Who Pays When a Test Drive Ends in Engine Failure?

A test drive gone wrong ended in a catastrophic engine failure, and the used car sales manager insisted the customer should be on the hook for the major repair bill. But she fought back.

A woman test-drives a car.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If a car dealer lets you take a car out for a test drive and it suffers catastrophic engine and transmission damage, are you responsible for the repair charges?

Note, I didn’t say, “Because of something that you did wrong,” rather, that it experienced a breakdown that occurred while you were driving the vehicle.

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H. Dennis Beaver, Esq.
Attorney at Law, Author of "You and the Law"

After attending Loyola University School of Law, H. Dennis Beaver joined California's Kern County District Attorney's Office, where he established a Consumer Fraud section. He is in the general practice of law and writes a syndicated newspaper column, "You and the Law." Through his column he offers readers in need of down-to-earth advice his help free of charge. "I know it sounds corny, but I just love to be able to use my education and experience to help, simply to help. When a reader contacts me, it is a gift."