Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Dealer put an "old battery" in my car, and now I'm having all sorts of problems.

asked by on

I sent my car to my local Hyundai dealer to have an ECU replaced, and they tell me that my alternator, battery, and brake switch were bad. They replaced the battery with a "used one we had lying around". The alternator and brake switch were replaced with new parts. I take the car home only to find smoke coming from the engine and no power to my automatic windows. I take the car back to Hyundai and they say my Condenser fan is bad, and so is my fuse-box. I've already spent $2400 on replacing the ECU, Alternator, and brakeswitch, and they want an additional $2400 to repair the fusebox and condenser fan. Is it possible they shorted out the electronics on my car by installing an old battery? Or some type of negligence? To top it all off, they broke my glove-box, and I opened the hood to find a couple loose bolts lying on top of my glove-box...They completely refuse to take any responsibility..please help!

My car has 120000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Advising you is hard because consumer right...

Advising you is hard because consumer rights vary somewhat from state to state (I don't know what state you are in). If you were in Ohio and they did what you are describing, the dealer would have significant "problems" both from the standpoint of what the Attorney General's office would have to say and your own private right of recovery in, say, a small claims court. In particular, and this is a key point relative to the concern you are writing in about, the Dealer CANNOT damage your property, the glove box, and leave parts off of your car (the loose bolts), without incurring serious liability to you.

ECU's RARELY fail. And, on those rare occasions where they do fail, studies have proven that half of ECU's returned as bad, under warranty claims, are actually perfectly good (that's how "rare" the actual failures are). Consequently, and not illegitimately, my "guess" would be there was nothing wrong with the ECU. You should have asked for unmistakable evidence that the ECU was bad (test and diagnostic results explained to you) before letting them replace that part. The sale to you of a used battery as a "replacement" for your battery, or even the mere suggestion that that is a legitimate repair strategy, suggests the shop is highly unprofessional.

Professional shops do not sell used car batteries, or install the same, except in an emergency. Batteries do not themselves cause short circuits, however, faulty installation of a battery will cause electrical problems and there are many ways, indeed endless ways, a careless mechanic can damage your car's electrical system. Based on what you have described, yes, it is possible they damaged the car. If they were willing to charge $2,400 for merely an ECU, an alternator, and a $25 switch, anything is possible.

Going forward, trust but verify; that is, ask to see the diagnostic result and make sure their explanation makes sense to you and appears credible, and be sure to get your old parts back just in case you need to file a later complaint. If they are not willing to explain the diagnostic and the prices are irrational ($2,400 is irrational), obviously that is not the best shop to take your car.

I recommend having one of YourMechanic's certified technicians come to your location to determine exactly what is wrong with your car, investigate [why the car is smoking](https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/smoke-from-engine-or-exhaust-inspection, and inspect for any electrical problems.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: When at a stop light my car stopped working and would not accelerate.

You seemed to have three different potential problems. Symptoms such as these are not common or pattern symptoms, so giving advice about them here is not likely to help you much. Also, there isn't enough information about your motor and...

Q: warning lights changing tire

On vehicles with air suspension, the air suspension should be turned off prior to any jacking or lifting of any kind. This is what caused your warning lights to come on. The vehicle thought that the corner of the vehicle...

Q: engine wont restart when hot, no spark P0340 has 12v on both connectors, freq from 5-11hz when cranking

Since the crank position sensor gets its timing signal off the damper, I would first replace the damper to be sure timing was correct. The fact that this failure occurs after a "heat soak" cycle, and the P0340 code is...

Related articles

How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.