Dear Doctor: I purchased a 1996 Ford Explorer from a private party, but when I went to register the vehicle I was told I needed to have it smogged. Within one hour after the purchase the “check engine” light came on. The diagnostic codes came up for smog: po420, po761, po153. The paperwork I was given was a mess. Apparently, the mom signed title to the son who never registered it. I believe he unhooked the battery to turn off the “check engine” light because all presets were reset when I test drove it. What can I do? Eric
Dear Eric: The fault codes on your SUV indicate a major expense. Your only option in this case is a small claims court action against the seller. I always suggest that before you transfer any money for a private vehicle sale that you have the vehicle inspected by a qualified technician.