While I know a little about cars, the bulk of my knowledge came from when I was a kid bolting on stuff to my Honda and racing it illegally. (So, not much.)
My '96 Civic DX (5-speed) recently passed 220k miles, and when on the highway, completely blew up while my wife was driving it. She had it towed home, I attempted to turn the engine over, and it sounded like a loud grinding noise. I figured there was a thrown rod and just chalked it up to age/miles. I called my local mechanic - whom, up to this point, I trusted - and asked him about a replacement engine. He offered to do a swap for $2400, I said that it was too expensive, and he found a cheaper engine and came down to $1700. I mulled it over but didn't have the money, so a few months later when I did (now), I contacted him and he said he could do it for $1800 + tax. Fair enough.
I had it towed there and they said it'd be done by Thursday/Friday of this week.
I went in on Friday, and they said that the new engine works, but the transmission may have been damaged due to the broken connecting rods (they showed me the parts), and that it may be significantly more expensive as it could require a gear repack or a new transmission + labor. They said they would have no idea if the transmission was bad without connecting it to the block and starting the engine.
So, I'm pretty pissed because at no point did they make it clear a replacement transmission was in the cards. Had I known there was even a chance of that happening, I would have sold the car for parts, since it would have clearly exceeded $2400 in parts + labor - which I previously said in conversations with the mechanic that it wasn't worth it.
Two questions, I guess:
- Is their claim of "we must connect the transmission and start the engine to know if there's a problem" true? If not, how could they have diagnosed it?
- Do you think they acted ethically given the background I provided to you?
Thanks a ton, guys. Hopefully this wall of text isn't too much; just wanted to provide enough detail.