What to do if mechanic does some damage your car

and then it costs you more to go to a dealer, and you don’t trust to the first mechanic anymore? in my case, i had a broken window regulator, on volvo s40, mechanic i went to installed off-market part and cut out the volvo adapter to fit it… without telling me… the regulator started making abnormal noise; so I went to dealer and they told me they need, besides the new regulator, to re-wire entire door and total cost it over a thousand

With the proper documentation as to cause of failure annd explanation of what the dealer found, you can go to small claims court and sue the first mechanic for the costs of a proper repair. Check with the Clerk of the Court in the jurisdiction where the first mechanic does business, and they can explain the procedures to you.

How long ago was the original repair done?

This is PROBABLY mechanic negligence. Report the problem to your county D.A.'s office. That office should have some kind of consumer affairs protection program (And God help him if you are considered a senior citizen). It would be pretty rare, but that first mechanic might have simply intended to save you money and the new regulator is somehow defective. Have you confronted the first mechanic about this? I put it this way because I would trust the independant mechanic more then I would the dealership. It is my opinion that a dealership salesman or dealership mechanic would rape his own mother for a buck. Dealerships will stop at nothing to suck as much money out of the consumer as they can - and they would have no trouble sleeping at night. I worked at a dealership years ago before I went to work for the government. So, trust me, the dealership is probably trying to suck money out of you. I never go to a dealership, either personally or proffesionally, unless the auto maker hasn’t released a patent on a part and I have no choice.

Wow, sorry for the tag–all words are mis-placed for some reason … any how, the repair was done in April 2008, new regulator started making noise shortly after that, like week later, i called right away but didn’t have chance to get time off work until yesterday, since you need both–time from work and ride;
Thank you for the advise contacting the Court Clerk, I’ll look in to it.

The one issue I can see not in your favor is that you did not give the original mechanic a chance to make good on his warranty. That may cause an issue later. As Beefy Norm said, you may want to complain to the original mechanic, and if you can’t come to a settlement, then decide if small claims court is the route to go.

In some states, you could also ask the Attorney General’s consumer protection division to either intervene or attempt to arbitrate a settlement with the original mechanic. This is generally free, whereas small claims court will cost you filing fees.

it was done in april 08

they told me they need, besides the new regulator, to re-wire entire door and total cost it over a thousand

No doubt, the guy probably butchered part of the wiring harness but I don’t believe for a a minute that the cost to restore it should be $1k. Dealerships are notorious for wanting to replace entire sub-systems when anything like this happens. Similar to a situation where a connector melted on one branch of the harness, they will prefer to replace the entire harness rather than patching in a new end. They’re not necessarily set up to do partial repairs on stuff like this. So they default to, we have to gut and replace the entire door wiring. I suspect that it could be fixed to a condition as good as OEM for a fraction of that estimate by the right person/shop. It could mean the difference bewteen a cost effective repair and moving on with life versus a protracted battle with the original shop to recover the exhorbitant cost of a dealer repair.

first mechanic charged for regulator and installation little over $500; VOLVO dealer said it’s $600–not a huge difference right? then they call back and said adapter is missing, the part is $120 but the labor is 2 hours that makes it $400
Sounds good, to have well trusted person/shop; it’s not easy to find, even the first mechanic was recommended by person from work and he was close to the office …

what do you mean when you say “cutout the volvo adapter to fit it” “without telling me” If a mechanic needs to modify a part isnt that part of the job? What do you want hourly progress reports and permission to proceed slips? What is a “off market part” a generic part? if so it would likely need some mods.Did the re-wiring cause the regulator noise (Ithink not) Did the wiring need modifing because the new motor did not have a compatable connector?. what did you buy a regulator/motor assembly that was not a part that could be used without modification?

he made it sound like he ordering part from california over night; then when it didn’t work right, he said it was off market part and i have no clue what means; to install it he had to cut out the adapter; now at dealer place they want to put volvo part back, of course, that requeires adapter and re-wiring;
at the dealer place they made is sound like something he shouldnt have done

I’m not sure cutting into the original wiring harness to adapt the aftermarket part qualifies as “damage”. I think a lot of mechanics would go the same route, quite frankly. I’m not a mechanic, but I would have done so in my own car if the aftermarket part was considerable cheaper.

Have you spoken to the first mechanic about the trouble you’re having with the car? Your best bet would be to at least give him a chance to make this right.

I’m still not clear on what you mean by an adaptor. Was this just an electrical plug that didnt fit? What I do see is that you had an independant mechanic install an aftermarket part on your vehicle. Keep in mind now, not all aftermarket parts are direct bolt on parts. Some aftermarket parts require adaptor plates, harnesses etc. Aftermarket stereos for instance require adaptor harnesses for different makes. If you ok’d the installation of an aftermarket part and he installed the proper part and had to make modifications for the vehicle to accept that part, I dont see where he would be liable. If his repair is still under some warranty, you should have taken it back to him to make right. On the other hand, if he modified something where there is an adaptor availiable and he failed to obtain the proper adaptor, he should be responsible for restoring the door to factory specs.


I didn’t know he was using aftermarket part and his price wasn’t not a lot less than the dealer’s; sounds that the volvo harness didn’t fit the aftermarket part, so he installed harness to fit it and cut out the original one;

An electric window has just a switch and a motor,not alot of wiring. Did the mechanic cut apiece of the inner door sheet metal away? whats going on here that we are not getting?

Did they tell you the part was aftermarket and if so did you tell them it was ok to install it. If you did you might be stuck. Hope all goes well with this.

What kind of mechanic would buy a regulator that required any modifications to work. Just because a part is “aftermarket” doesnt mean it needs modifications to work. What did he buy a J.C. Whitney one size fits all regulator. i have put in dozens of regulators/motors, none paid enough to justify a $500.00 charge. S-Blazers are tuff and GM f-bodies are not fun but not alot of money in window regulators, and now he has a customer who is checking on legal action.I dont call it good business.

There are some unknowns here but after taking a quick look at 4 auto parts house websites I do not even see an aftermarket regulator and/or window motor listed for an S40.
Where did he get this unit? Maybe a used S40 unit or a unit out of another model that was improvised to fit?
Improper routing of the wire harness leading to the harness getting caught and mangling the wiring up maybe?

The OP may not know the answers and I’m just thinking out loud here.

The OP may have a small claims case here. The only part that reflects badly on them is waiting several months and then taking the car elsewhere instead of back to the guy who originally did it without giving the guy a chance to repair it or cloud the waters a bit.

However, if they retain the old parts, have the dealer give them a thorough written explanation of what was wrong, etc. then it’s quite possible that they could get their repair costs reimbursed; either by a veiled threat being made against the first guy or by filing a small claims suit (easy to do).
The simple act of filing that small claim could prod them into making good on it without even going to court. JMHO anyway.

The window is fixed at the dealer and all works good now.
Also, I called VOLVO support when it was all happening, they suggested to meet with service manager at the dealer?s shop and VOLVO rep, after reviewing all the history on my car (maintenance, warranty work, etc) VOLVO their ?goodwill? money to reimburse the repair, that was pretty awesome.

Are you saying they will consider covering this as a goodwill repair or that they DID cover it? The latter WOULD be pretty awesome indeed!