5 Ways to Avoid Purchasing a Lemon

Feb 11, 2014

Purchasing a lemon is a frustrating and costly process that may be avoidable if a consumer follows these steps for purchasing a new or used car in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

There are certain steps you, the consumer, can take to lessen your chances of buying a lemon. We can help if you do end up with a malfunctioning vehicle. Our firm will provide you with expert legal representation and get you favorable results, fast. We’ll establish what you are entitled to under the Federal, Pennsylvania or New Jersey Lemon Laws, or other consumer protection statutes.

1. Take time to consider your options when purchasing your new vehicle.

When you decide it’s time to get a new vehicle, you might be eager to buy the first car that impresses you with its looks. Like many other things in life, a car is not something you should judge solely on aesthetics. Buying a car is exciting, but keep in mind that it’s a huge financial commitment. A vehicle is probably the most expensive item you will purchase besides a home, so it’s important to look deeper into your options before making a purchase.

2. Conducting some basic research before you buy a car may prevent you from ending up with a lemon.

You don’t just pass by a house with a “for sale” sign and buy it immediately, so why would you go about buying a vehicle that way? Websites like KBB.com (Kelley Blue Book), ConsumerReports.org and CarandDriver.com provide helpful information for prospective buyers, such as the dealer’s invoice price for the vehicle and consumer reviews for the make and model you are researching. A little online investigating arms you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision, hopefully leading to the purchase of a reliable vehicle for which you negotiated a fair purchase price.

3. Always take the vehicle you are thinking of buying for a test drive.

It’s fine to ask the car sales representative how a vehicle drives, but it shouldn’t take the place of taking the car for a ride yourself. You may love the look of a car, but hate the way the steering wheel feels as you drive, or you may have more serious issues with the way the vehicle rides or operates. It’s important to test the vehicle on different roadways, not just on the dealer’s designated route. Driving on the highway as well as on side streets allows you to test the vehicle at different rates of speed. A test ride will help you determine if you feel safe in the vehicle, and of course, you may discover a non-conformity during a ride. Again, the goal is to find the most dependable vehicle you can for your individual budget, and to confirm that all parts of the vehicle operate as they should before you make a purchase.

4. Don’t buy a car just because it comes with a lot of “extras.”

The vehicle you want to buy has a DVD player, a sunroof, and steering wheel radio and temperature controls. Seems great, right? Maybe, maybe not. It’s imperative that you confirm whether or not the accessories are factory supplied by the vehicle manufacturer, whether this is a new or previously owned car. If a vehicle’s “bells and whistles” are not factory-supplied, it can cause a multitude of problems, such as electrical issues and other nonconformities, for which the manufacturer is not responsible. This means the manufacturer’s warranty is basically void, as most manufacturers’ warranties don’t cover issues that arise as a result of non-factory supplied components.

For used cars: Never purchase a car that is being sold “as is.” Usually, if a dealer is only willing to sell a vehicle this way, it means they don’t even think the car is reliable. Purchasing a car “as is” definitely increases the likelihood that the car is a lemon. The dealer must provide you with a written warranty that covers the car for at least 90 days. Obtaining this document is crucial, especially if the car does end up being a lemon, as it provides legal proof that a warranty was issued and provides the consumer with coverage under consumer laws, as well as the Lemon Law for used vehicles.

5. Federal and State Lemon Laws can help you recover the money you are owed.

There’s never a guarantee you won’t end up with a lemon. If you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, we can help. Consumers may heed all of the above advice and take every precaution, and still end up with a lemon. There is no foolproof system for buying a car, and numerous makes and models have produced lemons at one time or another. Federal Lemon Law as well as New Jersey and Pennsylvania state Lemon Laws provide protection for vehicles within certain time and mileage limits. An experienced Lemon Law attorney can help you fight to get you the settlement you deserve as fast as possible.

Experiencing Similar Issues?

If your car was manufactured between 2019 and 2024 we may be able to help. Contact us for more information.