Paying mechanic for NOT fixing car

volvo
mechanics

#1

Hey I need your advice. I have a 2000 Volvo XC that I should have gotten rid of months ago. I found a mechanic that only works on Volvos because I wanted someone that would know how to fix my car and not complain about it because it is a Volvo. Long story short, within 9 months and thousands of dollars in body work, repairs and maintenance, yet another serious problem occurred. My ETS light came on and a short time after, my car would stall all of the time. My Mechanic said that it is a common problem in Volvos. I requested my mechanic to have it fixed. I had my car towed to his shop and almost a month went by and I finally heard back from him with grim news. He said after they replaced the throttle body and reprogrammed it, they started the car and within a moment it stalled. They then found out that the fuel system was busted and, " It is a bear of a job" , which will cost me between $2000-$3000 bucks to fix. I responded humbly that I was not able to afford that kind of repair. I had asked the mechanic if he could just take my car and use it for parts. He said that I would still have to pay him for installing the throttle and reprogramming it, a job that cost nearly 1,000

Is it possible that the fuel system AND the ETS would fail at the same time? Are the systems linked together. could this be a mechanical error?
Would an experienced mechanic miss that?

What should I do? I feel helpless. I cannot afford to pay $1,000 for a car that I cannot drive.
Am I being screwed or am I a victim of bad car karma?

Oh FYI, he has a huge lot out back of his shop filled with broken Volvos that are for car parts.
thanks for reading my rant.
Kerry


#2

I have close personal friends who are Volvo fanatics, and this is completely normal. I don’t think you are being taken advantage of. Good Volvo mechanics should be put on retainer, since Volvo owners will likely need their services on a routine basis.

You’re in a tough bind. You authorized $1,000 worth of work, agreeing to pay the bill when the work is complete (not unlike our nation’s commitment to pay its debt). Now something else is wrong with the car, and you claim you can no longer afford to pay $1,000 for a car you cannot drive. You aren’t a member of the Tea Party, are you? Tea Partiers would probably just ignore the bill and abandon the car. (I am just kidding!) Unfortunately, that’s a risk you take. If there are two or three things wrong with your car, and the first thing you authorized the mechanic to fix doesn’t fix it, the mechanic has done nothing wrong.

You have already committed to pay the $1,000 bill, so in my opinion, not paying it isn’t an option. If you can’t afford to have the rest of the work done, perhaps you should apply for a Goodyear, Firestone, or Sears credit card. (For the record, I don’t recommend using Sears, but in this case, you seem desperate.) They often have 0% interest offers for big ticket items, so for a bill between $2,000 and $3,000, you might be given a year or 18 months to pay it off at 0% interest. However, if you don’t pay off the bill before the deadline, they will hit you for accrued interest from the date of purchase, and that interest rate is usually pretty high, so don’t do it if you can’t pay off the balance by the expiration date of the 0% interest deal.


#3

Whitey, your political remark was totally inappropriate and unfounded. And, trying to cover it up by saying you were just kidding does not make it right. Please go pound sand.

You are, as usually is the case, about the mechanic issues, and his obligation to pay the $1000.


#4

The poster didn’t say if he authorized the repair or not, If I have my car towed to my mechanic I would expect a phone call with a diagnosis and an estimate before he does a $1000 repair. Of course I have never owned a Volvo, that might be considered a pittance and not worth a phone call in Volvoland.


#5

oldtimer 11, Kerry wrote, “I requested my mechanic to have it fixed.” I took that to mean Kerry authorized the repair.

irlandes, my political remark might be inappropriate, but I noticed you didn’t say it was incorrect.

I apologize. I couldn’t resist the obvious analogy.


#6

Telling someone to pound sand isn’t politically correct either even if you say please.


#7

Has politics been made off limits for jokes?


#8

Towing a car to your mechanic indicates you want your car fixed, it doesn’t mean “regardless of what it costs” unless you say that.


#9

Really, oldtimer 11? You want to quibble about semantics?

Whether you say “fix it” when you drop it off, or say “fix it” when the mechanic tells you the diagnosis, saying “fix it” is an authorization to FIX IT.

When I have my car towed to the mechanic, it is because it want the problem diagnosed. Whether I want the mechanic to fix it is another issue entirely, and I can’t make that determination until I know what is wrong or the mechanic confirms my diagnosis.


#10

I’ll weigh in here and say that I don’t think the Tea Party analogy was obvious, given that it was a question about something pretty unrelated. It’s not to say it’s unacceptable to joke about politics, but this didn’t start out as a political discussion. However, I also think irlandes could have stopped short of telling Whitey to go pound sand. Just sayin’.


#11

It wasn’t supposed to be a tea party analogy. My analogy compared the OP’s reluctance to pay for an authorized repair to our legislatures’ reluctance to honor debt already incurred. The tea party part was a joke.

I don’t take offense to irlandes telling me to pound sand. I don’t think it was intended to be hurtful or mean. It’s like when I tell him to go play in traffic.


#12

The argument could be made that “Fix it” means “Fix it,” which includes “figure out what is wrong with it and then fix it,” not “throw parts at on the off chance that it gets fixed and then after you throw parts at it, discover that more parts need to be thrown at it.”

I also have an issue with him keeping it for a month. You could damn near build the car from scratch in a month. Why did it take him a month to install a throttle body and then find another problem?

That said, you might consider just giving up. You’re not going to win this unless you lawyer up and take him to court, and is a grand really worth doing that over, considering how much time money and energy you’ll have to put in to the court case?


#13

Well I’m going to be contrary. The OP said to fix it but the mechanic obviously didn’t. He had a wrong diagnosis from the start or there were multiple problems. That’s what you pay mechanics for, to diagnose and repair problems. I think at the very least, the labor charge should go away.

I have been in the situation where the mechanic didn’t know or wasn’t sure and they say so. Then its an educated decision to try one repair to see if that solves it. But the customer is made aware of the risk and chance for success and decides to give it a shot. Maybe there is a reason he has a bunch of unrepaired cars in his lot although I’ve heard Volvo horror stories even on new ones-especially fuel related.


#14

I have never worked on a car and invested more parts and labor than the car was worth if abandoned. Over the years I have acquired many cars that the owners decided they could do without. Often they signed over the title to me. Some required jumping through hoops at the court house.


#15

Uggg.
I was totally prepared to pay the $1,000 to fix what I was told was the ETS.
I would have been happy to pay the $1,000 for that problem. If I knew that I would have to fix the other problem, I would have junked it before he did the ETS work.

I live in Vermont, He lives/works in Albany Ny area.
He doesn’t like to call me because of “long distance charges”

He had my car for a month.
He took the throttle out and sent it away to be re-built.
He said that they couldn’t repair the throttle so HE made the decision to buy a USED module and have it re-programmed without notifying me. After 3 1/2 weeks he called and said that once they reprogrammed it the car started then stalled. when they checked out what the problem was, they found that there was a fuel problem.

My question was NOT “should I pay him?'
My question was " Is it possible that he mis-diagnosed the problem?” or, "is it possible that both systems could fail at the same time’
Or does this situation sound fishy?

I hope that this clarifies my post.
I have no problem paying for the ETS repair, however I would of hoped that I would be able to drive it afterwords. I was not expecting to be informed after the work was done that my car had more severe problems.

I am in no way, a teabagger. Quite the opposite.


#16

I also had asked him if he could keep the car as payment for the ETS work. Considering that I had invested a ton of loot in parts within a year. He said that he would take the module back, but that was it.
What’s one more car in his lot?


#17

uvegottabkidden, a lot of regulars hang around here & for whatever reason once in a while people asking questions get caught up in what amount to irrelevant side arguments about things that don’t help the poster. This was one of those.

Back to your questions…you said that you had the ETS light on & the car was stalling on you. Then they spent a month doing whatever to run up a $1000 charge only to end up with a car that was still stalling. So then they changed diagnosis to “the fuel system was busted.” Unfortunately you’re in this really annoying gray area where the question is whether or not they want to charge you a whole bunch if $$ for their own misdiagnosis. Unfortunately no one will probably ever know.

In any case, can you get some more details out of the shop regarding what, exactly, about the fuel system is “busted?” The fuel system has a bunch of stuff in it, so it isn’t a “thing” that can’t be busted. With more detailed info folks might be able to say how much hell should be raised - if any. Folks also might be able to imagine what about your fuel system would cost $2-3000 to fix- holy cow.


#18

There’s not nearly enough info for me to even hazard a guess but let me say this.
From your words you have a chronically trouble prone vehicle you should have gotten rid of months ago and it was towed to a mechanic.
Mechanics often have vehicles dumped in their laps for which there is no easy and clear cut answer; especially on one that has been towed in.

You cannot consider body work as being the sign of a problematic car and I can’t imagine what would cost 2-3 grand in the fuel system to fix unless they mean a pump and a full set of injectors. That could be getting into the wild guessing realm.


#19

I just mentioned that I JUST paid for body work, I didn’t say that was a problem.

He explained to me in his words that additional to the ETS that there is a bigge problem. I am not a mechanic so most of what he said to me didn’t really make sense. I guess because there is two tanks (like saddle bags) there is a line that goes from point A to point B to point C etc… that need top be replaced. He mentioned more about the fuel injector and something else. Be said that the labor is over 8 hours. At $80/hour plus the parts it will be $2-3,000.

If the car went in the shop because the ets light was on and was stalling, and after the module was fixed the car still stalls.

COULD THE ETS AND THE FUEL SYSTEM GO AT THE SAME TIME? OR COULD THIS BE A MISDIAGNOSIS??
Could the ETS cause the fuel system to fail??
thanks


#20

Call the mechanic, tell him you’re asking some friends about what to do about the car and ask him to go over the fuel system problem again. Perhaps just ask for a written, itemized estimate and ask about the actual issue with the fuel system components. Then post clarification. Once again the fuel system isn’t a “thing” that can go. Its a whole bunch of things. It sounds like he wants to replace one of the main fuel lines. That would be odd.

The ETS will not have affected the fuel system. Figure it like this - the car mixes fuel & air in the cylinders to make the engine run. The fuel system delivers the fuel. The ETS delivers the air.

Its perfectly possible that there was some fuel system problem all along. Its also possible that some part of it coincidentally failed recently. Without knowing specifics, however, no one can guess about what happened.