I guess your reasoning must be lost on me but I don't see how it is the fault of the establishment who sold the car that 18 months later the engine failed?
I have seen only one of these engines with a problem such as this, the main timing chain tensioner failed due to a lack of oil.
It has nothing to do with MY reasoning or any one person's reasoning. It also has nothing to do with it being "...the fault of the establishment"
, they don't have to have directly caused the problem for them to be LIABLE for it.
It has to do with the law. The legal position arises from the Sale of Goods Act and court decisions and accepted legal opinions which have followed on from it.
Anything we purchase (cars included) should be fit for the purpose for which they are sold. Therefore it can be expected to perform that function for a "reasonable" period without failure such as in this case.
This car sold in acceptable condition (allowing for mileage and fair wear & tear) should have lasted for longer than 18 months. There is no magic period of months or years after which your consumer rights dry up and disappear, it varies according to the type of product sold and it's "reasonable" life span.
For instance retailers will normally turn down a claim for televisions and most consumer electronics after one year unless they've conned you into buying an extended warranty which earns them big bucks in commission. Most people fall for this and assume they don't have a claim whereas they actually DO have a claim for a "reasonable" period.
People who know their rights and know the law have successfully claimed, even for consumer electronics, five years and even more after purchase. Naturally the amount awarded reduces as time goes forward given that the purchaser has had the benefit of part of the "reasonable" design life of the product.
To get back to this specific case and your reference to "...failed due to a lack of oil"
, I assume the implication to be that Kdwilliams had allowed the car to run too low on oil.
It may well be that the supplying dealer may wish to make this argument in court. However I would expect Kdwilliams to make the counter argument, with supporting evidence, that he'd taken all "reasonable" actions to maintain the car appropriately.
On the other hand if the dealer can only refer to negligence on the part of Kdwilliams (without any evidence to support that accusation) as a vague possible cause among many unknown possible causes, then they could weaken their position in the eyes of the court instead of helping themselves.
Just because an argument can be made by a dealer doesn't mean that a court will prefer his version of events and find in his favour.
It would not be the court's job to hold an enquiry into the actual cause of the engine failure. In reality while the manner of the failure will be understood & described, it's root cause may never be known.
You may state that "...the main timing chain tensioner failed due to a lack of oil"
. What caused the lack of oil? Could another component have failed leading to unacceptably high oil usage? Could the lack of oil have been due to any other cause out of the owner's control? Could the tensioner have failed for another reason? Could there have been a flaw in the batch of materials used to manufacture the tensioner? Could the tensioner have been weakened due to damage caused when it was originally fitted which was not visible to the naked eye? Was there an inherent design flaw? Was the engine modified in any way? ...and so on, and so on, and so on. I'm sure you can see why a court would not wish to set itself this task!.
It doesn't even matter where and by whom the part which failed was fitted. Whether it was in the Alfa Romeo factory or by anyone else ...the supplying dealership sold a car which subsequently failed when it should not reasonably have been expected to do do.