Your vehicle is fine when you drop it off for a minor service or inspection, but it won't run or runs poorly when you pick it up. It can happen at any dealership or auto repair shop. How should you handle it?
It's a very frustrating situation, did the business damage your vehicle while it was in their care, or, is it just a coincidence and the part was about to go bad anyway. You may never know what really happened, but there's an important step to take if you find yourself in this situation.
"A part can go out at any time," Rey Martinez said.
Martinez was getting ready to sell his 2011 Toyota Tundra. At the buyer's request, Martinez says he agreed to take the truck to a respected Phoenix-area car dealer for an inspection.
"Just give it a once-over to confirm that everything was in working order for the buyer's sake, his peace of mind," Martinez said.
Martinez says the truck had driven fine for the five months he owned it; it never had a problem and it drove into the dealership with no issues. But when he returned later to pick up the inspection report, he says the dealership told him there was a problem.
"When they went to bring the vehicle back up to me, they weren't able to turn the truck, so they said it was inoperable," Martinez said.
It was the steering mechanism. Martinez says the dealership said they could fix it for about $3,000. He told them, since the vehicle was running fine when he brought it in, it should run afterward. He felt the dealer should take responsibility for the repair. He says they didn't agree.
"Bottom line was, it's my vehicle, my responsibility, and I can handle it how I see fit, either have them repair it or tow it off the lot," Martinez said.
Martinez drove it home, then had it towed to another shop for the repair. Getting that second opinion is usually your best move in cases like this. If the second shop finds fault with the first shop, you could use that information in a court proceeding.
"We could have the other shop that took care of it give us an evaluation as to why the vehicle was damaged," Martinez said.
The second shop (the one that fixed the problem) did not find any fault with the first shop, so there is no way to know how and when the steering issue occurred.
But sometimes the second shop can detect faulty work done by the first shop. That's why attorneys CBS 5 News spoke with say your best bet, in situations like this, is to take your vehicle to that second facility for an evaluation.
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.