When You Need To Replace A Used Engine

When Connie Summer was deciding whether to buy a used car from Wine Automotive in Chesapeake last summer, he knew it had a slight “clicking” or “knocking” sound coming from the front of the car.
The dealership’s vice president of finance, however, assured Summer the 2015 Nissan Altima was actually in “very good condition.” He offered to sell Summer an extra warranty protection plan, which he said would cover any repairs needed to take care of the sound, according to court documents.
Within two months of buying the Altima for $10,200 and the warranty for another $1,870, the car broke down and had to be towed, the documents said.
A Nissan dealership in Virginia Beach told Summer the vehicle needed a new engine that would cost $9,825 to install. Even worse, the warranty wouldn’t cover the repairs because the engine problem existed before Summer bought the car.
Last month, Summer sued the dealership he bought the Altima from, arguing it violated various consumer protection laws and committed fraud. The suit, filed in federal court in Norfolk, claims dealership staff knew the car needed a new engine before they sold it.
A spokesman for Wine Automotive, which was previously known as Great Bridge Auto Sales, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The suit stems from Summer’s purchase in July 2019 of the car. According to the lawsuit, the knocking sound turned into a “roar” within a week or two of the purchase.
After being told the car needed a new engine a couple of months later, Summer discussed the issue with Wine Automotive and a representative of the warranty provider. He agreed to get a second opinion and went to Bannister Nissan of Chesapeake.
There, Summer was shocked to learn that Bannister Nissan had previously looked at the car in May 2019 and determined it needed a new engine, the lawsuit said. That was two months before Summer purchased it.
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The suit said Wine Automotive brought the car to Bannister at that time to try to find out the source of the knocking sound.
When told it needed a new engine, Wine Automotive chose not to get the work done. Instead, it paid a diagnostic fee, took the car back and posted it for sale, the lawsuit said.
Summer confronted the vice president of finance at Wine Automotive after talking to Bannister Nissan, and was told not to believe the technicians at Bannister, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said Summer also found a large hole in the driver’s side floorboard that had been stuffed with a thick cloth and hidden by a floor mat. The odometer reading also appeared to have been tampered with at some point.
Summer’s attorney later sent a letter to Wine Automotive demanding they take the car back and pay for his damages, but the dealership never responded, the lawsuit said.