When you buy a new car your dream is that the warranty booklet will sit
quietly in the glove compartment for as long as you own the car and you’ll
never need anything other than basic maintenance. At the opposite extreme,
your worst nightmare is that you’ll be stuck with a lemon and no
matter how many times you take the car back the problem never goes away
or keeps coming back.
Reality is that most car owners will need to get their car serviced for
mechanical problems that arise during the time they own it. Some cars
are lemons from the moment they leave the factory and no technician, no
matter how brilliant, will ever be able to make them work. It is also
true that some lemons are “made and not born”. What this means
is that some cars are very fixable however, for whatever reason, the servicing
technician doesn’t repair the car.
Dealerships are reimbursed by manufacturers for warranty repair work. The
compensation system often rewards doing it fast over doing it right. A
thorough diagnostic evaluation takes a lot more skill and a lot more time
than just replacing the part that seems to be the problem. It isn’t
uncommon in lemon law cases to see the same repair tried over and over
even though it obviously failed to find and solve the right problem.
If you as a consumer need to get your car serviced under warranty what,
from your perspective would be a “perfect” service visit?
It should consist of several things, which we’ll discuss in future
posts. But first and foremost it should result in the dealership finding
the actual cause of your problem and doing all of the repair work necessary
so that it is repaired and stays repaired. If you get the car back with
the problem uncorrected, the issue returns a few miles later, the repair
order shows that they did very little inspection or testing or if you
bring it in again and they repeat the same repair that didn’t work
the first time, it is a good bet that they don’t know what to do
or financial considerations are coming ahead of customer satisfaction.
If your service visits are less than perfect, it may be a good time to
consult a lemon law attorney.