No-one wants to find out there’s an annoying fault on a car they have just purchased. Problems and issues, especially on new cars, can leave a bitter taste in the mouth after spending a lot of money or committing to a series of payments. The last thing you want to find out is your car is faulty.
Before you purchase
Always inspect the vehicle before purchase and point out any faults that you notice. A dealer is not liable for faults they have indicated to you prior to the sale, however this is less clear-cut when the problem is less obvious, such as a clutch or gearshaft that cannot be adequately inspected.
If you have bought your car from new, it is generally accepted that a fault appearing in six months was present when the car was purchased and should warrant either a repair or replacement for a similar vehicle by the dealer.
Although tolerances for manufacturing are very high, sadly design faults and faulty components sometimes creep into the production process, even for new models. Often a manufacturer will issue a recall and correct an issue they have identified. These are carried out free of charge and if you buy a car second hand, you should always ensure that the service history confirms these have been carried out. A list of known recalls are available on some of our Ford models pages for your convenience.
Fixing a fault yourself if your car is faulty
You should never attempt a repair unless you have sufficient skills and tools to do so, and never attempt to fix a recall fault yourself. However some annoying issues can be easily fixed with the right part and a bit of common sense. If you are generally satisfied with the vehicle, then it may be worth conducting a repair yourself in order to save the inconvenience of returning the car and logging the fault with the dealer.
For example, fixing the parcel shelf on a Ford Puma can be as easy as just wrapping tape around some pegs. Other common problems with heating systems can also sometimes be fixed by replacing easily-reached components with spare ones, and your dealer may even be willing to reimburse you if you detail the costs.
Ultimately it is in most dealer’s interests to keep you satisfied with your car and buying your next model from them, however the second-hand market can be a little more risky. Do your homework and make yourself aware of known faults and common issues with the car you are buying and confirm with the seller that these have been addressed. If you are not confident in making a technical inspection, bring along a friend or hire a mechanic to give the vehicle a check.