Buying a Car?

Bought a car with a manufacturing defect? See what you can do.

Added 4 March 2016 by

Manufacturing defects appear in every factory; automotive industry is not an exception. The chance of encountering one does not depend on the price, either: even premium cars do not guarantee perfect manufacturing. This article will tell you what to do if you discover a manufacturing defect in your newly bought car and how to check the car for such defects in the comfort of your own home.

The first three weeks of September 2015 alone brought about four manufacturing defects discovered in Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes and Renault Escape. Interestingly, not all of them appeared in models produced in 2015. In the case of Dodge models produced in the USA, the manufacturing years were 2008-2010, for Jeep it was 2012-2013, and for Mercedes – 2014. Some of the cars will still be owned by the original buyers but some have already changed their owners. The question is, how can a buyer of a second-hand car check whether it has manufacturing defects, and how can they be removed?

Help, my newly bought car has a manufacturing defect!

How do I check if my car has manufacturing defects?

If you are the original user, there is no need to check the car for defects. If they are discovered, the manufacturer will inform you of them via the dealer’s, most likely by post. You will receive a letter describing the defect and asking you to take part in a servicing action to have it removed.

If, however, the car was bought second-hand, chances of the letter reaching you are scarce. The previous owner would literally have to retain your address and forward the letter to you themselves. Buyers of second-hand cars should not expect that the information will find them; it is always wise to look for it yourself. There are three things you can do:

  • Check the website of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) as they publish every service action organized by vehicle manufacturers. The address is https://uokik.gov.pl/powiadomienia.php?tag=samochody
  • Check the VIN number with the manufacturer; this feature is usually available in “recall actions” or “service actions” tabs on their websites

  • Check the VIN number via www.autoDNA.com

Where can manufacturing defects appear?

Manufacturing faults happen in every factory and every car part. They may not pose any threat to the driver or passengers (e.g. the faulty steering column torque sensor that disables power steering doesn’t), but there are also those which must be repaired for the sake of your own safety. What would you do if your brake just stopped working or the door opened while driving? Never underestimate the risk; if you are invited to take part in a service action, make sure you do.

What should I do when a service action is needed?

If it turns out your car has a manufacturing fault, you will need to have it removed during a service action in an authorized service centre. Remember: you can do it free of charge regardless of when the defect was discovered. The action was started five years ago, the previous owner did not repair the car and you have only just bought it and found out? No matter. You can still have it removed for free.

Where to remove manufacturing defects?

  • Vehicles bought in Poland – the owners will obtain all instructions from the dealer. Such defects are always removed in ASCs.

  • Vehicles bought abroad (Europe) – if the car was obtained from a foreign dealer, they will follow the same procedure as their Polish colleagues, except for the fact that all repairs will be made in an ASC in Poland, not abroad.

  • Vehicles bought in the USA – some defects cannot be removed in a Polish ASC due to construction differences.

Remember: the manufacturer is obliged to inform the buyer of every manufacturing defect that has been discovered and to remove it free of charge; this has nothing to do with the warranty period. If any ASC disagrees to remove the fault or tries to charge you, it is best to contact the main importer of the car brand in Poland or the Office of Competition and ConsumerProtection.

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  1. Risemary leckey

    I lease a car an Audi A5 bought in 2017 it’s been called in by dealer saying manufacturers defect with turbo so they keep it a week I get it back few hours later the coolant warning light comes on they take it back again it’s a cracked coolant pipe I’m not happy I insisted I get a new car as I’m paying 400 pound per month what are my rights