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California laws designed to protect used car buyers

It is not always easy to know when a major purchase, such as a car, truck or RV, is going to bring trouble. California consumers are fortunate to have laws protecting them when they purchase a new or used vehicle. These protections include the lemon law, which requires a manufacturer or dealer to repurchase or replace a vehicle that has irreparable defects. However, to avoid losing time and money, it is wise to carefully investigate a used vehicle before making a purchase.

A potential buyer can tell a lot about a car with even a cursory look. Mismatched tires, a careless paint job or damaged interior could indicate that the car was in an accident or flood. If the panels of the car do not line up or there are gaps where a door or trunk should align, it is probable that the vehicle sustained damage in an accident. Such a vehicle is likely to have hidden problems a new owner will not want to deal with.

Test drives can also reveal potential problems. A buyer who notices loud noises coming from the engine or feels pulling or vibrations while holding the steering wheel may be test driving a vehicle with expensive suspension issues. Before making an offer on a vehicle, a wise consumer will research the vehicle by comparing the odometer reading with the vehicle's history and appearance.

Even with careful reading of reviews and examination of the vehicle, a consumer may end up purchasing a car that needs expensive repairs. Under certain stipulations of the lemon laws in California, a car buyer may be able to seek recourse from the dealer or manufacturer. Obtaining the advice of a consumer protection attorney is the first step.

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