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I bought my car in January 2018, financed $10,300. Today I took it in for an oil change and mysterious ticking; the dealership called and said the ticking was an engine problem. The car is not safe to drive as the engine could cease at any moment. I’m the second owner so all warranties are gone. There is 91K miles on it, so the dealership is submitting a pre-auth to the manufacturer to see if they will take care of it anyways. I highly doubt they will, and the cost will fall on me (cost yet to be known). Whether they cover the repair or I do, they said it would take 3 months to get all of the parts they need. No matter what, I’m out a car, still owe $9,000 and continue making monthly payments. I’m at a loss for what to do. I work close to home, so my husband can help get me to work for a little while, but not for 3 months. I have next to nothing in savings after incurring some costly home repairs in late 2018. I don’t have anyone to loan money from.

  • When say dealership, is this an authorized dealer of the car manufacturer or the used car dealers who sold it to you? Was there any kind of warranty from the people who sold it to you? How much are the repairs going to cost? Do you have a detailed written description of the problem? – DJClayworth Mar 21 at 2:47
  • I presume this is the dealership you bought it from used. Is it a brand they normally support, or was it a third-party brand they happened to have as a result of a trade-in? For warranty questions, go to an authorized dealer of that car model. For non-warranty work, go to a local (non-dealership) mechanic. – Ben Voigt Mar 21 at 2:48
  • Also, your location (country and state/province) could be important to finding out whether there is any automatic warranty on used car sales. – Ben Voigt Mar 21 at 2:52
  • I bought it from this dealership and they are an authorized dealer of the manufacturer. They gave a 1 yr warranty from the date of purchase, expired January 2019. I do not yet have a written description. They said their diagnostics revealed significant scrapes in the cylinders. – miim230 Mar 21 at 3:37
  • I live in Connecticut. If they tell me the manufacturer isn’t going to cover it, I plan to take it to a local mechanic. – miim230 Mar 21 at 3:38
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This isn't legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am not your lawyer. I'm not a financial advisor. The following is my personal opinion.

The manufacturer is probably not on the hook for the warranty and the reseller is probably not on the hook after a year of your owning it. Did you have the car inspected before buying? Did you get regular services? If not, this might have been preventable - but it might not have been.

At this point, you might see if somebody else - another used car dealer perhaps - has any interest in taking the car for cash or trade in. As part of this or separately, you can ask for an independent mechanical inspection to confirm the first result.

You will not get all your money back, but you might be able to roll your current loan into a loan for a new used car. I am aware things like debt consolidation exist, generally speaking, but I don't know the extent to which this may or may not apply to your situation.

If you need a ride to work, consider renting a car, using public transportation, walking/cycling or taxi/Lyft/Uber. Cycling would be cheap and you mention you're close to home. You might not even need to sell if that could work. Good luck!

  • I did have the car inspected and the regular maintenance schedules were followed. Walking or cycling to work is not possible as I am often working after dark and I am a 15 min drive to work by highway. Uber/Lyft are very expensive options in my area. I can’t afford a rental while also paying my auto loan. I know I have to take a huge hit financially, but trying to figure out what the best option would be. Even in fine working condition, I would only get $5,000 for a trade-in. At this point, it’s a 3,000 pound paperweight. Thanks for the input- – miim230 Mar 21 at 3:55
  • I'm skeptical that any reasonable person would read your answer and assume that it was legal advice, that you were a lawyer, or that you were their lawyer. – Hart CO Mar 21 at 14:36
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    @HartCO The disclaimer isn't for reasonable people. It's for people who need "Caution: hot beverage" warnings on their coffee. – chepner Mar 21 at 18:55
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Get details on what the issue is.

Search on the web to see if this problem has occurred before in that year/make/model whether or not there's been a recall. If so, start pressuring the dealership to make this good. You may need to call the district manager as well.

You might not be able to get the full cost covered, but might be able to get the parts covered and just pay the labor for instance.

I also suggest you get a second opinion, particularly on what the best solution is. Rebuilt engine? New Engine, a whole bunch of different parts? Why will it take 3 months?

If you agree to fix the car, and they state 3 months, you're still going to have to keep on them, minimally every week for an update, and two or three times a week would be better. In person if possible. With a list of necessary parts so you can make them update you on which parts are now available and which ones they're still waiting on. You want to make their lives miserable so they get your car fixed sooner rather than later.

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The FIRST thing to do is to get a second opinion, even if it's just asking on an internet forum dedictated to that model car, or even on the StackExchange auto mechanics site. Without knowing a lot more I can't give a definitive opinion, but it does seem to smell rather fishy.

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