Northern Ireland

Botched car repair complaints rise in Northern Ireland

Complaints about botched repairs are on the increase in Northern Ireland.

Motorists affected often face a battle to get their money back and their cars back on the road.

Trading Standards has said complaints about cars have increased to over a thousand a year and about a third of those are the result of servicing work or repairs carried out by garages.

One local motorist explained how a replacement gearbox exploded less than a hundred miles after being fitted.

She believes the fault was caused by the garage failing to put oil in the new gearbox.

The breakdown proved frightening, while her battle for compensation is ongoing.

"I have never been so scared in all my life, there was a massive bang underneath the car, originally I though it was the engine," she said.

The piece of metal she saw flying down the road in the rear view mirror turned out to be the drive shaft.

Concerned about the defensive response from the garage that fitted the gearbox, the motorist called in an independent engineer who confirmed her view that the garage had failed to put oil in the new part.

"It could have been pretty dangerous, this breakdown, and as far as I can see from a preliminary investigation it looks to be it has just been running without oil," said engineer John Hosick.

While the number of complaints is a fraction of the overall repair jobs carried out, mechanics are having to work on increasingly complex cars and rely on electronic diagnostic equipment.

Trading Standards though said there is an onus on garages to carry out servicing and repairs with a reasonable degree of care and skill.

"There is an expectation and onus on them to do the job properly, to identify faults, not to misdiagnose and certainly not to charge for work they haven't done," Trading Standards' Damien Doherty said.