A lemon – great in a refreshing beverage, but not so great sitting in your drive. If you’re buying a new car and like most of us, are no car expert, how can you make sure that you don’t buy one?
Thankfully, if the worst happens are you buy a lemon, there are lemon laws to protect you. Yes, they’re a real thing! Every state, along with the District of Columbia, has them!
Let’s take a closer look at how to avoid ending up with a lemon when buying a new vehicle.
What Is a Lemon Legally?
Different states may have slightly different definitions of exactly what a lemon is. When buying a new car, or a used car with a warranty, you should expect it to function well. Of course, sometimes unexpected things go wrong, but they shouldn’t happen time and time again.
To qualify as a lemon, the vehicle needs to develop a defect within the first 24 months or 18,000 miles. If the manufacturer cannot successfully repair the car after repeated attempts (maybe three or four) then it’s a lemon.
Attorneys can guide you through your lemon law questions. They can help you see whether you have a good case. They can also advise you whether you can make a claim for a second-hand car. As mentioned before, when it comes to second-hand cars, there must be a valid warranty in place. It’s also important to ensure the car was sold by a licensed dealer or manufacturer.
What Defects Make a Car a Lemon?
There are myriad car issues that can result in your car being declared a lemon. In fact, it’s easier to say what these defects are not. They are car problems that do not result from the regular use of the car.
They are not problems resulting from normal wear and tear. It could be a serious safety issue, such as a problem with the steering, brakes, or engine. Something minor like a broken cigarette lighter would not qualify!
You need to follow the process and return your car to the manufacturer for repairs. State law where you live will set out what a reasonable number of repairs is before you can request compensation.
Car Shopping: How Not to Buy a Lemon
Occasionally, a car or two in an otherwise perfectly good range will develop a serious fault. But often, if you do some research, you’ll find that there are models to avoid!
Before buying a new vehicle, check the reliability record of the manufacturer and model online. This may highlight some red flags you’ll be glad you knew before purchasing a car.
Also, read the ‘Buyer’s Guide‘ window sticker carefully.
Legally, this must set out certain information about how the car is being sold. It will let you know if there is any warranty left on the vehicle. If it’s being sold as-is, you get no guarantees.
Also, check online if this model or any previous models were subject to recalls or Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs). These happen to the best of cars from time to time, but they may be a headache you’d be happy to avoid.
Avoid Picking Lemons When Buying a New Vehicle
Buying a new vehicle should be exciting. It should set you up with reliable wheels for years to come. Follow our quick guide, and snag yourself a winner, not a lemon.
Have you got other burning legal questions you need to know the answer to? Head on over to our blog, for more helpful advice on all things legal!