Q: Wrong starter motor fitted by a garage

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I have a 2007 fiat grande punto that broke down. I took my car to a garage who said the starter motor has failed and needs replacing, following replacement the car made a loud screeching metal grinding noise with engaging the key until the car was running and key released. They said the car can't be fixed and tried to convince me to sell it. I took my car elsewhere (they assured me it was safe to drive for now) and the new garage said the wrong starter motor has been fitted and that has ripped the teeth on my flywheel/ring gear. The motor that was incorrectly fitted had only 8pinion teeth, the one I needed has 10. The garage are claiming the number of teeth makes no difference and won't compensate me. There was a 4mm difference in thickness of each pinion tooth - can you explain why this would be an issue? It would not be complementary to the ring gear teeth but how do I explain that properly in court? I still have the incorrect motor for evidence. Thank you for any help in advance!

If you have the starter motor (the wrong one), the easiest way to prove your case is to get from the manufacturer, or re-manufacturer, the cataloging information. In other words, the "part" should have a part number and that part number is going to be uniquely associated with applications (vehicles, year, make and model). Presumably your year, make and model, including engine, are NOT listed by the starter manufacturer as an application for the starter that the Mechanic mistakenly installed. The next step is to use that same catalog to identify what is indeed the correct part number for your vehicle and just simply show the court that that correct number is indeed not the part that was installed on your vehicle. A mechanic can certainly serve as an expert witness to confirm your data (depending on your local rules of court). Incidentally, you are reminding me of my first such like case which occurred in the year 1977. A car dealer sold me the wrong sliding yoke for a manual transmission on a 1966 Ford Falcon. I bought the part and had stuck it on a shelf in the garage for later installation, only to discover months later when I went to install it that the dealer had sold me the completely wrong part. I was 17 years old at the time but even at that point I had observed that that sort of outcome was a habitual problem in the world of car parts. That made me irate, the fact that this was just a continuing, unresolved problem, and so I sued the car dealership and won. I then had to jump through a lot of hoops to enforce the judgement against the car dealer. I do remember eventually getting my money, though, after a Court Bailiff got involved (they enforced judgments at that time) and you will too if you file the case and properly prosecute it. If we can provide other assistance, let us know.

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