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I bought a lemon! What can I do?

ghall1908ghall1908 Posts: 2
edited March 27 in Ford
About 2 1/2 weeks ago I purchased a 1999 Ford Explorer Sport from a reputable dealer. When my check engine light came on, I took it to a local Lincoln-Mercury dealership to find out that it's going to cost appx $2500 to repair everything! And I'm more than sure the dealership I bought the car from was well aware of the car's needs!
I feel bamboozled and I'm pissed off!

Isn't there an "out" clause when you purchase a vehicle that says you have a certain amount of time to take the car back if unsatisfied? Or, like in my case, when MAJOR repairs come up where it's certain they were there before I purchased the car?



  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    Have you spoken to the dealer about this? Why didn't you go back to the original dealer for the diagnostic? What aren't you telling us here?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    and is it covered under extended warranties, like for instance known issues with chain tensioners, and the big one, the camshaft stops in the 4.0-L SOHC engines that caused the shaking and diesel-rattle noises. those should be fixed with a smile by any Ford dealer under the TSBs.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    And have you got a 2nd or 3rd opinion for your $2500? I know I would with that kinda $$ on the line.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    if you JUST bought the car, why not take it to the selling dealer? If there is any recourse for you, they are the only ones to provide it.

    Also, you never said what was wrong with the car.
  • It needs a mass air flow sensor for code 173 on the check engine light, needs new spark plug wires and clean spark plugs.
    Needs rear pinion seal.
    Needs rear brakes, and for the brake fluid to be drained and replaced.
    Rear diff needs servicing.
    Engine throttle body needs servicing.
    Transmission fluid needs to be flushed and filter replaced.

    I did call the selling dealership and they are giving me the run around. I know with purchasing a used car that there is "wear and tear," but the above mentioned items should have been caught and taken care of before the vehicle was resold! I bought the car in GA, and my job has since moved me to VA, and now I'm 600+ miles away! I'm not sure if the car will make it back for the repair of these items!

    No-there is nothing that I'm withholding! Why would I do that?! I'm just upset that I've investing time and money into this vehicle, and now I'm coming out on the very short end of the stick!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    with the exception of the MAF sensor, is MAINTENANCE. Car dealerships aren't required to do maintenance, especially major interval (30K/60K) maintenance like transmission and differential services, at all before selling a vehicle. Most change the oil and do what's necessary to pass state inspection, depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle.

    You certainly don't have a "lemon". "Lemons" are vehicles with "significant impairments that affect the use, safety or value of a vehicle" and are usually multiple warranty-related problems - you have no warranty-related problems. The MAF, if it WAS under warranty, would have been replaced by now.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    what it NEEDS NOW is the MAF and plugs/wires, unsure what "diff service" is called for, but if it's a fluid change, that can be put off. if its gears or bearings, that needs to be done. throttle body may need cleaning, if it's sticky it should be done. the brakes need to be done. my priorities are the brakes first... it is more important to stop than to start... then the diff if it's making noise or leaking through a shot bearing/seal on the brake linings... then the throttle, MAF, and plugs.

    you can get the seals and fluids later.

    prioritize the repairs and do 'em as needed to keep the vehicle safe and maintain your investment. the MAF, plugs, and wires you can do yourself, saving the labor costs, if you are moderately handy with tools. you could also do most if not all the fluid replacements yourself. get a Haynes or Chilton manual for your car and see if you can do some of this yourself, that also cuts the cost way down.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    it went to the shop with a "check engine" light activation and the technician gave him a laundry list of what they "should" do. Easy way to send a recent car buyer into a frenzy, which has happened.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    Well it also sounds like the dealer just hosed the car off and sold it. He should have corrected the sensor and also why didn't he pull the rear wheels?

    I think the selling dealer owes this gentleman something but not the whole laundry list by any means.

    I don't see why a friendly discussion couldn't work out some kind of split deal here.

    I agree with Zeus, this is not a "lemon" but only a car that needed maintenance prior to sale.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    everybody has some fluids that "by God need to be changed right now!" according to that secret maintenance schedule under the lid of the service adviser's desk... the one issued by the general manager or the financial guy, not the automaker.

    that's why I wanted to draw a line. if this used car has driveability or $$$ light issues, they should be taken care of. if the diff makes noise or leaks, that needs to be taken care of. brakes that are at the line need to be taken care of.

    anything else may not need work or, in the case of fluids that are being evaluated on either the "severe service" or "more money before Friday" service schedules, screw it, deal with that next month or the month after that if it matches up with mileage recommendations in the owner's manual.

    if the car has, for sake of illustration, 40,000 miles and the manual recommendations are diff at 120,000 and tranny at 90,000, those items were evaluated on the "more money before Friday" service schedule.

    last I heard, the "more money before Friday" schedule is just a more polite version of the "New Orleans Mastercard," which is usually measured not in terms of credit limit, but in caliber and barrel length. aka, MMBF is theft.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    it could be an "as-is, where is" on a 90,000-mile ride.

    Many people who buy cars from dealers assume the car is perfect - the only supposed perfect ones are "certified".
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    it was somebody else's problem.
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    And the certified ones are not necessarily anywhere close to brand new operating condition!
    Worn shocks, suspension pieces,etc....dirty plenum and TB,etc. Most places mount new tires, replace battery and spend the rest on a detailed cleaning,wax and polish.......shiny and bright blinds the potential buyers eyes!

    Most cars other than lease returns are sold because they need something. Even the lux ones are sold to avoid the 60,000 mile service [$1200].

    It amazes me what people don't know concerning the second most expensive item in most peoples budget [transportation].

    We always find $2,000-$3,000 in deferred and need work on almost every prebuy inspection we do! A smart buyer always budgets this much for surprises.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    That's why I always hammer these reliability stats--they give people false confidence and do not allow for neglect, which many many used cars are subjected to, regardless of what Consumer Reports thought about them 5 years ago.
  • stubborn1stubborn1 Posts: 85
    but try cleaning that MAF sensor before having it replaced. I have heard (but not verified) that you can take throttle body cleaner and clean the MAF sensor. If you try that and still get error codes, replace it.

    The rear brakes and fluids should have been caught my you or your mechanic who inspected the vehicle prior to purchase. As far as the differentials, my manual for my 98 Explorer 4wd says that the fluid should only need to be changed every 100k miles. Of coarse, you should verify this with your owners manual.
  • eagle383eagle383 Posts: 2
    My '97 Explorer Sport has a very strong rotten egg smell after I've driven for as little as 10 minutes. I get the smell every time I stop at a light or stop sign, etc. Some days the mix is stronger smelling. Outside conditions do not seem to have an impact on the problem. I've had several different Ford dealers take a look at it (one dealer kept it 3 days) as well as different repair shops and all but one could not (supposedly) recreate the problem. The one that did smell it, really didn't have a clear response. I've asked all of them if it could be the catalytic converter or a sensor, but was basically ignored. I never get a check engine light, so I have nothing to go on. I've been living with this problem for 2 1/2 years. I bought the truck used with 20,000 miles and it now has 69,700. Got any ideas?

  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    have you tried different gas suppliers and grades? higher sulfur gasolines will stink more, and there are no and low sulfur gas brands at some stations, with more to come for a 2005 EPA deadline. typically, more of them are sold in the premium or near premium grades in pollution areas, but we have a very low sulfur regular from Flint Hills availiable in the Twin Cities metro area as well since they rejiggered their refineries with 2005 in mind a couple years ago on their last refit.

    ours is sold as "blue planet" gas at Holiday. California is also quite active with no-sulfur plans, and I think Chevron is a leader in availiability. if somebody is supplying 2005 grade fuel in your area, it's almost certainly going to be advertised in a manner similar to, "SPILCO. We make the clean gas the government has demanded for 2005 right now. Because we live here, too."
  • eagle383eagle383 Posts: 2
    I'll try a couple of tanks of the lowest sulfer brand I can find and see what happens. Will high sulfer gas actually make my truck smell that bad? I sit at a light and it fills the car up in a matter of seconds (when I have a window down) or if you step out of the truck and stand by it while its running, it will gag you.

    Thanks again.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I haven't had the problem (thank God!) but it's supposed to be a big improvement. most of the vehicles I get queasy behind are imports, and they are designed in places where they already have serious laws against sulfur in fuels. the US is way behind the curve here.
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    Almost all crude from Venezulea and Mexico and Canada is high sulfur......Iraq and middle east are lowest and some Texas sweet. Old wine vs fresh ripple........and half and half.

    Refineries are custom built to handle specific types of crude and you cannot use good oil in those designed for bad oil, either.

    Isn't it nice that US drivers use 12% of world output each day......slurp.
This discussion has been closed.