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Should I get a partial refund?

I have an old car–1990 Chevy station wagon. Recently it stalled on idle, I brought it in to my regular guy, he replaced the fuel pump, 2 days later, problem reappears.
Decide to bring it in to a news (for a variety of reasons.) He diagnoses it as 2 fuel injectors are cracked, plus a few spark plugs need replacing. He said I should replace the rest of the fuel injectors, but it wasn’t necessary at this point. He said he cleaned them.

When I came to pick up the car, the mechanic said there’s a slight hesitation but I probably wouldn’t feel it and it shouldn’t really be a big deal. He reinforced that down the line I should replace the other fuel injectors.
When I got in I DEFINITELY felt the hesitation. I called, told him and told him the car didn’t feel as if it had it’s usual power (though it turned on and off ok and no longer seemed to idle. ) He said the problem would probably go away and it wasn’t a big deal. He said it was safe to drive.

Needless to say, two days later, I get on the highway and the car starts hesitating going up a minor incline and couldn’t go that fast. It appeared to recover and then happened again about 10 miles later. Again, appeared to recover.

I got onto a smaller highway (luckily) and after a red light, the car started hesitating like crazy, lurching and losing power I was able to pull into a parking lot.

I called the guy and he again says, it’s probably a minor problem and I should bring it into a local place. I told him I was calling AAA and having it towed back to his place and I didn’t feel safe driving it and it was lurching and then, he realized how serious it was.

He immediately took blame for it and said We never should have released the car to you like that. We will definitely fix it. He then admitted that the extra 4 fuel injectors tested badly (which I was never told.) He said he was just trying to save me money since I told him I was on a budget. One of his mechanics gave me a lift home and apologized up and down for what happened.

I was, VERY shaken up by this and after talking to friends have decided it’s just time to let the car go (I’ve already spent $1600 in the past week, it’s 22 years gold, I’m not investing more in it plus I don’t have much confidence in this guy’s work.) I’m planning on calling him tomorrow morning and telling him not to work on the car.

So, his work comes with a 90 day warranty for parts and labor.

While the problem probably or might have to do with the extra fuel injectors and not the work he did, do you think I’m entitled to any type of refund? I think it’s pretty outrageous he released a car to me like that?

I’d appreciate any feedback.

How many miles on this car? Is this a Caprice wagon?

85,000. It’s a Celebrity.

Has the fuel filter been changed? You need to find a mechanic/shop that specializes in engine performance problems. That may turn out to be a Chevy dealership.

But at 22 years old, even with the low mileage, it might be best to move on to a more reliable vehicle…

Fuel pump was changed. Don’t know about fuel filter. And yes, no question am I moving on. I think it’s just downhill with this vehicle (at this point.)

Do you think the guys should give me any type of partial refund because of what happened? I think it was a colossal error to release a (still) malfunctioning vehicle to me and tell me it was ok. (Ethically, if it was my business, I’d negotiate some type of partial refund, maybe for the labor, but realistically don’t think it’s gonna happen and this was just a $1600 wash.)

In my opinion you are not entitled to a refund.
The warranty covers what the mechanic did, not what he didn’t do. There is no indication that work he actually performed was defective.
You got what you asked for, a repair on the cheap. Both you and the mechanic knew that more work would be needed. You gambled that it would be later rather than sooner. Both of you lost that bet. If you were going to continue down the road you started, to get the car repaired, you could expect some consideration for your trouble. Now that you are going to bail out on the project no. You might ask for and get a partial refund but I don’t think you are entitled to one.

Thanks. I figured that. However, the gambling I did was solely based on what this mechanic said. If I had been told the additional fuel injectors weren’t working properly, I would have NEVER EVER driven this car and either paid for all of them to be replaced or not. In fact, I said that to him initially–that safety was paramount for me and asked him repeatedly was the car safe to drive. He said yes.

BTW, I also didn’t ask for a repair on the cheap. I told him I was on a budget, plus didn’t want to invest too much in an older car. I was told that “down the line I probably would have to replace the additional fuel injectors.” I was told that the car was functioning correctly and wouldn’t have problems and when I drove it and it seemed to not be working properly, he initially disabused me of that notion (only owning up to afterwards and admitting it was fully his mistake.) I don’t think this guy is a crook at all. I do, however, question the quality of his work and yes, I realize I probably won’t get any money back. Perhaps if I were a more experienced driver, I would have known to demand the car be re-looked at when it initially hesitated. Very expensive lesson learned.

No, no refund. When work is done on a car, house, or whatever, and you are enriched, you need to pay for it. Even if you change your mind later. Pretty hard to say that the work that was done was not needed, just more needed than what was fixed. If anything, I’d be wondering about the first guy and the fuel pump. Personally I would never put a replacement pump in a GM car again. I’ve never had them work out with any longevity at all.

Honestly if it was me, I would fix the car. Fuel injectors should not cost all that much, ($40-50 each) and labor to install is not much and maybe he will comp it for you. I say this, so that for no other reason you can sell the car and get some or maybe all if your money out if it. You may even feel like driving it for 6 months and getting your money out of it this way. Don’t be so quick to right off the car due to poor/incomplete repairs. That is not the cars fault.

“I also didn’t ask for a repair on the cheap. I told him I was on a budget, plus didn’t want to invest too much in an older car.”

I think that this is a case of differing perceptions.
While the OP believes he was communicating that he did not want “a repair on the cheap”, it is entirely possible that the recipient of his statement (the mechanic) interpreted this in a different way when he stated that he was “on a budget and didn’t want to invest much in an older car”.

I think that most mechanics would likely interpret this verbiage as…I want the cheapest possible repair that will get me back on the road..

I would suggest that the OP simply “cut his losses”, and move on to a newer vehicle.

Thanks all for your comments. Much appreciated. Actually, I’m definitely going to donate the car. The mechanic is pretty pricey and is charging close to $200 per fuel injector +labor. Totally not worth it. Plus, who knows what else will break down with this car. It’s old. I’ve already accepted (mentally to myself) that it was just a wash, a loss and that’s that. And VDCdriver, for the issue wasn’t about whether it was cheap or not. It was about, why are you saying this car should work well immediately when there still was a hesitation and it very obviously wasn’t driving at full power (especially since I told him that and he told me, oh, the power will come back once you’re on the road.) Either way, the mechanic did own up to it, so he’s not a crook or creep or anything. However, if he had initially told me that there was a very large chance of the injectors messing up right away, I probably would’ve spent the $$ and had all of them replaced (especially vs. going through the extremely harrowing experience I had–I could’ve been killed.)

Fix it your self… Save some money… Sell the car … It’s an easy fix.

Truthfully, I wish I could. But I live in a big city, don’t know much about cars (or mechanics.) Thanks for your input.

I am sure someone else will know better then me, but on my car (Buick with the GM 3.8) it’s literally a 4 bolt job. Release fuel pressure, 4 bolts pull up the fuel rail (all 6 injectors come out on the rail), unclip the injector, remove injector… Reinstall is the opposite. Should take less than an hour to do. $200 per injector seems high to me.

You seem to expect much of a 22 year old car. You told the mechanic you didn’t want to spend much on such an old car and he tried to make it run decent (not perfect, just decent) and save you some money. What should you get a partial refund for? If you want more work so it runs better, you’ll have to pay for more repairs.

Donate the car, buy a new car, and don’t keep your new car 22 years. You should trade a car every 10 years so you can be more sure it is dependable and safe.

Probably a moot point, but on this car, three of the fuel injectors are located under the upper plenum, so it does take some work to get to them (if I remember correctly, the plenum has to be removed to get to any of them, but you can actually see three of them). Probably further a moot point, if I were diagnosing this car and it were behaving as described, I would be suspecting the ignition module and possibly coil packs. Unlike fuel injectors, ignition modules and coil packs are common failure items for this engine, while fuel injectors are not. It is also incredibly uncommon for fuel injectors to fail in clusters like that. Usually, one will go bad and create a dead miss that doesn’t come back, not bucking and jerking that comes and goes, and eventually a stall and no-start condition. That’s what a bad ignition module or coil pack will do. Just my two cents based on my experiences.

That’s what I wad afarad of Mark, I thought on that motor some injectors maybe under the manifold. Good point on the ignition modual as well.

In my opinion you caused this when you told him you were on a very limiter budget. He found partially clogged fuel injectors and gambled that they would serve for a while, because of your limited budget. He did tell you they would need replacing. Why would you have been willing to replace them then but not now? He didn’t have a crystal ball to tell him exactly how bad the car would drive and he was only reading the clues you were giving him.