Just having a legal question. Long story "short".. We bought a Holden Cruze CD (yes one of the worst cars you can get) back in May. Two weeks ago it has been serviced at mechanic A. with a refferal to mechanic B. To fix an oil leak. Mechanic A told he hasn't flushed the coolant which had oil in it because before fixing it, oil would get back into the coolant. That's what my partner did not tell me so I did not mention it to Mechanic B. When booking it for the oil leak fix. Anyway mechnic B fixed three oil leaks last thursday and statet on the Bill "found oil leaks from trans lines also oil in coolant system, will need to remove sump to carry out repairs. Silly us did not check the bill, and continued with booking in to get a new body control module (yes, the cars have electonic issues, too) Anyway, I would not even know what's a sump and that it meant they did not change the coolant after fixing the leaks. 3 days Later, our engine cooked itself. The question is, who is to blame? Should have Mechanic B. Kept the car and fix the coolant water? Should they have told us the car is in danger to cook it's engine? Who do I blame for this misery to get out of this at a half decent price? It obviously would not have cooked itself if they would have done the job right and changed the coolant. When the engine cooked itself, all oil and coolant bursted out, which I understand now is because of the cooked engine. I went to mechanic B. Today after getting an $8000 repair estimate to see if I can speak to the mechanic but the lady at the reception would just try to get rid off me and said I should go and talk to mechanic A, so I did.. but he said they should have fixed the coolant after seeing it and fixing the oil leaks. After his story they should have known why the oil was in there and that it needs replacement for no future damage.. now I have to talk again to mechanic B. And ask why they did not change it. Still I am looking for a leg to stand on. I think it will be hard to get around the reception lady "who has got so much idea". As a non car professional, I need to know. Should a professional know they have change the coolant with no hesitation when oil leaks are fixed? Is it their fault after all that our car is f...? How do I approach them next? Thanks for any help!

  • 1
    It's a bit hard to follow your story, but it seems like this whole thing was caused by miscommunication. Changing coolant isn't really related to fixing oil leaks. Am I correct in thinking you drove it for three days before the engine "cooked itself" (what exactly happened to it? Overheating should have been obvious and not an instant self destruction). If you're looking for a legal stance on this, it might be worth talking to a lawyer in your area.
    – raydowe
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 7:46
  • Yes miscommunication surely played a part in this. What mechnic A told me was, that mechanic B should have included the coolant fix in their procedure after fixing the oil leaks. Because the oil leaks were the reason for the oil in the coolant. Yes we drove for 3 days after that until the car overheated and cooked our engine. The problem is, with our non functual body module it did not show what we are overheating.
    – SaBiene Ma
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 8:12
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about legal advice and not about Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair as prescribed in the Help Center. Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


My advice is this; if you intend to seek legal advice, do not allow either mechanic to touch the car but instead find another mechanic who can produce a detailed engineers report into the condition of the vehicle, likely causes and potential next steps.

If you intend to employ the services of a solicitor, you will need this document plus it will give you a clear and concise, independent and crucially expert opinion on what happened.

There is no substitute for being prepared. Even though there are some very knowledgeable people on this website, we can't see the car and could only take an educated guess at the root cause of the problems. Ask ten people from here and you may get ten answers. If your intention is to pursue legal action, going to court and submitting "Here is some things people on the Internet" said as your evidence will likely not go in your favor.

In summary; appoint a well respected solicitor who is expert in this type of dispute and have a certified engineers report produced by a reputable and independent mechanic.

  • I would prefer not to search legal action, karma could get us for driving an "unroadworthy" car, due to disfunctional body module which affected the horndose as well. I was mainly wondering if I have a leg to stand on, when it comes to the point where they haven't replaced the oily coolant.
    – SaBiene Ma
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 8:20
  • It would be almost impossible to prove you'd driven an unroadworthy car because you clearly demonstrated, by taking the vehicle to a professional mechanic to have the BCM replaced that you were taking steps to ensure the vehicle was safe. If it was not roadworthy and either mechanic did not advise you, they would be liable, not you. My advice is still to employ the services of another totally independent mechanic to assess the damage. That is my advice and I stand by it. I cannot diagnose a complex case over the Internet. Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 8:24
  • Also, if you do not intend to pursue legal action, why do you need to assign blame? Surely if you do not wish to go down this route you'd simply have the vehicle repaired and exchange it on a deal on another? Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 8:25
  • I am a woman. Right now I don't know what I want.
    – SaBiene Ma
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 8:29
  • Irrespective of your gender, my advice remains the same. Only a professional mechanic who sees your car can advise what state it's in, why it's in that state and what the options are. Unless Mechanics A or B are willing to accept they caused the problem (it's possible one, both or neither did) then you simply need to get an independent professional to advise. Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 8:31

You state that they wrote the information on the bill, which you say you did not check and did not communicate between you and your partner.

I think that you will have a hard time trying to get blame on the mechanics as your communication is also at fault - and they did put the information on the bill, which you have a copy of...

But, I'm not a legal expert, however I have dealt with many many clients...

  • Yes it has been stated on the bill that they have to remove the sump to carry out repairs, and that what worries me. But on the other hand, if you'd be a mechanic/ if you are a mechanic, would you not know why the oil is in there and that it can be fixed after the oil leaks have been fixed? Nothing has been mentioned about that when picking up the car. When seeing the bill I believed it has been fixed.
    – SaBiene Ma
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 8:40
  • For the second mechanic, if you asked him to fix "x" leak then it depends where the leak is - some may involve working on the cooling system and other leaks may not need that type of work. If you gave the second mechanic the original bill and he read the note / warning then that may be a different situation.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 8:59
  • Mechanic B hasn't seen any bills. I only know they have seen the oil in the coolant and did not fix it/ advise us of what can happen.
    – SaBiene Ma
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 9:04

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