Resolving The Case of the Little Red Corvette

A mixup at the mechanic nearly sent a local man's prized Corvette to the scrapyard

Jim Sargent grew up loving Corvettes. He waited 40 years until 1997 when his dream of owning one came true.

“Even when I was a kid. When I first got my driver’s license I said, ‘Someday I’m going to own a Corvette,'” Sargent told NBC 7 Responds.

Since buying the car, Sargent said he has spent thousands of dollars fixing it up. He painted it red. He installed new rims and a list of other items.

But last year he said was nearly forced to retire the car, after it failed to pass several smog tests.

Problems started in November 2015 when the engine on Sargent’s red Corvette kept dying.

He had the car towed to Courtesy Chevrolet.

Sargent said mechanics there told him that he needed a new throttle body. He said he agreed and paid more than $800 to replace the throttle body as well as make other adjustments.

Sargent was back on the open road. The car ran great, that is, until he took it to get smogged in November 2017.

Sargent said his Corvette wouldn’t pass. He took the car in to a mechanic in Escondido to have it checked.

This time the mechanic told him that the throttle body was not the correct part. His car needed a 58-millimeter. He had a 52-millimeter installed.

Sargent said he took the car back to Courtesy Chevrolet to ask for a refund.

“They said, ‘Well, we’re sorry but there’s only a one-year warranty on that part. You should have brought it back,’” Sargent told NBC 7 Responds.

“I said, ‘well, how was I supposed to bring it back in a year without knowing that’s not the right part.”

That’s when he called NBC 7 Responds. 

We called the California Air Resources Board (CARB.) and asked whether or not the throttle body was in fact the wrong part. A spokesperson for CARB confirmed it was the wrong part. 

“Within five days [after NBC 7 contacted the dealership], Courtesy [Chevrolet’s] manager called me and said he’s going to send me a check,” Sargent said. 

They cut that check for $734 dollars and allowed him to keep the old part, which he plans to sell.

Now, Jim is back on the open road.

Courtesy Chevrolet confirmed to NBC 7 Responds they were refunding Sargent for the part but offered no further comment.

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