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Dead battery in certified used car!

I bought a 2003 expedition 3 months ago with “certification”. Upon attempting to start my new purchase, I found the battery quite dead. The salesperson had to jump it… “If you have any problems, let us know!” They said.

Yesterday, the battery was dead. I jumped it, took it to a local dealer and had the system tested. Bad battery. I had them replace it, and called my original dealership (35 miles away).

They don’t consider it their problem; they claim that if I’d had it towed to their shop, they’d have taken care of it.

Is this reasonable? I feel like they should have put a new battery in before I left the lot… but I foolishly allowed them to reassure me!

The battery was probably the original equipment and wouldn’t hold a charge for very long. Towing the car to the dealer would probably have cost more than replacing the battery. I am not certain what “certification” means. It could mean that the car is guaranteed for 5 feet off the lot or 5 minutes–whichever comes first.

Many warranties are 50-50 on used cars. You pay 50% of the cost and the dealer pays 50% of the cost. Of course, the dealer determines the cost. The dealer would then say that the battery has a price of $100. Therefore you owe $50. However, the dealer probably paid $50 for the battery, so he is out nothing.

If you did get some kind of a warranty, then you’ll need to read it.

Otherwise it is not at all unusual for them to say that you needed to get the vehicle back the them.

I’m a little confused though. Did you buy this vehicle without test driving it? After you’ve bought it seems a strange time to find out that it won’t start.

Unless there is some kind of warranty coverage for this in writing I would chalk it up to lessons learned.

What kind of “certification” did this vehicle come with?

There’s “Ford factory” certification, and then there’s “dealer” certification.

Either way, read the warranty. There is a warranty, isn’t there?

I doubt it covers the battery, but you never know unless you read it. In any case, you’re only chance for a new battery probably flew out the window when you didn’t ask for one while the vehicle was still on the dealer’s lot.

You already bought a new battery, and considering the age of the vehicle that’s appropriate. Stop worrying about the battery.

What you need to worry about is the “certification.” What does it cover and what does it not cover. You should sit down and do some very careful reading.

Of course I test drove it. Was that a serious question or a jab? It was strange, and they said that “sometimes this happens when a car sits on the lot”.

And, of course I’m familiar with the warranty, which explicitly does NOT cover batteries, brakes, etc. I don’t think anybody does that.

The car started and ran fine for the 2+ months since then, so far as I could tell.
But now, with the new battery, it cranks significantly faster.

My question is whether it’s reasonable to expect them to honor a verbal agreement on a very specific issue.

"…I would chalk it up to lessons learned."
Which lesson is that?

Thanks for your help!

The dealer actually agreed to cover $50 of the cost.

Factory certification, in as much as it’s still covered under the original warranty and hasn’t had the snot beaten out of it (not the exact wording).

I wasn’t worried about the battery. If I hadn’t had trouble starting the car while it was still at the dealer, I would not have complained. It’s a used car after all.

I was worried that the guys at the dealership knew the battery was junk and didn’t bother to replace it during reconditioning.

No - it wasn’t a jab - if you had taken it for a test drive sometime just before buying and once the sale was completed the battery was dead that should have tipped you off to a real problem with the battery. How long did it sit between test drive and purchase?

I would say the “lessons” could be several - don’t trust a car dealer on anything verbal, and relatedly, don’t leave the lot if there is such an obvious sign of a problem. Straighten it out then and there.

It sat for 22 hours.

Points duly noted. I had the whole family with me when we went to pick it up (wife, kids). Good humor, let it slide - foolishly, it seems.


Its normal to have battery’s discharge. Your vehicle is not desirable in market and may have sat for months on end. They charge them up (including new cars that sit) and off you go. Most of the time it works fine.

If you really are upset write to Ford customer(certified?) care and state your case. You may get partially reimbursed if not all.

I prepared many CPO cars for BMW,testing the battery was one of the items on the checklist,speaking of checklists BMW customers got a booklet (very nice looking,glossy paper,the mechanics and Service Managers signatures) telling them what was done to bring the car up to CPO specs.

It was up to the used car manager to either accept or reject my recomendations.

The problem comes when a customer reports (in your case to Ford) about such a problem with a CPO car. Just like needing to keep a certain number of Master Techs employed there are standards to be met in order to sell a car labeled CPO.

The dealer’s offer sounds like they’re trying to do the right thing by offering to cover it entirely or even offer a partial reimbursement.

Even if you buy a brand new car tires and batteries do not carry the same warranty as the rest of the car. Many are limited to one year warranties even batteries in new cars will fail at times. Prolonged sitting without a buyer is not good for any battery.

The word “certified” is also used loosely sometimes. Some dealers send their used units back into the service dept. for a careful going over; others turn them over to the wash and detail guys for an inspection. That would be similar to turning it over to a Quick Lube.

Batteries are “normal replacement items” like wiper blades, windshields and motor oil…

A “certified” used car means it’s certified to drive off the lot…When you get it home, it’s your baby…Stop whining…

I always say right here that if anything is wrong on the test drive, don’t buy the car. I will have to add to that and say for the future; “never ignore a bad sign”. It is easy to hear what happened and then say what should have been done. I’m right on time, as usual. I do know one thing twice; certified means nothing and reconditioning is done with soap, water and vacuum cleaner.

That is great. Depending on the wording of the warranty, I doubt if they were legally responsible for anything.

+1 to that

They are doing cause of the goodness of their own heart.

What are you talking about?!, cars dont run on batteries.