Buying a new car is a major moment for most people. Spending an afternoon at a dealership, choosing your accessories and finally driving your car off the lot is a special feeling that few things compare to. The first months with your new car are no doubt great. Until is suddenly starts breaking down.

After you’ve been in and out of the dealership or manufacturer for repairs a few times, you probably start to think that your car has been doomed from the start. As it turns out, that is entirely possible. You may have bought a lemon.

A lemon on four wheels

For one reason or another, some machines just don’t work; vehicles are no different. If you’ve had the misfortune of buying a lemon, don’t worry, there are laws in place specifically to protect you.

“Lemon laws” are consumer protections that will hold manufacturers responsible for under-performing vehicles they’ve sold. If you are proven to be in the right about your lemon, you can expect a free replacement vehicle or full refund of your purchase price.

There are a few requirements your vehicle will have to meet before you can safely declare that it is a lemon, however. You may be able to claim your vehicle is a lemon if it satisfies any of the below circumstances, and has less than 18,000 miles on the odometer or you have owned it for less than 18 months:

  • The manufacturer has tried on two different occasions to repair a warranty problem that may cause severe injury or death.
  • The manufacturer has tried to repair the same warranty problem four times.
  • The vehicle has been unavailable to you for 30 days due to repairs.

It is important to note that these problems cannot be because you have damaged the vehicle in some way. If these circumstances are familiar to your situation, consider speaking to a lemon law attorney and uphold your consumer protections.

First steps to take

One of the most important things you can do if you have, or suspect you have, a lemon is to take notes. Takes notes on every hiccup, pop and thunk your car makes. Dealerships and manufacturers are often good about keeping records regarding repairs, but having a dated and detailed paper trail of every problem your vehicle has had can go a long way in proving your argument.

Be sure to contact an experienced lemon law attorney if you’re ready to push your complaint. Having representation in your corner can expedite your case, they will negotiate for a better outcome and manage your correspondence with the manufacturer. They will also have an intimate knowledge of consumer rights and know how to leverage them in every aspect of your case.

Don’t waste time running to and from the manufacturer or dealership getting your new vehicle repaired. The great feeling you had first driving off the lot shouldn’t be cheapened by tedious and potentially dangerous break downs.