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Is my mechanic being truthful?

This is a long story, but I am going to try to make it as short as possible!

I have a 2004 Chevy Malibu (2.2L, 4cylinder) with 92,000 miles on it. The car has been serviced routinely and well taken care of.

13 days ago (A Tuesday) I went to start my car and it wouldn’t start. I had it towed to the dealership (Certified GM Dealer/Mechanic). That same day they said they thought it was the timing chain. The next day they called and said they took it apart and it was the timing chain and the head looked good and nothing was damaged. Repair cost $1,300. I said fine. Well Thursday morning rolls around and they said they were almost done. About 3 hours later they called and told me the car the were working on WAS NOT MINE! There had been a mix up but my car needed a timing chain too. After much talk, I said fix it.

Friday: Car is taken apart. Head is fine.

Monday: Ordered wrong part.

Tuesday: once again, ordered wrong part

Wednesday: Got part almost done

Thursday: They state that they need more time because their mechanic doesn’t do this very often so they are having a hard time! I want my car but they say i still must pay!

Friday: Not much longer!

4 days later: They call and tell me they are done with timing chain but now the head is bad and they want to put in a new MOTOR $7,000!

Is this normal! I have been complaining with service manager and I don’t know what to do!

Any ideas?

Sounds like they screwed up, big time. This doesn’t sound kosher.

Other than the fact this all sounds like a utter crock by a bunch of imbeciles, what were the symptoms of the no-start on your car?
Starter motor not crank the engine over or no “click” sound when you turn the key?
Starter cranks the engine over but it will simply not start?
Any odd noises up to the time of it not starting?

At 92k I’m having a hard time believing the timing chain failed and even IF it failed, and even IF it damaged the valves in the cylinder head, this does not mean you need a new engine.

It sounds like whoever is working in the service dept. (likely a herd of tech school trainees) are absolutely clueless.

I don’t know if it will do any good, but I think you need to call the GM number in your owner’s manual and see if you can get assistance from a technical representative. If they were able to repair the other car that needed a timing chain, why was the mechanic who does timing chains stumped by your car. This is contradictory–he did a car with a bad timimg chain, but now the claim is that they need more time because he doesn’t do one very often.

This reminds me of the time that I broke the lower glass for the second time in the storm door when I was a teenager. I knew my Dad would really be unhappy, so I beat him home and removed the frame holding the glass from the door. I took it to one hardware store and they said that it would take a couple of days. The clerk said that they had to bend the glass without breaking it and try to snap it into the frame. I said “No thanks”. I knew that a glass pane couldn’t be bent. I went to another hardware store. The employee pounded one end off the frame, cut a piece of glass to fit and put it back together in 5 minutes. He then said, “I just repaired a frame just like this a couple of days ago”. Your Chevrolet mechanic sounds about as competent repairing your car as my first hardware store employee that wanted to bend the glass.

I agree with Triedaq. Since the owner’s manual is probably in your glovebox…which is in the car…which is still in the shop…you’ll need to call the dealership and get the 800 number.

Better yet, stop by, demand to see the car, raise holy heck, and then call the 800 number.

It could be normal because they could not tell if the head was bad until they changed the timing chain. Time is the main thing that was lost. Their story could be true.


Thanks for the answer! When I tried to start my car it would try to turn over but not start! My garage also smelled like gas after I tried to start it a couple times!

First off, an engine does not have to be torn apart to determine either a timing chain problem or a problem with the cylinder head.

There is still not enoug clarity on your complaint to make much of a guess.
If you mean the engine is cranking over well but simply will not start along with a strong gas smell then a leaking fuel line, fuel injector, etc. could cause this.

I agree that it may be time to get GM corporate involved in this one. GM actually hsa no real control over what goes on in the service dept. but it’s possible for GM to apply some pressure.

Based on what you state here, the service dept. sounds like a mess and no way would I consent to a 7k dollar engine.