Who's Responsible?

We recently purchased a 05 Honda pilot-with 110000 miles. Before we purchased the car we had our mechanic go over the car-they gave it a great report with a suggestion that we have the dealer do a transmission flush before we paid their asking price. About 10-15 days after buying the car we heard a loud bang coming from the front of the car-it occurred when we had turned on the heater. We have now determined that we need a new blower motor. Our mechanic says $350 for labor, parts and tax. Honda dealer’s estimate is $376.00 for the same thing. My question is does our mechanic bear some of the responsibilities for not turning on the heater to check it out? If he had discovered this we could have gotten the dealer to fix this-but now after about 30+days I am not so sure.

My question is does our mechanic bear some of the responsibilities for not turning on the heater to check it out?

Absolutely NOT…There is no way you can determine when the fan broke. There’s a good chance the fan was working perfectly well when the mechanic checked it out.

A heater blower motor, just like many other types of equipment, can be performing normally one day, and can just “break” (for lack of a better term) the following day.

Consider this:
If you went to your MD for a physical exam and all of your lab tests and your EKG were in the normal range, but you suffered a heart attack a few weeks later–would it be your MD’s fault that you had a heart attack?

Sometimes, bad things just happen, despite normal appearances.

I always pay the extra for the psychic mechanic who can see at least 1 yr/15,000 miles into the future :wink:

Blower motors don’t normally show their death by “banging” - they usually just don’t do anything at all. If yours is blowing air but making noise there’s actually a good chance that you don’t need to replace it. Who diagnosed this as a bad motor and how?

I don’t know the Pilot very well - but on most vehicles the blower motor is relatively easy to remove & replace by a person of average skills with an average set of hand tools around the house. A little bit of acrobatic ability is sometimes necessary (working under the dash), but that’s about it.

You - or another family member - or even the neighbor’s teenager could probably pull the blower within about 30 minutes, remove the rock that’s banging around in there (ok - maybe not) and reinstall it.

In answer to the question “Who’s responsible?” Often the answer is no one. SHtuff happens.

Used cars are used cars…YOU are responsible for EVERYTHING concerning the vehicle. If you want to lay responsibility off on someone else, buy a NEW car with a strong warranty…

Your mechanic recommended a tranny service done by THE DEALER, not by him…THAT should tell you something about storm clouds on the horizon…

Make mine another vote for what everyone else is saying.

I’d like to add that when checking a vehicle out any good mechanic will focus on safety and structural items (brakes and rot, for example), as well as items that suggest problems internal to the engine, drivetrain and chassis. Even if the blower motor were bad when he checked the car out, IMHO he can be forgiven for overlooking it.

Everything that happens in life does not bring with it somebody to blame. Sometimes things just happen. If you require 100% guaranty on everything on the car, you need to look at new vehicles, not '05s with 110,000 miles.

Agree that you hire a mechanic to check things that a buyer can’t check themselves. Condition of motor (pressure test, and compression test), rust on the undercarriage, etc. Stuff like the radio, heat and AC, wipers, power windows, power locks, etc. are things a buyer can check by mearly turning everything on and off. Therefore you as the buyer bear more responsibility than the mechanic in this case of a bad heater/AC blower motor, IMO.

You bought a 6 year old, 100k miles+ vehicle and even the finest inspection on Earth will not reveal a problem like this. It apparently worked for 2 weeks before failing did it not?

I would also suggest that you prepare yourself for other repairs in the future; possibly a big one.
Caddyman made a great point about your mechanic recommending a transmission fluid flush at the dealer and one has to wonder if this recommendation was based on dark transmission fluid. Dark fluid usually translates to a looming transmission problem.
And you bought it anyway.

I don’t know how anyone can conclude that there’s problems in the future with this vehicle. No one here knows what the transmission fluid looked like or didn’t look like. Recommending the dealer do a transmission fluid exchange at the dealer means NOTHING. There are many independents around here that don’t do tranny fluid changes on certain vehicles because of the special fluid and sometimes hard to get gaskets.

No one could predict this problem. This is a used car and things go wrong. Back in 1955 my dad bought a 1954 Buick from a couple that were family friends. This was the closest thing to a new car my dad had ever owned at this point. The man had retired and then his company offered him a two year position in Australia which included a new car in Australia and a new car back in the states when the job was over. This 1954 Buick had been his baby and was meticulously maintained. We picked the car up on a Friday. When we went for a ride the following Sunday, the Buick bucked to a stop. The fuel pump had gone out. A friendly farmer towed us to a garage in a small town. It turned out that the owner of the garage was an outstanding mechanic and my dad traded with him for several years until the mechanic closed his business. My brother and I were also told not to say a word to the friends that had sold us the Buick. Dad had gotten the car at a very good price and he didn’t want his friends to feel bad about the problem. I was a freshmen in high school when my dad bought that Buick. I bought the Buick from him eight years later when I was in my second year of graduate school. It was a wonderful car. I sold the Buich when it had 160,000 miles and it had never had the head or pan off the engine–remarkable for those days.

Mechanics cannot predict a malfunction. If they could they would be in Vegas making millions of dollars by gambling. The blower motor worked fine until it went bad. That’s what electrical and mechanical components do.

I’m not concluding with certainty there’s going to be a transmission problem with this vehicle. What I am saying is that I’ve done countless inspections of cars for dealers and individuals and if I tell someone the transmission fluid needs to be changed then that comment also comes with a caveat; the transmission may be on shaky ground from the looks of the fluid.
Otherwise, I tell them the transmission shifts fine and the fluid at least has a nice clean appearance.

This car has already suffered a blower motor failure at 110k miles and that’s a bit young of a vehicle to go through this already; much less a blower motor that allegedly made a bang when it quit.
A blower motor bang is new one on me and “front of the car” was not exactly clarified along with “we have determined”, meaning who is “we”?
Just pondering the diagnosis is all.

Who’s responsible ?
Father Time.

I’m actually kind of confused by the question. Do you mean to say that you never once, in the “10-15 days” after purchasing this vehicle turned on the A/C nor the heat? I want to live where you live. You must have downright perfect weather.

The motor would have run for both. If you used it once, it was fine when you bought it. After that, failures happen. Nothing you can do but suck it up and get it fixed (or fix it yourself). May seem mean, but it’s not.

The mechanic was taking good care of his customer by recommending a flush by the dealer which he knew the dealer would do for free to sell the car.

Gentlemen- I UNDERSTAND that I purchased a USED car and that it will require repairs and maintenance going forward-no problem-that is why I chose to purchase a Honda pilot-I live in Minnesota-where we do not turn on the heater until we ABSOLUTELY have to. The car was purchased at the end of September-and yes that time of the year here is perfect for us-no need of the heater. Now I ask you-have any of you ever purchased a home? Did you get it pre-inspected? Did you rely on the expertise of the inspector? What if after a month you found you had mold in your walls? Would you be so quick to dismiss one of the main reasons you purchased the house? I asked if my mechanic bears SOME of the responsibilities because I think turning on the heater and air-conditioning would have been a normal part of the inspection process.
As for the Doctors’s remark-(although not really applicable) if I had an EKG and kept having symptoms and reported them to my doctor and he/she did not order further test nor saw me again and I had a heart attack and lived, I might not sue-but here in Minnesota there would be an investigation for patient neglect.
You are right- things break, we get them fixed and go on.

And when you bought your house and had the home inspection done, do you feel the home inspector should bear some responsibility is one year later the rain gutter leaks?

I’ve had TWO heart attacks and lived. My heart is now too weak to readily get blood up to my brain. I have to run my resting blood pressure at about 155/95 with a resting pulse above 90 to keep from blacking out. I’ve had tests up the wazoo. I know I’ll have another heart attack. Is my doctor partially responsible? Nope.

It would be totally unrealistic to expect the mechanic to bear even some responsibility for the heater motor failing. Everyone is simply trying to explain their reasoning in saying so.


I don’t know if you are keeping score, but by my count it is running 100% against your reasoning.
That should tell you something, even if you don’t like the message.
As you said, “get it fixed and move on”.

And, stop trying to blame other folks for something that could not have been predicted or foreseen.

I would have to believe the air conditioning was tested both during the road test and during the inspection so the blower motor must have been working.

No matter how nice the weather is I leave the fan on in my car, I enjoy ventilation.

Exactly, Nevada.
While the OP tells us that folks in his state “don’t turn on the heater until they absolutely have to”, I would find it very odd (and, in fact, negligent) if neither he nor any of his passengers ever operated the vents, the A/C, the defroster, or the heater during the test drive or during the 10-15 days after purchasing the vehicle.

In fact, I refuse to believe that the HVAC system was not operated at all by the driver or passengers during that period of time.