Transmission: Want to sue my mechanic... but I'm I right?

2 months and 3 weeks ago (important to the story) I had my transmission changed at my local mechanic. The car sat for 1 month in my driveway since I was outside the country and when I came back I noticed oil leaks on my driveway. The leaks come from the yoke seal and the seal that hooks up the driveshaft and the transmission. My understanding is that both these seals had to be manipulated by the mechanic to change the transmission in the first place. So living in Canada, we have a 3 month guarantee on mechanical work that is over 50$. The bill being 1400$ I feel I’m entitled to a repair of these seals free of charge, but he wants to charge me 13.5 hours of work to change the seals. What do you guys think, should I sue him?

There’s always the “Rest of the Story” to consider. Where did the ‘new’ transmission come from? Did the mechanic suggest/offer to install a factory rebuilt? 13.5 hours sounds like the time alloted to remove and totally rebuild the transmission. The inquiry is loaded toward supporting your sueing the shop @benbeuregard. What’s the mechanic’s side of the story?

Don’t have clue what vehicle you’re refering to …but…
Changing out a whole transmission assembly will usually include that seal.
That seal has the warranty that the transmission does.
– generally speaking — since we don’t know the whole story yet.

The only time that seal should leak from lack of use is like the one on my 79 now in my driveway.
Being driven a whopping twice a year…the 36 year old seal tends to dry over time and does in fact leak a bit.
A new seal should not.
A transmission rebuild should have included a new seal there.

Having a heading that reads ( want to kill mechanic ) is not the best way to get advice from the real mechanics on a web site.


Additionally, if something bad was to happen to that mechanic and this thread could be traced back to the OP, it could have negative consequences for the OP.

I don’t know about the 3 month guarantee in Canada thing you mention, but seriously you waited until 2 months and 3 weeks passed and then posted a hail mary on a car forum? I understand that you were out of the country for the first month, but what did you do in-between? Anyway, I cannot imagine that the mechanic wouldn’t change (cheap) seals when removal and reinstallation of this transmission is so labor intensive. Were the seals changed? Did you get anything written about a warranty? Oral? What does the mechanic say about the leaks besides the quote for the new job? These questions are going to asked in any lawsuit so you better get this stuff ready now instead of waiting 'till trial. More clarity would help us to answer your inquiry, good luck! Rocketman

Thank you all for taking the time to answer.

@“Rod Knox” He took a old transmission he paid 600$ and installed it on my car. I understand there’s always two sides to the story but I really tried being as objective and concise as possible.

@“ken green” Thanks man, that’s exactly what I’m wonering… should he have changed the seals? He said he didn’t and now the car leaks…

@“VOLVO V70” @VDCdriver You are both right, I’m sorry if I offended you, it was the wrong expression to use!

@rocketman Thanks for sharing our perspective. I can see why it seems like a hail mary but the thing is I only noticed it because this week when I redid my dirt driveway to a brick driveway. The very first day I parked the car I saw 5 stains on the bricks and one thing led to another. He confirmed to me (I have the recordings) that he did not change the seals. Also, I only have my credit card statement because he never gave me a bill. I asked 2 or 3 times (have a proof of that as well) but there was always a lame excuse like: I didn’t have the time or the printer ran out of ink. Thanks again.

I guess my question is, do you always change the seals when replacing a transmission on a car?

@benbeauregard–I’m glad that you now comprehend that “kill” is not a word to throw around lightly, as words can come back to haunt you when you least expect it.

When I worked for one of my state’s Deputy AGs, one of our cases involved a mother whose repeated behaviors put her in danger of losing custody of her young daughter. Naturally, she and her attorney denied all of our allegations.

However, since I had located her MySpace page–albeit listed under a pseudonym–complete with unmistakable photos of her doing drugs and engaging in other…unladylike…activities, as well as verbiage describing (in detail) her favorite antisocial activities, her attorney essentially had no defense, and she lost her case–as well as her daughter.

Believe it or not, both internet forums and social media have made it much easier for prosecutors to prove many cases, so being very cautious with one’s words online is probably a good idea.

Not really in this case, no. It’s a replacement from a yard, and unless asked, the seals wouldn’t be changed.

Some might do it - just 'cause it’s a good idea - but they mostly will give you an opportunity to accept or deny that extra charge (with stipulations).

If the OP recorded a conversation over the phone without permission that also could blow up in their face. The simple thing is to get a few estimates on replacing the seals and forget about lining the pockets of a lawyer .

You agreed to have a used transmission installed, not new, not re built. If the leak is minor and the transmission functions as a transmission, the mechanic did what you agreed to. If you have to add a little fluid once a month - you get what you paid for.
If fluid is spewing out and you can’t make it down the block you have an argument for free repairs. Instead of taking an adversarial stand with the mechanic, sit down and have a nice chat with them to see what can be worked out.

We still do not know the vehicle, it could be the pinion seal on the front differential of a 4wd for all we know

Maybe they want to keep us in the dark untill we agree with them ?

I guess my question is, do you always change the seals when replacing a transmission on a car?
I would do as instructed by the person paying me. If they wanted 'em changed, I would; if not, I wouldn't.

This sounds a lot like a job done “as cheaply as possible” per the request of the customer, who then retroactively decided to spend money when the repair didn’t take.

Yeah I think you are out of luck. That’s what happens sometimes when you try to save money. Most of us have been there. I tried to save $200 on a rebuild and it took them seven weeks and only lasted a year, when I had to pay a different place for a quality rebuild. Plus it cost me $400 to replace a solenoid that should have been done the first time. All in all cost me about $2500 extra to try and save $200.

I presume one of the seals would require the transmission to be removed to replace it, right? And the other seal could be done with the transmission where it is, although the driveshaft would have to be removed. Is that all right? hmm … 13.5 billing hours seems considerably more time than I’d expect for that job, unless there’s missing information, like something specific to this make/model/year that makes the job very time consuming.

Legal recourse is a legal question, not something usually covered in a car Repair forum. What your recourse would be depends on the exact wording of your contract with the shop. If I was having a shop do that job for me, I’d ask the mechanic if there are any seals he’d recommend to replace, then follow his advice. Did you do that? If not, and this wasn’t a rebuild but a swap for a used unit, unless you specified those seals be replaced, I doubt you have much to go on, legal-speaking. Especially in Canada, where common sense is a bit more common in the legal system there, compared to the USA.

I think you should focus your att’n on the 13.5 hours. Ask the mechanic if there’s a compromise that might reduce the amount of work involved. Maybe less than perfect remedy, but a workable remedy which will leave you with a drivable car. Eventually the transmission may have to be removed again for some reason, then you can do the rest of the job as part of that.

Edit: I should mention that sometimes leaky seals will fix themselves. Especially if they have dried up. Just being surrounded by new fluid will often swell them up and they’ll stop leaking. Maybe all you need to do is wait a few months, and the leaks will stop on their own.


OP paid for the mechanic to install a used transmission

@db4690 … if you asked your transmission shop to install a used transmission into one of your family’s cars, would you ask the staff there if there were any new seals they’d recommend be included with the job? Or would you assume they’d replace whatever seals needed replacing without asking? I’m talking about seals that could be replaced without dis-assembling the transmission. Like the tranny input shaft seal, the engine rear main seal, tranny output shaft seal.


I agree with the other guys . . . I don’t like OP’s attitude

He came in guns blazing and wanted us to condemn the mechanic