A lemon is usually a new vehicle that's defective right from the start. If your car is always in the shop, even though it's new, it could mean you bought a lemon. Fortunately, there are protections in place that may help you squeeze out of this situation.
Is Your Car a Lemon?
A vehicle is considered a lemon when it has repeated issues that can't be fixed. In order for a car to be considered a lemon, it must be beyond repair, with a defect that affects the operation of the vehicle, such as the engine, transmission, brakes, or the car's ECU.
According to legal website Nolo.com, about 1% of new vehicles are considered lemons – about 150,000 cars each year. Fortunately, each state has some form of "lemon law" on the books that's been enacted to help car buyers.
In order to be covered under these laws, your vehicle must meet both qualifications which make a car a lemon:
- The defect must be significant, covered by the warranty, and have happened within a certain time frame, either in miles or time from purchase.
- The vehicle also must not have been repaired after a reasonable amount of effort and number and attempts. If it's able to be repaired it's not a lemon.
If both situations apply to your new car, you may be eligible for help through your state's lemon laws. The laws and their qualifications vary by state, so make sure you do your research, and check with a lawyer on how to proceed.
How Lemon Laws Can Help
Most lemon laws only apply to new cars, and if you qualify under the lemon laws in your state, you may be eligible for a refund or a replacement vehicle from the manufacturer. However, the manufacturer must be aware of the situation and be given a chance to make it right before you can take further legal action. Remember, lemon laws vary by state.
If you purchased a used car that's spent over 30 days (total) in the shop within the first year of ownership, some states have lemon laws that may cover this. Depending on where you live, the lemon laws for used vehicles typically cover cars under a certain mileage or ones that are still covered by a written warranty or the original manufacturer’s warranty.
However, in many states this isn’t typically the case, so it's a good idea to check with your state website or DMV for more information.
Avoid Buying a Lemon
The best way to avoid buying a lemon in the first place is to have any used vehicle you're thinking of buying inspected by a certified mechanic. This is the easiest way to spot a problem before it starts, but it's also one of the least followed pieces of automotive advice.
A trained mechanic may be able to spot issues that you never even thought of, which could save you thousands of dollars in repairs and the stress and hassle of constantly worrying about a car that hasn't worked quite right since you bought it.
Getting Your Next Car
If you know what it's like to get a lemon, and need a car you can count on, don't let poor credit stand in your way. Getting an auto loan with bad credit is possible if you're working with the right lender. Here at Auto Credit Express, we're teamed up with a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that have the lending partners you're looking for.
To get the process started today, simply fill out our easy and free car loan request form. After you do, we'll get to work matching you with a dealer in your area.