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Woman: Botched oil change job destroyed car engine

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Any time you take your vehicle in for routine maintenance, you expect the job to be done correctly. But what happens if something as simple as an oil change destroys your car engine days later? It happened one local driver.

She took her car in for an oil change and thought she was good to go. But a week later, found herself stranded on the side of the road -- engine seized -- all because something fell off her engine.

Danielle Thomas says she brought her Dodge Stratus to this Pit Pros Humble location for service.

"It was on Saturday, December 29," Thomas said.

Thomas says the mechanic requested she bring in her own oil and filter. A week after the oil change...

"It just died suddenly when I was driving down the freeway," Thomas said.

After getting towed to a mechanic, Thomas received the bad news.

"Engine's totally locked up," said Vic Tarasik with Vic's Precision Automotive

Tarasik says the oil filter fell off.

Oil is the life blood for your car's engine. But without one of these while you're driving around, the oil will pour out rather quickly, costing you thousands of dollars in repairs.

"We're looking at $6,500," Tarasik said. "Oil filter was probably spun on, just snug, and not taken through the last process."

That last process? According to directions, is to tighten the filter 3-quarters to 1 full turn after the gasket contacts the base.

"Normal engine vibration caused the filter to back out and fall off," Tarasik said.

So who's responsible for providing Thomas a new engine?

"Under Texas law, whenever somebody performs a service for you, you get what's called a Warranty of Good and Workmanlike Performance," said The People Lawyer, Rich Alderman.

Alderman says it's a guarantee that the work will be done correctly.

"And if the mechanic messed up, that's why the problem occurred, then that mechanic -- in my opinion -- is responsible for all the damages that occurred," he said.

When Thomas contacted Pit Pros about her car, she said "they basically said that they were not responsible and they were done with me."

We reached out to Pit Pros, and they refused to comment and denied our request for an interview. As for Thomas and her vehicle, she's now looking into taking legal actions against Pit Pros to recoup what's lost.
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