Every state has its own version of the lemon law. The general idea is that you will receive a refund or a replacement vehicle if your car is found to be a lemon. A lemon is a car that requires wide-ranging repairs during the vehicle guarantee period, or a car that has mechanical problems that cannot be fixed.
Check the Car Thoroughly: Inside & Out
Most car customers check the car’s exterior for damages. Some even check the condition of the interior. If you want to avoid having to use the lemon law, you’ll give the car you’re considering a very thorough inspection. You don’t want to rely on the vehicle service contract – even if you plan on getting an extended service contract – to take care of any essential work that might be required after you purchase the car.
Under the Hood
Look under the hood. For this step, you need someone who really knows cars. Lemon law helps you if you drive away with a vehicle that is dangerous to drive or requires extensive correct work that you were unaware of. But why buy a lemon in the first place?
Press gently down on the accelerator and listen for noise in the engine. Large knocking noises are never a good sign. Test drive the car for at least half an hour. Lemon law covers undisclosed dangerous cars, so drive carefully. Don’t listen to the radio (except to test it). Open the window, and listen to the sounds of the engine as you drive. Do the gears shift smoothly?
Verify Paper Work
Ask the dealer to show you the car’s title. You’re looking for the name of the previous owner. Write it down, and give the person a call to ask them about problems they had with the car. Corroborate the mileage with the owner. Don’t forget to ask if it was traded in under the Lemon Law.
A vehicle guarantee won’t cover everything, not even the extended guarantee. You could be left with problems that occur long after the vehicle guarantee has ended. Then you’re stuck with a lemon and with no recourse to the law, because the car’s defects weren’t noticed straight away.
Read the warranty carefully to see what type of repairs and defects it will cover. After looking over the extended warranty, decide whether or not the car you want is worth the extra money.
Get a Car History Report
Write down the vehicle’s VIN and take it home with you. With it, you can check the vehicle history report on the internet. The lemon law of some states require this report in order to make a claim. It details all previous owners and any reported accidents. Of course, this report isn’t a foolproof way to avoid the lemon law, since not all accidents are reported. There could be damages to the engine that are not visible.
The large investment you plan is worth the research. Do your homework, deal only with reputable dealers, and hopefully you can avoid having to do any research on your state’s lemon laws.