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Classic Car Service
Classic Car Service, Dealership Svc. Mgr.
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 4909
Experience:  Over 30 years experience in the automotive field
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My 2006 BMW X3 was at Dealer Shop Change on 12/28/2015. They

Customer Question

My 2006 BMW X3 was at Dealer Shop for Oil Change on 12/28/2015. They did not find anything else wrong with it except for brakes etc. My daughter took it to her college for 2 days and on third day the car stopped on the highway. When we got it towed to the Dealer, they told me
The coolant exploded internally and that caused the car to overheat. The car seized due to the fact being to hot.
They are asking for 17000 dollars in repairs which is not worth it. In less than 200 miles from the day of oil change, the vehicle is a total loss. I do not understand how this all happened and Dealer is not cooperating. Is it possible that they goofed up while doing oil change? Are they responsible? Are they under any obligation to let me know about an impending disaster?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer. Please allow me to assist you. Whilst this is a question specific to a BMW, this is also a general type question where the manufacturer of the vehicle in not critical.

Technically, the 'coolant exploded internally' is not very precise as to what happened. If a hose ruptured, and caused the coolant to be lost, or something impacted the radiator, the coolant would also be lost. This would cause the car to overheat and seize the engine. Changing the oil, sadly, would not cause something to go wrong with the coolant. However, not having enough oil in the car an cause the engine to develop an overheat condition where the coolant hoses could rupture. Rare, but it can happen. The first thing to do is find out how much oil is in the car. Then have the exact cause of the failure described to you in great detail. Just saying "the coolant blew out and you need an engine, Sir" is not a good answer. Can you get that information and get back to me? Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanksso what questions shall I ask?
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

You want to know if the engine is full of oil....If the oil pan drain plug or the oil filter are loose. You want to know exactly what component failed and allowed the coolant to escape the cooling system. A hose, a radiator, the head gasket, block or cylinder head failure, etc. Exactly what caused the coolant to escape. DO not settle for a general answer. You want to know exactly, and no 'maybe this happened, maybe that happened".

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sir, I am going to contact them with these questions and will get back to you soonThanks
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

ok Please let me know

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sir, just curiousAren't they under obligation to fill Coolant when the vehicle went to their shop for oil change. They did perform other inspections and reported few repairs?Also, if they were not going to fill the coolant, aren't they legally and morally bound to let me know that hey spend 20 dollars on coolant or risk spending 20000 dollars on repairs?And all this happened within 300 miles of the vehicle coming from their shop
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

Legally, if the words "Customer states: Check the cooling system and advise if any issues are present" are not on the repair order, they are not legally bound to anything regarding the cooling system. Again, legally speaking, they were contracted to do an oil change.....Nothing more, unless they put on the repair order, or gave you a check list where additional things were checked and verified as good during the service. If you have this check list, and something that was verified to be OK at the time of the service actually was bad, you have a really good case. Most shops 'top off' the fluids as a courtesy. This is not mandatory during an oil change, but is a good idea that they do it to improve customer satisfaction. If there WAS a problem that they saw, and did not notify you, yes, they were legally bound to tell you the deficiency. If they missed a leaking hose, etc, and did not tell you, they could be found guilty of 'contributory negligence', ie they neglected to address something that would have resulted in a catastrophic failure.

Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

This is where you need a really good lawyer...the negligence aspect.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks sir, I just sent them the questions and will update you the moment i get some response from them
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome. I will be here.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sir:I got a very strange answer. They chose not to respond to any of the questions we asked but just told me that that the Expansion Tank burst leading to Coolant running out which caused engine to overheat.
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

That is unacceptable. You can run this car with no coolant in the expansion tank and not have a critical overheat condition. The expansion tank is there just to catch and hold the expansion of the coolant. As the engine warms up, the coolant warms up. Hot coolant expands, and it needs someplace to go. Hence the need for the expansion tank. As the engine cools, the coolant decreases a bit. I am not comfortable with this explanation. Expansion tanks do not 'burst". They are not designed to hold pressure.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sir,I really appreciate your answer. I have never been in this situation before and I got the felling that they are just trying to run away from it. Please suggest what shall be my right course of action in these circumstances. The vehicle is a total loss as 20000 repairs estimate from the dealer is twice what this vehicle is worth. I bought this vehcile last year as 16th birthday gifrt for my daughetr and she is very distraught
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

First, you need to contact your insurance company and see if you have coverage on this issue. Some policies do include failures like this. If it is covered, the insurance company will pay for the repair, and possibly sue the servicing dealer to obtain the funds they expended to pay for your repair. Tell the insurance company you took the car for service, and it overheated and seized up. Also tell the insurance company exactly what they told you regarding the failure. Perhaps they will cover the replacement costs. If they do, they will probably install a used engine, which brings us to the following point:

Second, if the car does not have coverage, the next most viable option is to locate a good, low mileage engine from the secondary market. There is always cars like yours that are involved in issues that cause the car to be sold for salvage (flood car/vandalism/tree fell on it/hit whilst parked, etc). A good used engine will not cost 17000 dollars to install. Some automotive places that sell used engines will also provide you a guarantee of fitness on their replacement parts. IE they do not sell junk. If this was my daughter's car, I would look into getting her a used engine. I would not spend 17000 dollars on a replacement.

Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

If I had 17000 dollars, it would be on another car.

Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

lastly, you could trade the car in, blown engine, on another car. You will take a big hit on the trade in value with a car with a bad engine. The best route here is get a good used engine.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks a lot sir, I will just call my insurance company and get back to there any way this Dealer can be held liable
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

Possibly. The laws vary from state to state. You best avenue here would be to consult an attorney in your location. If you have evidence that supports they neglected to address an existing issue, you have a really good case. A word of caution here: Do NOT let any further diagnosis or dis assembly occur on the car if you enter legal proceedings. Have the car towed to a place that your lawyer trusts, someone with expert witness credentials.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
my insurer Geico refused to help they offer coverage on new vehicles not on used
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

that is saddening. I would contact your lawyer, and see if you have a viable case. If not, I would look into a used engine replacement

Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reply; I will be very glad to help you further.

If you do not have any questions, and are satisfied with my input on your request, thanks for choosing Just Answer. It was a pleasure to assist you today. I trust my input to your request is satisfactory to you and meets your expectations.

A positive rating would be greatly appreciated for my assistance on your inquiry.

Thanks in advance and thank you again for choosing Just Answer

Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

Just checking in to see if you had any luck with this issue.