Bought a Lemon? How to Fix Things and Start Driving Again

Perhaps one of the biggest fears a used car buyer has, is that he or she will end up stuck with a lemon. In fact, so pervasive is the fear and the incidence of lemon purchases that many states have put legislation in place to protect consumers. But what if you live in a state that has no laws? What can you do to protect yourself? The answers will be revealed below; let’s explore together the various options available to people who end up in the unfortunate position of buying a lemon.

We’ll look at things from the perspective of a pre-lemon purchase and a post-lemon purchase. The former will help you avoid ending up in a sticky position—something you should always aim for.

Pre-lemon Purchase Checks
The idea here is to be so through, so prices in your due diligence checks that you minimize to the lowest possibility, the chance of you buying a car that is a complete dud. The first thing you should do is research on the dealership that you are looking to buy a car from. That assumes you are buying a car from a used car dealer. If on the other hand you are looking to buy privately, do some background checks on the service history of the vehicle. Most private sellers who are serious about selling a car will make sure these things are in order. Needless to say, if none of the aforementioned is present, steer clear.

The second thing you should do is take a look at make and model of the car. Some cars are inherently trouble, due in large part to the quality of manufacturing. Your Hondas and Toyotas will for the most part be reliable and so extensive checks may not be necessary. One final thing you can do is check the vehicle’s age and odometer reading. If it’s too old, chances are the manufacturer’s warranty would have already expired. If the car has been used extensively, it’s likely to have lots of miles on the clock, and this will increase the chances of it needing parts replacement or repair.

It is important to mention too that a used car should never be a huge cash investment, and where possible, you should always try to ensure you don’t borrow too much to buy one.

Post-lemon Purchase – You’ve Unfortunately Bought One Already
In the unfortunate event you’ve already splashed out, the first thing you should do is have check on your state laws. This will point you to any redress that you may have. The only unfortunate thing about this first port of call is that not only a few States across the US have lemon laws in place. So, unless you live in Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Mexico or New Jersey, you won’t be able to access legislative protection. But let’s just say that you do live in one of these six States, you can access what is called a statutory used car warranty.

This warranty protects buyers of cars that have gone beyond the date of expiry for the initial manufacturer’s warranty and should a part of any sale. Sellers are therefore obligated under law to replace, repair or refund should the car start giving problems shortly after sale.

Extended Auto Warranties
Another big thing you can do to protect yourself if you buy a lemon is put some extended auto warranty in place. Mind you, you won’t be able to do so if the car is badly worn or if it’s currently in for repairs. The best way to get such a warranty in place is to negotiate one shortly after the vehicle is purchase. These warranties won’t be cheap, but are well worth having, especially if you have invested lots of money into the vehicle. If you are unsure about the particulars of your vehicle, you can run a vehicle check at Carfax or Autocheck, two websites that can give you extensive information about the service history of your vehicle. Once you are armed with this information, you can then structure your warranty coverage accordingly.

Hopefully you won’t suffer the bad luck of spending your hard earned cash on a lemon, but if you do, just refer to the guidelines above. They’ll help you to cope and point you towards a solution.

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