Details: There’s two Mechanics in this scenario. Ford dealership, and Don’s Auto.
Ford Dealership sold me the car. 2017 Ford Fiesta SE 1.0 L eco-boost.
In 2019 I took it into a mesa (yes that’s dumb, admittedly) and I bottomed out on a dirt hill. Snapped the air conditioner line (green liquid came hissing out). Took it immediately to Ford Dealership. They said they were busy for the next 3 days out and recommended I go to the mechanic literally 200 yards down the street. So I did. That was Don’s Auto
Don’s Auto held the car a few days to order the part, the AC line on the bottom of the car that snapped, and replaced it, and the car was good to go.
Since then I’ve had the car taken into the Ford Dealership itself 3 separate times for the normal checkup (I get an email that says “Hey it’s about that time to come get it checked out again!” Ok, so wanting to keep my car maintained properly I do so). They do a multi-point inspection each time and absolutely zero of the times did they give me any indication anything was wrong. Keep in mind I know nothing about cars, this is why I pay a mechanic to keep on top of this.
Last week I’m on the road, and the gas pedal no longer creates a response in the car. I immediately pull over and call my brother (mechanic). As I’m talking to him with the car resting, it starts to respond again. I get the car a half mile home immediately. Brother comes over and pulls the code P1299 something about overheating. He says this is consistent with what I experienced, it probably cooled down enough to start again when we were talking.
Next day I get the car to Ford. They keep it for several days, and then slap me with a $5000 repair bill. They said there wasn’t any coolant in it, and that the exhaust port was cracked, coolant got into the motor, and one of the cylinder heads was cracked and needed to be replaced. I told him about the accident and the Ford guy told me the main line mechanic says the radiator was out of place and the air ducts were messed up and the mechanic believes all of this damage stems from my bottoming out 14-16 months earlier. $5000 repair bill.
I’m devastated. That’s going to wipe out all the money I have. I’m equally frustrated because I’ve been paying these guys to keep on top of the car regularly as I thought I was supposed to and the Ford guy basically said “Yeah these guys are paid to check a few different things and aren’t doing an engine diagnostic” and basically handwaved and said he was sorry.
I have a professional mechanic of 20 years for a friend and I called him, he said the mechanics should have caught those things during the mutliple inspections, but technically they’re only supposed to address what I go in for. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how I was supposed to know anything was wrong to instruct them to look for it. I’m not a mechanic. That’s literally what I pay them for. I feel used and taken advantage of and I don’t know what to do.
Do I have any recourse here? Are either of the mechanics responsible for not catching any of this? WHY am I paying these guys for routine maintenance of nobody is going to catch potential damage leading to catastrophic engine failure?
The last time Ford inspected/maintained it was on Oct 21, 2020. So in 2 1/2 months all of this apparently happened and nobody picked up on any of the warning signs prior.
Looking for any advice, thank you in advance