2004 used car - minimum warranty - Fishermans Bend

My brother-in-law has been to view a 2004 Skoda at a small used car dealer. The dealer is only offering a one month warranty, his own warranty. Is this legally correct? I was under the impression used cars had to have a minimum of three months. The car has done about 85,000 miles, not sure whether that has any bearing on this.

Advice much appreciated.


2004 used car - minimum warranty - RobJP

Technically, the CRA means that for if a fault occurs within the first 6 months, it is assumed to have been 'present or developing' at the time of sale, and thus the garage is liable for fixing it.

However, that is greatly tempered by what are 'reasonable expectations'. You can't 'reasonably expect' a 13 year old car to be perfect. Electrical niggles, creaks and rattles, etc. You can 'reasonably expect' it to start, be safe, and to run.

A warranty is completely different. And any warranty on a 13 year old car will have enough caveats in it to make it effectively worthless.

2004 used car - minimum warranty - RT

There's no minimum warranty for any car - CRA rights set out the legal position.

To clarify a point - in the first 6 months after purchase, the burden of proof that the fault existed or was developing at time of sale rests on the seller, not the buyer - the seller isn't automatically responsible for repairs in the first 6 months if they can prove the fault didn't exist at time of sale but has developed since.

Edited by RT on 19/06/2017 at 21:27

2004 used car - minimum warranty - pd

Just remember that a "fault" has to be something which would not be reasonable to expect taking into account age, miles, type and nature of sale, any other information available etc.

A 2004 car is already arguably beyond its natural design life and it always one major fault away from the scrapper. This is reflected in the price.

In practice, to be safe, unless you discover a major fault in the first few days after purchase (engine blows, headgasket, gearbox misses a gear etc.) you should consider that you have little real comeback after this on such a car. Virtually anything can be argued fair wear and tear and something which it would be reasonable to expect to be worn out on such a car.

There are no sprecific rules or laws regarding cars, used or otherwise, just general legislation which applies to a 2004 Skoda, new Superyacht or a sandwich from M&S all in the same way.

2004 used car - minimum warranty - Terry W

It's a 13 year old common or garden verhicle. Bound to be lots of faults - hopefully mostly minor. If it steers, stops, starts, goes roughly as it should then any minor gremilins are par for the course.

Were I a dealer I would only give a one month warranty on a car like this - its not worth fiddling and risking a loss on a car worth at best a few hundred ££.

2004 used car - minimum warranty - SLO76
Unrealistic expectations are the reason why there are so few decent dealers who'll retail older cars like this and many of those who do either flout trade laws or expect large margins to offset the risk.

Any 13yr old budget motor is a risk, that's why it's of low value. If there was no risk of failure it would cost much more, Simple. No warranty company will offer worthwhile cover on a 13yr old car. It's a risk and it'll require ongoing repairs and maintenance. Don't buy an old car like this if you expect flawless running. It will go wrong and it will cost you money.

The trick is to offset that risk as much as possible by buying a well maintained mechanically simple vehicle but you also must have realistic expectations.

I had one punter recently complaining about a car I sold him over a year ago for £1,000 when a door lock failed! It had been otherwise utterly reliable over the last year yet he was genuinely disappointed that I wouldn't stump up a contribution towards a new driver door lock. I wished him the best for the future and politely informed him that I wouldn't sell him another car again.
2004 used car - minimum warranty - Fishermans Bend

Thanks for feedback. B-i-l realises there's a risk that it could be reliable/unreliable. Deposit now paid. Car, 1.4 petrol Fabia, has had just two owners, full Skoda history for first ten years then invoices for last three years servicing. Dealer is putting two new front tyres on it and delivering it to their house when it is ready. Car will serve as a second car/nephew's first car. It also has 11 months MOT. Bought a few hundred ££ within budget so money saved will go in kitty for any unforeseen expenses that migh occur. Dealer was not at all pushy and really looked after them.

2004 used car - minimum warranty - SLO76
Did you check when the timing belt was last done? It's due every 4yrs on these so if there's no evidence and you want the car to last it's worth doing along with the water pump. It's highly unlikely to have been done shortly before selling. If it's only for local running and only cost in the hundreds to buy then you may be tempted just to run it til it pops.
2004 used car - minimum warranty - Fishermans Bend

SLO76, thanks for heads up. AFAIK cambelt has been done within last three years. Mileage is expected to be no more than 5,000 a year, mixture of local and dual carriageway.. They hope to get 4-5 years from it. It will be serviced by their trusted local garage.

2004 used car - minimum warranty - SLO76
Sounds like a good wee car. Simple, straightforward and rarely owned by boy racers. These make excellent wee cheap smokers. Well bought.

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