£1,100 paid for Dodgey motor


M54B22 motor. 2172cc. I could see exh gas mixing with carbon inside tailpipe as oily drippings. But oil, blowing thru cat and dripping out pipe? Well, it is a 16yr old, 100k mile motor. Should not be wasted if it has 10+ service records in 17 yrs?

Did you miss that part when you were buying the car? How is “complete” defined? I guarantee I could define it such that an engine would never completely fail. “Oh, it doesn’t run? Yeah, well, the piston still moves up and down as it should and therefore it’s not a complete failure.”

If you break the engine to make it go into complete failure, then the warranty won’t count because the warranty says the engine won’t break on its own, not that you won’t sabotage it.

We have no idea. While we welcome questions from around the world, this is a site primarily populated by people from the USA, and as such we aren’t even passingly familiar with laws in other countries. You’d need to consult a local attorney.

What, exactly, does the hand-written warranty say? I know what YOU say it says, but if you have the warranty in your hand you can type it out, verbatim, for us.

Also, you need to calm down. We are reading what you say, but you aren’t being clear. I understand you’re frustrated, but, let’s be honest. You’re in debt and spent all your money on a used car without leaving any for problems. You made a bad decision. Don’t take it out on us.


I already said what the warranty said “complete failure of gearbox and engine” that’s it. Sorry if I come across angry but I never meant it to. I was only explaining a part of what I said kept getting missed so i copied and pasted and highlighted what they did miss. For example, you asked me to tell you exactly what the warranty said and I did already it was just hand written in on the purchase receipt.

i suppose the main point is car barely made it home without issues. The ad made it seem like it was a good runner. Seller seemed to praise it. I might say oil out exhaust is failed turbo but car is non-turbo model. I think seller should honor “warranty” to effect that car will run well with no issues for 1 month. Oil dripping from exh would be refund or maybe he can swap car for another of his stock?

ONE more chance. Use your phone or tablet, take a PHOTO of the “warrantee” and post it.

What you have describe is an ambiguous term that to me (I am NOT a lawyer) has no legal meaning. “Total Failure” would have to be defined in the warrantee. Sellers responsibilities in a case of ‘total failure’ would have to be defined in the warrantee.

You have yet to tell us ANYTHING meaningful.

My suggestions . . .

Carefully reread the advertisement . . . was the car as described? Doesn’t sound like it

Carefully reread the “warranty”

Calm yourself down and call the seller again. Explain your concerns . . . that’s exactly how you should phrase it . . . without using foul language and calling him a crook.

If he tells you to bring the car, and he’ll make things right, fine.

If he laughs it off and hangs up on you, consider contacting an attorney. Perhaps that attorney could send some sort of letter to the seller. It’s one thing to dismiss an upset customer. It’s quite another thing to dismiss a letter coming from an attorney.

But it’s also possible you have no case, because the car DOES have a valid mot. The seller wasn’t lying about that. And you probably won’t be able to prove the car had those issues when it got inspected. And even if it did, are you going to seek compensation from the inspector, because he presumably did a bad thing?

Personally, I suspect you do have a case. Having lived in europe myself, I know the laws concerning such matters are much clearer, versus the USA


Can you take in for another MOT inspection? Any engine running this poorly would surely fail the emissions component of testing here in the US. If the car fails, that’s more than enough to start the process of returning it and threatening referral to the authorities for fraud.

Anyone who poses as a private owner but has a lot with 8 cars for sale is capable of finding someone else who will issue fraudulent certifications.

I’m wondering what the laws in OP’s country . . . UK, I presume . . . are in regards to how many cars an individual can legally sell/year WITHOUT a dealer’s license

And I also wonder what the laws are in OP’s country in regards to how many cars a dealer and/or car salesmen can sell privately per year, as an individual, NOT representing the dealer

I’m wondering how long a mot is valid. The way the advertisement is worded, it sounds like the car was just recently inspected, and will be valid until January of 2019. Then again, if they’re valid for 2 years, it’s possible the car was inspected in 2017 . . . and that leaves the seller an opportunity to claim the problems didn’t exist at that time.

But I feel the seller was being less than upfront about the car’s condition. “NEW MOT until January 2019 which had no advisories.” That essentially means the inspector didn’t find ANY faults with the car.

But I feel OP did themselves a disservice by NOT paying for an independent inspection. That alone could be a hanging point, so to speak. I believe I would have told OP to run away from this one.

Several years ago, I DID buy a car from a dealer, who was selling it as a private sale, not representing the dealership. I didn’t know it when I was on the phone, but it was readily apparent, when I showed up. I did perform an inspection, the car was to my liking and the price was fair, so the deal went through. It was actually a good car, and we kept it for many years.

There is an additional possibility here for miscommunication, so the OP should be aware that db4690 is suggesting that you might want to contact a Solicitor. If your Solicitor believes that you have a valid court case, then he/she can refer you to a Barrister.

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From the way you described it, the solicitor is clearly the first step, and the barrister is the next step.

So is a solicitor an attorney who does not do court-room cases, just files papers and such things, whereas the barrister is an attorney who goes before the judge?

Yes, essentially…
The UK’s legal advocate system is “split” in that manner, and only the Barristers get to wear those cool white wigs.

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Have it inspected by your mechanic. Better late than never. There may be only a minor problem. Oil dripping from a leaky valve cover gasket onto the exhaust manifold can make a terrible odor, but is inexpensive to correct.

re: MOT. MOT is sort of like America’s DMV. I read a British car magazine Practical Classics, and MOT is frequently referred to in the articles. From what I understand car owners there are required to take their vehicles in for a state safety inspection every year. During that inspection they put the car on a lift and check for rust, suspension bushings and ball joints, brake pad wear, steering and wheel bearing play, exhaust system leaks, and flag all problems that could pose a safety issue. The vehicle may pass 100%, pass but with advisories – meaning it passes but there’s a problem that should be corrected but not required for this year’s MOT, or it fails. If it fails there’s something that needs to be corrected before it again can be driven on the roads. Curiously, vehicles above a certain age apparently are not required to have a MOT.

It’s also possible the seller only CLAIMS the car passed the mot with “no advisories”

It wouldn’t be the first time a seller blatantly misrepresents a vehicle :smirk:

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This site is based in the US, if we have any English members who post here I am unaware of it. We can offer you sympathy but no help. You need advice from someone who knows British law.

If there is oil coming from the tail pipe there would be a great deal of smoke from the tail pipe that could not be ignored during the road test. I think that observation was just a nervous reaction to the purchase.

The vehicle may need a new valve cover gasket and other repairs. If this purchase were in the United States you would have the liberty of repairing this old vehicle into worthy transportation. Employing an attorney for small matters will ensure that the attorney will be driving new cars and you will be driving old ones.

Your almost spot on with the MOT George it means exactly what you said except where you said cars don’t require a MOT above a certain age. In fact it’s the opposite of that if you purchase a brand new car it won’t require a MOT for the first 3 years, although you might want to get it servised before then. Thanks for your reply I’m preying it’s a valve cover gasket but would that also cause my cars idle to be rough to the point it stalls every so often and the idling is worse when the air con is on. My coolant level seems to have dropped quite a bit and my dip stick test of the oil looked light brown so I’m unsure if it’s contaminated or not. The smoke I get from the exhaust is a transparent colour it’s not white or tinted blue so guessing that’s a good sign it might not be the head gasket, checking for leaks is hard because it’s rained everyday. The car does not miss fire and has slipped out of 2nd gear on a couple occasions in the short space of time I’ve owned the car. Looking back on the oil leak from the tail pipe I could be paranoid there as I read it’s normal for droplets of water leaking from the exhaust and if water was mixed with the black crap in the exhaust i suppose that might just look like oil.

The way I read your “warranty”, you had your engine and gear box failure within the month, just like he said you would.

What are you complaining about?

I understand it’s a little late for this thought now, but if 1,100 pounds ($1,547.88 USD per Google) is at the top of your budget, I would avoid looking at luxury models altogether. And if any car is so expensive that adding on the cost of a mechanic’s prepurchase inspection makes it too expensive, then pass on it.


If you read the whole topic my friend you would know why it’s a problem. But I’m more focused on finding out what the car problem is rather than blame right now.

@db4690 is right on. Get hold of the seller and see if he will make it right. If not, in the US we have small claims court that does not require you to have an attorney (barrister ? in the UK) where you can make a claim against the other party and a magistrate will decide who gets what. The UK seems to have something similar with a Civil Mediation provider . But frequently a polite call to the seller can resolve the problem.


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