Car from trader- timing belt broken. - alan_james100
On 8/06/2009, I bought a 1999 Vauxhall Astra from a trader for £850. I purchased this car as a surprise gift for my wife?s 30th birthday. I kept the car at my work address until the 25th of June, just before my wife?s birthday. The only driving that was done during this period was from the garage to my place of work (10 miles). On the 25th of June I drove the car to my home address (20 miles). I gave the car to my wife on the 26th of June. On the morning of the 29th of June at 7:30am the car stalled, engine light came on and the car would not start. I called the RAC who inspected the car and advised me that the timing belt had broken. Since I purchased the car on the 8th of June until the date of the incident the car has done less than 80 miles.

The car came with a part service history up to 76k, it had all MOT was in good nick and was told that it had no know faults. Knowing the car is 10 years old and has 96k miles on the clock my expectations were different from if I was buying a newer car with low mileage. When I purchased the car I accepted some risks and that in time I would have to carry out some repairs and replace some serviceable items as per the manufactures recommendations. I bought the car in good faith and accept that there is normal wear and tear for a car of its age and that there will be some serviceable items that require replacing. I accept there are some risks from buying a used car. However, I did not expect to have such a major fault after only driving it for such a short time and have only done less than 80 miles.

I brought the car back and hoped to get a refund or at least get it repaired. The trader is having known of it saying he could not foresee that the timing belt would have gone so quickly and that I should have had this checked. He has offered to carry out the repair if I buy all the parts and pay for some labour. He has confirmed that the car needs a new cylinder head and timing belt to get it to run. I have got some prices form a local breaker for the part and as no breaker will just sell a cylinder head I have to get an whole engine cheapest I have been quoted is £250 + belt kit £150 + labour charge, the car cost me £850, unsure if its worth the hassle. At the moment the trader is saying if he was given the car he would just scrap it as its not worth him repairing it, so I have a dilemma

Do I have a case under the sale of goods act 1979 to claim through small courts? I am getting mixed advice from trading standards. If this was a know faulty maybe id have a case but as its a timing belt and being a serviceable item im just not sure. I would be happy with a repair but not happy to pay for it. Do i ahve a leg to stand out our is this a simple case of buyer beware.

Can anyone help.

Edited by Pugugly on 01/07/2009 at 17:13

Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - TheOilBurner
I assume this was the 1.7TD? I'm not sure if it helps, but when the belt was last changed - if ever? At this age, it should have been done after 8 years or 80,000 miles.

Is there any evidence for this?

If not, did the dealer promise to service the car before delivery? If they did then you may have them there, as any major outstanding service items (e.g. timing belt) should have been covered, as far as you are concerned at least.

Otherwise you face problems, as the law relates to a fault being there at purchase, so it is arguable the car was fine and the failure was as a result of age and not following the service schedule correctly.

This page from the CAB may help:

Edited by TheOilBurner on 01/07/2009 at 14:38

Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - alan_james100
There is no evidence of this work being done at 80k. I bought the car and teh delaer promised to fix part fot he exhaust prior to me handing over money and collecting it. The dealer did not promise to service the car just said he would give it good "check over" prior to me collecting it. Should have asked axactly what this check was but to late now i guess. None of this is in writing.
Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - TheOilBurner
In that case then, the only ray of hope is this (from the link above):

"If the vehicle develops a problem soon after you bought it, you may have a right to return the vehicle to the dealer and get your money back. This would probably need to be within about three to four weeks at the most of buying the vehicle. The problem would need to be fairly major, and you would need to take into account the age, mileage and price of the vehicle when deciding whether it is reasonable to take it back."

Good luck!
Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - Andrew-T
You could recover its value by scrapping it against a new vehicle :-(

Or maybe someone has already done that? (check the previous owner)

Edited by Andrew-T on 01/07/2009 at 15:33

Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - MacGuyver
You could recover its value by scrapping it against a new vehicle :-(
Or maybe someone has already done that? (check the previous owner)

You have to have been the registered keeper for at least a year.

If you paid with a credit card, the card company might be able to help.

Edited by MacGuyver on 01/07/2009 at 15:41

Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - bonzodog
What do you mean by "mixed advice from Trading Standards"? They should be able to advise whether you have a likely case or not; although only the court can decide, ultimately.

The difficulty is the age & price of the car - it's bound to have problems - but I would say that a timing belt failure after 80 miles is hardly a car in reasonable condition or fit for the purpose.

So IMO the dealer should give a full refund, unless he can demonstrate that he told you prior to purchase that the belt was faulty (which I guess he can't)
Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - alan_james100
Well the mixed advice im geting is that they are unsure becasue its a servicable item. However if i can prove it was faulty when i bought it i have a case,but, that is the problem. The trader will say he did not know and sold the car in a good enough sate fit for the road and could not have forseen this problem.

The belt failed at 96k, Vauxhall service manual says to change at 80k, so i guess it was never changed nothing in log book showing it was done.

Spoke with Scottish Motor trade they would not give any advice and they said speak to Trading standards so its like a game of tennis. I just feel i have been unlucky, maybe a bit naive and should have asked specific questions about timing belt and checked it was done. Ahh i will learn.
Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - jbif
they said speak to Trading standards >>

Phone consumerdirect

Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - moonshine {P}

Sorry to hear whats happened, thats real bad luck.

The dealer would of had no way of knowing if the cam belt was about to fail.

The fact that the car was MOT'd isnt really relevant to the cambelt.

It looks like the dealer is going someway to help out, but as the belt failed so soon after you bought it I would of expected a bit more from the dealer. How about if you asked the dealer to refund half the money and let him have the car back to do as he pleases?

I know its a bit late now, but in future one of the most important questions when buying a used car is when was the cambelt last changed. If unsure, get it changed anyway and dont forget to get new tensioner as well (and sometimes water pump).

Good luck, I hope you manage to get all sorted out.
Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - alan_james100
I did they told me to speak with Tarding standards who then put me through to my local branch, thats why im saying im geting some mixed advice.
Think im going to take some of yer advice and go back to trader and ask him if i can get half refund and tell him he can keep the car, not sure if it will work but at this stage id be happy with that.
Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - nortones2
My feeling, having had a VW eat it's valves due to cam belt failure, is to get rid. In our case VAG stumped up for the labour. Nothing to do with warranty. It was well out, but it was the ambiguity of belt change intervals that I challenged them about. Full VAG service history. Luckily I had raised the issue before failure, and VAG/dealer were reasonable. However, the rebuild was not completely successful and I suspect the valves were not seating properly. Unless you know an expert. There are few about, as it seems its mostly slot in a "new" motor, so the fitters in main agents have little experience.
Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - bonzodog
Moonshine P says - The dealer would of had no way of knowing if the cam belt was about to fail.

Equally he would have no way of knowing that the headgasket or starter or gearbox was about to fail (unless there was evidence to the contrary) but he would still be liable; innocence is no defence under SOG, unless you have taken precautions to determine if any possible faults exist.

At 96K the dealer should have informed the customer that the belt was overdue for a change & that he would not accept any liability for belt failure OR changed it!

I'd go for a full refund or sue him; a legal letter from your friendly ambulance chaser can work wonders
Faulty car from trader- timing belt broke after 3w - moonshine {P}

Having thought about this after reading Bonzos and other posts, I think they are right in that you should go for the full refund. One of the reasons people buy cars from dealers (and pay a premium) is that there is some comeback if there are problems. If the car if effectively sold as seen then you might as well buy privately and take your chances.

Keep us posted on how it works out for you.
Car from trader- timing belt broken. - niceguyeddy
Unfortunately despite what others mat say the law is still not black and white over things like this.

Had you asked the guy has the belt been changed and he had said yes or I will do it before you take delivery then you may have a leg to stand on (assuming you also had a witness)

His offer seems very fair.

Or ebay the van with the fault described.

Maybe the trader will pay you a few hundred quid to go away so this will lesson your losses if you do ebay it.
Car from trader- timing belt broken. - alan_james100
I managed to do a bit of detective work and spoke to the previous owner who traded the car into the garage. The belt was not done and they did not tell the garage this at the time.

I never asked if the belt was changed, big BIG mistake now i know.

Car from trader- timing belt broken. - TheOilBurner
Easily done. It's not exactly the first question I'd have asked either - it only seems obvious now with bitter hindsight! :(
Car from trader- timing belt broken. - DP
Hindsight is 20/20, I agree.

Most people don't understand the importance of the cambelt change. When we sold the Scenic last year, it was coming up due. I told the buyer it would need doing in the next 6,000 miles and got a confused look and a shrug. I hope (for his sake) he didn't ignore my advice.