Question about Getting Money Back From Mechanic

Today is my 12th trip back to mechanic and 5th tow for the same problem in less than a month.

I’ve spent over $1000.

Took car in for maintenance, tune up oil change.
Got car back with small oil leak.
Took car in and got it back “fixed” became a donut size.
He “cleaned” engine. Got back, leak size of pancake.
He put in something to seal and got car back, oil leak size of puddle.
Took back, said needed valve cover gasket, fixed.
Leak now 4 foot x 6 foot.
Took back, now rear main, ok fixed that.
Car dies 3 hours later.
Crank sensor mysteriously unplugged somehow.
FIXED that.
Car STILL leaking oil.
Says it’s just oil off frame.
Car dies again after revving up to 6 on tac.
Takes all apart. Steam cleans.
Car dies again.
Oops got sensor wet.
Fixed that.
Car still leaking oil.
Says just from frame oil from previous leak and ignore engine light, swears nothing leaking.
Engine now leaking half quart a day.

Another mechanic at new F&F shop says seal put in wrong.

Car towed after driving 30 minutes. No acceleration, dies every 8 feet, oil light on, engine light on.

New franchise to tear it apart and says they will fix it today.

I’ve lost hundreds of dollars in missed work, spent over $900 in rides, and Easter was ruined because I spent the day walking and getting a tow and finding rides.

Now the question is, do I have the right to expect them to fix my car and give me my money back for all this?

Probably not without hiring a lawyer.
You have the right to have the car repaired properly–if the problem is something that they caused.
Or, you might be able to get a refund.
I seriously doubt if you can get both without suing them.

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Sorry , you have a legal question and what ever someone here might suggest will mean nothing. There is one member who is a lawyer but he does not give advice over Forums.

You could talk to an Attorney but I would guess that the fees would be more than you have spent now. If you signed off on the repairs there may be nothing you can do except talk calmly to the shop and see if they can at least refund some of the charges.

Why did you DO that? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity.

Find another, better, shop to work on your car… seems like you are on shop #3. I’d suggest if #3 doesn’t work out, you need to find shop #4. You should look for a well-rated, independent shop (not a chain) even if they have a waiting list. It will be worth it.

Seriously, this is a legal question, not a car question. Hire a lawyer if you want compensation.

Otherwise, consider this the cost of your education… look for well rated independent. Establish a relationship by getting your oil changed, brakes and regular maintenance done there so the shop is familiar with your car.


This is 2nd shop of the same franchise. I was told by corporate that I had to take my car back to one of their franchises to get fixed.

I had a 20 year relationship with the previous franchise owner who retired and sold out to the new owner the week of the first return.

I’ve signed nothing and am getting no receipts for work done other than the receipt for the rear main seal. When I asked what first mechanic did, he replied he didn’t want to tell me all the work he’s done to my car and asked me out to dinner to make it up to me.

Each time I go back he just hugs me and says, “Baby, we have to quit meeting like this.”

I just wanted to know if I’m losing my temper and being unreasonable or if this is an understandable problem in a car of its age and if should be looking for a new car.

Oh and I forgot to mention there are “extra” bolts bouncing around under falling out when I started the car yesterday. The original mechanic said not to worry about them because they were old ones he replaced already.

Geez I’m so frustrated.

Now you know why the veterans of this forum stay away from franchise/chain operations.
Expecting to find a good mechanic at one of those places is like expecting to find a virgin at a house of ill repute. It’s possible, but… not likely.


You never told us the year of the car, its mileage so how can we advise?

My advice stands, this shop is incompetent based on what you posted.

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That needs to be mailed to the corporate office and also in a phone call and the hugging is not professional or wise during this Covid 19 period . Put this stuff on an online review site and stick to facts . Don’t put anything that did not happen.


Your only option is to ask for your money back. If they refuse you could sue in small claims court and quite likely win. Then you have to collect which can be more difficult than winning a judgement.

Many things I don’t get. You say 12 trips, 5 tows, and over a 1000 dollars. How have you been getting off this cheap? You mention valve cover gasket and a rear main seal. The rear main requires that motor or transmission come out to be replaced. You mention the rear main seal being installed wrong. How is that known unless the engine or transmission comes back out?

Just some food for thought. With a perpetual leak have they not considered that the PCV valve could be plugged up? That’s a cheap and easy fix IF that is the cause of the leak. A stuck PCV can pressure up the crankcase and cause oil to be forced out past the rear main seal, front crank seal, etc.


Let me see if I can answer all the questions:

Car is a 2002 Honda Civic. 146,000 miles. No major work done in all these years. Just oil changes, tune ups, brakes and the like.

My neighbor dropped me to pick up car and saw mechanic hug me and heard him say "Baby we have to quit meeting like this.

My boss heard him over speaker phone in my office telling me he didn’t want to tell me all the work he had done on my car and that I could make it up to him by going for a drink with him.

My other neighbor heard him tell me all about his problems hiring good employees and how he was so sore and tired that he needed a good massage and could I help him out with that.

As to all these visits:

He charged me $200 for the valve cover gasket.
He charged me $785 for the rear main seal because it took 5.45 hours of labor.1111qqqq+1 qq k11
He charged me $145 for cost of 2 sensors that he said got wet when he steam cleaned my engine.

The rest of the visits were no charge because he said they were under warranty and he loves seeing my “beautiful blue eyes.”

How did the other mechanic decide the seal was put in wrong? I’ll try to describe.

He put car on lift.
He noted oil on bottom of transmission/engine where they meet and showed me dripping out of this crease like area, not sure what it’s formally called.
He touched oil with his fingers and said it was clear and clean meaning no road grime so it wasn’t from an earlier leak. At least that’s what he told me how me could tell.

I don’t know what else I should do. I don’t think these guys are “hearing” what I am saying or maybe understanding what I’m saying because I’m not using the proper terms. Maybe they are doing the best they can with this old car and I’m just being a cranky witch but I thought going from no oil leak when I took it in to a huge leak was wrong.

I was going to guess that the oil change was botched. Sometimes the old rubber gasket from the old oil filter sticks to the engine, and an unobservant mechanic might mount the new oil filter right on top of that old rubber gasket, creating an imperfect seal. (I made this mistake once.)

…but that doesn’t account for everything that’s happened, so it’s not really useful.

What I’m getting at is that the oil leak might be completely coincidental, or it might be caused by something the mechanic did. You’ll probably never know what caused it.

You haven’t said how old the car is, but I’m guessing it’s not new. If it is new, you could try to hold the mechanic responsible for the oil leak, but that very much depends on where the oil is leaking from.

You need to talk to lawyers in your area. Maybe you can find a free legal aid lawyer or someone who will take the case on a contingent basis, only getting paid if you win. If you win you can try to get the judge to tack on court fees and attorney costs, but I’m probably dreaming if I expect the case to ever make it that far.

You might also have a good case for sexual harrassment.


If you have witnesses to sexual harassment, you should address that separately from the problems with your car. IMO, you should not deal with this organization again for car repairs, no matter what it costs you. As for the harassment issue, you might consider contacting corporate headquarters and tell them about it. You could start with a phone call, but you should follow up with a letter outlining the problem. If they don’t discipline the man that is harassing you, then see a lawyer and stick it to them. This all assumes you already told the creep that his advances are unwanted. I know this will be uncomfortable for you, but it will help prevent this behavior for other women in situations similar to yours.


You can try filing complaints against the headquarters or going to small claims court if that doesn’t work. You probably should have written this place off after the 2nd or 3rd attempt. You’d think he would’ve done a better job if he wanted a date.


The guy sounds like a clueless, world class jackass when it comes to mechanical issues or dealing with the public. There’s obviously some sexual innuendo going on and maybe any future conversations should have the record function on the phone in operation. Then contact corporate HQs for this chain.

He will of course likely deny any accusations in the interest of self preservation. Depending upon how HQ handles this it may lead to an attorney who will go after them for your money back and punitive damages. Recordings would certainly bolster a case and one thing that HQ does not want in today’s world is bad PR involving harassment of women.


I don’t know about the U.S but here in Canada,all work performed by an auto mechanic is covered by warranty… 3 month for labour,1 year for parts.

Thank you all for your time and words of wisdom.

I spoke with the regional supervisor this evening.

  1. The rear main seal was in fact damaged and leaking oil.
  2. Original mechanic admitted he tied to spray something in there twice to seal the leak rather than replacing the seal a 2nd time.
  3. Seal was damaged when original mechanic twice took apart the transmission from the engine. He was looking for why the car was dying and didn’t think it was the crank sensor.
  4. The regional director said, “I told original mechanic to never again do a half assed job like this again.”
  5. Regional director said the clip on the crank sensor was broken so it was coming apart causing the car to die.
  6. Original mechanic told Regional Director he was willing to show me how to reconnect it so I wouldn’t be stranded. Regional mechanic said he replied that she (Me) didn’t have to do s**t but drive the car and the sensor and connections should have been replaced in the first place.
  7. Regional director said he had no problem with me receiving a refund for my aggravation.
  8. Regional director said all expenses including towing, parts, labor, and my refund would be covered out of Original Mechanics pocket as part of his discipline.
  9. Regional Director said he warned Original Mechanic to have no contact with me, including no phone calls.
  10. Regional Director said Original Mechanic has a habit of not listening to anyone but he will listen to me (Regional Director) if he wishes to keep the franchise.
  11. Regional Director apologized profusely for Original Mechanics behavior. I replied that I would be keeping the voicemails Original Mechanic left on my machine concerning my eyes, how much he was looking forward to seeing me when I picked up my car, and the like and would turn them over to the police if he contacts me again.

So hopefully I will get my car back tomorrow and it will be running well again and I can begin my search for a nice trustworthy and skilled mechanic so things will run smoothly the next time I need some car help. This has been quite a learning experience.

Thank you, M.


Depends on the shop, ours has a 1yr 12,000 mi warranty on Labor and a minimum of the same for parts. We’ve only had to use the warranty once since we started using them in '93 but never worry about it being taken care of. Doesn’t hurt to be loyal to a shop when they take good care of your and your cars. Prices are more than fair for the work they do and what they’ve saved us over the years compared to the dealer.

After 11 return visits even a lifetime warranty would have no value. With a warranty of any type it is expected to be able to correct the problem on the next visit.

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Sounds like Regional guy is at least trying to make things right.

I’d get my car back, take it somewhere else, and never set foot in that original repair place again.