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What To Do If A Mechanic Made Your Car Worse

What To Do If A Mechanic Made Your Car Worse

We take our cars to a garage to get them fixed or at least diagnosed, the last thing anyone wants is for the problem to get worse, or a completely new issue to arise. Unfortunately, that can sometimes happen, be that by fault of the mechanic, or simply bad luck. 

In this blog, we’ll explore what your best course of action is in this situation, including how to approach the mechanic or garage, and what your legal rights are. 

Mechanic Made My Car Worse! 

Depending on the type of both the initial problem, and the new one, there are many reasons why your car feels, sounds or appears worse after a mechanic has done work on it.  

Here are a few of the common causes. 

Something Broke Whilst Fixing The Car 

Without any error on the mechanic’s part, repairing one component can worsen or create a problem with another. This is most likely to happen if your car has done lots of miles, or is particularly old. 

A great example of this is when working with the suspension on an older or high mileage car, the bolts that are used to hold everything together are subject to near-constant dirt, water, and road salt in the UK.  

So then, when removing a suspension arm bolt to change a ball joint or bush, the bolt could snap, resulting in; the cost of a new bolt at best, or a new hub or suspension arm if the broken bolt cannot be removed. 

1. Fixing One Problem Highlighted A Different One 

Mechanical components on cars wear reasonably uniformly, with brakes, suspension, and steering components all taking a hit every time you drive, especially with the state of many of the UK’s roads.  

In some cases, changing worn-out parts can highlight other problems that were already there, but were not easily noticed. 

2. The Mechanic Did Something Wrong 

Whilst the first few points we’ve mentioned are physical or mechanical consequences of the complexity of modern cars, it is also possible that the mechanic simply messed up the job.  

Whether it be through pressure to work quickly, or complacency, something as simple as a spring clip being forgotten when changing brakes, can have serious ramifications. 

At the end of the day, mechanics are human, and we can all make mistakes, but this is not to say that they should be ignored or not made-good by the garage or mechanic.  

3. Something Else Broke 

It is possible that shortly after your car was repaired, something completely unrelated also broke, stranger things have happened, and as we’ve mentioned, replacing parts can put stress on the other worn components in the system. 

Consider the nature and physical location of the problem, if you have just had new brake pads and discs, and now your engine is refusing to start, there’s probably no correlation.  

If however you notice a lack of braking power, or a strange grinding noise, it’s fair to suspect the garage’s workmanship.

 

Your Consumer Rights When Having Your Car Repaired 

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the garage has “an obligation to use reasonable care and skill when completing any repairs, servicing or investigations on your car”. What constitutes unreasonable care or skill will depend on the fault and situation in general. 

What is Poor Service From a Garage 

The law isn’t too specific on what constitutes poor service, but we’d consider the following to be grounds for concern: 

  • Failing to fix a problem when stating it was fixed 
  • Not communicating that a diagnosis is ‘subject to experimentation’ before proceeding 
  • Refusing to make good on bad repairs or where a linked issue has arisen after working on the car 

What To Do When A Mechanic Makes Your Car Worse 

Step 1: Document Everything You Can 

Ideally, before the car is sent in for repair, make some notes, pictures or video footage of the nature of the problem. Some garages will offer free checks of brakes, suspension etc, which come with a report, this could be useful in diagnosing the issue, even if you take the car elsewhere to be fixed. 

Step 2: Don’t Jump To Accusations or Threats 

The garage or mechanic will be much more likely to help if you’re courteous and cooperative, rather than combative and threatening, even if you’re sure the problem was caused by them. 

Ask them to have another look, as you’ve noticed something new with the car, offering some ideas and information about when the noise or feeling is worse can help the mechanic diagnose the new problem. 

Step 3: Seek a Second Opinion 

If the garage doesn’t want to help, or cannot find the cause of the problem, it might be time to get a second opinion. This is vital as not only does it get another set of eyes looking at the problem, but it may help to have another professional opinion on record if you need to take further action.  

To do this, seek out a well-reviewed garage, a specialist for your particular make of car would be even better, and ask if they can look over your car, you may have to pay a small fee for this. Some garages offer free car health checks that might help here.  

Step 4: Seek Further Advice 

If you have communicated the problem with the original garage and received a professional second opinion, but the mechanic still refuses to accept liability, it might be time to start seeking professional advice.  

There are a few bodies that aim to resolve disputes with car repairs, check if the garage is a member of any of the following: 

  • The Motor Ombudsman  
  • The Retail Motor Industry Federation 
  • The Motorcycle Industry Association 

If so, contacting them should be your next step, many offer a conciliation service whereby they will take information from both parties (you and the garage) and come to an agreement.  

How To Avoid Dodgy Mechanics In The Future 

Almost all mechanics and garages do not set out to rip off or defraud customers, and many will go out of their way to help if something unexpected happens such as what we've discussed here, they have a reputation to uphold after all.  

To find these garages and avoid getting caught out again, we’d recommend the following: 

  • Asking family and friends for recommendations 
  • Check Facebook groups or online forums dedicated to your car’s make and model, for local recommendations 
  • Meticulously check the garage’s Google and TrustPilot reviews 
  • Get a written quote and summary of what needs to be done before committing to any work 
  • Familiarise yourself with the problem at hand - for unusual sounds read this guide - then use forums and groups to find further information about the problem 

To Find an Approved Garage And Split Payments, Use Bumper 

Bumper offers zero-percent financing on car repair payments, which can majorly help with big bills. We also have approved garages all over the UK, so you know your vehicle is in good hands.  

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