What Makes a Car a Lemon? 

A lemon car is a frustrating thing to have to deal with, the main reason for this being, of course, that your car is not functioning properly or worse, it can actively be a danger to you and others around you. The big question is, however, what does a lemon car entail? Because simply being of low quality and dangerous by itself is not enough to say that a car fits the definition of a lemon. So if you want to have a better idea of whether your car is a lemon, follow this helpful guide.

A Handy Guide to Understanding What a Lemon Car is

First off, you should take certain steps in the process to figure out whether the vehicle you purchase or intend to purchase fits the definition of a lemon vehicle. Some things are going to stand out more than others, but these are some of the most common and easiest steps to take in the inspection process. Every used vehicle sold at a dealership is expected to include a guide by the Federal Trade Commission that explains various details about the vehicle’s condition. One such detail includes whether the vehicle is labeled as “as is” or whether it is labeled as being under a warranty. In the former, the dealership is basically declaring that they offer no guarantee that the vehicle will meet your satisfaction. On the other hand, a warranty label means that whatever problems that occur with the vehicle will be covered to an extent by the dealer. In addition to these labels, the guide must also define each major issue to be found with the vehicle’s mechanical and electronic systems. Not only that, but potential problems that may reasonably occur should be listed as well. The last portion of the guide will tell the potential buyer exactly how much of a percentage the dealer will cover under the warranty for any repair costs that may occur.

The exterior is another important thing to have a good understanding of before you purchase any vehicle. The truth is that an exterior can tell you a lot more about interior aspects of the vehicle than you might think. The way you do this is by keeping an eye out for any evidence that work has been done on the vehicle to gussy it up at all. One subtle thing that one may not catch if they are not looking out for it is a possible gap in between the doors that is unusually wide. Another red flag is spotting any evidence of paint-over sprays or body panels that are mismatched with each other. These details are inevitably going to be rather suspicious, as their existence may clue you in to bigger problems under the hood. You can also use a magnet in order to detect the use of body filler that is used to cover up dents, rust, and other potential imperfections on the vehicle’s exterior. If there is body filler on a part of the vehicle, the magnet will not stick as well or at all to that part. After you have completed the exterior inspection, the next step you should take is to check out the history of the vehicle through a website such as VehicleHistory.Gov, which will help you understand different types of damages that were incurred through the vehicle’s history as well as repairs done. Types of damages that will be covered through this would include normal use as well as collision damage. In addition to that, fire and flood damage should also be taken into consideration.

No matter how thoroughly you inspect the different aspects of the vehicle covered in this article, odds are, unless you have a professional degree of understanding of vehicles, you are not likely to be able to glean certain things that may indicate the vehicle is actually a lemon. Some problems are simply too subtle for the average person to be able to detect. This has all too unfortunately resulted in too many people buying lemon cars because they lacked the ability to detect this information. In order to avoid getting caught by one of these more subtle problems, you should bring this vehicle to be inspected by a mechanic. And not just any mechanic, but a mechanic who is not associated with the dealership. This helps ensure that the mechanic is going to be independent and not potentially be involved in a scheme to obscure problems with the vehicle. The process is not the most expensive thing, but it is ultimately going to be worth a lot of it helps you detect the existence of any defects that the dealer failed to point out. For a dealer that is acting in good faith, there is no reason why the dealer should be opposed to letting you do all these steps, and if things come out well, you should not have to worry about working with this dealer. If they seem reluctant, however, that may be the best piece of evidence that you need to run as far away as you can. When you are choosing a vehicle, you have to take it as seriously as possible. After all, this is not something to be taken lightly, as it is not only an expensive purchase, but it is an important purchase as well. Just remember that you have California Lemon Law on your side when dealing with these kinds of sellers.