CanI sue if an auto dealer sold me a used car with a different engine?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2012

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CanI sue if an auto dealer sold me a used car with a different engine?

I bought a used car from a dealer 2 months ago and just noticed it doesn’t have the factory engine. They did not tell me anything about this and the car history report showed nothing as well. Can I do anything about this or am i just stuck with the car

Asked on February 18, 2012 under General Practice, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is possible that you may be able to sue. There two different possible theories:

First, it may be a breach of contract--the agreement between you and the dealer (whether written, oral, or partly both) under which you bought the car. This would be the case if the engine is not merely not factory, but is a different kind (e.g. different horsepower, different cubic displacement, etc.) than the factor engine would have been; in that case, you did not get what you were paying for, since when you buy a car, unless stated and agreed to otherwise, you expect to get the same type/model engine as it was supposed to have.

Second, it may be fraud: when you buy a car, there is a reasonable expectation that all major parts--including the engine!--are factory original unless stated otherwise. If the dealer knew or should have known that the engine was not factory original but did not state that fact to you, that omission could consitute fraud.

If either of the above applies, you may be able to sue for compensation (e.g. if the car with the engine it has is worth less than it would have been worth with the factory engine, you might be able to get the difference in value) or to rescind the transaction--return the car, get your money back.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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