Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My newly bought Mazda MPV is sick *** UPDATED ***


I did everything possible to avoid this. I spoke to the original owners. I paid to have a test done with a place that had a license with Misrad Hatachbora. I asked a mechanic recommended by the dealer in Tel Aviv, to look at the report who said that according to the report the car just needed a tipul (a service). I spoke to the mechanic who had been looking after the car in Tel Aviv for the past year who told me that the car was fine. I drove the car from Tel Aviv back home via the Modiin road and was very impressed by its power, smoothness and quietness. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing wrong with the car at all.

I took it the very next day into the Mazda garage in Yerushalayim to have a tipul (service) and they phoned me up after 5 hours and told me the bad news. There was something seriously wrong with the engine. One cylinder was completely dead and the compressors were all shot. Half the engine has to be replaced and it's going to cost me an awful lot of money. We are talking a number in five figures.

I went to see the car. It was connected to a load of computers and cables and looked like it was on a life support system. They told me that they'd start working on the engine tomorrow. Be'ezras Hashem it will be ready on Sunday afternoon.

Did the seller know about this? I don't know. I haven't spoken to him yet. I'm waiting to know exactly how much this is going to cost me and then I'll phone him and politely suggest he pay half the cost of the repair. Do I think he will? No, but it is worth a phone call.

The thing that obviously bothers me is that that so called professional test paid for last Thursday, turned out to be worthless or even a total lie! The Mazda garage in Yerushalayim told me that there was no way they could not have known that there was a serious problem. They pointed out that nowhere on the report did they comment on either the cylinders or compressors. Although there are no standards as to what they should and should not mention on the report, the Mazda garage found it very odd that they had not mentioned these things. To them it was obvious that the car had a serious problem. Instead the test place in Tel Aviv told me verbally that the engine was fine. Were they in cahoots with the car dealer I bought the car from? Probably but I'll never prove it. The only thing I can do is to send them a legal letter challenging them on their report and seeing what happens.

The main thing is that on Sunday afternoon I will Be'ezras Hashem drive home with a fully working reliable car which won't see the inside of a garage until next years's tipul!

Any good lawyers out there?

*** UPDATE ***

OK, It's taken a week but Baruch Hashem I have the car back now. It cost me almost NIS 12,000 to get the car road worthy.

My advice to anyone who is buying a second hand car in Israel is:

1.  If at all possible, buy from a private person and avoid dealers. This is harder than you think because many dealers (including the one I bought my car from) pretent to be a private seller.

2. Find a mechanic who knows the model you want to buy and who is recommended by friends and pay him say between NIS 500 and NIS 1,000 to come with you when you inspect the car. I thought it was just Tel Aviv but a few days ago I spoke to a friend of a friend who told me almost the same story as mine. He had found a car that he liked and taken the car to a major test place in Yerushalayim. They gave it a clean bill of health. However the buyer saw the mechanic talking to the dealer so he took the report to a recommended mechanic who went to the test place and went through everything which they had written. Aftewards, the mechanic told the buyer that the test place was intentionally hiding a major problem with the engine and not to buy the car. They had mazal!

3. Don't bother with these car tests. They are worthless. If you cannot find a mechanic then insist that the seller drives the car to an officially recognised garage for that car (it is called a "musach murshar") and get them to test the car. As they will want to get money fixing the car, you might find that they'll give you a report which will point out minor faults with the car. However, I think that this is better than a report that neglects to tell you when half the engine is burnt out!

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