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Car repair advice needed Halfords

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Posted 23rd Dec 2019
So i had a suspension arm fitted 10 months ago. I was told by another Halfords branch the bolts wont come loose if fitted properly. Even after a year.


Driving down the motorway while turnining to the right i hear intense grinding and i took it to national tyres they were all in shock how loose the nuts were and didn't want to let me drive up the road home they couldn't believe how much play was in the wheel.
So i told Halfords and they tried to fob me off but in the end they seen they were really loose and it was so unsafe. They said they've tightened and problem fixed and that i was covered for the arm till feb.

So i'm driving home and i hear the vibration worse so i take it in today they now say steering rack, ball joint and gearbox have gone and to scrap.

However i was told by national tyres that more damage was probably caused by the loose nuts and intense play on the wheel before Halfords even looked at it and it was at first only grinding noise while turning right at high speeds.

Any advice Halfords are surely responsible but what do i do, as they try to fob off every time.
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Small claims court. Send them a 'letter before action', laying out all that has happened and a quote for repairs to vehicle.

I'm sure others here have more experience with this sort of issue. Just remember next time the Halfords fitters get about 5 minutes training. (OK , that's not strictly true, but with the amount of complaints it makes you wonder.)

I had them change a car battery. The guy shorted it out across both terminals, then winders why I refused to pay until they replaced it with another battery. Amateurs!
What vehicle is it? as it will give an idea what sort of suspension type you have.
Edited by: "richp" 23rd Dec 2019
richp23/12/2019 17:32

What vehicle is it? as it will give an idea what sort of suspension type …What vehicle is it? as it will give an idea what sort of suspension type you have.



Its a focus Mk1 but not sure on suspension type
GasGaGlide23/12/2019 17:34

Its a focus Mk1 but not sure on suspension type


Well you arm (below) is held on at 3 points. Ball joint through the hub, rear suspension bush & front suspension bush, both these are bolted through the subframe. If either of these were loose you'd normally hear a knocking noise prior to anything falling off. I'm trying to work out why it would have knackered the gearbox, unless it pulled the inner driveshaft joint out of the gearbox, due to the arm becoming insecure.
Have you had any work done in that area within the 10 months? Did you see where it had come insecure from?

39477749-eNVgJ.jpg
Edited by: "richp" 23rd Dec 2019
How many miles on the clock? (could be due to normal wear n tear , why did you have to replace a suspension arm in the first place, as it lasts around 100k+ miles)
richp23/12/2019 17:43

Well you arm (below) is held on at 3 points. Ball joint through the hub, …Well you arm (below) is held on at 3 points. Ball joint through the hub, rear suspension bush & front suspension bush, both these are bolted through the subframe. If either of these were loose you'd normally hear a knocking noise prior to anything falling off. I'm trying to work out why it would have knackered the gearbox, unless it pulled the inner driveshaft joint out of the gearbox, due to the arm becoming insecure. Have you had any work done in that area within the 10 months? Did you see where it had come insecure from? [Image]


No and im not sure where it was unsecure i just seen the guys at the other branch in disbelief how loose it was like the whole wheel amount of play was shocking.
Yes i'm not sure myself i just phoned another Halfords and they said something about the vibration and something about the driveshaft maybe mentioned ball joint and that it can do that if play is bad in wheel they confirmed as well as another branch said it can cause, but i'm not a mechanic. But everything was fine till the vibration turning right and now i cant drive in straight line without terrible noise which is now said that gear box is going too.
I'm not sure but hopeful something will sort out.
Edited by: "GasGaGlide" 23rd Dec 2019
splender23/12/2019 17:52

How many miles on the clock? (could be due to normal wear n tear , why did …How many miles on the clock? (could be due to normal wear n tear , why did you have to replace a suspension arm in the first place, as it lasts around 100k+ miles)


Around 100k now and due to MOT but since the vibration was just getting worse and worse so had to get checked and was told they will not look at it as the play was so bad its probably damaged other parts, so i need to phone where work was done which was halfords and they found it was loose which it shouldn't have been.
Edited by: "GasGaGlide" 23rd Dec 2019
GasGaGlide23/12/2019 17:53

No and im not sure where it was unsecure i just seen the guys at the other …No and im not sure where it was unsecure i just seen the guys at the other branch in disbelief how loose it was like the whole wheel amount of play was shocking.Yes i'm not sure myself i just phoned another Halfords and they said something about the vibration and something about the driveshaft maybe mentioned ball joint and that it can do that if play is bad in wheel they confirmed as well as another branch said it can cause, but i'm not a mechanic. But everything was fine till the vibration turning right and now i cant drive in straight line without terrible noise which is now said that gear box is going too. I'm not sure but hopeful something will sort out.

without actually seeing it, that seems an awful lot of damage from a loose suspension arm, if it had completely fallen off then maybe, but since you still had drivability to a certain extent, I dunno
richp23/12/2019 17:43

Well you arm (below) is held on at 3 points. Ball joint through the hub, …Well you arm (below) is held on at 3 points. Ball joint through the hub, rear suspension bush & front suspension bush, both these are bolted through the subframe. If either of these were loose you'd normally hear a knocking noise prior to anything falling off. I'm trying to work out why it would have knackered the gearbox, unless it pulled the inner driveshaft joint out of the gearbox, due to the arm becoming secure. [Image]


It will be the ball joint nut that will have come loose. Traditionally it would use a castle nut and pin to physically stop it coming undone. Now cheap end parts use single use locknuts (usually blue nylon). They are fine to use if only use them once.
My guess is they put the nut on and either did something in the wrong order or something wasn't aligned correctly so took it back off and then reused it. While reusing it is not recommended you need to at least add some thread locker.
So it came loose first time and when they took it back they just tightened it up again. This makes it looser next time.
I'm guessing it came off altogether and the driveshaft came loose destroying the splines on the driveshaft and gearbox.


As for the OP. This all depends how much you are willing to risk considering it's an old car and not worth much.
First you will probably need an independent report doing to establish what the fault is and who was at fault. Then as above take it to small claims court.

The other option to try and while not ideal is go to Halfords and speak to the manager and ask for a full refund rather than taking them to small claims court. No it won't potentially make you much back but it's something back with no cash risk.
Then just chalk it up to bad experience and find a nice local backstreet garage that has been around a long time and never use Halfords again.
I had my car booked in for a service and mot with Halfords until I read the reviews. Cancelled both and took my car to another garage which was cheaper than Halfords.
GasGaGlide23/12/2019 17:57

Around 100k now and due to MOT but since the vibration was just getting …Around 100k now and due to MOT but since the vibration was just getting worse and worse so had to get checked and was told they will not look at it as the play was so bad its probably damaged other parts, so i need to phone where work was done which was halfords and they found it was loose which it shouldnt gave been.


I would get a second opinion from another car mechanic, on gearbox
~80% of worn suspension, slight play does not cause other issues to other components, unlikely as you would be rocking and bouncing with bad suspension.
You said, "They said they've tightened and problem fixed and that i was covered for the arm till feb.However i was told by national tyres that more damage was probably caused by the loose nuts and intense play on the wheel before ..."


What are the dates between tightening up and then you start to get vibration noise? My point is, if after tightening the nuts, there was no vibration for a month, or a few days and you driven ~1,000 miles , then one has to further assess if the loose suspension was the cause.
Ringfinger23/12/2019 17:20

Small claims court. Send them a 'letter before action', laying out all …Small claims court. Send them a 'letter before action', laying out all that has happened and a quote for repairs to vehicle.I'm sure others here have more experience with this sort of issue. Just remember next time the Halfords fitters get about 5 minutes training. (OK , that's not strictly true, but with the amount of complaints it makes you wonder.)I had them change a car battery. The guy shorted it out across both terminals, then winders why I refused to pay until they replaced it with another battery. Amateurs!


How was the battery shorted, with what, positive terminal connected to ground?!
splender23/12/2019 18:13

I would get a second opinion from another car mechanic, on gearbox~80% of …I would get a second opinion from another car mechanic, on gearbox~80% of worn suspension, slight play does not cause other issues to other components, unlikely as you would be rocking and bouncing with bad suspension.You said, "They said they've tightened and problem fixed and that i was covered for the arm till feb.However i was told by national tyres that more damage was probably caused by the loose nuts and intense play on the wheel before ..."What are the dates between tightening up and then you start to get vibration noise? My point is, if after tightening the nuts, there was no vibration for a month, or a few days and you driven ~1,000 miles , then one has to further assess if the loose suspension was the cause.


It was as soon as i picked up the car straight line told them straight away booked day later. A day later they say now that its scrap and ok i will take to other mechanic also just to get more opinion thanks.
Edited by: "GasGaGlide" 23rd Dec 2019
GasGaGlide23/12/2019 18:17

It was as soon as i picked up the car straight line told them straight …It was as soon as i picked up the car straight line told them straight away booked day later. A day later they say now that its scrap and ok i will take to other mechanic also just to get more opinion thanks.


It can be hard to hear where the vibration comes from without some diagnostics from another mechanic. I would say, for front wheel drive, the drive train is like this, I would check out the CV joints first before your gearbox:-
39478184-PYytG.jpg
Will the new garage give you a report saying that this is what happened? Otherwise its hard to prove that this is what happened and no damage through other means.
So you went from one cowboy mechanics to another?.

The bolts and nuts can become loose due to wear and potholes and the other issues will not be caused by the loose bolts.

You are driving a car from 1998-2004 and expect it not to have issues?.

The car is worth about £250 so I would scrap and get another one.

I have a city & guilds in servicing motor vehicles and have seen many people blaming other issues on work that has been carried out.
markvirgo23/12/2019 20:16

So you went from one cowboy mechanics to another?. The bolts and nuts can …So you went from one cowboy mechanics to another?. The bolts and nuts can become loose due to wear and potholes and the other issues will not be caused by the loose bolts. You are driving a car from 1998-2004 and expect it not to have issues?.The car is worth about £250 so I would scrap and get another one. I have a city & guilds in servicing motor vehicles and have seen many people blaming other issues on work that has been carried out.


Of course i expect issues its the fact that all these went wrong in a week starting with the loose fitting and was told that its likely caused damage to other parts then like said the gearbox goes. Also not to say but city and guilds can be a basic GCSE no? As i have one to in that case but learned nothing experience day in day working in full time gararge for years proves. Anyway that day the car came with missing wheel nuts 3/4 on each wheel from the work done by them the same day the arm was fitted and no one believes when explaining then had troubles getting even halfords boss to believe.
I posted on here to gather info as i can take that to form my standing as it looks like it can cause these issues which have taken place so quickly.

Unfoutunatley i have debts and no money else that would be the case but if it was due to this as the bolt was said even by Halfords themselves that it couldn't have come loose during the year its even covered apparently by them. But its helped me having others comments.
Edited by: "GasGaGlide" 23rd Dec 2019
No City and Guilds is not like a GCSE.

Suspension can not break your gearbox.

If you have issues with the car and fix one part it often highlights the other issues as you can't hear the fixed one.

10 months after having any work done on the car will not be covered especially suspension parts. If they fail you have to send them back to make a warranty claim but you have to pay for any costs removing and refitting and even then you will be told its misuse.

To be hohnest it looks like you are trying to claim 1000's for a car worth pennies and don't like the advise given.
Vibration. Experiments on bolted joints under vibration show that many small “transverse” movements cause the two sections of the joint to move in parallel with each other and with the bolt head or nut. These repeated movements work against the friction between the bolt and joint threads that is holding the joint together. Eventually, vibration will cause the bolt to “unwind” from the mating threads and the joint to lose its clamp


Shock. Dynamic or alternating loads from machinery, can cause mechanical shock – a sudden force applied to the bolt or the joint – causing the bolt threads to slip relative to the threads of the joint. Just as with vibration, this slippage can ultimately lead to loosening of the bolts.
markvirgo23/12/2019 21:30

No City and Guilds is not like a GCSE.Suspension can not break your …No City and Guilds is not like a GCSE.Suspension can not break your gearbox. If you have issues with the car and fix one part it often highlights the other issues as you can't hear the fixed one.10 months after having any work done on the car will not be covered especially suspension parts. If they fail you have to send them back to make a warranty claim but you have to pay for any costs removing and refitting and even then you will be told its misuse. To be hohnest it looks like you are trying to claim 1000's for a car worth pennies and don't like the advise given.


Well you shouldn't go with what it looks like tbh i don't want to argue as i know here people just like to get into arguments.
I wanted to see others views and i have even been told by two qualified mechanics who do this day in day out that it was a likely factor in the time and severity but who cares what better to gather opinions and thoughts.

You maybe want me to listen to you. I don't i listen to everyone and collect my thoughts. I'm not trying to get into argument like i said i just wanted to see others views hence why i have not liked posts about small claims and my reason behind posting to collect thoughts.

I'm really amazed where you form how you read minds but enough wasting time for each other lets just enjoy our day as its not that deep.
Edited by: "GasGaGlide" 23rd Dec 2019
GAVINLEWISHUKD23/12/2019 18:09

It will be the ball joint nut that will have come loose. Traditionally it …It will be the ball joint nut that will have come loose. Traditionally it would use a castle nut and pin to physically stop it coming undone. Now cheap end parts use single use locknuts (usually blue nylon). They are fine to use if only use them once.My guess is they put the nut on and either did something in the wrong order or something wasn't aligned correctly so took it back off and then reused it. While reusing it is not recommended you need to at least add some thread locker.So it came loose first time and when they took it back they just tightened it up again. This makes it looser next time. I'm guessing it came off altogether and the driveshaft came loose destroying the splines on the driveshaft and gearbox.As for the OP. This all depends how much you are willing to risk considering it's an old car and not worth much. First you will probably need an independent report doing to establish what the fault is and who was at fault. Then as above take it to small claims court.The other option to try and while not ideal is go to Halfords and speak to the manager and ask for a full refund rather than taking them to small claims court. No it won't potentially make you much back but it's something back with no cash risk.Then just chalk it up to bad experience and find a nice local backstreet garage that has been around a long time and never use Halfords again.


Yes, theory sounds plausible but I'm sure if the nut had come off completely the driveshaft would have come out. I doubt the little movement/vibration would have been enough to destroy gearbox/driveshaft splines, Probably normal wear and tear.
.MUFC.23/12/2019 22:12

Yes, theory sounds plausible but I'm sure if the nut had come off …Yes, theory sounds plausible but I'm sure if the nut had come off completely the driveshaft would have come out. I doubt the little movement/vibration would have been enough to destroy gearbox/driveshaft splines, Probably normal wear and tear.


Oh it could definitely be wear and tear. Was just working out from what the OP had said what could have possibly happened. Although I could be zero percent correct. Without looking at it for myself you can't tell. Then sometimes you can never be 100% correct.

As for the OP. I hope you get some kind of closure on this whatever the outcome.
Not having money to mend my car is the reason I can now mend my cars (and bloody every family members! Lol).
There are great resource online and YouTube to show you how to do many jobs. I bet for the price you paid you could have bought the part, the tools you needed and a takeaway for tea for less than it cost at Halfords. You also have the knowledge that is was done correctly (or if not you only have yourself to blame! Lol).
GAVINLEWISHUKD23/12/2019 22:55

Oh it could definitely be wear and tear. Was just working out from what …Oh it could definitely be wear and tear. Was just working out from what the OP had said what could have possibly happened. Although I could be zero percent correct. Without looking at it for myself you can't tell. Then sometimes you can never be 100% correct.As for the OP. I hope you get some kind of closure on this whatever the outcome. Not having money to mend my car is the reason I can now mend my cars (and bloody every family members! Lol). There are great resource online and YouTube to show you how to do many jobs. I bet for the price you paid you could have bought the part, the tools you needed and a takeaway for tea for less than it cost at Halfords. You also have the knowledge that is was done correctly (or if not you only have yourself to blame! Lol).


I've certainly saved myself a few Bob doing things myself. Could probably set up my own garage with the tools I've built up over the years! YouTube and Google probably being the greatest aids.
summerof7623/12/2019 18:10

I had my car booked in for a service and mot with Halfords until I read …I had my car booked in for a service and mot with Halfords until I read the reviews. Cancelled both and took my car to another garage which was cheaper than Halfords.



I took mine to Halfords the last time it needed an MOT in desperation as I had forgot it ran out over a bank holiday and I needed the car on the road, failed on a wheel bearing and ball joint cover, it wasn't like they did it to create work either as I knew my car isn't even on their parts system being at the time 43 year old. The other car in for testing was a 3 year old BMW for its first test, all 4 tyres, wipers, rear suspension and headlight pattern was needed on that. Mine was £12 in parts and half hour of my time.
.MUFC.23/12/2019 23:07

I've certainly saved myself a few Bob doing things myself. Could probably …I've certainly saved myself a few Bob doing things myself. Could probably set up my own garage with the tools I've built up over the years! YouTube and Google probably being the greatest aids.


Showing my age now, most of my knowledge came from Haynes manuals.
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