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Mechanic Forgot to Tighten Radiator Cap?

I took my Jeep into the dealership for an engine computer problem on Friday. On Monday they call me back saying the problem is fixed and its ready to get picked up.

I pay my labor fee and start driving home. On my way home I notice my hood shaking hard so I pull over! The mechanics forgot to latch on the hooks on my hood (whatever, stuff happens). I lock down my hood and go. Afterwards I drive to pick up my dog from the groomer and on my way home liquid starts spashing on my windshield. White smoke is pouring out my hood and through my A/C vents. I open my hood and lo and behold the tech forgot to secure my radiator cap before returning my car to me.

I spoke with my main mechanic today and he said Jeep should be held responsible should I have gasket problems in the future. My question is, if Jeep isn’t willing to claim responsiblity what can I do?

The responsibility lies with the employee and the employer (the dealership.) It is not Jeep’s responsibility.

Yeah I should’ve been more specific. What would you do in my scenario?

Document it by complaining to the dealership, in writing, certified mail.

Then wait and see. Honestly, if you didn’t let it overheat, you probably won’t have any problems. If you do have problems you’re going to have to convince them that their negligence caused them. And since you probably won’t be able to convince them, you’re either going to have to eat the costs or convince a court of the same thing.

I’m not sure why an engine computer problem would need to have the radiator cap removed. What was the initial concern?
I wonder if something else isn’t going on here

If the engine didn’t overheat ( I assume you checked the tempt gauge when this was happening). Then all that happened what coolant splashed out and hit the exhaust manifold and/or other hot part of the engine and vaporized into the white steam/smoke you saw. In that scenario, no damage would’ve occurred, and it looked worse than it really was. I’m not sure how it would’ve gotten into your ventilation registers though.

What I would do is top off the coolant with the correct kind of coolant, making sure that there’s no air in the system, and continue on my way. I would also send a certified letter to the dealership explaining what happened, so there’s a paper trail should anything happen a few months down the road. With that said, if the engine didn’t overheat, then you’re probably okay.

I’d say that it overheated already.


I am not sure how this applies to new vehicles, but in the olden days we used to intentionally loosen the radiator cap and drive around to avoid loosing fluid from a pressure leak, the cooling systems were less dependent on pressure to keep the engine cool I imagine.

Yes, cooling systems run at much higher temperatures these days. On a late model car it’s not unusual to see a 20psi radiator cap.