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Car cambelt snapped whilst with garage. Can I claim back anything?

Last post Mon, Dec 10 2012, 9:53 AM by huckster. 7 replies.
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  •  Mon, Dec 10 2012, 9:53 AM

    Re: Car cambelt snapped whilst with garage. Can I claim back anything?

    Yes you could make a Data Protection subject access request to the Highways Agency or whoever is responsible for the motorway cameras. But you would need to know when you car was on the Motorway. It would cost you a max of £10 to make the request, but they will have up to 40 days to supply any camera footage to you, if they can find it.

    So Renault had the car booked in, but they did not see it, as it broke down on the Motorway while it was being driven to them? If this is the case, then I think you may have to accept that it was an unlucky event. I have had a cambelt go on a car and it cost nearly £500 to get the engine sorted out. And I was told, that I had been lucky, as the damage could have been worse.

    Due to the cost of repair, the car is effectively a write off, unless you can get a cheap replacement engine and know someone who will fit it cheaply.

    • Post Points: 5
  •  Mon, Dec 10 2012, 8:46 AM

    Re: Car cambelt snapped whilst with garage. Can I claim back anything?

    Firstly, thanks to everybody for responding on this.

    I don't think there was anything wrong with them driving it to Renault. It did go to Renault by the way - we called Renault directly in Gloucester and they confirmed they had the car. It wasn't "under risk" per se. We were simply investing (a lot of) money in getting the cambelt replaced as the car had quite a few years left in it. We owned it from new so we knew it had been cared for.

    Just the chain of events makes me believe that something is not quite right. And I honestly doubt that the AA/RAC could actually prove it had gone due to workmanship - I would imagine if it had been a bad fitting job that they'd have covered their tracks. As I said, they took a long time to get back to us compared to normal (and I've been using Ford in Worcester for years - they're generally prompt in requesting payment!).

    They did say that it broke on the motorway and I could request date/time and between which junctions it went. Is that something the Highways Agency could help with i.e. could they look at footage? Not sure if they could to be honest - privacy laws etc.

    Of course, I could just be being completely paranoid. It's just that a cambelt going, on the way to having it replaced, on a well looked after car? Coincidence? Maybe I'll never know.

    Thanks

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sun, Dec 09 2012, 7:44 PM

    Re: Car cambelt snapped whilst with garage. Can I claim back anything?

    Unless the cambelt was in immediate or imminent danger of snapping and you had indicated this fact, (which neither you or the garage could reasonably ascertain without a strip down & full inspection). Legally it would not be deemed unreasonable for the car to have been driven the relatively small 30 mile distance as it was designed, to the Renault dealer for the routine work to be carried out, especially as you accepted this fact when leaving it and you were aware the car would need to be driven there.

    Bear in mind this cambelt could just as easily have broken whilst you were personally taking it to the Ford garage, it was just sheer pot luck that it didn't. These belts simply do not have any definitive mileage, age or usage conditions before they snap, therefore neither the Ford garage or yourself could reasonably have forecast that it would have broken within 30 or even the next 3000 miles?

    To have any legal redress you would first need to be able to prove that the damage has been somehow caused by their negligence whilst it was in their care, or their incompetence has contributed to the damage. If you had voiced your concern upon leaving the car over the short longevity left in the cambelt (if you had known?) or left instruction that you would rather the car was transported instead on a recovery vehicle, then you would have had a very strong legal case.

    Having said the above, that would only be applicable if the cambelt did actually break en-route and they are telling you the full truth?

    If in fact you believe the car did actually make it to Renault and there has been an attempt to cover up shoddy workmanship due to the Renault dealer's incorrect procedure or fitting of any parts, then as huckster points out, the AA / RAC or another reputable garage should be able to identify and report whether or not the belt did actually break whilst the car was under normal usage, or if they consider inept fitting at the Renault dealer was the true cause of the problem.

    If you can prove, or if other experts consider this type of damage could only have been caused by Renault then you have a virtual rock solid legal case !!

    It could also be possible that the Ford garage have attempted to do this work on your Renault for which they were not adequately trained and are trying to make out it ocurred on route to the Renault dealer. I would check with the alleged Renault dealer to see if your car was indeed booked in. If it does transpire that there was no appointment or their records do not support that version, then you can question the Ford garage as to why the cambelt snapped whilst it was on it's way to a non-existant appointment ???

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sun, Dec 09 2012, 6:39 PM

    Re: Car cambelt snapped whilst with garage. Can I claim back anything?

    I am not interested in paying to get this fixed. That is not the issue. The issue is they've taken it, said the cambelt went (which I don't believe - the car has been service from new and was in for a routine change) and I am looking for my legal standpoint on how covered I am, if at all.

    To be honest the car is worth around 1.5-2K trade in - they either fix it or I buy another car. Either way their work is costing me 1000s!

    Does anybody know how I stand legally?

    Thanks
    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sat, Dec 08 2012, 7:30 PM

    Re: Car cambelt snapped whilst with garage. Can I claim back anything?

    I think I would have an AA/RAC report done and go from there.

    Someone I know had their Renault engine sorted out after their cambelt went and I think it cost them £750. But it depends on the amount of damage. If the engine needs replacing, you may be able to find a Clio in a scrapyard somewhere with backend damage, so you can buy the engine and then arrange for an independent garage to fit it.

    A cambelt can go at any time and I am surprised that the Ford garage could not fit one Sounds a bit odd them driving the car 30 miles to a Renault garage to have the work and for the cambelt to go on the way.

    I don't use garages for a branded manufacturer. I use two independent garages owned by ex AA mechanics who can service any make of car.

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sat, Dec 08 2012, 7:07 PM

    Re: Car cambelt snapped whilst with garage. Can I claim back anything?

    I would have thought that once they had taken rteceipt of the car that they have accepted responsibility and liability for the car. Especially as the reason for the new damage is a direct result of the reason why they had taken the car in the first place. I am not a mechanic myself but my limited knowledfge of cam belts are that you have a 50/50 chance of it seizing the engine requiring a full replacement...with a car at an imminent risk such as this you would have to question the garages risk at such an action of driving the car 30 miles and not as Bezzershuy suggested to use a car transporter of some kind.

    I would stand your ground and request that if they do not replace their damage that they return the car back to you in the condition it was left with them and you will seek alternative arrangements

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sat, Dec 08 2012, 5:55 PM

    Re: Car cambelt snapped whilst with garage. Can I claim back anything?

    Why did'nt they take it on a transporter, then there would have been no issues.
    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sat, Dec 08 2012, 5:11 PM

    Car cambelt snapped whilst with garage. Can I claim back anything?

    Hi,

    We recently booked our Renault Clio into Ford Worcester dealership to have a routine cambelt change. We dropped it off on Thursday evening and they said they were going to take it to Renault in Gloucester to do the work (which was supposedly Friday). This is 30 miles away.

    Please note the car was not faulty - we used Ford to service it and they said they would do it (via Renault).

    We had no call back on the Friday which is strange for Ford. After chasing them 4 times on the Monday they said the car broke down on the way to Renault - the cambelt had snapped! This caused the engine to basically ruin itself and they've quoted £4.6K to replace the engine!

    Firstly, I am struggling to believe this at all. Firstly there was a massive delay in them getting back to us (we didn't chase it as we were away on a mini-break hence not chasing them). But do we have a case at all? Should we be covered for this kind of thing happening - very strange the cambelt should go ON the way to changing the cambelt? I honestly feel they've put the cambelt on wrong, ruined the engine and are trying to cover their tracks.

    I will call Citizen's Advice Consumer line on Monday but if you could give me some advice beforehand it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    • Post Points: 20