Something I picked up from another forum:
OK so you have saved up your hard earned cash, handed it over to the dealer and driven away your nice shiny new used car. On the way home the engine blows up. What are your rights?
If you have bought the car from a dealer in the UK you have protection from major faults for a period of 6 months from date of purchase.
By major faults we are talking about something which has failed that affects the running of the car, its equipment and/or the cars future value and not some small cosmetic defect.
If a major fault manifests itself within 6 months of purchase it is deemed that the fault pre-existed the sale and so is the dealers responsibility. However, if the dealer pointed out the fault and it became a condition of sale (a price reduction for example) then you cannot reasonably expect to claim later for that fault. Also it is not deemed reasonable to claim for a very old car that was bought cheaply unless the car becomes a non-runner. A car costing less than £2000 would not be considered to be in mint condition with everything working perfectly for example.
Lastly, if the car has only just come in and has not been looked over by the dealer and is sold to you at trade price it's your problem.(Edit-this may not always now be the case following a legal action).
You should also consider the cost of pursuing a claim if the dealer does not play ball. There is little point racking up £10,000 of legal fees to claim for a £5,000 car for example.
So what laws are on your side?
Well firstly the Sale of Goods Act 1979 Part II Section 14, the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 state that the car must be of satisfactory quality. (Although what qualifies as 'satisfactory' is open to interpretation but is based upon what condition you would reasonably expect a car of that price to be in).
The car should be returned to the supplying dealer and given 3 chances to fix the fault(s). A recorded delivery letter should also be sent to the MD of the dealer explaining your problem. If the car cannot be fixed within a reasonable amount of time a full refund should be offered.
Then there is the Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002 which later became part of the Sale of Goods act April 2003 which states that any fault occurring within 6 months of purchase is deemed to pre-exist the sale and is the dealers responsibility to fix. It is not up to you to prove the fault was already there, it is up to the dealer to prove it was not - which they won't be able to of course!
The dealer cannot pass any such claim onto a warranty company under a policy that has been sold to you. He cannot pass the buck. The problem is his.
If, after giving the dealer reasonable opportunity to fix the car, he either cannot fix it or refuses to then the car should be fully rejected and a full refund requested. You should not pay anything towards the cost of the repair or have any deductions made from the original purchase price (although a court may make a deduction if you have covered a lot of miles since purchase).
Should you not obtain satisfaction from the dealer then legal action should be taken against the dealer for recovery of the loss. This can be through the small claims court or via a solicitor. Check your motor and home insurance policies to see if you have any legal aid.
If a problem does occurr keep all paperwork and a diary of events with dates and times and names of people you have spoken to. This will help if the case does go to court.