Who should pay for this?

Here’s the story: I converted my car from an automatic to a manual transmission about a year ago. I replaced the clutch when I did so. About two months ago, the clutch went out. It was a lifetime warranty, so I took it in and got a new clutch kit free. Just the other day, the new one went out with less than one thousand miles on it. It should have EASILY lasted fifty or seventy-five thousand.

I can replace it myself, but it’s a two days, bust-my-balls effort, and I simply don’t want to do it.

The store I bought it from will not pay to have it replaced, that’s ‘not how they do business’. They WILL, however, furnish a new clutch free of charge, and file a claim with the manufacturer for reimbursement. This could take months. They cannot file the claim until they have the failed product, which they can’t get until it’s replaced, and I can’t afford to pay someone to replace it.

This means, basically, either I do all the work myself, and just got ass-reamed by the companies (seller and manufacturer), or I pay someone to do it, and three or four months down the line, I might get reimbursed for the cost of the installation.

I’ve been trying to contact the manufacturer to make them pay upfront, to no avail. I’m going to try again tuesday.

The seller has been very helpful, but is firm in their stance.

What do you guys think I should do? Do I have any grounds to stand on? How good of a chance will I have getting the manufacturer to pay for the replacement costs, which will be around $500? Should I have my lawyer-friend draft a letter or something?


I am curious: exactly what part failed, how and why?

So you want to avoid the hassle of spending two days fixing the clutch in favor of spending several months trying to get someone else to fix it?

I think it depends on the wording of the lifetime warranty you mentioned. What does it say? If it mentions the part only, then I think you’re kind of screwed, from an ethical and legal standpoint. Yes, they should, out of kindness, reimburse you for costs. But I assume you bought the part with the opportunity to read their warranty, and thus pretty much agreed to the terms.

sailor: On the first clutch, the face of the disc contacting the pressure plate seperated from it’s rivets and disintegrated, thus destroying the pressure plate in the process. On the second, I assume the same happened judging from the sound it makes and it’s behavior.

Spoofe: Don’t be a jerk. There’s a reason shops charge $500 for a job like this. It’s worth it. I challenge YOU to change a clutch in a FWD vehicle where the engine must be lifted, the chassis supports removed, and the tranny completely disassembled. :rolleyes: Besides, if you’d bothered to read what I wrote, you’d see that I am trying to get them to pay upfront for the replacement, so I don’t have to spend months trying to get it fixed. I reiterate: :rolleyes:

flyboy: I have no idea what the lifetime warranty states, as it’s kept by the store and there’s no agreeing to it. You just buy your part and are covered.

flyboy: Couldn’t the purchase of the part as provided by the seller and purchased by me be considered a contract that the part will perform well without failure for a reasonable amount of time? It’s as if you purchased lumber from True Value with a guarantee it would last years, and a month later it had rotted so badly that your shed collapsed. I’d think premature (in fact, nearly instantaneous) parts failure should have legal footing…


If you read the fine print I’m pretty sure you will find a clause limiting liability to the cost of the parts involved. Without casting any aspersions upon your wrenching prowess, it is nonetheless impossible for you to entirely prove that some mishap in the installation was not the cause of the premature failure.

It is nearly unreasonable to hold a company liable for anything but the cost of the part itself. This is why mechanics were invented, if they screw up, they have to make their work right, out of their own pocket. I believe this is the process you are currently involved in. As an example, think of the product guarantee for Kodak film.

You are granted replacement of the film if it does not perform to standards. You are not paid for time lost at the photo shoot, you are not paid to go on vacation again to get that glorious snap of the Grand Canyon, you are not allowed to throw another family reunion to get that three generation photograph. At least, not on Kodak’s dime. Same goes for the clutch.

Here’s hoping that the manufacturer of such crappy parts takes responsibility for their defective merchandise. Any remuneration will be out of the goodness of their hearts, though.

It all reminds me very little of when I was driving my 1965 Mustang coupe. The alternator went out. Being a six cylinder inline engine, there was all sorts of elbow room in the engine compartment to work, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show my girlfriend at the time how to wrench on cars.

Got the alternator out in less than fifteen minutes. Took it to the store and got it exchanged for another one. Back to the car and drop it in, reconnect the wires. Total time; less than one hour. Beaming with pride we jump my car, start it and wonder what the flock is happening with the generator light coming on when the car is started. Battery won’t charge and no outout from the new alternator.

Three or four alternators later (can you say; “No more shopping at Grand Auto ever again?”) I finally got a working one and my girlfriend got to witness a sordid spectacle that took days instead of hours. Think I stood a chance in Hades of regaining any of the lost time from Grand Auto?

Hmm, Zenster, you make a strong point with your Kodak analogy.

I’m still going to try my best to make them pay for it, I mean, this is TWO clutches in a year! I suppose if logic doesn’t prevail, being an asshole to whoever it takes might. At the least, maybe I can convince them to provide a product of guaranteed superior quality, like an OEM clutch kit instead of their shoddy merchandise.


That’s the path I would take. The supplier should try to improve your odds of success by giving you a higher quality replacement, in view of the time consumed finding out about their other garbage goods.

any chance the trany conversion is the reason?

Actually, what you wrote was “This could take months.

I reiterate: “This could take months.

If you want to risk the trouble of “This could take months.” over something that could be fixed in a few days, more power to you. But you’ll forgive me if I regard that choice as utterly silly.


how many times have you changed a clutch? Got any idea of the work involved? :roll eyes:

Homer we went through something similar with replacing the car engine. It was a nightmare from start to finish. Nothing quite like putting the engine in and then discovering that the engine is a POS. We were completely out of luck though with $ for the time taken. The wreckers replaced the engine but that was all.

Yes, I think Zenster pretty much has it right. Some states will not allow limitations on consequential or incidental damages and you could consult a lawyer but I do not think the amount justifies it.

Also note that many manufacturers to make good on any warranties will require that the work was done by a licensed professional. You may have done a good job but they have more confidence in the licensed guy who is doing it daily and they do not want to be responsible for amateurs who may be doing lousy jobs. The warranties of some construction materials have this tyupe of requirement.

Imagine I decide to perform open heart DIY surgery on my friend Brian here. Later I discover the reason he is now patagonic is that the thread I used to sew him up was not really that good. What are my chances of suing the manufacturer of the thread for a few million dollars? i think a new spool of floss is about as much as I could expect to get.

Homer, my point was driven home by Zenster. I’d try, just for the heck of it, to get a copy of that warranty from the seller. I totally agree with you in trying to make them comp you; I just think you’re on legally shaky ground. If you’re really serious about it, get the warranty, call the manufacturer, and tell them you love their company, their parts, you want to work this out, but you’re thinking about filing a small claims court suit against them because you really think you deserve to be compensated. Hopefully they’ll work with you. If not you can back down, and you’ll have lost nothing, or you can go ahead and file and see what happens. I’ve never dealt with small claims court, so I really don’t know anything about them, but who knows? Maybe you’d win.

This was a manual into auto swap, right? Not to be a jerk, but does the input shaft have any play at the pilot bearing, or is there any chance of misalignment? Like I said, I don’t mean to be a jerk. I’m just skeptical by nature. Any slop at the input shaft might be able to shatter a friction plate.

FWIW, the “lifetime replacement” warranties tend to get put on anything from name brand stuff to junk. Maybe I’m just cynical, but I expect the phrase to mean no more than that the company offering it can afford to cover the returns. Unless you’re dealing with an independent store, I doubt that your complaint will change what parts are stocked. To second Zenster’s example, I once refused a lifetime warranty distributor because the vacuum advance was “rebuilt” with a coat of cheap paint (guess which part had failed on the old distributor?) I’ve also bought $1.49 telescoping magnets that had a lifetime warranty.

Instead of going for a warranty, I’d try to get a name brand part (Beck Arnley comes to mind), or go to NAPA or whoever supplies the better shops in your area.

cornflakes, the 60* V6 does not use a pilot bearing, there is no play in the input shaft (that I could ever detect), and there’s no shims or adjuster plates that could be off that would lead to misalignment. There’s no heat spots on the flywheel that would indicate a warped or overheating flywheel. The product, to put it bluntly, is shit. I spoke with a mechanic the day it blew who told me to avoid, at all costs, Perfection brand clutches. He had changed over 150 clutches using this brand, and had nearly 75 return within a year for a new clutch. He no longer deals with Perfection clutches. “Good,” I said, “my clutch is a Cumberland.” When I got home, imagine my horror to find that Cumberland provides the pressure plate and throwout bearing, while Perfection provides the disc. Dad called O’Reilly’s, and the only brand they carry is Perfection, also. NAPA recently went out of business.

Perfection has not returned my phone calls, has no operator at their number, and does not have a toll-free line. Basically, you call them and leave a message, and they get back to you if they want to.

I have been thinking about possibly trying to get AutoZone to provide me with an OEM clutch (OEM is Lok, very high quality) instead of another shoddy replacement, and having Perfection Hy-Test pay for the installation costs. I think I could easily strong-arm AutoZone into giving me a GOOD clutch, judging by the store, district, and regional manager’s reactions to my phone calls. If I can get Perfection to speak with me, I will explain the situation and bluntly ask how Perfection plans on paying for the replacement’s installation. If they refuse, I will chew the shit out of the highest-ranking person I can get on the phone, and if that still doesn’t work, I will have my lawyer(s) draft them a letter. Perhaps a class-action lawsuit is in order? I’ve heard nothing but bad things about these clutches. You cannot market a shoddy product and then refuse to deal with a customer that you just fucked. I will not stand for it.

Thanks for all the advice, guys. I know getting them to pay for everything may be shouting at the ocean, but I’m not the type to give up until I get what I want, at any cost.


Okay, guys, I think this is what I’m going to do.

AutoZone will pay for a replacement clutch. I will accept this replacement, a Borg-Warner (good brand), without complaint. I will install it myself, and then draw up a bill for installation to send to Perfection Hy-Test. They will review it and approve the installation cost. I will pocket the money. That way I still get some amount of reimbursement for them BUTT FUCKING me, and don’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

Thanks for all the help, guys. I appreciate it. :slight_smile:


Cool, Tim!

Your plan worked. Glad to see the store had a conscience. Any decent businessman always wishes to retain a customer’s good will.

[old saying]

A satisfied customer tell six others.

A dissatisfied one will tell twenty.

[/old saying]
Get a friend with a disposable flash camera to take snaps of you doing the wrench job so that you can detail an itemized bill.

I wasn’t sure about implicit and explicit warranty in your state. My next recommendation would have been small claims court. (No lawyers allowed.)