As part of routine preventative maintenance, I had Express Tire flush the radiator (change the coolant) in my automobile.
My vehicle was in perfect running order upon arrival and has been carefully driven and meticulously maintained. It was running smoothly and consistently getting 35 miles to the gallon when I arrived for this routine maintenance service.
The service took them an entire day to complete (while I waited on-site). Immediately as I was leaving Express Tire, the extremely strong smell of coolant was permeating the vehicle and I discovered antifreeze leaking heavily from beneath the center of the engine. I immediately stopped and checked the level of coolant in the reservoir and found that it was adequate for me to safely return
to the Express Tire repair shop, located just a few miles away.
I explained the leak and the mechanic checked the vehicle. After consulting with a coworker, he concluded that it was coming from a supposedly corroded thermostat housing and he obtained a price estimate to replace the supposedly corroded plastic housing. Reluctantly, I verbally consented to the repair, fearing that driving to my preferred mechanic might cause too much
coolant to be lost, risking severe engine damage.
Seven hours later, the repair was completed, but the vehicle had become entirely inoperable.
During this time, I witnessed one employee gunning my engine while another mechanic repeatedly and vigorously pounded his fist on the plastic air cleaner housing components. As the other employee was racing the motor (while the transmission was in neutral), the entire engine was raising up by several inches and extremely foul and unusual black exhaust emissions were being produced while the engine was misfiring and struggling. I had never experienced the strong sulfur-like exhaust that my car was suddenly emitting and immediately became very concerned. The driver continued further depressing the accelerator, worsening the exhaust and causing the engine to choke and gag even more as the engine raced.
I expressed concern about the unfamiliar exhaust and sudden poor-idling conditions. He said it could be the catalytic converter that needs to be replaced. Upon my request, another mechanic took the car for a test drive and returned stating that there was a problem with the clutch. I had no idea what could have happened because the clutch was operating smoothly when I arrived there several hours earlier. He stated that its not running properly and that perhaps the catalytic converter is blown. The strong odors of coolant, combined with raw fuel, rotten eggs, and burning rubber were clearly noticeable in the vehicle.
As I tried to drive the vehicle away, it would not run, nor shift properly. When I attempted to put the car in gear and release the clutch, the car shook violently and bucked uncontrollably. The engine was idling improperly (misfiring). Being unable to shift into gear, it was clearly undriveable and had to be towed to a reputable mechanic for repairs where it was determined that the spark plugs had been fouled with antifreeze and that cylinders were filled with coolant, which was the reason that the vehicle had become inoperable. They also determined that the clutch needed to be replaced because it had been permeated with coolant which was absorbed into the components and caused the clutch to glaze over and not function properly.
Additionally, two of the motor mounts were cracked, a condition that might have been worsened by
having a mechanic violently pounding his fist on the rapidly idling engine while it was raising up during the acceleration, or due to the extremely rough idle which jostled the engine tremendously.
The catalytic converter probably become clogged leading to failure due to the fouled spark plugs causing unburned fuel to overheat the converter and melt down, resulting in the sulfur/rotten eggs smell that was emitted when the mechanics gunned the engine for a prolonged period of time. When antifreeze enters the exhaust system, the air passages can become blocked with heavy carbon soot deposits that coat the catalyst.
Furthermore, for coolant to enter the cylinders, the head gasket which acts to prevent the coolant from infiltrating other engine components, might have ruptured or blown.