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Perhaps a pre-purchase inspection could have saved him from this mess

Poor guy!

When is Washington going to pull that “dealer”'s license?

I wonder if checking for codes in the absence of a cel is still done in as a standard practice for pre purchase inspections. It is possible whoever owned the car previously did the tape over the light.

Sounds very shady . . .

AFAIK . . . a dealer is not allowed to sell a car with the MIL on

Somebody obviously put the tape over the MIL

I suppose the dealer will probably claim that they knew nothing about the tape . . . maybe they’ll even “imply” that whoever owned it before must have taped over the MIL

Agreed . . . a pre-purchase inspection would/should have saved the buyer from a grim fate

I’m confident many other members also do this. When I turn the key to “ON” I do a quick scan of all warning lights to make sure they are functional.

Washington state emissions testing no longer checks for a functioning check engine light. To pass state emissions inspection the car (1996 and newer) simply needs to have all the I/M monitors ready for testing and no fault codes stored.

Without knowing what fault codes were present, I can’t comment on whether the check engine light is related to the engine failure.

But yes, I always recommend that people have a used car inspected before purchasing.

I Buy Used Cars And Inspect Them Myself. A Professional Inspection Would Help. Regardless Of Any Pre-Purchase Inspection You Must Realize That It’s A Used Car And Could Have A Problem Developing That Is Unforeseen, Some Sooner Than Others.

A $5,000 BMW Needs Many Things. That’s What A BMW Would Cost Less Than $5,000.

I have a set of checks, inspections, and tests I administer. As one check I carry an OBD2 code reader with me to look at a used car. That probably would have turned up something on that BMW after a test drive. That something could cause a buyer to be skeptical.

What the heck, last time into my “local” Tractor Supply Company, they were selling OBD2 readers for 20 bucks, not even a sale price, but every day price. That 20 bucks could have been money well spent for this poor guy.

So far I have always done my own inspections when buying used, mostly due to the logistics of it. It is not so easy to get it done on a Sunday morning and the sellers are always leery of this too. But I am also not your regular guy. I start from screening my seller and then do item by item inspection. Most recently I have resorted to buying CPO to have the warranty as a back-fall as used car prices are too high anyway.

As far as a BMW for $5K, I agree, that already should be a red flag. Nowadays used car prices are so high that $5K doesn’t get you much. While pondering if I want to keep my 05 Camry with 150+K miles, a quick search on the net shows that sellers ask over $5K for a similar car here in Southern CA which is insane. My car is running fine now, but I am sure it is going to need major repairs in the next 2 years and that kind of money for a car this old is too much.

CPO? Chief Petty Officer?

Certified Pre- Owned = CPO = Guaranteed to be a used vehicle.

Of course, thanks.

I really hate it when people use an abbreviation without defining it.

CPO = Certified Pre-Owned, in this context

why did motor die? Misfire? Cel light won’t warn u of low oil pressure. U can feel a misfire. Motor was ok prior to death? What codes are stored?

Cavell: I would also like to know The “mechanic’s” actual diagnosis. The purchaser could have easily been scammed twice ($18,000 to rebuild engine???).

Too bad that the story did not provide more information about the correlation between an inoperative CEL and total engine failure.

I wonder what warning they’re referring to.

It would have been nice, had the article included what codes “Were” stored on the computer.
This would give us a good idea of what someone was trying to hide.

When ever I buy a used car I always check that all the warning lights light up when you turn the key to “Run”. I would think that the dealerships person that inspects the trade-ins would have looked for that too.
But Some real small dealerships may not have that qualified of a person under their employment.


What CEL codes could result in “the engine completely failing”, as the article states?

Either there was something already weak with the engine, or the person diagnosing the “failed engine” is making a misdiagnosis.

I wonder if the engine was a massive oil burner and the engine failed due to lack of oil and the inop CEL and fault codes had nothing to do with the failure.

Another theory could be loss of engine coolant which roasted the engine and the CEL may have had something to do with that.

All theories and as usual with journalism; lacking details.

With an engine price that high, it might be an M5.

I will also agree with others that there is the possibility of a faulty diagnosis of a failed engine.
What is not known is whether the engine is seized, knocking, has a rod thrown the block, oil light on, or whatever.