Every car comes with its share of problems, quirks, and frustrations. Even if the car is new, buyers can learn pretty quickly that it may not operate or function exactly as they hoped. While it can be easy to think that these issues make the car a lemon, this is not always the case. Just because you are having mechanical issues with your car does not necessarily mean that it is a lemon. A lemon refers to a car that continues to have mechanical issues even after a “reasonable number” of repair attempts.
The difference between a flawed car and a lemon comes down to whether the issue or defect is substantial and is not fixed after a reasonable number of repairs. There is no set number of repair attempts used when defining what a “reasonable number” is. One guideline typically used is if the car continues to have the same issue after four repair attempts, it may be a lemon. Another indicator is if the car is in the garage for at least 30 days for an issue that is covered by the warranty.
Common Sources of Lemon Law Claims
To give you a better idea of the difference between a lemon issue and one that is simply unfortunate, we will examine some common sources of Lemon Law claims:
- Transmission problems, like over-revving or slipping
- Unexplained stalling
- Automatic locks that lock or unlock when they shouldn't
- Headlight failures
- Persistent electrical issues
- Problems with suspension
- Bad ignition timing
- Defective airbags
These should not be issues in new cars, and any car under warranty should be able to be repaired. If this is not the case and the problems are persistent, then you may have a lemon.
As noted in this article from Consumer Reports, there are some signs you can look for before purchasing a vehicle in order to spot any potential problems with a vehicle. However, even the savviest car shopper can be unprepared for or unaware of the problems mentioned above, especially when purchasing a brand new car.
What to Look Out For When Purchasing a Car
The best way to guard against driving home with a lemon is to look for the warning signs while you are still in the sales lot. Here is what to look for during your next purchase.
Suspension issues can be a major headache for car owners. Because these repairs can be expensive, it is important to make sure it is in working order before you make your purchase. If you push down on the bumper, it should feel bouncy. If the bumper is stiff and doesn’t feel like it is bouncing, it could be a sign of more serious suspension issues with the car.
Open the Hood
Don’t be afraid to look under the hood of the car. Check for signs of corrosion to potentially spot any cracks or leaks. Look at the oil and ensure that there are no particles and that it has a rich brown or black color. If there strong smells coming from the hood after the test drive, that is also an indicator of a serious mechanical issue.
Drive at Quicker Speeds
During the test drive, it is a good idea to take the car out on a highway and drive at a faster speed. Driving more quickly will help you identify whether there are any steering or alignment issues with the car. When you’re on the highway, check that the steering wheel feels steady and is not rattling. If the car has a tendency to drift in one direction, the car may be misaligned.
Don't Be Hard On Yourself
Even the most diligent of car buyers can still fall victim to purchasing a lemon. If you’re having consistent mechanical issues with a car that is still under warranty, it may be time to take the necessary actions to ensure you’re fairly compensated for your troubles. You should not feel embarrassed or hopeless if you find yourself dealing with the same issue over and over. You can talk to a Los Angeles lemon law attorney who understands how frustrating this situation is and how to build a claim under California's Lemon Law. With legal support and guidance, you can seek the refund or replacement you deserve!
Contact us or call (800) 561-8627 for a free initial consultation with a Los Angeles lemon lawyer at The Office of Robert Starr, APC. We are backed by more than 20 years of experience and are ready to protect your rights.