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In the Chamber of Secrets the Ford Anglia enchanted by Arthur Weasley is capable of independent decision-making to some extent and has free will. It defies his driver after an especially rough ride and goes rogue. Also at a later point the car rescues Harry and Ron from the acromantulas in the Forbidden Forest with really excellent timing.

What caused this Hogwarts-style revolt of the machines? Did Arthur Weasley intend to make a sentient and (semi) conscious 'hybrid' car that would protect its owner and family or is it the especially strong magic at Hogwarts that affected it?

7

I think, the magic evolved over time while roaming around with the Weasley family and in the wild inside the car. For example, Wands supposedly choose their owners. That means, with the right combination of wood and core and other magical substances, magic was able to act with sentience. That means magic has the ability to be dynamic. Thus it wouldn't be completely wrong to imply the following psychology to magic in the simplest of sense:

'Prolonged exposure to magic made the car slightly sentient though not as evolved as a wand. It just imbibed the concept of safety and loyalty or maybe just remembered the familiarity with its previous owner and thus came to the rescue. It might not have intended to rescue. But once it reached Ron, the basic instinct might have kicked in and it just drove away from there at top speed and stopped only when it reached the end of the forest. Now again, forest is a known entity for many months to the car. so it didn't want to go away from the forbidden forest and simply went back.'

Even though the psychology of the car is a speculation here, the concept that magic itself is sentient is arguably true in many universes including the HP world.

So answering the original question, No; Arthur Weasley didn't intend the sentience. But it just happened so. Well, it is magic after all!

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He did not appear to intentionally make a sentient car.

The extreme use the Harry and Ron put the car through seems to have pushed the magic on the car into new and unexpected ways. Mr.Weasleys own spell work appeared to be incomplete or shoddy since the invisibility button didn't work well from the start.

“Well, dear, I think you’ll find that he would be quite within the law to do that, even if — er — he maybe would have done better to, um, tell his wife the truth. . . . There’s a loophole in the law, you’ll find. . . . As long as he wasn’t intending to fly the car, the fact that the car could fly wouldn’t —”

“Not a word to Molly,” he whispered to Harry as he opened the trunk and showed him how it had been magically expanded so that the luggage fitted easily.

Then there was a popping noise and the car, Harry, and Ron reappeared. “Uh-oh,” said Ron, jabbing at the Invisibility Booster. “It’s faulty —”

Ron may have accidentally added some magic to the car himself, while wacking it and breaking his wand on the dash.

“STOP! STOP!” he yelled, whacking the dashboard and the windshield, but they were still plummeting, the ground flying up toward them —

Magic-ing a car that simply kicks you out and drives off on its own is not a good idea for a ministry agent who could potentially loose his job having his car drive off on its own. So its most likely some unintended mix up between the multiple spells placed on the car.

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To me it always seemed that the car itself was not sentient but that Dobby's magic was causing this almost sentient behavior.

Dobby thought his Bludger would be enough to make Harry Potter see--

Your Bludger? You made that Bludger chase after me?

Dobby feels most aggrieved, sir.

As we can see from the bludger that chased Harry relentlessly during his match against Slytherin, Dobby possesses magic capable of making inanimate objects make decisions. We see the bludger actively seek Harry and chase him while disregarding all other players and spectators.

Dobby was adamant that Harry should not return to Hogwarts and went as far as sealing the portal to platform 9 and 3/4 so it's not inconceivable that he would continue to try and prevent Harry's return to school after his first attempt failed.

As for the car rescuing them from Aragog's lair, again Dobby's main mission was to protect Harry and saving him from a nest of hungry aracmantulas would certainly fall under protecting him.

Lastly(This is just my opinion) I'm not sure of the ethical perception of creating sentience in inanimate objects as the sorting hat is not only accepted but revered in Hogwarts but I don't personally think that Arthur would go this far, his obsession with muggle objects leads him to break one or two of the ministry's rules but I'm not sure if he would go this far.

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