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Old 01-03-2013, 09:02 AM   #1
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BIG trouble with a rental company - HELP

Hi guys,

I went to Aruba for the new years eve of 2012/2013 with friends and when we were there we decided to rent a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (in this case, it had automatic transmission) to travel around. It so happens that a 4wd is required to go to some places of the island, specially to the Natural pool. So we decided to rent the car for 2 days such that we would be able to visit the natural pool and other far away beaches. For the first day, the car was fine, but we didnt need to use the 4wd at any time. In the beggining of our second day of rental we went to the natural pool. To get there, you take a normal paved road until you are about 2 kilometers from the pool, at which point you are off road and have to engage 4wd. The road is not really sandy; its basically dusty and rocky. Anyways, we managed to get to the natural pool no problem. But when we were driving back to town, we noticed that the car was loosing power. We managed to climb aound 3/4 of our way back. The car was getting so weak that, after taking a wrong road, we tried to come back to the main road by engaging the reverse gear, but Unfortunatelly the car had zero power in the reverse gear, so we got stuck.

So we got the car towed away. Two days later, we get a bill to the front desk of our hotel in the value of 6.250 dollars. There were a lot of costs that made up to that value, but basically we had a 4.500 dollar charge fjust for the parts of the car that needed to be repalced. The car survey reported that the transmission system was damaged, so they had to substitute everything. They said that it was our reckless driving that caused the destruction of the automatic transmission.

I have some questions regarding this situation, because I feel like they are trying to screw us big time. First of all, is it possible to utterly destroy the automatic transmission of the car by recklessly driving it for about 1 hour (that approximately how long we managed to drive it before it stopped moving), assuming the car was in good conditions to start with? Oh yeah, and the guy the towed the car said the transmission oil was burned out. Could our missdriving have caused that? Isnt it the case that the oil needed to be replaced? Secondly, in the list of parts to the replaced there were 2 transmission sets, each one worth around 2000 dollars. Are these prices reasonable? Is it even possible to damage both transmissions of the car simultaneously? Heck, does this car even have 2 transmissions? I have no idea!

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Old 01-03-2013, 10:26 AM   #2
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Bump bc I'm interested in what happens

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Old 01-03-2013, 11:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsoares
Hi guys,

I went to Aruba for the new years eve of 2012/2013 with friends and when we were there we decided to rent a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (in this case, it had automatic transmission) to travel around. It so happens that a 4wd is required to go to some places of the island, specially to the Natural pool. So we decided to rent the car for 2 days such that we would be able to visit the natural pool and other far away beaches. For the first day, the car was fine, but we didnt need to use the 4wd at any time. In the beggining of our second day of rental we went to the natural pool. To get there, you take a normal paved road until you are about 2 kilometers from the pool, at which point you are off road and have to engage 4wd. The road is not really sandy; its basically dusty and rocky. Anyways, we managed to get to the natural pool no problem. But when we were driving back to town, we noticed that the car was loosing power. We managed to climb aound 3/4 of our way back. The car was getting so weak that, after taking a wrong road, we tried to come back to the main road by engaging the reverse gear, but Unfortunatelly the car had zero power in the reverse gear, so we got stuck.

So we got the car towed away. Two days later, we get a bill to the front desk of our hotel in the value of 6.250 dollars. There were a lot of costs that made up to that value, but basically we had a 4.500 dollar charge fjust for the parts of the car that needed to be repalced. The car survey reported that the transmission system was damaged, so they had to substitute everything. They said that it was our reckless driving that caused the destruction of the automatic transmission.

I have some questions regarding this situation, because I feel like they are trying to screw us big time. First of all, is it possible to utterly destroy the automatic transmission of the car by recklessly driving it for about 1 hour (that approximately how long we managed to drive it before it stopped moving), assuming the car was in good conditions to start with? Oh yeah, and the guy the towed the car said the transmission oil was burned out. Could our missdriving have caused that? Isnt it the case that the oil needed to be replaced? Secondly, in the list of parts to the replaced there were 2 transmission sets, each one worth around 2000 dollars. Are these prices reasonable? Is it even possible to damage both transmissions of the car simultaneously? Heck, does this car even have 2 transmissions? I have no idea!
There's only 1 transmission and a transfer case. I'm guessing that if you didn't take out the insurance, wether they knew there was an issue and just want you to pay for it or not, they could have a legal claim that would make you responsible for the repairs. I would recommend seeking a lawyer on this one.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:35 AM   #4
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What year was the Wrangler and how many miles were already on it when it was rented by you all?
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:45 AM   #5
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If there was deep sand/mud or steep inclines/rocks, where the average speed was below 5mph, you should have been in 4-lo. At low speeds against high resistance in 4-hi, the torque converter will be constantly slipping and heating up. It going into "limp mode" to protect itself was what you felt when the power cut. That is classic behavior for an overheating automatic transmission.

If it went on long enough, some of the internals could have been damaged in addition to the fluid/filter. The transfer case would NOT have been damaged by the torque converter overheating. It COULD have been damaged if you spent any time on dry pavement in 4-hi though. The wrangler does not have a full-time 4wd transfer case (no center differential), and can quickly bind up if one turns on dry pavement in 4wd.

That said, $6250 sounds pretty high. And resort destinations are notorious for putting off maintenance/repairs on rental vehicles until they think they can pin it on someone who has already left the country. Why would the hotel send you the bill though, as opposed to the rental agency? Or did you rent the vehicle directly from the hotel? Was the service performed by a reputable garage or some guy in the parking lot of the hotel? Are the two "transmission kits" identical, or just two expenses that mention transmission? Are there part numbers listed on the bill?
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:58 AM   #6
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do you still have a copy of the rental agreement?

only 2 days and they had $6k of parts and labor done and billed?
they probably had the parts ready cause they knew it going to blow and were just waiting for someone to pin it on

lawyer up

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