Beware of Hidden Mechanical Problems
POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA -- On March 14, 2014, I flew to Fort Lauderdale and met with the manager, Austin. I was looking for a 97 or 98 Lincoln Mark with low miles that was in excellent condition. At the time, this particular car, was the second highest priced similar model listed on any of the major used car sites. I was willing to pay top dollar to receive a low mileage vehicle in excellent shape. Upon arriving, I was told the vehicle was being washed and readied for sale. After inspection, I noticed that the rear window seal was wavy from sun damage and that the defroster/ heater did not operate correctly. I was told the defroster issue just needed to warm up and the seal would cost about $200 to repair. I agreed to reduce my offer by $100. I purchased the vehicle and brought it back to Jacksonville. Since then, I have determined the window seal is not available and $800 to repair. The defroster needed a new blend door actuator and was $700 (5 hours labor just to dissemble dash); The air conditioner /compressor was completely shot and needed to be replaced, $800. The brake calipers were rusted ( one did not operate and one later seized) and the rotors warped, $ 850. The plug wire harness and boots were completely corroded and needed to be replaced, $250. Additional services including transmission service, radiator service and oil, $225. All total over $3600. I recognize I purchased an old car in "As Is " condition and was prepared to spend some money on servicing it. However, the most disappointing part about all of this is that Century took active steps to conceal some of these issues, some with safety implications, at the time of sale.
Obviously these issues would have had an impact on the value and price of the vehicle. For example, the window seal and defroster issues are apparently common to this vehicle model and well known in the industry. Instead, I was specifically told these were minor issues and even quoted a price of $200. Also, the AC compressor showed evidence of being recently charged, which allowed it to blow cold air for a couple of days during the purchase period. Upon inspection however, the old compressor had green dye stains all over it, where it had been leaking for some time and obviously known to your maintenance people. Similarly, and most shocking, the brakes had new pads installed over corroded calipers and warped rotors, again concealing the true nature of the condition of the vehicle. These are all common examples of used car tricks expected from shoddy fly-by-night operators. I expected more. Not only because I specifically was purchasing a low mileage "cream puff" but because Century advertises its company as a dealer that emphasizes customer service and "fully serviced vehicles." Moreover, the owner claims to be President of the trade association. Not a good example for the industry.
Needless to say, this experience has left me very disappointed and dissatisfied with Century Motors aka Floridacars1.