Money can’t buy happiness, they say. Well, tell that to someone who just bought their first car or replaced an old beater. Buying a new car is exciting! No wonder. You do not want to start looking for lemon laws – I will explain in a bit what they are. Everyone wants to drive a reliable vehicle that will last and won’t break down periodically.
But what if your new car problems force you to go back to the dealership over and over again? Most likely you’ve purchased a lemon car. As with anything you buy, it may not be easy to get your money back. When it comes to sending your car back after you have realized it is a lemon, be prepared. You may be in for the hell of a ride.
In this post, you will get answers to some burning questions about lemon cars and lemon laws, which will guide you through managing the situation if you happen to buy a lemon car.
What are your chances of buying a lemon?
Check out this real-time data to see how many cars have been produced this year-to-date. The number is fascinating.
Out of all cars produced each year, only 1% or approximately 400,000 cars during the first half of 2020, turn out to be lemons. Therefore, your chances of purchasing a lemon are not very high. Nevertheless, don’t drop your guard when you are on the lookout for a new car.
When is your car considered a lemon?
According to nolo.com, “in order to qualify as a lemon under most state laws, the car
(1) must have a substantial defect covered by the warranty that occurred within a certain period of time or number of miles after you bought the car, and
(2) must not be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts. In most states, the lemon law only applies to new cars.”
For one to benefit from lemon laws, the substantial defect should happen within one or two years after the car purchase or within 12,000-24,000 miles. As long as the defect has not been caused by any abuse to the car, the above-mentioned conditions apply to all states when trying to qualify a car as a lemon.
How to avoid purchasing a lemon car?
Don’t judge a book by its cover
When it comes to buying a car, especially a new one, you should not judge its quality by the untainted exterior. Dig deeper. Explore more. Find out the true value of the car beyond its ‘cover’. If you intend to buy it online, you should explore the best sites for online car buying and selling.
Also, if you have any doubts, regarding buying or ultimately shipping your recently bought car, do not hesitate to write to us at Corsia Logistics and ask for advice. We have an experience in shipping different car types, including non-running ones, and we always guide the customer on how to properly prepare the car for shipping before having it ready for pick up.
Extending the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ point, you should always test drive the vehicle before signing on the dotted line. Some lemons can do just fine for some time and then reveal their true ‘identity’. But you lose nothing by taking a car for a test drive. Get a feel of it. Check out for any suspicious noises, smells, and anything else that may give the car away. But don’t just stop there. Some cars might only show certain defects when driven on the highway. It is recommended to ask the dealer to drive the car out of its ‘comfort’ zone.
Don’t just do the same research ‘ritual’ as most people do by researching just to say they’ve done their homework. Research like you mean it, and you won’t regret any minute of it. Check out anything you need to know about the car you want to buy. Quality control ratings, dealer’s invoice price, reviews by other customers that have purchased the same make and model, and so on. These should be some of the things to look for. Keep researching until you are fully sure you know the most important information about the car you are about to purchase. This info can also come in handy if you are planning to negotiate the price and get the best deal.
Here are some great sites that can help you with your research: Edmunds.com, KBB.com, and ConsumerReports.org.
In case the car you are about to purchase is not brand new and has been used for some time, we recommend to check its history. You can find plenty of information on Autocheck.com and CarFax.com. This way you will be in the know of anything that has happened to the car in the past years. Avoid any vehicle that has way too many drawbacks on its timeline.
Asking for the car’s warranty and repair history is also a smart move. It will give you an idea if the car gave its owner any trouble in the past. Furthermore, the warranty history and repairs history can show you whether the previous owner(s) had to deal with the same issues over and over again. For someone who is trying to avoid a lemon car, this can be a red flag.
When trying to rent or buy a house, experts recommend to check out the place in the daylight. The same is true when you want to buy a vehicle, new or old. It is hard to do a full and proper inspection of the vehicle in the evening, even if you have a trained eye. Bring along someone you trust and has more experience with cars than you if you need to.
What to do when you realize you’ve purchased a lemon?
No matter how much you try to avoid it or how low your chances of purchasing a lemon are, it can still happen. It’s even possible to drive the car for hundreds of miles without realizing the magnitude of its issues. It’s a nerve-wracking process that can take up to one year or even longer for you to finally get rid of the lemon in your garage.
Check your state’s lemon laws
Turn to state and federal laws for help if you realize you’ve bought a lemon. Keep in mind though that not all lemon laws are the same, they vary from state to state. Lemon Law Summaries will provide all the information you need to know about lemon laws in each state. While Lemon Law Statutes give great guides regarding Lemon Law Statutes for each State should be your starting point.
The California Lemon Law, for example, gives a dealer up to four chances to fix a car. If the issue puts your safety your life at risk, the dealer only gets 2 chances to fix it. Otherwise, the car is considered a lemon. The repair interval and coverage period is 18 months or 18,000 miles.
Consider seeking legal advice
You may be wondering whether you need a lawyer or not and who assumes legal costs. It depends on the state. In some states, you can file a complaint on your own, while in others – you are better off hiring a lawyer.
“People should seek legal advice,” according to Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. Just make sure the attorney you hire is experienced and trustworthy. If you win the case, you won’t have to pay your attorney fees if he or she sues under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
Start building your case as early as possible
If you are having problems with a car you have recently purchased, start building your case. Keep all your auto repair receipts and record every service done to your car. In the meantime, let your dealer know about any recurring problems with your car. The sooner you take action the easier it will be to get your money back, even if partially. Make sure to obtain a copy of any Warranty Repair Orders. Also, make sure the repair order supports your complaint for buying a lemon.
This information may seem unimportant and useless now. But the time might come when you will need to prove that the problem with your car started before the warranty expiration date.
If you are on a hunt for a new car, we wish you good luck! And, hopefully, you won’t have to deal with a lemon. Do not hesitate to drop us a line and share your car buying experiences stories.