Overheating and Car shop giving me run around


#1

I took my car to a shop because a month and half ago my car was overheating very bad. They immediately replaced the radiator, pump, and thermostat. I also got new break pads but no problems with my breaks so far. I paid with credit card.



Days later my car still overheats. I take it back and they flush the radiator and send me off my way. Before I could even get home my car was overheating to the max. I turned around and took it back within minutes of them releasing my car with them.



They take it back in overnight and put a new thermostat in. I get my car the next day it overheats days later.



I take it back in the shop and then they tell me that I need a a fan clutch. I get my engineer friend and my old mechanic friend and they tell me the fan clutch is just fine. They decided to go ahead and take the thermostat out of my car and have me drive it for the weekend to see if it would overheat.



Yesterday It overheated and I noticed a bad smell when I looked in the engine there is antifreeze all over coming out of the same location the thermostat was. Well I take it back in today they said it wasn’t the thermostat because it still overheated. My thought is… because they screwed up and my car was leaking antifreeze how would they know if it was the thermostat or not???



Yesterday I had to put in lots of water and more antifreeze. Today I they insist I pay more to get the clutch fan fixed in my car. Well it works. I see it working. My friends have told me it works.



Should I pay for a clutch fan? I have already paid ALOT for all this stuff and it seems like now they are just to get the most out of me and just throwing shit in my car to fix. Also the entire time they did not tell me the serpentine (may not have spelled it right) belt was VERY dry and cracked and needed to be replaced. So I still have that to fix.



Should I pay for a clutch fan and see if that helps my overheating problem?

Should I call my credit card company and dispute the charges since they did not fix my car and they are giving me the run around?

Can I legally tell me credit card to take back the charges and go elsewhere? I feel like i’m being raped up the radiator


#2

PS. I’m a female.


#3

Gender isn’t relevant. Your vehicle doesn’t care.

What are the details about the vehicle (year, make model, mileage, etc.)?


#4

At this stage of the problem, since your engine has now been repeatedly overheated, I suspect you may have sustained more damage than can be repaired by replacing a bolt on part. I fear for your headgasket.

It sounds to me like they are and have been just throwing parts at the car to repair it rather than doing any diagnosis. I see nothing to suggest that they will now change their approach and do the job correctly. At this point that would include checking for a bad headgasket, which may become obvious by looking at the coolant and/or checking it for the presence of hydrocarbons. Bubbles being blown out the radiator cap are also a dead giveaway. A compression leakdown test is appropriate now too.

You need to go elsewhere and give them the whole story. I fear you’re going to have difficulty proving that the parts they replaced were not actually bad, however a letter to the Better Business Bureau may be in order here. Stopping payment on your credit card can be risky, because you’ve accepeted responsibility for payment and you’d need to prove fraud on their part.

Sincere best. But I think you need a new shop. One that will diagnose before replacing parts.


#5

although your gender is irrelevant, the shop IS relevant. in addition to the specific car info, what type of shop was this at? it sounds as if you were at a discount chain pepboys, lube all, or checkers. not that the name is important, but the type of shop may affect the diagnosis and level of professionalism. (competence)


#6

I’m no mechanic but it sounds like the shop you’re using either has no diagnostic skills or are just plain crooks. I would take it elsewhere immediately.

Was it losing antifreeze/water before the thermostat housing started leaking? What kind of conditions does it overheat in (e.g. only on the highway, only in the city, both, etc. - be detailed)

I personally wouldn’t go for the fan clutch, especially not from this shop. I doubt that’s your problem if you see the fan is running. I suspect a blown head gasket, but that’s just a wild guess and a lot more info is needed.

I’m not 100% sure how far you’ll get with the credit card company, but you can always try.

Good luck.


#7

The shop is America’s best Automotive in Alpharetta, GA.

My car is a 2002 chevy blazer.

It did not leak antifreeze and water until they gave it to me without the thermostat.

They have not said anything about a head gasket. I asked them to put in the thermostat back in and I picked up my car and called my credit card company. I am trying to find a different place to take my car in but I’m scared because I’m afraid they are going to see me walk in and start doing the same thing these people have done.

As far as professionalism at that shop… they dont have one at least not the manager since he keeps trying to ask me out on a date.

At the moment it doesnt appear to be leaking antifreeze. I will continue to check it but it is over heating.

When i brought my car in the very first time it was overheating when I drive on the highway.

After they fixed it it overheats on the highway and city driving. I can go 35-50mph city or i can go 60-70 on highway and it still overheats. One day it does well the next day it overheats to the max. The following day it may only overhead a quarter from midway and the next day it will be normal temperature. I just don’t understand.

For this kind of problem what kind of shop should I be looking for in particular.


#8

A reliable independent shop. Tell them the story and let them do the diagnosis, don’t tell them what part to change.

To find one, tell everyone you know and work with that you’re looking for a good shop and ask them who they use. Chances are that one name will pop up repeatedly.


#9

And if it makes you feel better, take a male friend along who knows a bit about cars as a precaution.

Sounds like it could be a few different things still.


#10

Thank you so much for the advice. I will take this week and do some research on a good place and maybe coordinate with a male friend.
thank you:)


#11

Since it’s very unlikely that you would get multiple bad thermostats and I have no idea why they would flush a brand new radiator it does sound like someone has been guessing a bit.

Maybe the reason for the coolant leak after the thermostat was removed is that someone either forgot the rubber O-ring seal or it fell off when this was being done.

You state the vehicle was overheating a while back and the radiator, water pump, etc were replaced. This brings up a few questions.
Just how LONG a time did this vehicle overheat?
Was the water pump and the radiator leaking?

Extended spells of overheating could cause a head gasket failure (at a minimum) which in turn can cause overheating. A head gasket failure can also cause a radiator and water pump to leak due to excessive pressure buildup in the cooling system.

Considering the situation, I would have recommended or performed a check for a head gasket problem at the start.


#12

Take a female friend if you like. That would work too if she knows about car repair. Look for a busy shop. They have too much to do so they don’t have to figure out new ways to get people’s money since they have legitimate ways to do it.


#13

Doing the proper diagnostic checks for a bad headgasket will only entail a few hours labor tops. Your engine is mounted front-to-back (longitudinally), so the spark plug holes are accessible for a pressure leakdown test. The other tests, a visual check for gasses escaping out the radiator and checking the coolant for hydrocarbons, are simple and involve no disassembly at all.

Once you have a proper diagnosis you can make an informed decision whether you’d like to proceed with the repair.


#14

I’m familiar with this shop. My question to you is, this is basically a Tire, brake, and alignment shop. What made you take your vehicle, with engine problems here in the first place??? I understand that some shops like this sometimes perform other services and they advertise it too but these guys dont even advertise any other service. It sounds as though they are just throwing parts at it hoping for the best. I dont understand why, days after replacing the radiator, they felt the need to flush it. You said the clutch fan works, how did you and your friends determine that it works??How did you check it and what did it do??

transman


#15

Let us know how you do trying to have the credit card company hold back the charges.

The way I understand it, and as mountainbike eluded to, is that the shop needs to have committed fraud or misrepresented what you purchased. This case sounds more like incompetence and poor workmanship, which is different.


#16

Gender may be relevant. The car doesn’t care, but the mechanics sure notice. And, some of them will clearly take advantage of the stereotypical lack of car knowledge to take women to the cleaners with unnecessary repairs more than men.

If all these current repairs were done to the car, there is clearly more going on than a cooling system problem. I’m leaning towards a BHG (blown head gasket). This should be very easy to diagnose. With the car cold, fill the radiator with water, leave the cap off, and start the car. Look inside the radiator. If you see a steady stream of bubbles coming out, you probably have a BHG.


#17

I missed which kind of car it is.

In my lifetime, I have had two car engines completely rebuilt. In both cases, they were older GM models,big Pontiac wagons, with silicon type fan clutches. In both cases, the car overheated after being rebuilt.

In both cases, the silicon type fan clutch LOOKED like it was working, spinning away. But, when I replaced that fan clutch the overheating problem went away. If I had a car with a fan clutch of that type and it overheated, I’d replace it ASAP, right after the thermostat and after having the radiator checked for blockage, just from personal experience. At that time, a fan clutch didn’t cost much, the last one was around 1998 or so.

My theory was, the fan clutch system was low on silicon, and when they took it off they laid it down, and it lost just enough to stop working correctly. But, it looked like it was running. The heat gauge could tell the difference, though.


#18

There are six shops listed in Car Talk’s mechanics files on the home page. I would choose one of those. If transman can come up on line and recommend a couple of them from his knowledge of the area, you will be way ahead.


#19

As far as professionalism at that shop… they dont have one at least not the manager since he keeps trying to ask me out on a date.

if the guy does it again, threaten sexual harassment charges and/or calling the cops. If he still continues to do it, whip out the cell phone and call. It could also be part of the reason you’ve had to make so many return trips to the shop…

If you still have your vehicle, I’d take it to the closest chevy dealership and see what they say about it. Also, since it’s a Chevy, the most likely suspect is the fluid they use in their radiators, Dexcool.
Since it’s overheated so many times, you’ll probably have atleast a head gasket change, worst case scenario, a cracked block.
I know how most people on this board feel about dealerships, but I think in this instance, most would be inclined to agree with me on taking it to a Chevy dealership