Honda Accord 1996 broke down same day it was purchased

Hi, my son bought his first Honda Accord from a dealership and it broke down the day he purchased it because it didn’t have enough gas. He somehow drove to a gas station and only put $10.00 gas in it and drove about 4 miles to park in his home parking lot however, the car would not start. A small circular light to the left of the dashboard stays on, the front headlights stay on and keep flashing on and off and when he turns the ignition the car makes a slight clicking sound. He says the car was “sold as is.” I’m hoping he could get a refund, however he wants to fix it. Can you guys give me suggestions please, I appreciate it. Thank you

The term “as is” means exactly that! You have no recourse whatsoever to get your money back.

If he had driven it a distance before purchasing it, these things would have shown up.

Any item sold “as is” or “final sale” cannot be returned or refunded. The term is a legal defintion.

You have to chalk this up as experience; you may be lucky if you can charm or shame the dealer into gettting your money back.

I once bought a car as is, but gave it a good road test before paying for it. The seller was a purchasing manager working for a big company.

Do the front headlights stay on even when the key is OFF or only when he’s trying to start it? If the latter, they’re probably Daytime Running Lights (DRLs).

The rest all sounds like a toasted battery. Getting it towed to a shop and looked at is all I can suggest, unless he’s mechanically inclined, interested, and willing to invest in a manual and some test equipment. I’d start by testing the battery and charging system and go from there.

By the way, he’s being very mature and realistic in not expecting a refund on an 18 year old car. I tip my hat to him.

I sounds like he needs somebody with a little car knowledge to help him out. Does he have a voltmeter? I’d start by seeing if the battery has adequate power, it may be drained from sitting on the car lot for a long time. What happens when you try jump starting it?

Use this helpful web page

Most cars sitting on a car lot have discharged batteries from just sitting without being driven. If this is the case simply recharging the battery is the answer.

If he can reach the car with an extension cord and hook up a charger then that’s the next step. If the battery is good, it will hold the charge and all will be well.

If the battery is bad (not uncommon) it won’t hold the charge and will need to be replaced. Most auto parts chain stores (such as AutoZone) will load test the battery and check the charging system for no charge. If a battery is needed they will sell it for about $100 and install it free.

If your son has AAA he can call them. If he doesn’t have AAA or some other road service plan - that might make a good gift.

“Headlights flashing on and off on their own” sounds like an anti theft thing. We really need to know what the illuminated dash light is–that would narrow the problem down considerably.

I agree with two points, namely that “as-is” is essentially self-explanatory, and that it does sound like a problem related to an anti-theft system.

While it really sucks to have a car break down this quickly, it should not be totally unexpected with a 14 year old car. If the car came with an Owner’s Manual, that will explain anti-theft-related issues–IF the anti-theft system is an OEM system. Unfortunately, a lot of people add aftermarket antitheft and remote start systems to cars, and they tend to be major headaches.

If the Owner’s Manual doesn’t help, a Honda dealership may be your only recourse for an anti-theft-related problem. I don’t normally suggest going to a dealership with a car this old, but with this type of electronic issue, they may be the only ones who are knowledgeable.

I wouldn’t call running out of gas a “break down”. Unless the gauge is broken, it’s entirely avoidable.

If the battery is charged I’d suspect anti-theft for the no start. Just because it was an as-is sale doesn’t prevent you from calling the seller to inquire about the issues. They may tow it back to avoid bad feelings and figure out what’s wrong. Then decide how to proceed from there. What do you have to lose by asking?

AS IS means just that. If he had purchased a used vacuum cleaner at a garage sale and it broke down later that same day would he be entitled to a refund on that? No.

There’s going to have to be a lot more info provided if even a moderately close guess is to be made.
You state the car broke down because it did not have enough gas in it and then state he “somehow drove it to a gas station”.
If it was low enough on gas to break down then it’s not likely going to be driven to a gas station afterwards.

Most used car dealers will extend themselves a bit when a car breaks down immediately after purchase. Go directly to the person who sold you the car and ask for their help.

Concur w/ @meanjoe75fan , this sounds like the car’s security system could be the cause. The car’s computer may think for some reason it is being stolen. The key’s security code may not match what it is supposed to be for some reason. If this happened to me I’d go back to the place I bought it and explained what happened, and what they think it could be? They may have already experienced this problem before and know exactly what needs to be done. The worse they can say is “don’t know, go away”, at which point you are no worse off than you are now. If the used car dealer doesn’t know, next place I’d go probably is a new car Honda dealer and ask them if they’ve ever experienced this problem before.

I’d call or better yet, go back to the car dealer and tell them what happened. If they have a service garage, maybe they’ll fix the problem for free or a reduced amount, since it was the same day. You’ve nothing to loose by asking. It’s probably a minor fix.
Good luck

Your son should be emailing us not you. Let him learn to fix his own problems. That includes letting him fail. I see 30 and 40 year olds constantly asking their parents for help and it is disturbing.
I know college professor complaining about having to deal with mothers trying to “fix” their childrens grades. Why are we trying to raise helpless children ?

Hope this car didnt break traction several times before it stalled,those security codes can cause a lot of problems.Mighty old car to begin with-Kevin