Elyria mother fights for used car repair after smoldering car fire

Used car dealer agreed to repair dashboard issue

ELYRIA, Ohio - Angela Helbig of Elyria is still very emotional after a smoldering fire broke out under the hood of her recently purchased used car.

The smoke forced Helbig and her four young children to evacuate the vehicle, and left the Buick SUV incapacitated.

"I was worried that my car was going to catch completely on fire, and my biggest thought was which one of my kids was I going to save first," explained Helbig.

"I have an infant, I couldn't get her out of her car seat. I had to run around to the other side of the car, pull all my kids out and throw them into the pouring rain. The bank tellers came out, and took them inside the bank. It was scary."

The fire occurred while Helbig was in line at a drive-up ATM. The Elyria Fire Department responded to the scene.

Helbig bought the vehicle "as is" from Good Deal Used Cars in Elyria and paid $5,200 cash.

Helbig told NewsChannel5 the used car dealer agreed to repair issues with the instrument cluster, including the fuel gauge and speedometer.

The dealership confirmed the repairs were scheduled to take place just one day after the fire took place, but Helbig claims the dealership didn't want to help her after the fire.

"That happened Friday morning, I had an appointment to get it fixed on Saturday morning," said Helbig."But when I went there she told me that it wasn't her problem. She told me it wasn't something they did, and it's not something they wanted to fix."

Helbig's father told NewsChannel5 the family purchased other cars from the dealership and never had any issues.

"Since she had bought a car from her previously they would work with her," said Donald Helbig. Especially since she paid cash for it, but the woman did everything she could to intimidate my daughter."

NewsChannel5 contacted the used car dealer, and the company responded immediately. The company explained there must have been a misunderstanding, and it pledged to take-in the vehicle and make the needed repairs at no charge.

The company told NewsChannel5 it never told Helbig it wouldn't help her.

When buying a used car "as is" consumers should always get all details in writing on the purchase agreement.

Consumers should feel free to ask the dealer to give them a 30 to 90 day warranty on the drive-train to prevent large, early repair costs.

Consumers should consult the used car checklist created by the Ohio Attorney General's office before buying a used car "as is."

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