Used vehicle, warranty, and dealerships. Advise needed. (long, sorry)

I'm having a bit of an issue with the warranty on a used vehicle I bought earlier this year. - Earlier this year I bought a used 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth. The dealership I bought it from wasn't a Fiat dealer, it was on the used lot of another dealer. The checks the dealership did on it showed no issues with the vehicle (of course). I was told it had ~6 months left on the powertrain warranty. It was $11k and I was offered an extended powertrain warranty for an additional $5K which I turned down (~50% of the price of the vehicle for a warranty? Errr... No thanks). An oil change was done by the dealer. - Fast-forward 5 trouble-free months, I was overtaking another vehicle on the highway and suddenly lost power and the CEL came on. I pulled over and the engine felt like it was running on 3 cylinders and the exhaust was showing signs of oil burning. I tried shutting it down & restarting it without any improvement. I wasn't far from home so I got it home and checked the CEL which was a misfire in cylinder 1. I pulled the plug on cylinder 1 which was covered in oil, missing the ground strap, and covered in little aluminum balls... Ruh Roh. The other three spark plugs looked perfect, no signs of oil burning, no signs of detonation. - The oil was halfway between the full and add marks on the dipstick and, as this was about 7K kms into the 8K km OCI, had gone from honey coloured to maple syrup coloured. I'd been keeping an eye on it as the car was new to me and I wanted to get a feel for how much oil it used. - It was towed to the dealership under the warranty and they called the next day asking for oil change records. I explained the history of the car and they contacted the dealership where I bought it for the records. - The Fiat dealer called me back to say that they were able to obtain most oil change records but not all and were not going to repair the engine under warranty. - I called FCA who consulted the dealership service manager and also said they weren't going to be doing the repair under warranty due to missing oil change records and because the oil in the vehicle was "black and sludgy" (what?!?). - I called and spoke with the service manager at the Fiat dealership who repeated the "black and sludgy" claim but when I confronted him about the truth of this claim vs. my observations he backed down to "well, it might not have been sludgy but it was dark". Then said "I don't know why you think I would lie about that, we get paid to do warranty work". He agreed to borescope the other cylinders and get back to me but after doing that is still refusing to do the work under warranty. - The dealership where I bought the car is saying it's not their responsibility to provide oil change records and they can't contact the previous owner as they don't have any contact information for them. - A contact I know who's a dealer in another city called the Fiat dealer to see if he could figure out why they weren't just doing the repair under warranty and the Fiat service manager told him that it wasn't a normal failure for that engine so he wasn't going to warranty it. So, right now, I'm stuck having to spend what I paid for the car on a new engine or ~$6K on a used engine. I feel screwed over by the Fiat dealership and the service manager who apparently felt the need to make up lies about the condition of the oil in the engine to support not honoring the warranty and I feel like the dealership where I got the car sold me a vehicle with a fictitious warranty. At this point, I'm prepared to hire a lawyer as, if I'd prefer the money goes to a lawyer than either of these two businesses. Before I do that can anyone here offer any suggestions for how I can handle this without having to drag this through the courts? Does anyone have any records of this failure on the Fiat 1.4 Multiair turbo engine?
 
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". I was told it had ~6 months left on the powertrain warranty" You were told? Did you do your due diligence? You don't indicate the mileage. Hiring a lawyer? He will be the only winner for that expense.
 
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12,148
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<span style="font-weight: bold">I would contact Fiat directly and explain</span>. Hopefully they will open a case file and start the process. I've done this with both Honda and Toyota with good results.
 
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$6k for a used engine? I bought a used 2011 Civic engine for $400 from a salvage yard and installed it myself in a car. Hopefully it works out for you. Next time don't buy a Fiat/FCA car...
 
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MTL, CANADA
Id call FCA again, explain your situation (or speak to someone higher up) and demand action. There are always ways to escalate this up the chain. See to it that FCA arranges warranty coverage to have the repairs done at one of their garages. I feel like thats something they need to arrange. Id also threaten to take your issue to the media and that you will be hiring a lawyer if this doesnt get addressed. Good luck, hope you get somewhere with this.
 
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Central Maryland
Get the VIN and call Jiffy Lube, whatever dealers and lube joints are in your area, and ask if they have oil change records. If you have the CarFax, it should show the localities where it was sold/titled/licensed and/or serviced previously, that should give you some hints where and who to call. I reconstructed the oil change history on my used Camry this way. Everyone I called was happy to help.
 
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593
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MA
I've said in other threads and I'll say it again...I do not understand what is in it for the service manager to deny this type of warranty work? It's not a "typical" failure, he busted your balls a little bit but obtained MOST of the maintenance records but can't seem to put himself in your shoes and just ok the work....which he WILL get paid for by FIAT? These people are on power trips...nothing more...lose a customer forever and NOT get paid for work that IS legitimate or make a customer for life and GET paid? This one is not all that hard to figure out in my head. You could have one of the best and highly rated service departments simply by not being a tool....
 
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12,148
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Originally Posted by HangFire
Get the VIN and call Jiffy Lube, whatever dealers and lube joints are in your area, and ask if they have oil change records. If you have the CarFax, it should show the localities where it was sold/titled/licensed and/or serviced previously, that should give you some hints where and who to call. I reconstructed the oil change history on my used Camry this way. Everyone I called was happy to help.
Good idea, add Firestone to the list. If you don't have a carfax you can get a new one off ebay for a cheap price which may show where it was serviced. Or contact the dealer where you bought it for a carfax.
 
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First off "it wasn't a normal failure for that engine" Well that means NOTHING. There are freak weird failures every month on cars and they get warranted. That is warranties are for, not just because "to get a warranty" it has to be "manufacture's known problem" to get fixed. As far as sludgy oil, go there and get some of the oil have it analyzed. Many cars get warranted with dirty oil. Where does it say anywhere you are responsible to keep "oil change records" to keep the warranty? WHO determines what is sludgy oil? Have them pull the valve cover, that is a 110% place to see the health of the motor as far as sludge. Show up there with a oil analysis bottle and say you want to be there when some oil gets pulled. You have a right to get oil out of YOUR car. Even if you have to pay a half hour tech fee to get it pulled . Again you want to be there when it get put into the bottle. Get the general manager involved and be curious and say I must get this oil from my car. Some way this has to happen. If this things seems to be going no where, plan #2 I myself would call your local city permitting person and get a picket permit go to a a local quickie sign company and get a 4ft x4ft sign printed up and picket their dealership. Bring lots of friends. Do it by the book so you are legal If you have vacation take a couple days thurs/friday/sat. See how they like that. The printing has to be big and clear saying "they don't honor warranties" and they skip out on technicalities other dealership would not. Thrust me........their sales will plummet and your warranty will become a better option.
 
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Santa Barbara, CA
Manufacturers will require proof of maintenance at the minimum following the recommended intervals throughout the warranty period. Usually if there is proof for most of them they will accept that.
 
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9,947
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Well there's a reason Fiat wasn't in the US for a long time. All sorts of acronyms for them, but I think Failure in Automotive Technology still fits. But yes, don't waste money on a lawyer, just call up Fiat corporate. They usually have more pull than the local dealer. Or call another dealer in the area that wants to do the work and see what they say, maybe have it towed to another dealer. There's usually some method to appeal if you get turned down by corporate. It should all be in the owner's manual.
 

Pew

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1,168
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Illinois
Originally Posted by PWMDMD
I've said in other threads and I'll say it again...I do not understand what is in it for the service manager to deny this type of warranty work? It's not a "typical" failure, he busted your balls a little bit but obtained MOST of the maintenance records but can't seem to put himself in your shoes and just ok the work....which he WILL get paid for by FIAT?
Some dealers don't have a choice in the say. I know Mitsubishi requires a regional manager to approve warranty work >$500 I think. If the regional manager doesn't approve of it then the dealer can't do anything. I've also heard that warranty work pays less than 'normal' work. I don't know how true that is though.
 
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Western Canada
Most manufacturers will honour the warranty for 2nd buyers, unless there are clear signs of neglect or abuse. Maintenance receipts are long gone if the owner did any of the work himself. Push Fiat harder, and go up a level or two if needed.
 
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14,848
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
Originally Posted by Pew
Originally Posted by PWMDMD
I've said in other threads and I'll say it again...I do not understand what is in it for the service manager to deny this type of warranty work? It's not a "typical" failure, he busted your balls a little bit but obtained MOST of the maintenance records but can't seem to put himself in your shoes and just ok the work....which he WILL get paid for by FIAT?
Some dealers don't have a choice in the say. I know Mitsubishi requires a regional manager to approve warranty work >$500 I think. If the regional manager doesn't approve of it then the dealer can't do anything. I've also heard that warranty work pays less than 'normal' work. I don't know how true that is though.
It does pay less. The hourly rate is lower and the hours paid per job are lower than normal book rate. Also the parts have to be billed out at a certain percentage which is usually lower than list. At least with Ford it is cost +40% for most parts where engines and transmissions have a cost + handling allowance.
 
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SW Ohio
Originally Posted by Mainia
...saying "they don't honor warranties" and they skip out on technicalities other dealership would not. Thrust me........their sales will plummet and your warranty will become a better option.
The dealership doesn't determine warranty validity or not. They report the situation to the corporation who then approves or denies the claim.
 
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14,848
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Santa Barbara, CA
Originally Posted by hallstevenson
Originally Posted by Mainia
...saying "they don't honor warranties" and they skip out on technicalities other dealership would not. Thrust me........their sales will plummet and your warranty will become a better option.
The dealership doesn't determine warranty validity or not. They report the situation to the corporation who then approves or denies the claim.
Yes and no. Under a certain dollar amount, we can go ahead and say something is warranty. Above the amount we have to submit a claim, usually with pictures. Then it goes from there. If the manufacturer denies the claim there is an appeal process, but usually it is on the customer to do that. The claims I have seen denied, an engineer or inspector is usually sent out and that usually ends up being the final word.
 
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Cincinnati, OH, USA
Don't feel too bad-we had this same issue with TWO Transit 3.7s that threw rods at under 50K, Ford told the company to pound sand because dealers weren't documenting Quick Lane oil changes correctly & entering them into Oasis. The local Ford dealer pulled that stunt with me once, on the first oil change because they couldn't figure out how to bill it correctly. I know they had a junkyard engine put into at least one of them, now everyone has to email their receipts for oil changes in so Ford doesn't screw us again...
 
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ME
Yeah, get yourself an oil sample, maybe with some "Dyson Analysis" (does he still do that?) and then go on the offensive showing you don't have to prove maintenance-- they have to prove failure of maintenance. If that doesn't work, go after them in small claims court. Your goal should be to be an offensive [censored] in their sides without spending much time or money. Other customers will roll over more easily and they'll get their numbers for the month, and pay you to go away.
 
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Fiat didn't get the acronym "Fix It Again, Tony!" out of nothing. Best of luck in your new task. Please keep us posted with your progress.
 
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