I recently purchased a 2001 Toyota 4runner from Morristown Ford. The vehicle had high mileage, but was a single owner, clean title, and the interior/exterior was in fantastic condition for its age. I emailed the dealership and was informed that the vehicle was “maintained well” and over the phone that it was in “great condition”. We came to an agreement on a price, barring any major problems after the test drive via email since I had to drive 2 hours to the dealership. I arrived at the dealership and examined the vehicle, everything looked great, including the engine and frame, except for a check engine light. I asked, and they agreed, to take it to an Autozone to assess the problem. It was a knock sensor code, and I thought it would still be worth the price to have that fixed. Otherwise, the vehicle seemed to drive well around town and I was not informed of any other problems. I payed for the vehicle and signed an expected As-is agreement for an older vehicle.
I drove the 4runner home, and then drove it to work the next day. It seemed very underpowered, struggling to stay above 70 and got a very low 14 mpg. Upon showing the vehicle to a co-worker, we discovered a massive leak. Nearly the entire passenger side of the engine bay was covered in oil. It was pretty obvious that the engine bay had been wiped clean when I originally looked at it to hide a leak so large and quick forming. I took it to a Toyota specialist to assess the problem. They informed me that not only were the expected knock sensors bad, but that someone has “been in it and really messed things up”. The scissor gears were not properly loaded and had to be redone. The massive leak was from two valve cover gaskets that had to be replaced. The total bill was nearly 2 thousand.
I contacted the dealership, hoping they would help me out with repairs or take the vehicle back. I was perfectly willing to pay the portion for the knock sensors that I knew were needing to be replaced. I was told by the General Manager (through a salesman) that I signed the as-is agreement and that they would do nothing to help the situation. They claimed that they didn’t assess the vehicle and were unaware of the major problems, even though this vehicle had been described to me as in “great condition” and was “well maintained”, went through the original trade in process to the dealer, was price assessed for online sale, and subsequently sold to me.
Shame on me for putting my trust in the integrity of Morristown Ford, and shame on me for hoping their reputation would be important enough to them to help me fix a problem that was obviously known to them.