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You’d like to think your vehicle is in good hands when dropping it off for an oil change. Unfortunately, one RVer shared what happens when it’s not.
She shared a nightmarish experience that we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemy. After hearing her story, you might think twice about trusting random mechanics to service your vehicles.
Today, we’re sharing her experience and how you should respond if your vehicle gets damaged during an oil change or other service.
Buckle up because this is a doozy!
Fellow RVer Not a Happy Camper
One full-time RVer dropped off her beautiful truck at a shop for a routine oil change. Unfortunately, while working on it, the vehicle slipped off the lift.
The truck’s rear was on the ground, while the front remained on the lift. Thankfully, no workers or anyone in the shop was injured during the chaos.
With such tremendous weight crashing to the ground, frame damage was a significant concern. The traveler used their truck to haul their RV back and forth across the country. With an unknown amount of damage, their worry was whether or not they could still trust it to do so.
The mechanic encouraged her to have his friend’s body shop take a look and inspect it. Understandably, commenters encouraged her to seek an independent inspector who could give an unbiased opinion.
Who Pays for the Damages?
So, who foots the bill when a vehicle gets damaged while it’s in the shop? Like most businesses, mechanics carry liability insurance.
This coverage helps cover the expenses when accidents like this happen. The insurance company would typically work with the vehicle’s owner to rectify the situation.
Luckily, our fellow traveler posted an update regarding her chaotic situation. She stated that the mechanic compensated her for the vehicle.
She then took the funds and purchased an almost identical 2024 model. While it may have been a rather stressful situation, we’re glad to hear it has a happy ending.
What to Do if a Service Center Damages Your Vehicle
Anytime you trust a service center or mechanic with your vehicle, there’s a potential for damages. Knowing how to respond can help you resolve the situation quickly and efficiently. Here are some steps you should take if you are in a similar situation.
Document the Damage
The first thing you need to do is to document as much of the damage as possible. Be sure to take plenty of pictures and videos. These can be helpful, especially if you need to submit them to insurance or as a part of legal action later.
Be sure to back up and store the images and videos once you have documented everything. We recommend putting them onto cloud storage so they’re easy to access from anywhere. In addition, there’s less chance of them accidentally disappearing during the process.
Keep in Mind: One of the best ways to learn is from the mistakes of others. Click to see some of The Worst Situations RVers Have Driven Their Rigs Into!
Notify the Service Center
Ideally, the service center would take responsibility and notify you if they damage your vehicle. Like the RVer we discussed, sometimes it’s impossible to hide or cover up some mistakes. However, some sketchy shops will do all they can to avoid paying for accidents or damage they cause.
After documenting the damage, ask to speak to a manager or even the owner of a service center. Addressing these types of situations isn’t something a mid-level or lower employee can handle.
When notifying them, try to remain as calm as possible. It’s easy to lose your cool, but it doesn’t do you any good. Getting upset and yelling will escalate an already tense situation, making it difficult to resolve it peacefully.
Maintain Records of Contacts
The process of getting your vehicle fixed can be lengthy. You’re likely going to have a multitude of conversations with various people. Keeping each of them straight and remembering who said what can be challenging. Create a log of each conversation you have with the shop, insurance companies, and others involved.
Again, this could be unnecessary if they take responsibility and own up to the mistake. However, you’ll appreciate that you did it if you find yourself in a drawn-out process or seeking legal action. Accurately providing dates and notes about conversations can help your case.
Contact Your Insurance Company
While your insurance company isn’t likely going to be footing the bill, they can help you resolve a situation. Some providers will get you back on the road and then go after the other party for the expenses.
Having another party on your side can help expedite the process, especially if they’re dragging their feet.
Pro Tip: Before you head. out on your next adventure, you need to insure your RV. Take a look at The Cost Of RV Insurance!
File a Complaint with Corporate
When dealing with a large chain, contacting corporate can get your situation some attention. Many locations are run locally, but the managers or owners report to corporate authorities. Whether it’s a regional manager or executive officer, they can help.
It might surprise you how a sharp word from one of these individuals to the local shop can put some pep in their step.
While we’ve never had a vehicle damaged during service, we have had negative customer experiences where we’ve contacted corporate. Once they were aware of the situation, it didn’t take long for us to resolve the matter.
Consult a Lawyer for Advice
Unfortunately, you may have no choice but to seek legal action. We typically recommend this as a last resort because it can be expensive. However, if you’re not making any progress, then a lawyer may be able to offer some advice or represent you in court.
Lawyer fees can add up very quickly. If you’re not careful, you could spend more than if you had paid for the repair out of your pocket. While there are some instances where it will be necessary, you can often resolve these situations without it.
Avoid an Oil Change Nightmare
As you can see, a simple oil change can quickly turn into a much more severe situation. Thoroughly research any mechanics or shops that will be working on your automobiles.
Whether commuting to work or hauling an RV across the country, you should know your vehicle is safe. We certainly wouldn’t trust a sketchy shop to work on any of our cars.
Have you ever had a car damaged while at the mechanics?