When you are ready to buy a new car, your personal vetting process will likely be different if you’re buying or leasing a new car vs. buying a used car. When you’re on the market for a brand-new car, you expect more: the vehicle will be accident-free, the alignment should be just right, and it will come with a manufacturer’s warranty.
In contrast, when you buy a used car, there are a lot more variables. The vehicle may be subject to active recalls, it could have been stolen at some point or in an accident, it may have had a lot of repairs, and it may be out of warranty. “Buyer beware” is the issue with used vehicles, especially when they are not certified pre-owned vehicles.
How do you know if you have a lemon? With a used car, it’s a lot easier to look for the red flags because the vehicle has had time to indicate them. Some of the signs of a used car lemon include:
- Strong smells
- Stiff bumper (a sign the suspension is out of whack)
- Problems with the electrical system (e.g. windows and locks)
- Loose steering wheel
- Pulling and shaking
- Knocking or hissing sounds
- The vehicle is subject to active recalls
New Car Lemons
When you enter into the territory of a new car lemon, it’s a whole different ballgame. It may be too soon to tell. Such cars may not be subject to an active recall (yet), and when the consumer takes them for a test drive, the vehicle defects may not be noticeable until after the vehicle is driven for a while.
So, what are the warning signs? How do you tell if you have purchased or leased a lemon? Generally, for a new car to qualify as a lemon, it has a substantial defect that will not respond to a reasonable number of attempts to repair it. If you’re worried that your new car may be a lemon, we have these questions for you:
- Has the dealership attempted to repair it?
- Was the repair shop unable to fix it?
- Is the defect significant?
- Is the vehicle dangerous or even deadly because of the defect?
- Is the vehicle undrivable (not necessarily a requirement)?
- Is the vehicle unusable because of the defect? For example, if the driver’s seatbelt could not be fixed, it would be rendered unusable because it’s dangerous and illegal to drive without a seatbelt.
- Have you been unable to drive the vehicle for extended periods of time because of the defect or because of it being in the repair shop for too long?
If you are experiencing any of the above issues, it may be a red flag that you brought home a dangerous and defective vehicle, which may put you at risk of serious injury and financial loss. If you’re concerned that your vehicle may be a lemon, contact Norman Taylor & Associates to speak with a California lemon law attorney about your case.