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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought my immaculate low-mileage Yeti knowing, just before purchase, that it had no paper nor electronic service history with VW/Skoda. Because I was aware that the car has a turbo and I knew nothing about turbos I did a little research. I discovered that the turbo shares its oil with the engine, and that because the turbo operates at high speeds it is essential that the engine oil is changed regularly (ie according to the service schedule). I thought that I would do the oil change myself, but because I discovered, after purchase, that it looked more complicate and enclosed than I was used to, I decided to pay a Skoda agent to do the servicing, at least for this first time. £348.

I have previously owned an old-fashioned diesel car and know that there is major and expensive damage if the timing belt breaks. However I did not realise that petrol engines also have timing belts. Certainly my previous petrol cars did not have timing belts. So when I accepted the car without a service record I did not appreciate the implications for the timing belt of a lack of service history. I did not realise that the car even had a timing belt.

After purchase I realised (without going into details about the previous owner) that there was no proof that the 7-year old car had any servicing done at all, least of all for the timing belt. Indeed for various reasons it seems that no servicing whatsoever had been done in the last 7 years since the car’s purchase as new. I have discussed the matter with the seller, Big Motoring World, who say that they do 200 checks. However (after the sale) they tell me that there is no fault to fix and so they will not be fixing it. I said that the purpose of a service schedule is to reduce dramatically the potential for failure during service, and that a timing belt failure is likely to be catastrophic and expensive. Furthermore I said that this failure would cost much more than their warranty covered, and in any case since I could not demonstrate that the car had been appropriately service the warranty might not cover the situation. BMW’s representative said that they could well be generous over and above the strict terms of the warranty. (You must remember that Big Motoring World says it is also “Big on Quality”.)

I said that I was an amateur and that they were professionals, who must have been aware of the likelihood and implications of the potentially catastrophic nature of a timing belt failure. They said that a service schedule is only a recommendation from the manufacturer, and that BMW do not replace consumable items. [I have been assured by a Skoda main agent that they have a different philosophy.] I asked BMW (a few days after purchase) to do a timing belt service. They refused saying that I was aware at purchase of the lack of service history. (Yes, but since I did not know that the car had a timing belt I could not have been aware of the implications for the timing belt. I might add that this did not seem to be reflected in the price! But I liked the car and it seemed in excellent condition with low mileage.) [I gather that a Skoda dealer would not sell a car knowing that the oil and the timing belt had not been changed when they should have been, and that they would do this work before sale.] (I have just paid for a timing belt change by the Skoda dealer, £450 at a “discount” price. The car has proven a lot more expensive than its sale price !)

As an amateur purchasing from professionals, I would have some legal protections. However, since BMW have never actually misled me, (their sin being one of omission) it could be argued that I have no case against them.

Any thoughts ?
 

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2017 Outdoor SEL TDi150 4x4 Manual
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Some valuable lessons there Roger about the modern motor trade, particularly the big 'car supermarket' type of trader, and why they advertise "lowest prices". Their business model is rapid turnover of metal to unsuspecting punters. Not customer service post-sale.

Service History for any used car is far more important than external condition, in my view. Particularly if it is documented as receipts for each batch of work done. Detailing exactly what actions carried out and what parts used. Indicates a previous owner who cared enough to keep those, if nothing else.

It is a sad fact of modern life that "low mileage", frequently advertised as if it was a benefit, all too often means "neglected". As you have discovered. There are exceptions, my current Yeti being one. That however was properly serviced annually since new, to standards similar to my own, by an independent mechanic, in a one-man plus a shed with a lift location. Despite only covering 5-6000 miles per year. Throughout its first four years. I specifically asked about its service history before committing to buy, as I would any used car. And was able to speak directly with the mechanic before making my decision. Thankfully, the last time it had seen a large, franchised dealer was the day it had been driven away from new. I was passed the hand-written invoices for each annual service by the previous owner. Itemising all materials used at each service, and detailing all work carried out. Which included DPF fuel treatment and lock+hinges lube, etc.

My first car that had a timing belt, as distinct from a rattly old timing chain, was a 1972 Ford. That was petrol. 2-litre. Essentially a European manufactured version of a late 1960's Amercian petrol engine, first designed for the Ford Pinto model. Then used in numerous European Fords such as Cortina, Taunus, Sierra, Capri, Granada and my case, some higher performance Escorts. With capacities from 1600 to 2000cc. So petrol cars with a timing belt are not exactly a new phenomenon? In fact, diesel engine designs were relatively slow to adopt belt driven cams, compared to many petrol designs.

The frequency for replacing timing belts on a Yeti (or most VW engine designs with timing belts) is currently recommended as 5 years. Irrespective of mileage. Although the belt will not necessarily break at 5 years plus 1 day. Its more of an increasing risk thing thereafter. I'll be replacing the one on my Yeti at approx. 5.5 years. More details on why age is a better guide to timing belt life than mileage can be found in other, earlier threads on the subject, in this forum. A summarised version of which is attached to this post.
 

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Did you ask the Skoda agent when you had the il service done if there was any electronic record of service for the car on Skoda's system? If done by a Skoda dealer it should have been logged in their central system.
 
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It is a sad fact of modern life that "low mileage", frequently advertised as if it was a benefit, all too often means "neglected". As you have discovered. There are exceptions, my current Yeti being one.
And mine.
20k miles in 5 years from new. (Only used at weekends)

5 services, 2 Haldex services, 2x brake fluid changes, aircon, DSG Service, Cambelt and waterpump changed, new tyres all round due to originals 5 years old and new brakes all round.

For the OP before buying any car you should really insist on viewing the service history and walk away if none is present. For a TSi to not have had an oil change in 7 years I'd be more worried about the state of the engine and turbo. Cambelts are easily changed if a little expensive.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you found out that the car you were buying had no service history for the previous 7 years why did you not walk away?
I was happy with the visible condition of the car and the low mileage. I was happy to accept an immediate oil change was necessary at my expense (but unaware of the cost if done by a Skoda dealer !). I was unaware at time of purchase that the car had a timing belt, so I was unaware of the implications of a lack of service for the item.

I was wondering is I have any case as an amateur buying from a professional who would have known that the car had a timing belt and should have known the implications of a lack of service to the timing belt.
 

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Roger my friend, you still seem to be suffering under the delusion that people selling cars for a living at a car supermarket deserve the epithet “professional”? They will know all the details of five different kinds of finance deal. That’s where they earn their commissions from. The cars themselves are just lumps of metal that they need to shift to reach their month end target for a bonus. They’ll likely know less about those than you do. The less they tell you about individual cars, other than what is written on the window sticker or sales brochure, the better from their perspective.

“Caveat Emptor” applies methinks? As our long term member Dutchman found out a few years ago, when the salesman at the dealer he was buying from failed to tell him that the diesel Skoda he was buying, was actually a VW in everything but upper bodyshell and badges. Just like any other Seat, Skoda, Audi or VW.

Never walk into a car sales location without either having done some homework on the exact model you want to buy, or with someone who knows a little about cars. I’ve known Vauxhall showroom staff try to tell me that the Astra I was looking at was not at all the same as an Opel Kadett, Citroen sales people tell me that the Diesel engine in the Xantia I was thinking of choosing was not a Peugeot motor with different badges on top. I honestly believe that THEY thought what they were telling me was true. They were simply clueless about cars. I was once offered a job on the spot, by a Nissan car dealer in Santa Barbara, California. After just a 5 minute conversation about the 260Z he had for sale on his forecourt. When I had been walking past and stopped to take a closer look at it, as the 260 had not yet gone on sale in the UK at the time. “I need someone who knows the difference between a Nissan and a Datsun to help me sell these.” He said. “Your accent will help pull in the punters by the dozen, just to listen you speak.” He only let me go after I explained that while I had been working in Canada for two years, I didn’t have a Green Card that allowed me to legally take paid employment in the US.

The sales people at the Suzuki dealership where I bought my current Yeti last year, were clearly perplexed when I walked past two rows of Suzukis on their used car forecourt, and homed in directly on the Yeti, that they had only taken in as a p/x two days earlier. Then couldn’t be persuaded to even glance at any of the Suzukis and Toyotas they had on offer.

NOT saying I’m infallible, at all. I got burned myself on the last of three BMWs I have owned (See signature). Mainly because I needed a fresh car quickly at the time, and fell in love with the spec, age, interior and bodywork condition, and it’s price. It has simply cost me a lot more than anticipated in parts and maintenance, compared to its two predecessors, to bring it up to the standard I normally seek. Should have taken my own advice and walked away from it. Nonetheless, it has given me 80,000 miles of reliable, relaxed and very comfortable mile munching, each one with smile on my face while I enjoyed its performance.
 

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My Yeti has 3 year Skoda history electronically stored somewhere.
But after that i have every receipt and i have noted every oil & filter change and cam belt/water pump change on pieces of paper, as all have been done at a "local" garage without getting "vat" receipts, so i know full well the history of my car.

At purchase history should be one of the first things to prove how the car has been kept.
No use asking after you have bought the vehicle, thats a chance you take!
 
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