Broken Oil Drain Plug
(bullhead city az)
Broken drain plug on 97 BMW
An auto repair shop said my oil drain plug was broken and a piece of it was stuck up inside the pan. They recommended removal of the oil pan to get the piece out, labor to begin was $400. No written estimate was supplied. I said call me a tow truck. He said, we can give you credit if your rating is good. I said fine, but save my engine oil pan. He said we may have to replace it if I can't get the piece out.
I thought not, a day or so later I get the call, "not salvageable" he says, and new one is $700. They can do the job for a total of $1400 and will throw in the oil change you came in for. I'm having a senior moment and thinking my credit rating gives me $1500, and I'm calculating my monthly payments. Then I wonder when can new part arrive? He says Monday at the soonest.
After researching about pieces of metal inside a pan, I discover you don't have to remove a pan to get it out. They use an extractor tool. It's Friday now and I call to tow the car away, arriving sat morning. I find a new mechanic who gives me a drain plug. The original shop refused to give me my old plug back and carts me to the ATM so I can pay them 266, which are mostly labor charges as they said they had begun to dismantle the car in preparation to receive new pan that wasn't delivered yet.
I say even to pay you $266 and paying off the new mechanic I'm doing much better than to pay the estimated $1400 for a new oil pan that was not required. The original repair shop was not happy with my chatter. The new mechanic takes pictures, (included above) and says they did not dismantle anything under there. Although on the receipt it says engine oil pan removal and new gasket. This is a lie.
The driver who carted me to ATM disclosed the pan was not removed. So next is the court case at end of month. I am bound to get money back for bogus charges, plus towing, but wonder if it's fair to collect also what I paid to the new mechanic for the proper fix? He says it is fair.
But to get this over in a mediation process I think I would take whatever is offered as long as my money is returned plus towing and court costs. The clerk from the original repair center is angry with me and said I threatened to bring the cops. I did, but changed my mind about making a big scene. I think I would not be going to court if I had brought a cop, and the cop was willing to show up with me.
My witness though, is the only reason I have a good case. Beware of repair shops counting on a person's ignorance of their car. I had researched online about drain plugs breaking and had an intense experience learning how they are extracted. As it turns out no piece of metal was ever found or mentioned again and I became the little old lady with the oil drain plug.