• Report:  #89612

Complaint Review: National Auto Service Center - Nationwide

Reported By:
- Oldsmar, Florida,
Fri, April 30, 2004

National Auto Service Center
3166 Tampa Road, Oldsmar, Florida 34677 Nationwide, U.S.A.
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National Auto Service in Oldsmar, Florida failed to fix my Dodge Neon properly.

They said my overheating problem was due to needing a new radiator because it was supposedly leaking - there were no physical signs on the pavement indicating a leak though.

Next few days car started to overheat again. Took it back to National Auto after work. They looked at it for 2 hours saying they found nothing.

Went to work next day. Didn't make it. Car overheated again.

Took it back that same night. They finally checked the thermustat which I suggested they check earlier, but they didn't.

They wanted to charge me again. I said no. They replaced the thermustat because I said I was not going to pay for their mistake of not checking it out originally.

Went to work next day. Made it there. Did not make it home because car would not stay in gear. Had to stop at a local shop by work. Called National Auto. THey would not tow me in. Said they already fixed my car. The new Auto shop proceeded to check my car out. They found that National Auto neglected to connect a hose from coolent, so all the anti-freeze was gone and no water in my radiator. Also, they failed to properly connect the hose from transmission fluid to radiator which resulted in all the transmission fluid leaking out! They said they never worked on the "driver" side of the raditor. The gentleman at the shop my car is stuck at says they would have had to work on both sides of the radiator to get it out and put new one in. He said they should have checked to see that all hoses were connected ant that I had water and coolant. They did not do this, National Auto. I could have completely ruined my tranmission due to their negligence. They transmission hose to the radiator was not properly connected.

I therefore had to pay this new Auto shop to connect the hoses and refill everything. I paid another 120.00 which should have been covered by National Auto.

Their response was that according to them, they fixed my car and this new incident was not their responsibility!


Oldsmar, Florida

1 Updates & Rebuttals


Automotive Technical Trainer

#2UPDATE Employee

Thu, November 04, 2004

On April 23, 2004 Barbara brought her automobile into our garage with complaints of a water bottle leakage not an overheating concern. We brought the car in, took a look at the vehicle and found she had a crack about an inch and a half long in the top tank of her radiator. Barbara asked to be shown the problem. The assistant mgr. took her into the garage and showed her the crack where the fluid was leaking out of the radiator tank. At that point she agreed to replacing the radiator and refilling it with new coolant. The mechanic completed the repairs, ran the car for an extensive length of time, checked for fluid circulation and the radiator flow had no problems at the time. If the thermostat were stuck at that time, when we checked it, there would have been no circulation in the radiator, which was not the case. We also checked the cooling fans; they seem to be working fine at the time, however since the customer was not originally complaining of overheating we didn't recommend replacing the thermostat, nor did we look into any other overheating concerns at that point. Two days later she came in complaining of overheating, we checked the vehicle over and found that the cooling fans were not coming on now. We repaired that at no charge. Also at that point there was no transmission leaking from the radiator or anywhere else, all hoses and lines were connected and sealing properly. Coolant hoses were still connected properly. Later that evening she came back complaining of overheating again and insisted we put a thermostat in, so we put a thermostat in, at no charge, keeping the shop open several hours past or normal operating hours to get her car finished up and take care of her problem. Again at that point there was no transmission leak's from the radiator or anywhere else, all hoses and lines were connected and sealing properly. In each of these instances we were suspicious of a head gasket problem but we could not verify a bad head gasket. We spent many hours and long test drives to verify the overheating problem in each instance. We used a block tester that is a chemical tool that you put on the radiator cap neck opening in order to see if the chemical changes color because of combustion gases entering into the coolant. We used this tool on three different occasions and could find no head gasket problem. We had national auto service centers pride ourselves on not doing any unnecessary work or repairs, since we could not verify a bad head gasket and we could not in all conscience tell her she had a bad head gasket. (Even though indications pointed to that, with a the cracked radiator tank and overheating, but that's not 100% accurate conclusion in order to say they head gasket is bad) I've been an auto mechanic for 35 years I have seen many head gasket problems be intermittent, because they cylinder head is aluminum, the block is steel and the two metals expand at different rates as they heat up, in a lot of cases the head gasket will leak at a very specific temperature during the warmup cycle or cool down cycle of an engine, therefore it can be sometimes difficult to get the head gasket to show bad unless you can get it at that specific temperature where it shows itself to be definitely leaking. Two days later Miss Bieber called and said she was at another garage with a transmission fluid line leak in one of the cooler lines and the overflow bottle hose popped off the radiator overflow nipple. ( The overflow bottle hose popping off is further indication of excess pressure from a bad head gasket) According to that mechanic the line had popped out of the radiator fitting causing a substantial leak. It's very likely that the plastic clip that snaps and locks the coolant line into the radiator may have been weak because of age or may have had a small crack in that plastic snap lock that might not have usually been able to be seen to the naked eye when it was installed in snap socket in the radiator cooler connection, but since she refused to have her car towed in to our garage at no charge to have it covered under warranty we simply don't know the truth it might have been our fault or its simply may have been a fault or failure of a part, such as the plastic clip. By not being able to warrentee our own work we don't know what the real problem was. The mgr. at our store explained, she could have her car towed and we would cover the cost of the towing bill under warranty. She hung up the phone on the manager and that was the last we saw or heard from Barbara until now. We don't know what the problem was with a transmission leak whether it was our fault or not, without seeing the vehicle we don't know. We have a 12-month 12,000-mile warranty because, being human we do make mistakes occasionally, if in fact it was our fault, or possibly a failed part, it would be speculation at this point. Automotive Technical Trainer mechanic for 35 years

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