wrong diagnosis, garage negligence etc
Draft of a letter I am about to send- any comments-garage names deleted for obvious reasons
Octavia vrs PD170- limp home mode
On 19th April your patrol attended my vehicle in Nechells, Birmingham, where a diagnosis was made of an intermittent crank sensor signal.
Your patrol advised the crank sensor itself would need to be replaced
Although the car was still drivable, it was unsafe to drive any distance, and so your patrol suggested local garages were contacted to carry out repair.
2 Skoda garages were contacted by him but were unable to assist- it should be noted on both occasions your patrol asked if they carried a replacement crank sensor in stock, as this would need to be replaced to cure the problem.
Finally, your patrol contacted Garage,A which he confirmed was RAC approved- again, he advised the crank sensor would need replaced, and Garage A could obtain the part, and the cost would be around £150 to carry out the work.
The patrol then followed me to the garage, where he reiterated his instruction to the workshop manager to replace the crank sensor, and then departed.
Garage A carried out a diagnostic check, which confirmed the fault code of PO322 engine speed input circuit no signal, and set to replacing the crank sensor as instructed by your patrol.
Finally at 6pm they advised that, although they had replaced the sensor, it hadn’t cured the problem, but I would have to pay for the repair in order to recover the car.
I then requested recovery back to Carlisle via RAC, as the car was unsafe to drive any distance.
At 7pm, a patrol arrived- who obviously couldn’t recover me, and left again.
Finally, at 9pm, a flatbed recovery truck arrived, and after a relay at Lymm I arrived home at 2am!
The next day, I took the car to Garage B (Carlisle ) a VAG specialist.
They diagnosed the fault as a damaged wire feed to the crank sensor, which was repaired. This SHOULD have been diagnosed and repaired by Garage A, but they were advised to change the sensor by your patrol, rather than diagnose the fault.
Garage B also advised that the turbo actuator was cracked causing lack of boost- this was not the case prior to the car being in the care of Garage A so can only have happened whilst in the care of Garage A
Whilst this has being temporarily repaired, this may not be a permanent fix and turbo actuators are not available as a standalone item- I may be faced with a bill in the region of £1500+ for a new turbo
My claim is made on the grounds that the service provided by RAC and/or your approved garage A was negligent-
• the engine fault was incorrectly diagnosed by your patrol and the garage,
• they charged me for supplying and fitting a part that didn’t cure the problem,
• in the course of fitting the part damaged my turbo actuator, necessitating further rectification work to be undertaken by another garage.
My consequential losses so far are as follows:
• £176.17 for the initial unnecessary repair,
• £58.80 (£49.00+VAT @20%) in respect of repairing the cracked turbo actuator that was damaged by Garage A bringing my total claim to £234.97, plus potential further losses if and when the repaired actuator fails.
Doubtless your standard response would be that, in their professional capacity, the garage should first have confirmed the need for a replacement sensor, and carried out checks within a workshop environment, HOWEVER the garage maintain that your patrol specified in no uncertain terms that the part should be replaced.
As you can imagine, I feel it is unfair that I have had to pay for unnecessary work to be done, and face consequential losses due to a damaged actuator.
I would like you to state explicitly whether you are at fault or the garage is at fault, and of course I require to be compensated accordingly
My thought is I do not think the RAC can be held responsible for two reasons. First if you read the terms and conditions carefully I think you will find they point out that roadside checks and diagnoses are not guaranteed to be correct. Secondly, garage A re-diagnosed the problem and found the reported problem was a sensor malfunction.
Others on this site will tell you that it takes skill to interpret what the diagnostics software reports. A garage has two choices faced with a diagnostics of sensor failure, they can do the obvious or check through the wiring, (which the diagnostics tool will not do) this will cost the customer more for labour. If they found faulty wires, fine you the customer would be content but if the sensor had failed, you would not be pleased to pay for the wiring checks. Hence, most garages will chose to replace the sensor.
Garage B had the luxury of knowing the sensor was new therefore faced with a diagnostic suggesting a faulty sensor they could move straight to checking the wiring.
I am afraid the cracked turbo actuator will be difficult to prove, as turbos generally are not in use much of the time, therefore it may have been cracked for some time, and you may not have noticed.
I do not work for the RAC, nor am I in the trade.
Yes completely agree that roadside patrols diagnoses are indiciative only- which begs the question why was the patrol so adamant that it was a crank sensoe that needed replacing????
And I am completely baffled by your quote at the end
turbos arent in use much of the time????
Err...yes turbos are only in use when the engine is switched on!!
You're not in the motor trade? You don't say!
Point is there was no turbo boost problem when it went in to garage A- only when it came out with an extra problem, and a cracked actuator.....
Last edited by carrock; 24-04-12 at 16:35.
Depending on the setup, in 'normal' driving boost is not required, more so on petrol than diesel. Modern diesels are more likely to have boost coming in early; in that case, you would notice. I have no idea how ‘sensitive’ you are to your engines performance, judging by the state of my neighbours engines when asked what I thought could be wrong I am usually shocked to hear they have been driving about for weeks or months with warning lights on etc.
Originally Posted by carrock
[QUOTE=wagolynn;87617]Depending on the setup, in 'normal' driving boost is not required, QUOTE]
I take it you have never driven a diesel in limp home mode when the boost is off- it produces less than 50% power, and struggles to keep up with hgvs on the motorway
A modern turbo car has the turbo on virtually all the time apart from when idling.
Or do you think that a turbo only cuts in when overtaking????????
In limp mode, the maximum amount of fuel injected is limited to reduce power. If you re-read my last post, you will see I covered modern diesels. However, it still does not negate the comment that it will be difficult to prove who when the actuator was damaged. Garage B can only say they noticed was already damaged but what else would they say? Garage A are likely to say, it was OK when it left them or they did not touch it... I cannot think of a way to prove otherwise.
I had a quick scan through the RAC's terms and conditions but could find no mention "that roadside checks and diagnoses are not guaranteed to be correct". This doesn't mean, of course, that it isn't there. I find it quite surprising that the patrolman was so definite in his diagnosis but he certainly made a mistake when he told the garage what the fault was. I am not sure, however, that you can hold either the RAC all the patrolman liable for this misdiagnosis. There is no harm in trying though.
I have always advised people, that when they take their car in to have fault repaired, that they should describe the symptoms rather than offering a diagnosis. If you take your car in and tell them it needs a new clutch, then they will fit a new clutch. If you subsequently discover that it was the gearbox that was at fault you only have yourself to blame.
Proving that a garage damaged any component on your car may well prove impossible. garage B told you that the turbo actuator was cracked. This is a unit designed to respond when you press the pedal to demand more power. It may well have been cracked for some time, the crack not being sufficient to cause any noticeable difference in the driving characteristic of the car.
no it was the plastic connector on top of the actuator which is part of the vacuum chamber. It looks like a tool was dropped on it. The crack cause the turbo to lose boost, which it only did after coming out of garage A, who took 5 hours to change the sensor, as it was the first one they'd ever changed on an Octavia......
I wouldn't have to prove it- it only has to be on a balance of probabilities in a civil legal case, ie garage A was probably responsible. As the turbo didnt lose boost until it came out of there, or before it went in, I'd say it is quite probable they are responsible
I think you have a good claim. The fault code does NOT mean REPLACE THE CRANK SENSOR. The code for that is P0335. The correct definition of P0322 is: 'crankshaft position sensor - no signal'. However, when diagnosing VW group cars with the CORRECT equipment you would not get a code such as P0322. The VW code is produced and consists of 5 numbers.and may have been 16705 or 16706.
So, both the RAC and the garage used diagnostic equipment that was not good enough to locate the fault. Ultimately the garage is in my view responsible for the error despite the RAC patrol's insistence.
If you mean the vacuum chamber that sits just above the turbo, can you see any evidence of external damage such as a spanner hitting it? That would help your case. But a crack here would reduce the available vacuum and the turbo actuator would not travel fully. You may also get a reduction in braking. So, if the fault was not there before, then the garage may have caused it. The hardest part may be trying to prove it even in a civil case of course. An examination of it may well be the key.
It really is tough to experience a breakdown and all the more is it tough when it happens on a time that you least expect it to go down. And though it is something that could be avoided by looking after your car and all the other items that go with it, there are those accidents that you just cant avoid.
You could just wish that you would have taken that extra time to look after it.