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The Consumer Law Group, P.C.

Spot a Potentially Sour Deal: How to Avoid Buying a Lemon

When it comes to buying a new vehicle, consumers often let the excitement of the experience get in the way of being savvy buyers. Perhaps it’s the new car smell or the intoxicating shiny paint job that fogs a buyer’s judgement or simply the buyers desperate need for reliable transportation.  Whatever the cause, you don’t want to go into a purchase blindly, or else you may have to use Virginia’s lemon law to recoup your losses.

Give Your Potential Vehicle a Good Once, or Twice, Over

The car salesperson will tell you the vehicle you want is in perfect shape. He will tell you you’re making the right choice and say whatever he can to get you in that car today. Don’t take his word for it, since a surprising number of new cars turn out to be lemons, or vehicles that are found defective only after they are bought. Giving your potential purchase a good inspection prior to signing on the dotted line could stop you from making a big mistake. Be sure to do the following when considering a new car purchase:

  • Check the suspension.  Push down hard on the fender once or twice to inspect the quality of the suspension system. The car should rebound softly, not give a severe response. Driving the vehicle over 30 mph on a bumpy road will also give you an idea of the state of the suspension. Your ride should be smooth, not overly bumpy and jerky.
  • Take the steering for a spin. Turn the steering wheel back and forth while the car is idling to check for any clunking or slacking. If you detect either of these issues, the vehicle may have a worn steering gear or damaged linkage. Additionally, the vehicle shouldn’t veer off to the side and the wheel shouldn’t vibrate much when driving. If it does, you could have a serious problem.
  • Take the pedal to the metal. During your test drive, pay attention to excessive engine revving before the vehicle accelerates. If it exhibits this behavior, you may have a clutch or transmission issue.
  • Have it inspected.  Take the car to a mechanic and body shop and have them inspect it for prior accident damage or mechanical issues.  

The Consumer Law Group Specializes in Virginia’s Lemon Law

If you believe you have a lemon, contact us for help. John Cole Gayle, Jr., of the Consumer Law Group co-wrote Virginia’s Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act and wants to fight for your rights.