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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    2

    Default What to Do if a Car Purchased Out-of-State Won't Pass a California Smog Test

    I live in California, and found a Jeep Grand Wagoneer for sale on Craiglist, so I made arrangements to fly up to Washington and bring the car home. I bought the car from a private party. The listing looked good and the car was said to have a new motor with less than 3,500 miles on it, and the seller said he had the receipts to prove this (though I never saw them). I brought the car back to California, and found out after the sale that the engine would not hold proper compression and therefore will not pass smog. I tried several times to contact the seller and got a hold of him once. He still states the engine is good, but said he will work with me to make it right. However ever since he has not answered my phone calls or emails. Do I have any sort of legal leg to stand on in regards to having him make this right, or take the car back, or am I just screwed on this thing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
    Posts
    1,386

    Default Re: Purchase a Car in Washington, Brought It to California and Won't Pass Smog

    There are a few issues here.
    1) Why did you assume that the car from WA would pass smog? There are only 2 or 3 counties that require smog testing. What is from one of those counties?
    2) Even if the seller has the receipts all it means is that the seller put a new engine in the vehicle. It's possible that the seller didn't abide by the terms of the installer of the engine to retain the warranty.
    3) A Jeep Grand Wagoneer is an old vehicle, last produced in 1991. WA wouldn't require smog testing of this vehicle in any county as it's not required on vehicles older than 25 years. To assume that it would pass smog testing in CA was a bit optimistic.
    4) You should've required a proper mechanics inspection on the vehicle. This is not the 20 point inspection the may perform in a walk around but a thorough inspection that would include a compression check and more. They cost a bit but are worth it. I'd work it into the terms of the sale. If the inspection indicate the vehicle is good then I'll pay for it if it's bad then the sell pays.
    5) how much did you pay? If you choose to pursue this in court it'll have to be WA courts as that's where the sale took place. That will mean trips up north. Is the cost of the vehicle plus travel costs going to be worth what you'll recover? I know that old SUVs are increasing in value (hell, I have a 30+ yo VW Westfalia with a new engine that's with more than $20K) but, unless the vehicle is in great shape, bot cosmetically AND mechanically (to include the suspension and all of the rubber bits in the front end) then you may want to consider the a lesson learned.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,609

    Default Re: Purchase a Car in Washington, Brought It to California and Won't Pass Smog

    Can the mechanic determine the approximate age of the engine? If it's a new engine, you got what you paid for. You should have had it checked to verify it could pass CA's smog standards before buying it. A seller in WA isn't responsible for making sure it will pass CA's tests. How much is it going to cost you to get the car smog certifiable? Did it pass any emissions requirements WA might have?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,059

    Default Re: Purchase a Car in Washington, Brought It to California and Won't Pass Smog

    Unless the seller made a warranty or specific representations that it would pass California smog, you got an 'as is' car. The assumption that a motor was replaced means little.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Purchase a Car in Washington, Brought It to California and Won't Pass Smog

    For the California law that requires a seller to smog a car, it means nothing -- because that law would not apply to the purchase of a vehicle in Washington State.

    If it turns out that the seller represented that the vehicle had "a new motor with less than 3,500 miles on it" when it did not, that may support a possible cause of action in Washington State.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,967

    Default Re: What to Do if a Car Purchased Out-of-State Won't Pass a California Smog Test

    Quote Quoting GuyusesMac
    View Post
    I live in California, and found a Jeep Grand Wagoneer for sale on Craiglist, so I made arrangements to fly up to Washington and bring the car home. I bought the car from a private party. The listing looked good and the car was said to have a new motor with less than 3,500 miles on it, and the seller said he had the receipts to prove this (though I never saw them).
    That's on you. You should have insisted on them before handing over any money. Lesson learned.

    Quote Quoting GuyusesMac
    View Post
    I brought the car back to California, and found out after the sale that the engine would not hold proper compression and therefore will not pass smog. I tried several times to contact the seller and got a hold of him once. He still states the engine is good, but said he will work with me to make it right. However ever since he has not answered my phone calls or emails.
    Big surprise.

    Quote Quoting GuyusesMac
    View Post

    Do I have any sort of legal leg to stand on in regards to having him make this right
    No.

    Quote Quoting GuyusesMac
    View Post

    or take the car back
    No.

    Quote Quoting GuyusesMac
    View Post

    or am I just screwed on this thing?
    Yes.

    You bought the car AS IS.

    There were precautions you should have taken before buying. You didn't take them.

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