Automotive

Advice needed on repairs gone wrong

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  • Jun 19th, 2016 4:05 am
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[OP]
Sr. Member
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Aug 27, 2010
591 posts
111 upvotes

Advice needed on repairs gone wrong

I brought my car into the local high school autoshop to get the input shaft bearing and clutch replaced. The teacher had the students take out the entire front innards of the car. Not only is the transmission out, but the engine, the struts, the suspension, and various other parts that I can't name are also out.

The teacher then abruptly left the school with no repairs done on the car, and he won't be back for the rest of the year. The school is not bringing in a replacement as the school year is almost over. The school and the school board have both informed me that I am on my own finding a way to get my car put back together.

The parts of the car are scattered all over the autoshop along with other parts from other cars. I don't know how safe it is to transport the engine to a different site without it getting damaged along the way.

The repair bill is now going to be doubled as this is extra work to put back all those pieces that the teacher had taken out.

What recourse do I have? The school and school board said that they are not liable.
45 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
16734 posts
6967 upvotes
I think that this is a very unfortunate situation that you are in - no one wanted to do this, but it's an unfortunate result of you going to your school for your vehicle work and the school not having a backup plan for when the teacher leaves. I think that this is a situation where any sort of recourse involves you having to examine your contract with the school closely and having to take them to small claims court for anything you feel entitled to. If you had entered into a contract for the repairs, then the school should be responsible for the repairs (even if it means they have to pay out of pocket as being repaired at the school is no longer possible).

My advice is simple - examine your contract. If this was a handshake deal between you and the instructor, you may have a tough time because it may be seen that the instructor was not acting on behalf of the school.


The important part is getting your car fixed now - I would personally try to find a shop that you are comfortable with for the repairs and seeing if they will assist in recovering your parts. Judging by your questions I am making an assumption your comfort level with these sort of repairs in minimal, so you may be better off having them help so you do not have to deal with transporting your engine and other parts.
Deal Addict
Feb 6, 2011
1695 posts
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The kids should be able to put it back together.

Maybe tow it to another school.

What was the deal? Maybe free or very low labour?
[OP]
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Aug 27, 2010
591 posts
111 upvotes
billford wrote: The kids should be able to put it back together.

Maybe tow it to another school.

What was the deal? Maybe free or very low labour?
The students aren't allowed into the autoshop with no teacher present. The school takes in cars to repair so that the students can learn, and in return, the car owner pays for all the parts, but not the labor.

No other school is willing to take on the job so close to the end of the school year.
[OP]
Sr. Member
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Aug 27, 2010
591 posts
111 upvotes
TrevorK wrote:
My advice is simple - examine your contract. If this was a handshake deal between you and the instructor, you may have a tough time because it may be seen that the instructor was not acting on behalf of the school.
Interesting point. There was never any contract for any repairs from this teacher for the car owners to sign. In hindsight, of course, I wish I had thought of that. But we are talking about teachers (whom you like to think are in general trustworthy), and he was taking the car into the school autoshop and getting the work done by students under his supervision. I would see that as acting on behalf of the school, but who knows now.
Deal Guru
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Mar 9, 2007
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Think of the Childre…
Small claims court.

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
Sr. Member
Oct 18, 2013
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Brampton
hahaha damn man, im sorry but this is just funny.
Deal Expert
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Feb 26, 2004
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This is what happens when you resort to child labour
Deal Addict
Aug 19, 2011
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Markham
Sorry but this is one of the funniest stories I've ever read on RFD. I had a mental image of you going in to a crummy one bay shop with a bucket and picking out nuts and bolts of your car. Lol
Deal Guru
Jun 11, 2005
13134 posts
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Toronto
Lol did you take it to middlefield C.I or Central Tech? i hope it's just a Toyota tercel you took in.
Sr. Member
May 3, 2011
671 posts
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daaam tranny job from high school students is a bit risky
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2006
7726 posts
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Should treaten to go to local media and let his experience out so no body would bring their cars to the class if they don't at least bring a sub it to finish the work or put as much of the car back in one piece as possible. At the very very least, they should make the teacher come back for a few hours to locate and put the parts in a box for you to tow it to a shop. The school shouldn't be washing their hands since they NEED to help you for this much if they want to continue the program.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
Deal Addict
Feb 6, 2011
1695 posts
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Your basically getting a big job done at free labour, what recourse do you expect?

The free job will be done on the autoshop terms, not yours.

When it's done, at least buy the class lunch and not run away.
Deal Expert
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Oct 13, 2009
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Iqaluit, NU
I sympathize with your situation OP but I don't think you have much recourse. I hope this car was not your daily driver. Like others have said, you didn't actually pay anything so I'm not sure what kind of claim you'd have. Very interesting and unfortunate situation for sure.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
16734 posts
6967 upvotes
Junerose wrote: Interesting point. There was never any contract for any repairs from this teacher for the car owners to sign. In hindsight, of course, I wish I had thought of that. But we are talking about teachers (whom you like to think are in general trustworthy), and he was taking the car into the school autoshop and getting the work done by students under his supervision. I would see that as acting on behalf of the school, but who knows now.
My employer makes the people that bring their cars in sign contracts, this avoids all these issues. We're a little different than a high school shop - but there is still a contract signed for repairs. You can always try approaching an institution that trains actual apprentices to see if they can help you, and others in the same position, but it would be more out of kindness than anything and even for them it might be too late in the year.


When I think of your scenario - I struggle to figure out your actual losses. If the job would cost the same (or less) at a shop now compared to when you brought the car in whole, it would seem that you are in no worse position than before. With the engine completely removed, I assume you are definitely ahead of the game labour wise (the cost to have someone collect your parts and transport it back should eat up some of that savings though). Until you get your car repaired and find out if any parts were missing/broken/damaged, I do not know if you will have any actual losses. No losses means no judgement in this case (in my opinion).

Now, even though you suffered no damages I think your situation is one that is a learning lesson for the school board. If they are behaving like children and washing their hands of the matter, shame on them and you should be doing what you can to ensure others do not go through this again. This may mean bringing a small claims court case against them when you can establish your losses in hopes of changing their policy. They should not be taking in vehicles and dismantling them if they do not have a backup plan for getting them put back together.


I feel for you - it's a tough situation. But in the end, even if you do not recoup any losses, I think you should still pursue it because it is completely unfair for a school board to do this to people that bring their vehicles in to the shop. They should have a fleet of vehicles the school owns (which is easy to get donated) for the purpose of repair, and perhaps with your actions you can move them into this direction so no one else gets screwed over.
Deal Expert
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Jun 12, 2007
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London
Junerose wrote: The students aren't allowed into the autoshop with no teacher present. The school takes in cars to repair so that the students can learn, and in return, the car owner pays for all the parts, but not the labor.

No other school is willing to take on the job so close to the end of the school year.

Some alternatives:
a) Contact another school shop teacher in the same school system and see if they are willing come over and help the students put the car back together

b) Find out if there is a substitute shop teacher the school normally calls in. Pay for the substitute teacher's time to come in and help the students reassemble the car

c) See if the school will allow a mobile mechanic to come to the school
Deal Addict
May 4, 2014
4751 posts
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Toronto, ON
Wow, OP might've just found a worse place to go have your car "fixed" than Crappy Tire.

I suggest starting a GoFundMe campaign for 1million dollars for funds to put your car back together. Just make sure you tell your story like you intended to do the students a favor by sacrificing your car for education, rather than trying to save a few bucks.

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