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Brought car in due to a coolant leak near the thermostat area. I was given a price and estimate for the replacement of the thermostat and housing, upper and lower radiator hoses, and the coolant housing above, as well as refill, diagnostic, etc. Total cost $1255. I work it down to about $600 by having them focus on the thermostat and lower radiator hose, as I could replace the upper and coolant housing. At no point, thus far, were any other parts mentioned.

Day it should have been fixed, I was told the wrong part had been delivered and they would have to hold the car for another day. The next day, I am told that they had to install another part, but were 'eating the charge'. I find out later it was the water pump they had replaced without even asking me or telling me and the voicemail only said 'call us back', so it definitely wasn't authorized.

Then I call back the next day and am transferred to the manager who proceeds to tell me that they got the car running/testing it after the repairs and that it was running hot. So they turned it off and, when they went to turn it back on, "there was no compression" and it's "just spinning".

He then proceeds to tell to take a deep breath and relax (as I was definitely getting upset, but only in the tremble in my voice) and that he was not only going to get us a rental for 3-4 days using their rate (I'd pay for it, but it would be taken off the bill), but that they were going to look into a salvaged engine, etc., and then talk to me about it on Monday.

At no point would he say I was on the hook for it or if they were on the hook for it. He seemed rather careful about how he was talking and the most I got out of him was that I had paid for the repairs that had been completed.

It feels very fishy to me. I've never seen mechanics give out five hours of labor with a free part (water pump) and do so without ever telling me about it until afterwards and then even offering to pay for a rental vehicle for a few days.

I spoke to a friend who services his own vehicles for a shipment company and was told that going from a running vehicle to zero compression doesn't make sense unless the tester they were using wasn't secured properly and that there would have been compression in at least one cylinder in the engine, even if there was a head gasket leak, which would have been obvious. The fact that they got it running and then suddenly no compression at the next start doesn't make sense.
 
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