Buying a used car often means taking on the problems of the vehicle's previous owners. The frustration for many California consumers is that those problems may not manifest themselves until a considerable amount of time has passed, perhaps mere days after the expiration of any dealer warranty. Savvy consumers must do their homework to avoid wasting money and time on a used vehicle that is no longer protected by the lemon law.
Examining cars on the lot of a used car dealership may seem like a game of chance. Even a test drive may not reveal hidden defects or damage. However, a close inspection can often divulge evidence that the vehicle was involved in an accident. Paint tones that don't match, door gaps that are not even, and hinges or locks that do not function properly may indicate the vehicle suffered serious damage at some point. A report from CarFax or VehicleHistory online should contain such information.
The law requires a dealer to provide consumers with information about any included warranties, the details concerning those warranties and any known issues with the car's electrical or mechanical systems. However, the best information a potential buyer may receive is from an independent mechanic who does a thorough diagnostic inspection of the vehicle. The money spent on an experienced mechanic before making a purchase is often well worth it.
In addition to obtaining the services of a mechanic, many consumers find that the assistance of an attorney is beneficial when they discover they have purchased a lemon. An attorney with knowledge and experience related to California's Used Car Lemon Law can evaluate their situation and determine if the circumstance qualify for legal action against a dealer. Dealers who fail to honor the warranties included with used cars may be in violation of laws that protect consumers.
Source: usedcars.com, "How to Check if a Used Car is a Lemon", Accessed on April 2, 2018