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I recently sold a car that had been regularly serviced and well looked after by our family mechanic.

When it came time to sell I stated in the advertisement the car was in “excellent mechanical condition” as I had no reason to believe otherwise.

Unfortunately five weeks after selling I was contacted by the new owner to say the car had blown a head gasket and that according to an AA inspection the radiator coolant fluid had not been replaced for quite some time.

Am I liable for the repair bill, as it turns out my advert was false, and the car wasn't in excellent mechanical condition even though I thought it was?


From the "Ask Jack" archives - 23 September, 2010


We have just posted a story on this exact topic on our website.

Saying a vehicle is in excellent mechanical condition is potentially leaving you open to a claim of misrepresentation.

It is better to say; the engine has always been regularly serviced.

If asked to explain further all you can say is; you have always had the car serviced regularly and in your opinion the engine is in very good condition.

You could add; as a layman with no mechanical knowledge you rely on your mechanic to service the car as required.

The buyer has a responsibility also to get the whole car checked out which should include the condition of the cooling system.

If your conscious is clear then you have the option to do nothing but the buyer could take this further if they wanted.

Love to know the outcome.



We had to go through small claims as the new owners felt they had been hard done by. As a result we've been ordered to pay half the repair bill, as even though we had the car regularly serviced it needed $2400 worth of repairs.

The ruling was the car should not have been advertised as being in “excellent condition” as we stated.

There are thousands of sellers out there tempting fate by claiming their cars are in “excellent condition”. Judging from our experience those sellers run a real risk of having legal action taken against them if a problem was to surface a short time after purchase.

It would be great if our experience was highlighted on the AA site. It has been an expensive lesson for us and one we would we like to highlight to other current or future private sellers.