stupid enough. After months of looking for the right car for our 16 y.o. (not many options locally), we found a 2005 VW Passat wagon on craigslist. It was late on Saturday night and we had just spent the whole day driving all over the place looking at an endless supply of clunkers in our budget range - $4-5k.
We test drove the car and everything seemed to work fine. No codes, no issues that would warrant any concern. No leaks, etc. We paid cash for the car that night. On Sunday morning the car was sluggish. By sluggish, I mean 0-60 in about never. Check engine light on, as well as a number of other lights on the dashboard. We didn't panic, but planned to take it into a mechanic Monday morning. The drive to the mechanic was depressing. I had it floored the whole time and never reached 45 mph. Terrifyingly slow.
Mechanic report is that the transmission is shot and the computer put the engine in safe mode to prevent further damage and that's why it was so slow. On Saturday night we had no problem getting up to freeway speed. $2,400 to repair.
After all this happened, we pulled the carfax and it looks like they bought the car in August from an auction. The ad on CL said they're the original owners. There were at least 3 owners prior to them.
Unfortunately the lemon laws in Washington state don't apply to private party sales, but I'm working with an attorney friend to try to put some pressure on the seller to do the right thing and either buy back the car or pay for the transmission repair. According to our mechanic, if the codes were reset right before we test drove the car, they might not have come back for a few hours, preventing the car from going into safe mode while we were driving it.
Anyone else done something similarly idiotic and had a favorable outcome?
Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.