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3 tips to avoid purchasing a lemon

Purchasing a vehicle is a substantial investment for many. However, once the repairs outweigh the cost of the car early on, it may raise suspicion to whether or not it is a lemon. In California, dealers are required to sell vehicles free from damaged windshields, tires, brakes and lights. New vehicles sold are tethered to state lemon laws until the mileage reaches 18,000 or 18 months after receiving the new purchase.

If a car is considered a lemon, there is a legal obligation to make things right. This could include the manufacturer offering a replacement or a dealer making a refund. Evaluate vehicles with serious trouble functioning and save related information for legal cases. Since this process is rarely easy to go through without a legal battle, here are some signs a vehicle could be a lemon before you sign the papers.

  • Analyze window sticker information-- What’s located on the side window is a guide for car buyers holding key insights into the vehicle you are thinking of buying. If you look it over, you will find details relating to the car’s warranty. If this information does not match stated information in the final paperwork, there is a problem.
  • Investigate recall databases— Official recalls listed on The National Highway Traffic Administration website is available to anyone. This source will detail any recall repairs ordered for a vehicle type you may be considering. If there was a recall made, you can request a free recall service from the seller, it is unlawful not to offer this service to potential buyers.
  • Spend ample time looking it over-- Take plenty of time test driving a potential vehicle, paying attention to sounds and mechanical aspects that do not seem right. Signs of damage can be small but may signal water damage, corrosion or botched repair work.

Spending plenty of time researching relevant information on a vehicle you might purchase is always recommended. It is better to be prepared going into a large purchase knowing what to look out for, your consumer rights and what to do if you buy a lemon than being left fighting for your rights in court.

What other signs of a lemon can you think of?


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