Q: Drove car to mechanic due to overheating, did $650/work and now says car not drivable, needs towed away.

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Car began overheating, drove it to Dealer Service Department without overheating that trip, approx 30miles. Told them not to do work not covered by extended warranty, call first. They did $650 in repairs state not covered by warranty and now tell me the car will not start and needs towed from there. Stated probably blown head gasket or more serious., This cannot be right???? Help please on how to handle this situation. Thank You!

My car has 85000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi Tonya. Thanks for contacting us tonight. I’m sorry to hear this has happened to you. When a car overheats at any time, it can cause internal engine damage within minutes. Even if the engine does not overheat during the trip to the dealership, the damage could have occurred during the initial overheating incident. So, in theory, the diagnosis is probably accurate. However, the way this was handled by the dealership was poor, as they should have informed you about the risk of diagnosing or completing the repair. In regards to how to resolve this problem, you really only have two options. First, I would ask to speak with the service manager to ask why the car started when you brought it in - but will not start now - and why you should be charged for repairs that did not resolve the problem. If nothing else, perhaps they will apply the current charges to repairing the vehicle. If they are willing to offer some discounts for the current service, get a detailed estimate to repair your vehicle (ensuring it actually resolves the problem). Ask them for a worse case scenario (even if replacing the engine is an option). If they are unwilling to help or offer any significant discounts on the repairs (which just to warn you, will likely exceed $1,500 to repair a basic head gasket issue), then I would recommend having the vehicle towed to your home and making a decision as to whether you’d rather spend the money to repair this vehicle, or scrap it and buy a different vehicle. Again - I’m sorry to hear this happened.

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