Here are my Top 10 Signs Your Car or Truck May Be A Lemon:
1. You have to bring your car or truck back to the dealer for the same problem, over and over.
2. Your car is in the shop more than it’s in your garage.
3. You’re beginning to miss your trade-in, the one you got rid of because you were worried it would start breaking down.
4. Your friends are starting to ask you, “Why are you driving a different car every day?” because you’re always in a loaner.
5. Your vehicle stalls or breaks down.
6. Your car or truck has to be towed in to the dealer, particularly if it’s more than one time.
7. You no longer feel safe driving it.
8. Your service advisor recognizes you and your car as soon as you pull up.
9. Your service advisor recognizes you and your car as soon as you pull up—and starts shaking his head.
10. Your service advisor tells you, “You know, I think you’ve got a lemon here.”
Now, what do you do about it? The most important thing is to make sure there is a clear record of the problems you are having. The most important source of that record is the service department’s repair records. Unfortunately, you can’t just assume the dealer is going to do this job for you. There are several reasons why this may be true. One, is that service advisors and mechanics are only human, and they’re trying to write down something that you are explaining that you have experienced. This can lead to inaccuracies. The other reason is that they are trying to put into mechanic’s terms what you are describing in your own language, and they’re trying to guess what the cause of the problem might be. Finally, dealership personnel are often aware of the Lemon Law and sometimes feel they need to protect the manufacturer from potential Lemon Law claims. Since those claims are strengthened by records of repeat problems, sometimes it appears that service advisors avoid describing the problem you are reporting with the same words on second and third visits.
What’s the solution? You need to insist that they write down the problem you are describing in your words, and with the same general words each time (assuming you are experiencing the same problem again, of course). You’ll find more details in my blog posts, below.
See you next week!
© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn
Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases. He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children. Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.