Used Car Issue

Thefutureisbright
Thefutureisbright Posts: 109
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edited 17 October 2023 at 7:02PM in Motoring
Thanks in advance for reading…and more thanks for any suggestions!

I purchased a 64 plate, 88K miles Jeep Cherokee at the end of July this year for just under £10K, paid by Visa debit card. Mid August, the 4 w/d service light comes on and we advised the garage we purchase from the following day who told us to take it to be diagnosed and let them know and they will inform the RAC under the warranty, as they said this was not an issue when they sold it. First eye roll.

Now, the light only comes on when the car tries to engage 4x4 so more than likely wouldn’t have been evident to them, unless they took it off road. We purchased the car based on it being a 4x4 due to us living in the sticks. 

We took it to be diagnosed the following day (Saturday) and were told it needed a new transfer box…for £4.5K. Sent the quote and diagnostic report to the garage on the Monday. I spoke to CAB who advised that the 4 week right to refusal ended on the Sunday but were very helpful and informed me of our rights etc. Lots of back and forth to different garages to get the reports the RAC need and here we are today with a final diagnosis from Stoneacres Jeep specialist for nearly £5.5K worth of repairs needed. 

Stoneacres have confirmed it is definately the transfer box and that this has been caused by probable water damage, which I know won’t be covered under the RAC warranty. I’m gearing myself up for a battle with the purchasing garage because they have been less than useless so far, and quite argumentative. I know they will attempt to say that the issue had happened whilst in our ownership however (I’m no mechanic) but surely an issue as big as needing a new transfer box cannot have occurred within the 4 weeks of us owning the car and the purchasing garage will have to prove otherwise as the burden of truth lies with them otherwise the car was faulty when we purchased it? 

Am I on the right lines with this as I am prepared to seek legal support with this.

Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated! :o)

Comments

  • HillStreetBlues
    HillStreetBlues Posts: 3,071
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    edited 17 October 2023 at 9:18PM
    If you have reported the problem within the first 30 days,  then once you reported it  the short term right to reject is a paused. It doesn't start again until you have the jeep fixed and back in you possession. If they refuse to fix it then you should be entitled to a full refund.
    That's assuming you haven't caused the fault.
    Let's Be Careful Out There
  • Thanks for commenting!

    According to CAB, because I didn’t specifically say that I wanted to return the car for a full refund within the 30 days (so annoyingly, it was 31 days and the garage laughed at me down the phone), then I only have the rights of the 6 months, not the 30 days.

    I am absolutely 100% confident that no damage has been caused by us and by the looks of the video provided by Stoneacres, the transfer box looks in a bit of a mess with no visual ‘new’ damage so to speak. 

    I’ve sent an email to the garage giving them 14 days to respond so I’ll see how it goes. Thing is, I don’t think they sold the car knowing the issue was there as the light only comes on when it tries to active 4x4 and drives ok in normal mode, well, as well a Jeep can I guess haha. I just want them the acknowledge the issue, that the car is not fit for purpose, and make an attempt to help rather than trying to close the door on the issue. Because I won’t go away until it’s sorted :).
  • Warranty should really cover.  Water damage?  What do they mean? 
  • I’ve studied through the T&Cs of the warranty and they don’t cover anything that has been caused by wiring issues or water. So the statutory rights route it is unfortunately.

    The garage report says that there has been a leak into the transfer box which has caused the issues. I didn’t request any further investigation as to be honest, it would have cost me and I’m not prepared to put any more money into the car as it’s cost me over £300 to date for the diagnostics, so the garage need to do their own investigations now. I’ve provided them with what they requested in the form of 2 diagnostic reports, both reporting the same issue.
  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Posts: 4,458
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    There's water damage and there's water damage.
    I assume that by 'water damage', they mean damage caused by ingress of water into parts that are not designed to be water-resistant; engines and electrics, things like that. So if you were to drive a 'normal' car through a flood, and this resulted in 'water' damage to parts that otherwise would not be subjected to water, then you'd clearly be liable.
    A transfer box on a Jeep would, I'd imagine, be a different matter; it surely is designed to cope with being immersed in water? Ie, you should be able to drive a Jeep through a certain depth of water without it causing it an issue.
    So, ask Jeep what depth of water is ok for their vehicle, and whether this includes the transfer box. If it is, then it's water-resistant, so any water that may have got into it is a fault with the unit, and not the owner. So I'd suggest you should be covered. Imoooc.


    In my opinion only of course...
  • There's water damage and there's water damage.
    I assume that by 'water damage', they mean damage caused by ingress of water into parts that are not designed to be water-resistant; engines and electrics, things like that. So if you were to drive a 'normal' car through a flood, and this resulted in 'water' damage to parts that otherwise would not be subjected to water, then you'd clearly be liable.
    A transfer box on a Jeep would, I'd imagine, be a different matter; it surely is designed to cope with being immersed in water? Ie, you should be able to drive a Jeep through a certain depth of water without it causing it an issue.
    So, ask Jeep what depth of water is ok for their vehicle, and whether this includes the transfer box. If it is, then it's water-resistant, so any water that may have got into it is a fault with the unit, and not the owner. So I'd suggest you should be covered. Imoooc.


    In my opinion only of course...
    The transfer box is designed to be water resistant, but over time if not maintained the seals can fail, depending on the model the transmission fluid may need to be periodically changed, they are also not designed for salt water. The other issue is that they can get damaged when off road, if the driver grounds the vehicle etc. 
  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Posts: 4,458
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    edited 3 November 2023 at 9:15AM
    There's water damage and there's water damage.
    I assume that by 'water damage', they mean damage caused by ingress of water into parts that are not designed to be water-resistant; engines and electrics, things like that. So if you were to drive a 'normal' car through a flood, and this resulted in 'water' damage to parts that otherwise would not be subjected to water, then you'd clearly be liable.
    A transfer box on a Jeep would, I'd imagine, be a different matter; it surely is designed to cope with being immersed in water? Ie, you should be able to drive a Jeep through a certain depth of water without it causing it an issue.
    So, ask Jeep what depth of water is ok for their vehicle, and whether this includes the transfer box. If it is, then it's water-resistant, so any water that may have got into it is a fault with the unit, and not the owner. So I'd suggest you should be covered. Imoooc.


    In my opinion only of course...
    The transfer box is designed to be water resistant, but over time if not maintained the seals can fail, depending on the model the transmission fluid may need to be periodically changed, they are also not designed for salt water. The other issue is that they can get damaged when off road, if the driver grounds the vehicle etc. 

    Thanks. That's the point I was trying to make.
    If this was a normal car, and the electrics or fuel system or gear box had water damage due to immersion, then clearly the owner would have been at fault - no case to answer. For a vehicle that's designed to be immersed to a certain level - which seemingly includes the transfer box - then any water ingress must have been due to failed seals. Ergo the Jeep was sold with faulty seals. The water damage is a result of the actual failure, and not the cause. 
  • Goudy
    Goudy Posts: 1,416
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    edited 3 November 2023 at 9:30AM
    The transfer box or any gearbox is not fully sealed so is never fully water tight but manufacturers do try to make them resist the stuff.

    There will be a breather vent on them somewhere to allow them to breath as the pressure changing inside.
    These pressure changes are usually caused by the oil in there expanding and contracting due to heat, it will vent in and out as the temperature inside changes.

    The vents run off the top of the casings somewhere and on 4x4's it will usually be extended up higher (usually up the bulkhead under the bonnet) than on a normal car, above the stated wading depth.
    They also try and fit check valves on the breather, but they have to vent in and out so they aren't that reliable.

    It's not unheard of that some 4x4 owners might wade a bit too deep or a car has been stuck in floods above the wade depth. The cooling oil then creates a vacuum on the vent pipe and it sucks in water.

    Of course the vent tubing could have been knocked off, not replaced properly after work like a clutch change, perished and split which would have the same effect at lower water depths.

    It's a particular problem for those that lift their 4x4's, then think they have extended the wading depth but they really should extent the breathers for the gearbox, transfer box, axles etc to stop the problem.


    I do think the term "probable water damage" is a bit strange though.
    All they need to do is drop the oil in there to see what comes out for find out for sure.
    If enough water has got in there to cause damage, it would show in the oil.

  • m0bov
    m0bov Posts: 2,509
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    How long was it working for without the light, after the service? Was 4x4 ever working without the light coming on? Did you claim under CRA or did you use the RAC warranty? The warranty is in addtion to your rights.

    It sounds like its all related to the light coming on mid August, if it was, then you reported the fault and they get 1 attempt to fix it.

    I'd stop trying to use the warranty which is not worth the paper its printed on, your claiming direct from the dealer. So assuming the above is correct, do an LBA.

    A dealer can check the error logs on the ECU and tell you when the error first popped up, likely the dealer just cleared the faults on the car before collection.
  • Just to update on the outcome - the dealer was sent a pre court action letter and given 2 weeks to respond, which they didn’t. They were then sent a notification of court action, and another 2 weeks to respond. All was silent until the day before I started court proceedings to which they responded with an offer to fix the car or I could return for a refund minus mileage - which is the option I went with.

    With regards to the water damage, the car was never driven through any large volumes of water, I don’t even recall it being wet during the time I had the vehicle (shock horror, a dry few weeks in England!) but ultimately for anyone in a similar position, stand your ground as it feels to me that some used car garages think you’ll just go away. Speak to Citizens Advice and know your rights!
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