When you budget and save for a new car, you expect certain things. You expect it to run perfectly, you expect all the bells and whistles to work, and you expect it to look great. Your new car should shine, doors should close quietly, and the upholstery should be flawless. These features are known as the “fit and finish” of a new car. If your new car has ongoing issues with fit and finish defects, you could have a Lemon Law claim.
Examples of New Car Fit and Finish Problems
Fit and finish has to do with the way a car is put together, painted, and upholstered. Some examples of fit and finish defects include:
Bubbled or cracked paint
Misaligned body panels
Untrimmed upholstery edges
Doors not closing tightly
Any flaw that affects the appearance of the interior or exterior of the car
In order for a car to qualify as a Lemon in Virginia, the defect must “significantly impair the use or safety or the market value of the car.” This means that the fit and finish defect must be substantial and that the dealership is unable to repair it in several attempts.
Documenting Fit and Finish Problems
As with any Lemon Law claim, you will have to provide detailed proof that the defect presents an ongoing problem. With fit and finish defects, seeing is believing. Take photos of the problem before and after each repair attempt and keep copies of every service report. If the authorized repair shop cannot correct the defect in three or fewer attempts, you may have a claim. A significant fit and finish defect, such as poorly aligned doors, may not be able to be repaired to your satisfaction, and if it significantly impairs the vehicle's value, you may have a good Lemon Law claim, and be entitled to a full refund, including legal fees.
Avoiding Fit and Finish Problems
Fit and finish issues are much harder to qualify for a Lemon Law claim than a safety defect or mechanical problem. Since the car likely runs fine and does not compromise your safety, it will be hard to be taken seriously. To avoid these kinds of problems, be sure to conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle before taking delivery for flaws in the paint, panel and door alignment, and upholstery. Do not take possession of the car if there are flaws in the fit and finish.
Call The Consumer Law Group, P.C. If You Need Help
If you have a legitimate Lemon Law claim and are meeting with resistance from the car dealer or manufacturer, call our experienced Lemon Law attorneys. We know the law and are here to help.