Guide Lemon Protection How to Inspect a Used Car

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A vehicle may also qualify as a lemon car if the owner cannot use if for a total of 21 days over this period, according to the New Jersey Lemon Law. Some other states require four repair attempts and day periods of inoperability. Most states stipulate that defects must be substantial for a car to be deemed a lemon. Minor issues may not qualify a car as a lemon, although there are gray areas.

Leaks can reflect a minor problem, but they may also indicate something more serious. The same holds true with odd vibrations that occur at certain speeds and even bad odors that defy easy fixing. If something is chronic, you may have a lemon car. Many state laws require consumers inform the manufacturer of problems that are occurring, and you may even be required to contact the dealer, depending upon your state law.

Problem used car

The American Bar Association recommends that you hold all your repair or service receipts. Consumers should carefully read repair invoices before signing, ensuring that the date, the mileage at the time of the repair and the amount of time the vehicle was out of service are accurate.

How to Avoid Buying a Used Lemon #2 - Bumper Inspection

Welding on the frame suggests a damaged section might have been replaced or cut out during repairs. Likewise, fresh undercoating could be hiding recent structural repairs. A dealer should have no problem lending you the car to have it inspected as long as you leave identification. A private seller may be more reluctant, however. You should offer to follow the seller to the shop where the inspection will take place. The law can protect you if your carriage turns into a pumpkin. Part of buying smart is knowing what protection you have before you need it.

State laws vary greatly in the degree of consumer protection they afford. In California, it's illegal for a dealer to sell a car with unsafe tires, damaged glass, nonfunctioning lights, or ineffective brakes. Other states offer varying amounts of protection. Check with your state attorney general's office or local consumer-protection agency to learn about the laws in your area.

If You've Bought a Lemon. From a dealer. The state attorney general's office can explain how your state laws protect you.

Seeking Remedy under State Consumer Protection Laws

If you suspect that you've bought a rebuilt wreck, contact the National Association of Consumer Advocates , which maintains a list of attorneys who specialize in such cases. If you have a problem with a car covered by a warranty or service contract, and the dealership refuses service, you have several options. For service agreements administered by an automaker, contact the company's local representative. These representatives are authorized to adjust and approve repairs independently of the dealership that sold the car.

For more information, call NADA at or visit www. If the dealer is willing, consider using a dispute-resolution organization to mediate your disagreement. Some service agreements require this as a first step before suing the dealer or manufacturer.

Used Car Lemon Law Explained

Pay attention to the wording of the sales contract before buying to determine if you may sue, or if you must submit to arbitration. From a private seller. Your options are much more limited. If the seller has made any written guarantees about the condition of the vehicle, you can use them as the basis for filing a lawsuit. The clerk of your local small-claims court can tell you what the exact dollar limit is in your state and provide information on how to file suit. For 80 years, Consumer Reports has been testing products and working to create a fairer, safer, and healthier marketplace.

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Buying a Used Car | Consumer Information

You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed. Get Started. How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Car. Our expert tips will help you steer clear of a car with hidden problems. By Consumer Reports. Last updated: May 23, Sharing is Nice Yes, send me a copy of this email.

Send We respect your privacy. Oops, we messed up. Try again later. Need more car-shopping help? Be reasonable and friendly with the dealer. Make clear exactly what you would like the dealership to do to resolve your problem. Complete and mail in the Dealer Complaint form MV Attach readable copies or originals of documentation related to your vehicle purchase.

WisDOT will use the information you provide to resolve your complaint and enforce the laws. It may share the information with the dealer you name in your complaint. Return to top. Sign In. State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Facebook Twitter Youtube. Toggle navigation Menu. Problem used car. A dealership must tell you what it can reasonably discover about the vehicle Dealerships perform a used vehicle inspection and complete a window disclosure label before offering a vehicle for sale.

Vehicle condition should match the label You are entitled to receive a vehicle that is in the condition the Wisconsin Buyers Guide window sticker describes. See your Wisconsin Buyers Guide for vehicle information The Wisconsin Buyers Guide provides the following useful information about a used vehicle offered for sale: How the vehicle was used.

Title brands that will be on your title. Year, make and model of the vehicle. It also lists, the vehicle identification number VIN , engine size and transmission type.


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Warranty information. The condition of general and safety equipment items. Get promises in writing Any promises the dealership makes to you regarding your vehicle or purchase should be written on the Motor Vehicle Purchase Contract.