Are You Buying A Lemon?

Buying a vehicle can be both a stressful and rewarding experience, especially if you plan on purchasing a used vehicle. Even if you get great financing and find the exact car you want with all the extras, there is still a chance that the car may not be as reliable as you hoped.  To avoid any future headaches, and empty bank accounts, be sure to do all of your homework first.

A lemon automobile is a vehicle that has a significant defect that cannot be repaired after multiple attempts. Lemon laws vary from state to state, but they typically define a lemon as a vehicle that has been out of service for a certain number of days due to repairs for the same defect, or that has had a certain number of repair attempts for the same defect.

If you buy a lemon automobile as the original owner you may be able to get a refund or replacement vehicle from the manufacturer under your state’s lemon law. However, it is important to understand that lemon laws are complex and can vary widely from state to state.

Here are some tips for avoiding buying a lemon automobile:

  • Do your research. Before you buy any vehicle, research the make and model to see if there have been any common problems reported. You can check consumer review websites, Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book for information on common problems.
  • Get a vehicle inspection. Before you buy a used vehicle, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic. This will help you identify any potential problems with the vehicle.
  • Get everything in writing. When you buy a vehicle, be sure to get everything in writing, including the purchase agreement, the warranty, and any other relevant documents. This will protect you in case you have any problems with the vehicle down the road.

If you think you may have bought a lemon automobile, you should contact your state’s attorney general’s office or a consumer protection lawyer to learn about your rights under your state’s lemon law.

Here are some additional tips for dealing with a lemon automobile:

  • Keep a record of all repairs. When you take your vehicle in for repairs, be sure to keep a record of the date, the mileage, the problem, and the repairs that were made.
  • Keep all paperwork. Keep all paperwork related to your vehicle, including the purchase agreement, the warranty, and any repair records.
  • Contact the manufacturer. If you have a problem with your vehicle, contact the manufacturer directly. You may be able to get a refund or replacement vehicle if your vehicle meets the definition of a lemon under your state’s lemon law.
  • File a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office. If you are unable to resolve the issue with the manufacturer, you can file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office. They may be able to help you mediate a resolution with the manufacturer.

Buying a lemon automobile can be a frustrating and expensive experience. However, by following the tips above, you can increase your chances of avoiding buying a lemon and protect yourself if you do end up buying one.

What to do when looking at a used car:

– Have the car looked at by a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection

– Check the reputation of the dealership

– If purchasing a vehicle through the classifieds, check for multiple listings by the same owner (compare the advertised phone number to call)

– Review the vehicles history., is a good website for this purpose (you will need the vehicles VIN number) Inspect the car for water lines and signs of rust (check the glove compartment and underneath the seats)

If you do not feel 100% comfortable with a seller (or the vehicle), then perhaps it is a sign you should walk away from the deal. Visit for free educational information and warning signs to look out for when purchasing a used vehicle. If you believe you have purchased a lemon, contact the Department of Consumer Affairs in your state to find out what you can do.

DMCC is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization committed to educating consumers on financial issues and providing personal assistance to consumers who have become overextended with debt.  Education is provided free of charge to consumers, as well as personal counseling to identify the best options for the repayment of their debt. To speak to a certified credit counselor, call toll-free 866-618-3328 or email is located at1330 SE 4th Ave, Suite F, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.