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Always Get a Lemon Check - 3 Reasons

Aug 17, 2007
Buying a used car can be a great way to save money, but it can also cost you a lot more if you end up buying a lemon. Having a lemon check prior to purchasing a used car is one of the most important things you can do, and too many people skip this step. Having the car inspected by an independent third party is one of the primary ways you can find out if something is wrong with the car. Believing whatever the seller tells you about the car is not enough, no matter how sincere or honest the person appears to be. After all, their motivation is to sell the car.

The best place to have a lemon check performed is through a dealership that sells that make and model of car. Mechanics at the dealership are familiar with the parts, know how much repairs cost, and can inform you of any common problems with a particular model. It's worth spending the money to have the car inspected. If any repairs are needed, you can price the repairs and determine your best option, such as negotiating for a lower price or walking away.

Having a used car inspected prior to purchase is probably the most important step in the process. Here are three good reasons why you should get a lemon check.

1. You'll Learn More About the Car
While a seller may be honest, it's possible that he or she is unaware of problems with the vehicle. Alternatively, it could be that the seller knows that repairs are needed and wants to sell the car rather than pay for repairs. Unfortunately, not everyone is honest, and the only way you can determine the true state of a car is to have it thoroughly inspected. A vehicle that looks great from the outside may have serious problems inside. A skilled, independent mechanic can give you an honest opinion about the state of the car.

A lemon check can also alert you to other problems such as mileage fraud or other hidden problems with the car. If you run across any suspicious activity, such as adjusting mileage or other problems, you can walk away from the sale. If you skip having the lemon check, you will never know about these issues prior to purchasing the vehicle.

In addition, conduct a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) search on the car to learn more about the car's history.

2. Lemon Laws
Lemon laws protect consumers when they purchase a vehicle that has repeated problems immediately or very soon after purchase. Lemon laws vary by state, so you need to look up your state's laws to know what your rights are.

Should you find that the vehicle you purchased is defective, a record of a mechanical check can work in your favor. This ensures that the seller cannot claim that the damage occurred after you purchased the vehicle. Obviously, if a mechanic determines that there are serious problems, you should avoid the car. However, if smaller issues are noted that later become bigger issues, you'll have a record that these were noted prior to purchase. Of course, this can work against you as well. If you learn that a car has significant problems, it's not worth the cost.

The types of repairs may also have an effect on whether or not lemon laws apply. Safety issues are of more concern than minor repairs. Therefore, safety-related issues may require fewer repair attempts than others under certain lemon laws.

Lemon laws apply to vehicles that require repeated repairs over a short amount of time. So even if you are aware of a needed fix, if the problem is not fixed with one or more repairs (sometimes up to four, depending on the state), you may be protected by lemon laws. Be sure to keep detailed records of all maintenance, beginning with the first lemon check and any repairs thereafter.

Also, keep in mind that lemon laws only apply to vehicles that are used for family or personal use, at least part of the time. Vehicles used solely for business purposes do not fall under lemon laws, but other laws apply.

3. You'll Save Money
Having a lemon check done on a potential purchase will only save you money in the long run. The check will determine whether you should invest in the vehicle to begin with, and will give you an idea of potential repairs and the estimated cost. Simply avoiding a lemon can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars, from the initial cost of the vehicle (that you won't be able to resell) to any repairs.
About the Author
Mike Singh is a successful webmaster of http://www.lemon-law-secrets.info. He provides more information about California Lemon Laws and Lemon law basics .
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