What are my options when dealing with mechanic who didn't correctly repair my car?

I took my 2007 Camry in to a mechanic 2 weeks ago with Engine Code P0301, misfire cylinder 1. The mechanic still ran diagnostics for $100 and then did a tune up replacing all plugs and coils. After driving less than 200 miles, the light came on again with the same error code...the performance was sluggish as well. So naturally, I call them and take the car back.

Now they want to charge me again for a diagnostic, even though it's the same code and they just did this 2 weeks ago. I think that's absurd...frankly I don't think they should charge me a nickel for fixing anything that they fixed 2 weeks ago.

So here's my question...what recourse do I have? I know a few places who can diagnose for free, but if I ultimately still need to get the plugs and coils replaced again, I feel this place should do it since I already paid. Their warranty for parts and labor says 24,000 miles/2 years. Of course I'm now afraid they're going to blame something else for the code.

Other than finding a new mechanic after this, what advice would you give on how to handle this. I don't want to give this place anymore money, and I don't want to 'void' any warranty but having somewhere else diagnose it.

9 Answers

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  • 5 months ago

    Find the Service manager and show him your paper work and how much you spent to repair the misfire. Let him know you expect either a refund because they didn't fix it or they need to fix it right!

    If he gives you any grief tell him you'r going to call the Better Business Bureau and the manufacturer customer service representative to file a complaint. You can also call the dealer's owner which usually gets the Service managers attention as he would worry about his job.

    Source(s): Mitsubishi Master Tech
  • don r
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Start with the warranty. They do sound less than honest, but written agreements are binding. If you pulled the code and know that it's P0301- misfire in cylinder number 1, and there are no other codes, when they lie it will be obvious. The new coils they already installed should still be good. All I can imagine might cause a P0301, that isn't misfire would be a clogged fuel injector or burned/cracked piston and that would also show low compression in that cylinder. A stuck valve would become noisy and possibly cause the car to smoke, as would a burned piston .

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    A mechanic who doesn't run a diagnostic before working on a car isn't doing his job. Error codes only tell a mechanic which system the trouble is in - it doesn't tell him exactly what is wrong. Your car is old and probably hasn't seen the recommended periodic maintenance listed in the owner's manual so it probably did need new plugs and coils. Apparently your car has more troubles than that and my guess is that one of the new spark plugs is getting fouled because one or more cylinders / valve guides in your engine is worn. If so, that is an expensive repair and you may need to learn how to remove, clean and gap your spark plugs yourself or this probably may keep happening. Your option, is to educate yourself, not complain about a shop that took the correct approach to fixing the immediate trouble. Frankly, you're an idiot.

  • 6 months ago

    Best approaching is to contact the main office and register your complain. Tell them that the issue has not be resolved even i paid full for repairing my car. This way they will take care of their customer complain and rectify them in future. They cannot charge you more if car mechanical fault is not replaced.

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  • 6 months ago

    I agree that you shouldn't pay another $100 diagnostic fee for what sounds like the same problem you paid them to diagnose just 2 weeks earlier. A reputable shop wouldn't demand you pay another diagnostic fee to have the car diagnosed a 2nd time in 2 weeks for the exact same issue you brought it to them for in the first place.

    If I were you, I'd show up in person with the car and tell them they need to take another look at your car because it's having the exact same problem as 2 weeks earlier. Don't be rude, don't raise your voice etc., - be civil but firm about it. Tell them that something is still wrong, that you're having the same problem, and make it very clear you've already paid the $100 diagnostic fee and that you have no interest in paying an extra $100 for them to diagnose it again.

    One of two things will happen if you're civil about it - because it's much harder to argue with a dissatisfied (but not outraged/ridiculous-acting) customer in person than it is to just blow them off over the phone, they might well take a look at it again and waive the fee if you're standing right in front of them (preferably with a waiting room full of other customers overhearing the entire, CIVIL, exchange...). In that case, let them try to figure it out a 2nd time if they waive the fee.

    The other thing that might happen is that they'll still tell you that they can't waive the $100 fee and then and only then do you tell them in no uncertain terms (though still don't be a complete jerk about it!) that they've lost your business and then take the car somewhere that actually stands behind their work next time and chalk it up to a learning experience on who to deal with when you need future car repairs. Good luck.

    • Lv 4
      6 months agoReport

      interesting aanswer;also, once the vehicle is in their hands on their property, they typically have a mechanics lean on the title of the vehicle until they sign off that their bill is paid in full, whatever their charges are!! maybe just go to a good place,& also check for deliberately made problems

  • Carson
    Lv 6
    6 months ago

    100k plugs were a logical place to start. They were going to go soon.

    I bet they didn't test drive it for 20 min.

    I wonder if they just ran codes which is cheaper or hooked up a BEAR diagnostic machine. That may be what they want to do now. That would have shown a %age a cyl was dropping. In fact every parameter in the ECM.

    Look at it like this. Your plugs were at the 'due date'. They need changed at 100k. Coil packs don't have an expiration date. Did you request your old parts back? Always do. We don't know if the coils needed changed. I suspect not.

    If they won't budge on diagnostics fee, *at least discount it, then screw them walk away. Trash them on a review. They are parts changers. That means they throw parts at it til it works. Guess who pays?

    Keep your receipt take it to another mechanic that is willing to be a mechanic, like Geo. If you had those old coil packs they can be tested. Then you have yourself a case in small claims.

  • paul h
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    It's too late now but I would have asked them how they diagnosed the initial problem. A P0301 code an be due to several different issues such as bad spark plug or wire, bad coil, clogged injector, weak cylinder pressure, vacuum leak, etc..So the tech should have done a number of tests/checks to eliminate possible causes and pinpoint that the #1 cylinder plug or coil was bad before changing them although an older car with high miles may still have needed them anyway.

    Going forward, you may want to talk to the shop owner or manager and explain that you don't feel the shop should charge you again to diagnose the same problem in so short a time.Is the shop or tech ASE certified? look for shops and techs that are to avoid inexperienced techs.. It was likely misdiagnosed the first time and you may have spent money that you didn't need to....albeit it may have been needed anyway given the age of the car. If the owner will not give you a free 2nd diagnosis and perhaps discount on previous repairs, then file a complaint with the BBB if they are a member or the city license board. Let them know you will do so...too many complaints to the board can get their license revoked. That may help them give you a break.

    If you still need to, find another qualified shop that is ASE certified and ask a lot of questions in how they diagnose the issue...what are possible causes for the code, how did they eliminate a possible cause, do you guarantee that it is fixed or no charge/refund?, etc..A couple tests would be to check the resistance of #1 injector but it could still have a bad spray pattern/clog and a compression test of the cylinders to see if #1 is low, check for vacuum/air leaks, inspect wiring/connectors for issues, etc..Given the age of the car, if the #1 injector is found to be bad, it might be a good idea to replace them all or at least do a good cleaning of them.

    "P0301 Possible causes...

    Faulty spark plug

    Clogged or faulty fuel injector

    Faulty ignition coil

    Fuel injector harness is open or shorted

    Fuel injector circuit poor electrical connection

    Ignition coil harness is open or shorted

    Ignition coil circuit poor electrical connection

    Insufficient cylinder compression

    Incorrect fuel pressure

    Intake air leak

    Read more: https://www.autocodes.com/p0301_2007_toyota_camry....

    https://www.cartalk.com/mechanics-files

  • JetDoc
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    No, Dummy... You DON'T need to get the coils and plugs replaced AGAIN. That probably wasn't the REAL problem in the first place. If the shop gave you a WRITTEN WARRANTY for the parts and labor they did the last time, they should honor that warranty and look for other causes for your problem.

    If you want LEGAL advice, go talk to a lawyer.

    • Lv 4
      6 months agoReport

      good point; also, first, maybe carefully check if the components were actually replaced with good new ones, AND presently, very possibly the place would charge to replace without replacing anything, also, they may have deliberately messed something up; check all connections, then, go to a good place

  • 6 months ago

    I know from experience that fixing a car problem can be a matter of trial and error sometimes. They should not charge you for another diagnostic, I would take them to small claims court if they refuse to fix the problem without that charge. Just remember it could be a number of things and pinning it down can be hard.

    • Geo
      Lv 6
      6 months agoReport

      If you don't Troubleshoot it's guessing and trial and error ALL the Time. That's not what real mechanics do. They don't GUESS.

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