Whether you’re looking for a new or pre-owned vehicle, buying a new-to-you car can be a stressful decision that may also feel a little like the luck of the draw. Buying from a private seller has its own risks of purchasing a vehicle you know very little about, but purchasing from a car lot doesn’t guarantee that your car will be problem-free.
It’s often difficult to know if a vehicle will end up being a lemon or not, but some signs can alert you and steer you clear from buying one in the first place. If you have recently purchased a vehicle, and you suspect you’ve purchased a lemon, here are some signs that may indicate that your car is officially a sour fruit.
If you buy a pre-owned car from a private seller, you are more likely to run into the problem of not getting the full history of the vehicle; this is also possible at a car lot. Finding out a car’s history is essential, especially if it has been in accidents or even survived flooding.
Ideally, you should always check a vehicle’s VIN before you purchase the car, but if you don’t know much about the car or you feel like some pieces are missing, you may have a lemon.
Many people assume that you’re less likely to have a lemon of a car if you buy a newer model. While manufacturers are always striving to build better and safer cars, even newer cars may be prone to recalls.
While it can be a little unnerving to get a recall notice in the mail, your car (however old it is) may be a lemon if you have numerous recall notices for major issues. It’s also important to keep in mind that even if your car has never had a recall, it doesn’t mean that it may not be deemed a lemon at some point.
YOUR CAR CANNOT BE FIXED
Every car is destined to visit a trusted mechanic now and then, but if you have a car issue that cannot be repaired by the manufacturer (despite numerous attempts), you may own a lemon. Depending on where you live, you might be protected by a lemon law, so it’s essential to keep a good record of any work that was done to your car even if the issue never got fixed.
Your car may also be a lemon if it is out of service for a specific amount of time, such as a month or more; again, it all depends on the lemon laws in your state.
SOMETHING DOESN’T LOOK RIGHT ABOUT THE INTERIOR OR EXTERIOR
Maybe you bought your car because it was in your budget and had relatively decent miles. When you find a car that runs well and the price is right, cosmetic flaws don’t seem to be that big of a deal.
Mismatched paint, the use of body filler, or cracks or pieces missing on the interior may indicate more than a cosmetic defect. If you suspect something more, it’s always best to check the vehicle history as you may have a lemon.
It’s much easier to avoid buying a lemon than dealing with the issue one you’ve purchased a problematic vehicle. Always try to do your research first, but if you end up with a lemon anyway, find out about the lemon laws in your state and consult someone with legal experience.