Help with car repair on recently purchased used car

I replaced my old car with a used car. I was in a bind, and needed a car. It was stretch and I decided to decline the warranty offered by the dealership. I have since had the car serviced a different dealership and have been informed that I have $4000 of work needed to be done with oil leaks. I was told that this could have been ongoing for 20000 miles. I have only driven it for 4000. I trusted the dealership that they would sell me a car that was free of major defects. This is a top tier dealer, not a used car vendor. On reflection I should have waited. Is there anything I can do? I have sent an email to the dealership but have not had a response (nor do I expect one). I am female and feel like I am talked down to and I do not know what I am talking about.

I am not a carguy. Email is not cutting it! I think you need to visit the dealer, with a car person friend etc. That said Used cars are sold w/o warranty… you may not get much beyond a lower price on repairs.

That said… you have driven the car 4000 miles. Did the Oil Light come on? Did you add oil? How often? This is an indicator of the seriousness of the problem.

I had no indication there was a problem until I took it in for an oil change (selling dealership did not tell me when the oil change was done). I was given a curtsy inspection and it came up in that inspection. I was told I could continue to drive it as long as I monitor the oil levels.

You likely bought a used car “as is”. Pretty typical unless you know it had some sort of warranty attached but it doesn’t sound like it. Dealerships charge much higher rates for labor. They usually do warranty work.

Ask friends, neighbors or go on Nextdoor and ask for a recommendation to an independent, local mechanic. You may even get a different answer on whether work needs to be done or not.

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If you park the car in the same spot all the time, keep track of how much oil you see that the car left. If it increases then have it repaired. Based on what the inspecting mechanic told you, if it doesn’t increase and the oil level (it can come from the engine, differentials or the transmission) doesn’t drop a qt, between changes, you’re probably ok. Check oil levels at least every week.

The best thing for you to do is find a mechanic friend or family member to eyeball your problem and advise you. “Courtesy inspections” often turn up problems that the “inspector” will be happy to repair… at a price… buyer beware.

Disclosure: what you describe can range from insignificant to very serious. A major oil leak contacting a catalytic converter can cause a flash fire. Or a tiny leak can mean nothing of consequence.

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Is there anything I can do?

I’m sorry to be so blunt… enjoy your “new” car.
The legal burden was on you to have the car inspected by an independent mechanic BEFORE you bought it.