Chattanooga, TN asked in Consumer Law, Personal Injury and Small Claims for Illinois

Q: can a sue a car repair shop for breaking a part on my truck and not fixing it they have had it for 2 months

whatever they broke now its going to cost $5600 to fix and they will not take my calls and they have had the truck for over 2 months now I have already paid $1782.00 for the heater core and now the computer is not working and the truck will not start they still have the truck and said it will be 3-4 weeks before the new computer comes in, however I spoke to the parts department and the part has not even been ordered

1 Lawyer Answer
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Maybe. Before you go down that road, your best advice may be to have the car towed to the dealer before anything else is done. The dealer can tell you whether the heater core was properly installed and they should be able to explain how it would be possible to damage the computer while performing that operation (e.g. perhaps the mechanic failed to remove the battery cables and accidentally shorted the computer while installing the new heater core). The dealer will have mechanics who are certified to work on your vehicle. As such, the dealer's mechanics would be able to testify at trial, on your behalf if it is their opinion that the other repair shop damaged your car and they can explain how it could happen.

If you simply file suit against the repair shop now, you have no way to prove that the computer didn't go out by itself. The repair shop accepts your vehicle as a "bailment." This means that the shop is obligated to return the vehicle to you in the exact same condition that it was received, to an extent. For example, if you take the car in with a seven-year-old battery that happens to go dead while it's at the shop, the shop is not responsible for replacing your battery because it has long exceeded its useful life. Similarly, if your muffler is badly rusted and it falls off when the car is driven onto a lift, the repair shop is not responsible for replacing the muffler. That said, the shop would be responsible if a mechanic with tools in his back pocket sat in your car and ripped the leather or rubbed against your car and scratched the paint.

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