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Second Hand Car Issues - What are my rights


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Hi, I purchased a second hand Citroen Xantia TD at the end off July, its had done 113000 miles on a N plate with a huge service history.

 

I took a mate with me to look at the car and it drove ok (country lanes under 50mph), the engine sounded good and the car was clean and general in good condition. Knowing the xantia's like the coolant change every 2 years and the current coolant looked dirty I decided t change it ready for the winter. I ensured all the bleed nipples was checked whilst filling the system again (have changed other xantia's before).

 

Whilst checking the water level every other day over the week to ensure no loss off water I noticed copper flakes in the water, guessing K-seal has been used in the past.

 

On Thursday night I noticed the expansion tank was leaking water, as it was dark left the car to cool over night. Friday morning the system was still had lots of pressure in it, so it dumped lots of water when opened. I topped up the system and noticed the water was foaming before calling the RAC. The RAC came out and had a look, said it looked like air in the system and i drove the car to work. I had to pop out saturday and when I got to where i was going, had water pouring out the expansion tank, called the RAC again and this time was told it was the head gasket and towed home.

 

Because i have only had the car 6 weeks and driven about 1500 miles i called the dealer where i got it from, whom suggested more k-seal. When i asked if anything had been add to the cooling system whilst he had the car was advised he added a rad flush to stop any problems and did so to all his cars. I then mentioned the sealant and he said the previous owner must have added it!!! I tried to explain that i wish to now reject the car under the sales of goods act, he asked what milage had i done and why did i change the water before trying to blame me for not bleeding the system correctly and said what more did i expect from a £495 car that is 15 years old? I tried to explain the SOGA and he put the phone down on me 3 times

 

Can anyone confirm if i can still reject the car? I will be writing to him on monday to reject the car in writing

 

Thanks for any help

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No, the amount of time you would have to reject a £500 car is very short as the "reasonable" expectation of what that car should be fit for is very, very limited - however, the cost of repair may well outstrip the value of the car and as diesels are nowhere near as susceptible to head gasket failure as petrol cars then it is very likely that the head gasket was already on it's way out at the point of sale and the k-seal just delayed things. What you would have to balance up is would it be seen as "reasonable" that a £500 car should be capable of regular 250 mile/week motoring? See what others here have to say, but with other possible problems that Xantias throw up on the suspension side, I personally would cut my losses and sell it for spares/repairs and then either get something else alot more basic in terms of maintenance or raise your budget if 250 mile/week is going to continue to be the usage.

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Thanks for the reply, a £500 xantia will go on for years if maintained, my last one did and had 180000 on the clock before the heater matrix gave up.

 

If your saying deseils are less like to do a head gasket and it as already on its way out when i purchased the car, doesn't that put the dealer more at fault?

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Yes, it does but I'm just being realistic - at £500, if the car has an MOT then that's £50 of the value, if it came with some tax that may be say a £100 worth, so you have actually bought £350 worth of metal and no-one is going to say to you with any confidence that if you went down the route of taking the dealer to court that you will win anything as the expectation on what the car is supposed to achieve is so low - you may have personal experience of the Xantias virtues, but a judge won't and will just look at what the expectations are of a £500 car. Look at the bright side - you paid £500 and will get £150 back as spares/repairs leaving you with £350 cost for 1500 miles worth of travel - that is 23p/mile before fuel which is about 10p/mile, so at 33p/mile you have still had transport that is cheaper and more convenient than the bus or train.

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I agree with all the above and would add that you couldn't reject at this stage anyway, not without giving the seller the opportunity of carrying out repairs first.

 

Please Note

 

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

I would always urge to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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I agree with all the above and would add that you couldn't reject at this stage anyway, not without giving the seller the opportunity of carrying out repairs first.

 

Thanks Sam, the seller has refused to do anything to repair the car.

 

When I spoke to him, blamed me for changing the water then tried to blame it on something the previous own had done, that is why i'm looking at rejecting the car now.

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I think I am right in remembering that antifreeze should be changed every other year anyway, so there is your reason for changing it.

 

I take it that all you contact with the dealer has been by phone, you must stop this and use recorded delivery letters.

 

Send him a letter stating the problems and ask what his intentions are, you need a refusal in black and white.

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I changed it because I didn't know what mix was in there, I do it with all cars when I get a secondhand car. I even car the only if it doesn't look fresh, as you never know how long it has been in there.

 

I did phone the dealer to start, but have sent him an email on Monday and posted the letter recorded delivery on Tuesday.

 

He hasn't replied to the email so I'm assuming he won;t reply to my letter.

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