Conflict with the used car dealer - who is right?

22 posts in this topic

Hello All,

 

I am in big trouble with my used car. Kindly provide your advise on how to proceed.

 

It is a Mercdes B Class 180, Benzin 2011 model from a dealer in Kiel. Km stand when I purchased the car was  93000 and Purchase date was August 20,2020.

I moved to Munich from 1.November, 2020. On 7.12.2020, the engine warning light came and I called ADAC to readout the error. It shows below errros(KM stand now: 95600):

P0016 Nockenwellenposition bank 1 Sensor A

P0341 NockenwellenSensor A

 

I took it to the Mercedes showroom in München. It was timing chain problem and fix would cost 4000€. I informed the dealer and he asked me to take the car to independent workshop since Mercedes would cost more. The independent workshop also estimated the same price, infact 200€ more than Mercedes. The dealer told he will help me to get the used car guarantee claim but he will not pay anything more. The used car guarantee GGG said that they will pay only 750€. 

 

The dealer says timing chain is a wear and tear(Verschleiße) part and he does not have to pay anything even though it was within 6 months after purchase. Is it true?

 

These are the incidents happened after purchase of the car.

 

There were engine warnings from first week after the purchase.

Incident 1:

On 28.8.2020, the warning light up, it shows error P001177 -Einlass-NockenwellenPosition Bank 1 regelabweichung zw.Soll +Istwert.

The dealer changed the Nockenwellen Sensor and cleared the warning. I felt the driving was normal after that.

Incident 2:

On 03.09.2020, the warning was again there and same P001177 error. He asked to clear it from a workshop and drive to check if the issue is coming again.

Incident 3:

On 24.09.2020, the same error came again and left the car to the dealer for 2 weeks. He said he has changed one more Nockenwellen sensor. Timing chain was fine.

Incident 4:

On 13.10.2020, the engine warning was there again, I took the car to the Mercedes in Neumünster. They told it was problem in the Airpressure sensor and replaced it. they dealer refused pay anything since I went to Mercedes, it costed 400€ for me. Unfortunately I do not have the error this time.

Incident 5:

Then I moved to Munich drove the car by myself to Munich for 850KM. The car was good to drive. But the warning is again came on 7.12.2020 and I explained already the next things happened.

 

The dealer says that I went to Mercedes in Neumünster after incident 4 and they did not say anything about timing chain issue but only a sensor was changed. therefore He can prove that the timing chain was okay when he sold the car to me. In this case, even if I go to lawyer, will I succeed in the legal process?

 

I am first  time car buyer in my life and kind provide your advise on how to proceed next.  

 

 

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Hello, 

Based on my search in multiple forums, only based on the finding, timing chain shall be replaced. In general, it has to work  for lifetime of the vehicle.

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Perhaps it does not help you here, but i had the same car for a few years and got rid of it, It's a terrible car. On the last 2 years of ownership I spent more than 4000€ repairing it, while the car was worth not much more.

My suggestion is to get rid of it. In my case, I gave it in a trade-in for my new car.

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€ 4000 for changing a timing belt sounds like highway robbery to me. I paid € 450 for a Toyota Picnic van ( granted, that was 4 or 5 years ago) and ATU sometimes has specials on it. I'd ask around for quotes.

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I doubt it's just the timing belt. I had it replaced in my Mercedes C class a few years ago, and together with other parts it came down much lower than that, below 1000€.

EDIT: ignore this, what I replaced was a serpentine belt, not the timing belt.

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Sounds to me as though the mechanic has just been resetting the sensors and hoping the lights don't come on for a while before sending you on your way!

Timing chains (unlike timing belts) are integral to the engine so it costs more to replace than a timing belts mentioned in the last few posts. They are also supposed the lifetime of the car. So, the garage's point about wear and tear would be acceptable if your car just had a timing belt. If you've got a problem with the chain (and that seems to be the case), you need to get the job done or it will irreparably damage the pistons/valves. If it's damaged, the car should make a fair old racket when you start it (particularly from cold). The first error you mentioned p0016 is a camshaft position error which would be a typical sign of timing chain problems.

As to whether it is worth going to a lawyer, that depends on how much you paid for the car. It's certainly worth a more forceful chat with the guy that sold you the car. You raised your complaints within 6 months of purchase (I think - it looks like you've gone a bit American on us with your dates). If during that time he just re-set the sensors, rather than actually resolving the problem, you may well still be in time. Make sure you visit in person on a busy day, and have the conversation with him in the main part of the building. Don't be rude or aggressive, just stand your ground and explain in loud, layman's terms so that anyone with the other salesmen can overhear and understand.

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1 hour ago, jeba said:

€ 4000 for changing a timing belt sounds like highway robbery to me. I paid € 450 for a Toyota Picnic van ( granted, that was 4 or 5 years ago) and ATU sometimes has specials on it. I'd ask around for quotes.

 

Timing belt and timing chain are not the same thing.  Changing a timing belt is cheap, however you might as well change the water pump since you are there, so it is normally 600-1000 EUR.   Changing a timing CHAIN is much more complicated.

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Funnily, Himself and I were talking about our 10 yr. old Skoda while driving today. I asked him what might be a big ticket item that could need replacing anytime soon. He said that the timing chain would be the most expensive and it is recommended to change it on our car at 225,000 kilometers. We currently have 128,000 so we're good.

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We had a second hand Ford where the timing chain 'went' as we were driving home from holiday. It essentially whipped around at speed inside the engine and blended a lot of big important metallic parts into smaller, less impressive bits.

The garage did an engine transplant and we got the insides of an old police car, which was at least interesting if not actually very useful. It lasted another 2 years or so and then died.

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6 hours ago, Krieg said:

 

Timing belt and timing chain are not the same thing.  Changing a timing belt is cheap, however you might as well change the water pump since you are there, so it is normally 600-1000 EUR.   Changing a timing CHAIN is much more complicated.

Just to clarify, the timing belt = serpentine belt, right?

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2 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

Just to clarify, the timing belt = serpentine belt, right?

 

No.  The serpentine belt is the more notorious belt you see when you look at the motor, it connects the alternator with some other things. In some oldish cars there are multiple belts instead of a single serpentine belt.

 

The timing belt has teeth and it synchronises the camshaft and the valves.  Normally you can't see the timing belt when you look at the motor (it is an internal part).

 

The serpentine belt is relative easy to change, the timing belt it is not.  And if the timing belt breaks there is a huge chance the engine will seize (except in some particular type of engines).

 

A timing CHAIN does the same job as the timing belt but it is metallic and it should last the whole life of the car.   If there is wear you can solve that tuning the tensioners.  Some modern cars adjust the tensioners by itself.    Replacing a timing chain is expensive (2k to 4k EUR).

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Can't you just ask ADAC about what is covered in your guarantee.They might be able to  interpret it.  Even if the dealer sold you the car with a functioning timing chain, if it fails within guarantee period , that needs to be repaired under guarantee. For brake components or tyre,.  wear and tear is understandable. If he includes timing chain in that category, then the whole car can be excluded from guarantee. Pistons move so the rings , then the cylinders. In that sense only thing which fits his guarantee is engine case. 

 

I know it is too late but my opinion is to never buy those premium brands with lots of mileage. They are not built for durability anymore, they are more for driving pleasure and status demonstration. 

If you want to drive your car for few years sell it and get another one with less mileage and step down the class to match the price.

 

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17 minutes ago, jubinjohn said:

I know it is too late but my opinion is to never buy those premium brands with lots of mileage. They are not built for durability anymore, they are more for driving pleasure and status demonstration. 

If you want to drive your car for few years sell it and get another one with less mileage and step down the class to match the price.

 

I have some experience with that. I bought a used Mercedes C class and a used B class.

The C class was bought with 3 years, from Mercedes, with 2 years "Junge Sterne" extended warranty. It's a great car and it's already close to 200.000km

The B class was a private purchase. It was a nightmare and I traded it after 3 years or so. First, the B class is crap. It's not a "real" Mercedes. I have the C as comparison, and the B simply feels super cheap and crappy to drive. Second, it gave me huge amount of problems. Simply poor quality of materials. I gave it as a trade in for the Tesla because I wouldn't dare to sell it privately!

One of the reasons I bought the Tesla is that EVs have a much simpler maintenance. The B class failed in all parts. The exaust had to be repaired, then a few years later completely replaced. There was an issue with water pump. Another issue with one cylinder. Another with fuel tank. And so on...

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3 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

I have some experience with that. I bought a used Mercedes C class and a used B class.

The C class was bought with 3 years, from Mercedes, with 2 years "Junge Sterne" extended warranty. It's a great car and it's already close to 200.000km

The B class was a private purchase. It was a nightmare and I traded it after 3 years or so. First, the B class is crap. It's not a "real" Mercedes. I have the C as comparison, and the B simply feels super cheap and crappy to drive. Second, it gave me huge amount of problems. Simply poor quality of materials. I gave it as a trade in for the Tesla because I wouldn't dare to sell it privately!

Your Mercedes  c class experience is interesting. I was under the impression that all those german premiums are horrible as they age. Thanks for sharing your experience

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Well, you need to have proper maintenance. Skipping regular maintenance is what kills them. Mine has 11 years and 200.000km and looks new.

If you were unaware of year models, I could show it to you and you could be fooled to think it's only 3-4 years old.

 

But be aware that Audi does not age well at all! 

BMW is somewhere in between, but closer to Mercedes.

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I had the timing chain fail on an S2000. Nothing happened from outside; it was like running out of fuel, but internally two of the pistons had holes in them where they'd crashed into the valves; plus debris all through the engine. Scrap basically. It wasn't much comfort being told that it should never happen ;-)

 

The oil driven tensioners were a constant PITA on the S2000, but really that only caused an annoying rattle. A chain could stretch to the point where the tensioner can no longer adjust and then needs changing. Nockenwelle = camshaft BTW (I looked it up); i.e. what the timing chain drives. If the cam sensor and crank sensor are out of sync, because the chain has stretched, then the ECU could interpret that as a cam sensor failure - I guess. 

 

OTOH dealers often don't know anything other than replacing things. The S2000 also had a clutch problem and as I was near the Honda dealer at the time I went to ask them. New clutch - £1000 + VAT was the answer. I limped it home and with a friend's help changed the clutch fluid (£4) and it was back to normal. 

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On 23/02/2021, 09:00:35, dstanners said:

As to whether it is worth going to a lawyer, that depends on how much you paid for the car. It's certainly worth a more forceful chat with the guy that sold you the car. You raised your complaints within 6 months of purchase (I think - it looks like you've gone a bit American on us with your dates). If during that time he just re-set the sensors, rather than actually resolving the problem, you may well still be in time. Make sure you visit in person on a busy day, and have the conversation with him in the main part of the building. Don't be rude or aggressive, just stand your ground and explain in loud, layman's terms so that anyone with the other salesmen can overhear and understand.

Thank you dstanners for the advise. I cannot visit him since he is 800km away. I moved to Munich from Neumünster.

I purchased for 8500€ and I drove only 3000km. I decided to go to lawyer and hopefully legal insurance help me here. I bought car first then legal insurance. probably insurance might decline to support.

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On 23/02/2021, 18:20:19, jubinjohn said:

Can't you just ask ADAC about what is covered in your guarantee.They might be able to  interpret it.  Even if the dealer sold you the car with a functioning timing chain, if it fails within guarantee period , that needs to be repaired under guarantee. For brake components or tyre,.  wear and tear is understandable. If he includes timing chain in that category, then the whole car can be excluded from guarantee. Pistons move so the rings , then the cylinders. In that sense only thing which fits his guarantee is engine case. 

The used car Guarantee says the maximum coverage is 1500€. I did not know this when I bought the Car neither the dealer told me about this. Since the Car has run for 95000, they cover 50% of maximum sum.

 

I have the same opinion as yours, if the timing chain is included in the wear out part, then all the moving parts in the car will be the same category and what is the point in having a guarantee.

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