Wed, Apr 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Changhua County repair shop ordered to pay NT$350,000

By Yan Hung-chun and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A Changhua County auto repair shop has been ordered by a court to pay NT$350,000 in compensation to a car owner after mechanics ruined the engine of her BMW sedan by using the wrong oil.

The plaintiff, a woman surnamed Wu (吳), owned a 2006 model BMW E60 M5 which she purchased for NT$3 million (NT$102,923 at the current exchange rate), the Changhua District Court said.

Following the expiry of the car’s warranty, she sent it to a Yongjing Township (永靖) repair shop, which she knew and trusted, for routine maintenance and tuning, the court said.

However, the mechanic used 5W-rated oil, even though she specifically told him the car’s manual recommended SAE 10W-60 racing engine oil, it said.

When Wu confronted the mechanic about the error, the mechanic assured her that 5W oil is of a higher grade than 10W and that there was nothing to worry about.

Soon after that, the handling of the car changed and Wu returned the car to the repair shop, which did not take any action, the court said.

Eight months later, the engine seized due to a buildup of steel shavings and a replacement cost Wu NT$1 million.

Wu filed a lawsuit against the auto repair shop, saying the 5W oil’s insufficient viscosity was to blame for the engine failure.

At the court, the repair shop owner said there was no difference between 10W and 5W oil, and argued that many factors could have caused the buildup of shavings, including incorrect driving habits.

In response, the judge requested that BMW’s authorized dealer, Pan German Universal Motors Ltd, clarify the technical issues involved in the case.

Pan German filed a written response, stating that the use of engine oil not in line with the manufacturer’s recommendation would increase motor friction, which leads to engine damage.

The court determined that the mechanic was remiss in not following the plain directions of the car owner and using an oil that was not recommended by BMW.

Wu’s demand for NT$350,000 in compensation was reasonable considering the expense of getting a replacement engine and she was rewarded the full sum, the court said.

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