Old car and who pays?

1986 Toyota Camry, just found out gasoline tank and radiator problem.

Problem? Purchased from my boss - one of three part-time jobs. I like the car.

I bought it in September. He did a partial rebuild but I don’t know all he did. He put in the radiator. He signed an agreement that he would do minor repairs on the car. Obviously the problems aren’t minor.

But since he was my boss I didn’t want to go back to him with the minor stuff. I expected to take care of it myself.

He manages a fleet of cars driven for a courier service plus he has his own race car and a garage at home to take care of that race car.

The point is that allegedly he has car expertise. This car was his for all those miles and years. He told me that with the rebuild it would have produced about $1,400 in a sale in a nearby larger market.

As I write this we are getting a second opinion which I think is justified. However I asked him to name a place where he wants it taken for that opinion. He did not respond. He hasn’t denied responsibility. The repair shop where I got the first opinion I do trust. They said that he should have known about the problems.

Generally everyone agrees he has some responsbility. I want to share cost, but my finances are such I would take the smaller slice.

Or I want to return the car to him. he gets me another. Then he has his old one to earn on his invetment the way he wants. And we almost separate from the boss employee relationship.

I am looking for other thoughts - another way to do this? I want to be fair. Initial estimate: Just under $1,000 with radiator being close to $300.

Well, you did purchase a 22 year-old car. Unless the former owner, your boss, did a bumper-to-bumper complete rebuild, age problems will still persist. Beleive me, since I drive two cars that are 20+ years old. Anything can break at any time with cars this old. I have two, so that if one breaks down, I have a back-up until I can get the other fixed. This is a constant threat that I’ve simply accepted.

But, what are the specific problems? Both the radiator and gas tanks for this car are easy replacements in this car. The radiator can still be replaced with an aftermarket for about $120, and I can swap one out in a couple of hours, complete with a cooling system flush. The gas tank can be had for about $230, and I can swap it out in even less time. But typically don’t need to be replaced unless it has a leak. Do you mean a problem with the fuel pump inside the tank? This is a bit pricey, at almost $200. Labor for both of these may just reach the total estimate of $1000.

If your boss, the former owner of the car, is as mechanically inclined as you mentioned, ask him for help. Chances are he may do a lot of the work for just the cost of the parts, per your agreement. Couldn’t hurt.

This will not sound too sympathetic, but you bought a used car on a mostly as-is basis, without an independent mechanical inspection. Nor did you independently verify the asking price. It is alwo 21 yrs old. On such sales, I would never guarantee anything and believe your boss made a mistake in providng any guarantee at time of sale. “Allegedly having car expertise” does not hold water, because limited car knowledge as an owner and having training to look for particular mechanical issues are poles apart.

Except for the minor repair “warranty”, which complicates things a bit, the seller really doesn’t owe you anything. What is lacking is definition of minor repair, although you agree what you found is not “minor”. I find it difficult for a mechanic to infer that the owner “should have known about these problems”, when this was merely one of several fleet vehicles and maintained to some standard. Combine those thoughts with the fact this is a 1986 model year, I think you should repair at your own cost, junk it, or move on, particularly if you don’t want to damage the supervisor/subordinate relationship. To me, your lack of “buyer beware” is as bad as the owner possibly selling you this vehicle with full knowledge of the defects (which I don’t think you can prove in court, anyway). Sorry for the negativity, but these are my recommendations.

I hope you like your new job in 2008. what this the meaning of minor repairs to you and what does your boss call minor. minor is a spark plug. you got the car in september that was 90 days ago you would have have gotten a AS IS From A car lot. how long did you have to ask your boss to fix the car. also I,am sure if he knew there was a big problem that needed fixed he would have not sign a slip that he would repair any thing and just told you this is an old car you own it AS IS. he has the tools and place to help you. but you must remember once he does the repairs you can not go back again and again. . I did I free job for my friend I put in plugs and wire.the next thing I knew he was coming to me what did I do do to head light they were working last week untill I worked on his car then it was his car needed ball joints. it became
my full time job to fix his car. every time I did a free job he came back withwhat did I do this time parts that had nothing to do with the job I did. I got so mad. I bought the car from him just so I would not have to work on it. after he put $600 in parts he saidthis car is junk.
so he sold to me for $100 I gave to a single mom that realy needed a car and she drove it for two years. I never had to tough it again. please do not make your boss a free repair gagage

It seems to me you’re expecting an awful lot for a 22 year old car.
“Everyone” agrees he has some responsibility? Who is “everyone”?
He hasn’t denied responsibility? So what.

By your words he signed an “agreement to do minor repairs” and again your words, “obviously the repairs are not minor”.
Where is there anything that he owes you a complete, good bumper to bumper car with a 3 year/36k mile warranty?

The agreement says minor and since you say the gas tank and radiator are not minor how do you figure you’re owed by your likely soon-to-be ex-boss?

Nearly ever state has a law defining who is responsible and it is you. It is likely he know nothing of any of the problems when he sold it. You may just have been unlucky.

The only way I would say he has any responsibility, would be if he knew of a fault and told you otherwise. He is not every obliged to tell you of faults he knows about.

Well what does it need? If he sold you a car needing minor things and the car will simply not provide any amount of transportation without very expensive repairs, that’s not minor. But if the car needs some maintenance / basic repair (and on an '86 Camry, I’d say that anything short of an engine or transmission rebuild, or a major suspension overhaul would be considered a basic repair) work, I don’t know how you can be surprised.

He may be willing to help you out. Don’t worry if he refuses, he likes it when you don’t mind.

This was a car sale not a marriage. How long do you really expect this guy to support your vehicle after the sale? At 22 years old, anything can fail at any time. You can’t expect perfection at that age and dollar value. On top of that, when something does go wrong, the cost of PROFESSIONAL repairs can easily exceed the total value of the car. Nobody in their right mind would sink that kind of cash into that car. If you must keep it, you have to figure out a way to reduce the repair cost and that’s more along the line of DIY, a relative or a friend doing the work with used parts not leveraging your boss >90 days after the sale to assume part of the risk and expense.

You state that he agreed to take of “minor” repairs. Without a strict definition of what constitutes “minor”, it is very difficult to determine if this falls under his promise.

And, for how long a period of time did he promise to make these repairs? As someone already stated, if this 21 year-old car was purchased from a dealership, it would have been on an as-is (NO WARRANTY) basis, as a result of its age. So, it appears that you are attempting to hold your boss to a far higher standard than a car dealership. Either your boss is an unusually nice man, or he is very naive if he has promised to repair “minor” problems (or any problems, actually) for as long as you own this aged vehicle.

While this is undoubtedly not what you want to hear, I am going to give my opinion. You should decide which is more important to you–continued employment at his place of business or nagging him about unforeseen repairs on this old car that he sold you. I realize that, given your situation with having to work three part-time jobs, finances are probably difficult, but cars do wind up costing owners money for repairs and when a vehicle is 21 years old, the cost of those repairs can exceed the actual value of the car.

Persist in trying to get him to give you free or reduced-price repairs if you wish, but then you have to be prepared to look for another job soon thereafter. There is a limit to everyone’s spirit of generosity, and I think that you will be severely testing those limits with your boss. And, in my opinion, if you went so far as to take this to a small-claims court, you would lose your case very quickly.

It’s pretty silly to expect a warranty on an elderly car, even if it is a Toyota. And it’s pretty silly of you to jeopardize a working relationship over an old cheap car. He doesn’t owe you a thing.

You pays $1,400 for a car, you takes your chances. You want a warranty, go buy something with five years of payments.

It’s also silly to sink $1,000 into this car, too, and pay someone else to make repairs.

Now then, what next?

Personally, I’d call it even if Da Boss will let you use his (presumably cushy and heated) garage for a few days to perform the repairs yourself. Buy a shop manual for $15 and dig in.

Demonstrate to him that you’re a person of action – a plucky, ambitious go-getter, and not a whiner who expects something for nothing. I bet this will have far more positive effects than insisting on a warranty.

With all that said, the radiator is the most straightforward. If you’re going to push him, push for help with the fuel tank.

But what if his boss hates pluck?