Visitor Question

Mechanic Negligence Causes Auto Fire…

Submitted By: Georgiana (Gonzales, CA)

I went to national chain muffler store/mechanic for them to check a grinding noise. They were approved for $300. They did several things to the car I didn’t ask them to. I have the list of all of them. When they finished they gave me a bill for a little over $1,000. I was shocked.

On the way home my dog was coughing like crazy. I went a little more and stopped, only to discover fire was coming from under my car like crazy. I

ran to a restaurant and they helped put it out with 2 fire extinguishers. I had to sleep in the car that night.

The next day I went to a different mechanic (but part of the same national chain) and they checked the car and documented several things the first guys did wrong. The valve cover was still leaking, there was low tire pressure, and many other things they did wrong. He also said the fire was from a hole in the gas tank.

I have several photos that show the fire started at the rear transmission, not the gas tank. Also the first manager lied and wrote down the car millage 10,000 miles less than it was, hoping I would not notice and later look like I had driven it a lot.

They have done so many things wrong it is unbelievable. Now they won’t talk to me and they say it was all my fault. The fire started due to them not checking the grinding noise at the rear transmission. I could have been killed.

I have proof of everything and I believe they made so many mistakes, including illegal things, and that they’re so scared they don’t want to get near me. I have been without my car for over a month, also because my insurance cannot get any cooperation from the chain either. It is a crazy mess and it is full of cover ups.

What can I do to get some action on this case?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Georgiana,

It certainly seems you were dealt a difficult hand. The first thing you should do is grab a new and unused legal or other lined pad. Sit in a place where you’ll be minimally distracted for about an hour. Then start slowly recounting everything you can from the first time you called the store to ask either for an appointment or for some explanation of what might be causing the grinding noise in your car.

If you didn’t make any calls, then start from the very first time you had any interaction with the people who initially attempted to repair your car. Try and remember conversations you had with anyone, including their names and what they had to do with your car. Try and remember conversations you may have overheard between the employees while they were discussing what they believed to be the initial cause of the grinding noise and the repairs they were going to attempt.

Keep writing down in a logical order everything you can remember even down to the slightest detail. Then write down all the money you paid them, and all the money it’s going to cost to put your car back into the same condition it was before you brought it to them.

Then you should write a letter, Certified RRR to the local manager of the store where all this took place. Layout in detail all you have recounted in your summary. At the end of the summary ask them to reimburse you for the monies set out above.

If they don’t respond, or don’t pay that amount within a reasonable time you can take it to the next step and file a lawsuit against them in Small Claims Court. If it comes to that you can file against them for the monies stated above AND you can also sue them for the Mental Anguish you suffered as a result of their actions.

Normally the maximum amount you can sue for in Small Claims Court is $5,000. The good news is that let’s say the monies stated above come to $1,500 dollars. Well you can add to that amount $3,500 for Mental Anguish. In other words the total lawsuit can be for $5,000 whether your costs of repair where $100 or $4,500.

Now there is no guarantee the Court will award you that amount, or that you will even win the lawsuit, but if you’re able to show the Judge all that has happened to you, relying on the summary you made before suit was filed, you may be surprised at the amount of money the Court may award you.

Learn more here: Injuries Caused by Employees

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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