Bought a broken car

My husband and i found a car on craigslist the guy said it was in great condition (he was a mechanic) and before we bought it we took it to two mechanic shops and they all said it was in great condition. We bought it wednesday and now tons of things have broken on the car that the mechanics and this guys all said was new. Can we give the car back and get our money back. Or is there something else we can do? All the reviews on the internet said it was a good car. Now we have to dump tons of money into it two days after we bought it.

In NH all used vehicle sales are by law “as-is” unless otherwise specified in writing. I suspect most other states have similar statutes.

Exactly what broke? And how?

What year and mileage is the Avenger?

No, you don’t get your money back…Have you called the seller and voiced your concerns? Maybe he will take pity on you…

What, EXACTLY is wrong?? Model year, mileage??

the door handle, the lower driver ball joint, the drive shaft broke

It’s not likely at all you’re going to ever get one dime back but you might elaborate on exactly what is wrong with it, what type of car, and how much you gave for it.

You cannot even start to base the condition of a car on internet reviews. You bought a used car and no review in the world can be applied in that situation.

The seller said it was in great condition. That’s also a subjective opinion and varies from one person to the next. One persons “great” is another persons “poor”.

If you want to get mad at someone maybe you should get mad at the 2 mechanic shops who told you it was in great condition; assuming the complaints are not related to normal wear and tear items, etc.

year is 1998, mileage is 181,779

You bought a used car and things do go wrong. My dad bought a 1954 Buick in 1955 from some friends of my parent who were going to Australia for a couple of years. The second day they had the car, the fuel pump failed and a friendlyt farmer gave us a tow to a garage in a little town. This was on a Sunday afternoon, but the proprietor looked at the car and then said he would call the parts store Monday morning. We got a ride home and picked up the fuel pump the next day and took it to the little shop. My parents told my brother and me not to say a word to the friends and have them upset.

The upside of the incident is that the owner of the little shop was a top notch mechanic who could properly diagnose and repair anything. and my dad did business with him as long as he kept his garage open.

It could be after you make the repairs your car will be fine. My Dad drove the Buick to over 120,000 miles and I bought it from him as a graduate student. It was one of the best cars he and I ever owned.

I would talk to the two mechanics who did the prepurchase inspection. I would think that the ball joint issue would have been noticeable. Door handle is minor and a crap shoot. Driveshaft is very unusual. Did it actually break?

No matter what the 2 inspections may have found, the bottom line is that after 11-12 years of use, and with over 180k on the odometer, components are going to fail on this car. The fact that you had several component failures all at once could just be a fluke, but I can guarantee that this car will have continued problems on a periodic basis. That is just the nature of the beast when a car is this old, unfortunately.

Additionally, this car is really a Mitsubishi design, built in a Mitsubishi factory in the US for Chrysler Corp. Mitsubishis of that era do not have the greatest reputation for reliability.

If you thought that a car with this much “history” would be reliable, then you were mistaken. If you want a reliable car, you have to buy something much newer and with a lot fewer miles on the odometer.


Odds are the halfshaft gave up when the ball joint broke; which is what I’m assuming happened here.

You might also provide some details about these inspections.
What kind of mechanic shops?
How much were you charged for this inspection?
Any written paperwork on what was inspected? (there are varying degrees of inspection)

At 181k miles I would be very surprised if there are not a few more glitches waiting to happen.

I agree with OK4450 about the half shaft and the ball joint.

The bottom line is that you bought a high mileage used car and despite having it checked out something broke anyway. That’s always a risk with a high mileage car. All you can do now is get it fixed and move on.

The OP told us:
“We bought it wednesday and now tons of things have broken on the car that the mechanics and this guys all said was new.”

Then, Mountainbike and Caddyman both asked exactly what broke and what the model year and odometer mileage are.

The OP responded that the car is a '98 model with over 180k miles on it, and that “the door handle, the lower driver ball joint, the drive shaft broke”.

Is the OP telling us that the door handle, the lower ball joint, and the drive shaft (actually a half-shaft) were new on this 11-12 year old car, and that new parts broke shortly after buying the car? Or, was the OP under the impression that a '98 car was “new”?

Can the OP clarify this for us?

There is virtually no recourse in a private party automobile transaction unless you had a contract. You own it.

[i]Private Sales

An alternative to buying from a dealer is buying from an individual. You may see ads in newspapers, on bulletin boards, or on a car. Buying a car from a private party is very different from buying a car from a dealer.

* Private sellers generally are not covered by the Used Car Rule and don't have to use the Buyers Guide. However, you can use the Guide's list of an auto's major systems as a shopping tool. You also can ask the seller if you can have the vehicle inspected by your mechanic.
* Private sales usually are not covered by the "implied warranties" of state law. That means a private sale probably will be on an "as is" basis, unless your purchase agreement with the seller specifically states otherwise. If you have a written contract, the seller must live up to the promises stated in the contract. The car also may be covered by a manufacturer's warranty or a separately purchased service contract. However, warranties and service contracts may not be transferable, and other limits or costs may apply. Before you buy the car, ask to review its warranty or service contract. Many states do not require individuals to ensure that their vehicles will pass state inspection or carry a minimum warranty before they offer them for sale. Ask your state Attorney General's office or local consumer protection agency about the requirements in your state.[/i]