter is highly unlikely on a fairly new vehicle.

Hope that helps and good luck. :slight_smile:

thanks all for the advice. I called this morning and left a message with a gentleman in charge. Now I am just waiting to hear back. I do hope they don’t give me any trouble; I will try not to point fingers although it is their mistake. I just found out that they don’t have the best reputation in the area and they bought a brand new building and are having trouble paying on it. Lets hope they were not fishing. If they give me trouble I will look into a consumer protection agency through the state; I am in Colorado (I know California has one). If not that, maybe I will call channel 9 news! :slight_smile: