My newly-bought used van is blowing out blue smoke - is the dealer liable?

I recently purchased a 2006 Volkswagen Crafter from a dealer with 161,000 miles on clock. I had it a couple of weeks but I'm now having issues with blue smoke - mainly going up or down hills or sudden stops. It's also not using any oil. I took the van back as it came with a three month warranty but they said it didn't smoke when they tested. I got it back and it's just getting worse. Any ideas on what it could be? The garage have now said there is nothing they can do and a van this age would smoke a bit and use up to a litre of oil per month. I asked for a refund they said no. Any suggestions with what to do next?

Asked on 6 July 2017 by Robert Andrews

Answered by Dan Powell
The dealer can be held liable for any faults either present or developing on the date of sale for a period of six months. Given that the van is blowing smoke when it is going up hills, I’d say it’s highly likely that a fault is developing. This means the dealer is liable, explained here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/consumer-rights/

There could be a number of causes for the blue smoke. It could be that some of the seals on the engine are on the way out, leaking diesel into the sump and oil. However, given that you’ve only just bought the van, I think it’s unacceptable for the dealer to ignore this and fob you off. I’d recommend taking it back and demanding that they investigate the problem and put it right. If they don’t want to do this, ask for a refund. Explain that the van is clearly developing a fault and they are legally responsible. If they refuse to help, have an independent inspection to determine the fault and get some legal advice. You can then take it to the small claims court, where you can claim up to £10,000 in England and Wales.
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