If you think your car might be a “lemon,” start by doing a quick checklist. If your car makes odd noises, but otherwise drives just fine, you might not have a car that falls under your state’s Lemon Law. But if you are experiencing major defects with the car (its engine, drive axle, brakes, steering or radiator, for example), you might want to start a paper trail. You could have a lemon.
With any issues you might be having, check your car warranty first. Give the manufacturer an opportunity to put right it (this can be up to 3 or 4 attempts to repair a problem). At this point, a Lemon Law attorney may not be essential.
If you are experiencing major problems with your car, however, the most important thing you can do is keep all receipts and records concerning your vehicle. Be sure you have a copy of the car guarantee in a safe place. Keep all receipts concerning repairs that have been made to your vehicle. You might also want to consider keeping a log or notebook that contains all of this relevant information, including the number of days as a running tally that it was kept in the shop for a related problem. Start to research the Lemon Law in your state.
You may also want to research whether any ‘service bulletins’ have been issued for your make and model of car (this can be accomplished with a simple web search). Do your homework, copy any information you find and put it in your notebook. Keep logs, as you may need this information later on in the event that you need to file a claim under your state’s Lemon Law.
In most states, the Lemon Law provides a legal remedy for consumers who purchase a car that turns out to be a lemon. Dealers are required to give you a written car warranty under which a dealer must repair, free of charge, any problems in covered parts. In some cases, the dealer may have the option to reimburse you for the reasonable cost of repairs; check your car guarantee to see if this applies to you.
But if your car needs excessive repairs, start researching the Lemon Law statutes in your state. Many problems during the car guarantee period may not constitute a defect, but one grave problem or problems might be a breach of the Lemon Law. Note the dates of all repairs to your car in a notebook, and how long your car was “in the shop” and “off the road.” Make the receipts for repairs in a safe place. At this point you may want to look into finding a Lemon Law attorney in your state.
If you think you might be driving a lemon, gather up all of your paperwork. Become familiar with your state’s Lemon Law statute. Compile a list of Lemon Law attorneys. Check with the Attorney General’s office in your state for more information on the certain statutes.
Besides the car service contract, be sure you have each and every work order performed on your car, as well as any service bulletins issued that may relate to the problem or defects you’re having. Nearly every Lemon Law statute will include a list of records that are important to keep. Any reports or correspondence you’ve received from the dealer will also be important in case you decide to make a claim under your state’s Lemon Law.
It is a long paper trail, but if kept effectively, you will know rather quickly whether you are dealing with a chronically ‘sick’ car, or just normal car repairs.