1996 Dodge Avenger Had Engine Replaced Now Radiator Neck is Broken

Reader Question Hi Austin-

I have a 1996 Dodge Avenger 2.0L and I just had the engine replaced. Ever since I got my car back it has been one BIG headache. The mechanic that replaced my engine refuses to fix the problems. The other day my radiator hose came off and I just put it back on and added more antifreeze. Well about two days later the hose came off again. So I called my brother-in-law and he came over. He checked my hose and found a plastic ring broke in my hose.

He then found that my radiator was busted. The metal piece that sticks out of the radiator that the hose connects to was cracked and missing half of the piece. So my question to you is- is this something the mechanic could of done when he changed my engine or is it something that I could of done by normal wear and tear on my car?

Thank you Jessica

Hi Jessica

That is a hard question to answer. It is very possible to break off that plastic “radiator neck” when performing all the heavy lifting and maneuvering during engine replacement. Was it done initially….that is hard to prove. Was it already broken or partially broken prior to the engine replacement….that could very well be possible, I have seen that many times as well. We have also broken many radiator necks in my shop due to being a little too rough working with the radiator and its hoses.

What can you do to fix it? Take the car to your local radiator shop and have them replace the “tank” that has the neck on it. This is a pretty easy repair and fairly inexpensive repair as well. If the radiator is original to the car, it might be a good time to replace it all together. The price of radiators has dramatically decreased in the last few years thanks to China imports.

You might contact the mechanic who did the engine replacement and ask them what radiator shop they use, and offer to pay half if the shop pays the other half. Stand firm on the fact that you did not have this problem prior to the engine replacement and you would like to continue to use the shop for future repairs and stay in good standing with them.

When I replace an engine in a customer vehicle I always send the radiator to the radiator shop for cleaning and inspection. It does not make much sense to have a worn out and possible leaking radiator with a brand new engine. Overheating will void the engine warranty and definitely upset the customer.

Austin C. Davis

Customer follow up

Thanks for the advice! I already went down to talk to the mechanic and he refuses to do anything. When I walked into the shop he turned his back on me and would not listen to me. When I told him that my brother in law looked at it he said ‘what is he a god?’ and walked away from me.

So asking him to pay half is out of the question. I think I will take him to small claims and let the law deal with him. I have been having problems with him since October 2005.

But thanks for the advice it was very helpful.


My follow up

I have been down the small claims court road once before, and have heard of a few of my customers take their previous mechanic to smc as well…I would NOT advise it. It takes WAY too much time, the law is basically on the side of the mechanic, and you can not prove he did the damage..I know you don’t want to hear it..but chalk this up to experience and just carry on with life. There will be no winner, trust me.

Austin C. Davis

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