LAKEWOOD, Ohio - Jessica Omena of Lakewood is wondering when her 2008 Nissan Sentra will finally be back on the road.
Omena's car has been sitting at a repair shop parking lot for several months after the transmission suddenly froze up.
The single mother is now facing a $4,300 transmission repair bill. Service technicians at Bedford Nissan said the costly transmission failure was caused after the wrong fluid was used during an oil change back in May 2009.
Omena showed NewsChannel5 documentation proving the Lube Stop in Lakewood used standard Dextron 3 transmission fluid in her car instead of using the required CVT fluid for her Continuously Variable Transmission.
Omena said she contacted the general manager at the Lube Stop, but was told he couldn't help her because she put 60,000 miles on her car before the transmission finally failed.
Omena claims she lost her job and could no longer attend nursing classes because she didn't have a car and didn't have the money for repairs.
"I was 8 months pregnant when this happened, and I have no way of going to work or going to school," explained Omena. "I'm still making car payments on a vehicle I can't use, and it's been really hard trying to figure out what to do about it."
To make matters worse, the transmission warranty on her Nissan has been voided because the wrong fluid was used during the oil change.
Bedford Nissan Service Director Paul Calabrese confirmed standard transmission fluid was used in Omena's car after sending the fluid to Blackstone Laboratories in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
"From the findings and results from the independent lab, the results show the fluid used is not consistent with CVT fluid," said Calabrese.
Calabrese agreed the transmission was doomed to early failure because the wrong fluid was used, explaining it can take thousands of miles before the transmission would finally freeze.
Calabrese stressed consumers read their vehicle's owners manual and fully understand the specific fluids required by their automaker. Consumers need to double check with their mechanic that the proper oil, transmission fluid and anti-freeze are being used during a service visit.
"It's very east to mix things up when you go in for routine maintenance," said Calabrese. "Standard transmission fluid is red, while CVT fluid is green. Still, service technicians look at it and they see that the fluid looks like traditional dirty transmission fluid."
NewsChannel5 contacted Lube Stop Headquarters in Berea about this case, and the company was extremely responsive.
The company admitted a mistake was made and quickly agreed to help pay for transmission repairs to get Omena's Nissan back on the road.
Because of our story, the Bedford Nissan service department also agreed to reduce transmission repair cost to Omena's car by $1,000.
"I'm so appreciative I'm now getting the help I need," said Omena. "After all of this, I'm going to keep close watch on what goes into my car the next time I go in for repairs."
Consumers: stay alert when at the repair shop, it could save you thousands and plenty of headaches.