Legal then fix or fix while getting legal?


Asked by May 25, 2016 at 10:53 PM about the 1997 Toyota RAV4 4 Door AWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Alrighty, I'm not entirely sure this is the best place to ask, but I've got a
problem. So... what better place to ask than Car Gurus. I have a 1997 Toyota
RAV4 that I had bought in which I did know couldn't run at the time of
purchase. Just a timing belt replacement and a new battery. I had a person
that a friend recommended to me to fix it, which he did quite splendidly.
Afterwards however, a small oil leak that I had noticed turned into a full on
pour. (Which was not the fault of the mechanic. We discovered it was an
unfinished issue that the previous owner did not discuss) By that, I mean I was
losing pints at a time but did not know until it was too late. I was cruising along
on the highway and my car completely cut out; engine stopped, steering was
heavy. Long story short (or about as short as I can if even the guys here can
help) I then had the same person look it over and was told that I needed a full
engine replacement. Months later (me being naive) my car still is not running
and I am now stuck with a still nonfunctional car and cannot get anything from
the guy. My question here is... I'm looking to take a court order or something to
the individual who was supposed to replace my engine, which he said he did,
but the evidence all point towards the fact that it is the same engine that cut
out with me on the highway. But also, I want my car fixed so I can continue
getting to work and back. What can I do in this circumstance? Wait until I court
order him and then get my car fixed or fix it while during the legal process? I
can explain in more detail if asked, so please let me know. And thanks for
taking the time! -F

6 Answers

Tom Demyan

So is the replacement engine that you say is the same one actually working and running? Maybe the mechanic put a used engine in vs new. How do you know he is lying? Most times original parts are swapped over from your engine to the used engine block. I think all your questions should be directed to your lawyer. you have to decide if you want to pay the garage to get the car back or legal fees. If you decide to get the car, have another mechanic look it over for you that you can trust and maintain it for you.


you knew it couldn't run at time of purchase?! look, you bought a piece of junk and knew it - it happens when people are not careful- you bought a bad car- as in horse trading, people learn to be more careful- like, DON"T BUY A DEAD HORSE- chalk it up to a lesson learned, sell the thing for parts and get another car- and be CAREFUL this time- it will be a lot easier than lawyering up-


How and what happened was when he said the engine would need to be replaced was like this: He would work for free and we would just need to buy the parts he would be putting in. The engine he did find was used but was said to run. But keep in mind during all this, our conversations were over the phone or when he would come by for money to get this, get that. By that, I mean we both decided a full engine replacement, hoses, sparkplugs, etc. But how do I know that he's lying? When I had to tow my vehicle back after finally waiting long enough with still no working engine. (At this point he started to ignore my phone calls and any other way of contact) And when I popped the hood and had a licensed mechanic look at everything. We both noticed that bolts at not been touched, they looked perfect, the places where an engine hoist would have its chains to pull it out, looked untouched. And to seal the deal, the mechanic looked at the engine number and compared it to the engine number that would be original to my vin, they both matched perfectly. So we know that he is indeed lying, and he's not any closer to giving us back money that he didn't use to fix my car.


And jamnblues, not everyone is perfect so don't go busting my chops on a first car purchase. All I knew at face value was a timing belt and battery. I wouldn't exactly call that a dead horse, more so a sickly horse that needed to get better. And add to it a half-shyster mechanic that didn't notice the oil leak while he was putting in my timing belt. So make it a sickly horse and a shitty doctor alongside some bad luck.

Tom Demyan

How much money did you give him? a couple hundred? he was working for free and everything was all verbal, not sure how much legal recourse you have. You have the SUV now, so like Jamn mentioned, live and learn.


To slide in at this late date. I would look at the amount to money you gave the guy, compare that to the cost of going to court and lawyer (if needed) and I would imagine the amount of possible recovery would not be truly worth it, You decide. Now EVEN if you are totally in the right; it still may not be worth the total expense and hassle to go through. Also should you win the case- if this is in small clams court YOU are responsible to collect the money. If this is in a civil court, the judge may require a return of your money but that may take longer than you would wish. Shady people know the law and how skirt it or play it. So to recap; as you now have the car, you had another mechanic look at it, you seem to trust his information, then look at "cutting your losses"- hire this mechanic -or some one else you trust - have the repairs done. Then move on; sadder( in the pocket book) but wiser. Not the best or most pleasing outcome but a practical one. You have a lot of future ahead and don't need this anchor to hold you back. Good Luck on what ever you decide.

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