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Buying a car is an important decision to make, but some people may not get the exact value of what they paid for. Here’s a guide outlining what you should do to make sure you’ve bought a vehicle that won’t crash and burn.

By The Editors

Sun, Jun 2, 2024 11:17 PM PST

Featured Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.

Buying a car is an important decision to make, but some people may not get the exact value of what they paid for. Anything manufactured at a factory is bound to enter the market with issues overlooked by quality checks. These issues could also go undetected even to the most observant buyers.

When you’ve had the misfortune of buying a car with factory defects, the least you can do is ignore them. No matter how small, these issues worsen over time, thereby increasing the risk of accidents and shortening the vehicle’s lifespan. Here’s a guide outlining what you should do to make sure you’ve bought a vehicle that won’t crash and burn.

1. Get a good feel of the vehicle

Aesthetic considerations such as the quality of the exterior and interior can easily be corrected. However, when it comes to performance, you may have to “listen” to the car and see if it’s actually in the best possible condition. There are a few ways you can do this and the most basic is listening to the engine. 

A knocking sound should be concerning, since it suggests a major mechanical issue. You should also listen to any instance of rattling and grinding that point towards loose parts. The first few weeks are critical, so get a good feel for your vehicle and take action if you suspect something serious.

2. Invite a mechanic to conduct an inspection

Whether you feel something is off with the vehicle or if you aren’t convinced it’s in the best possible condition, you can have a third-party mechanic perform an assessment. Especially if it’s a secondhand vehicle, you will need to make sure it’s free of mechanical issues the previous owner may have failed to disclose. Have the mechanic check the undercarriage and test the engine. They should confirm your suspicions if you think the vehicle itself is defective. You can then use the attached findings for your report and refund request.

3. Have all the necessary documents ready

Dealing with a defective car is not a simple matter of taking the vehicle back to the dealer. It requires proper documentation as the dealer will need to evaluate the vehicle’s condition and status. For this, consider gathering receipts, warranty documents, and inspection reports. You will need all this paperwork to file for a replacement or refund later.

4. Make the most of the warranty

Warranties are powerful tools you can use to secure your finances in case the dealer sells you a vehicle with lots of factory defects. Standard car warranties are enforced within a maximum period of ten years. During this, you are well within your right to demand repairs from your dealer who will perform them on the manufacturer’s behalf. Depending on the purchase policy, the dealer could fix these issues or ship the vehicle back to the manufacturer for repairs at no extra cost. However, some issues can never be repaired. The best course of action you can take is to file a lemon law claim.

5. Get a lemon law expert

Vehicles are considered lemons if they have underlying issues and defects that require more than simple repairs. Rather than move on and try to live with a lemon, you should instead demand the vehicle to be replaced with a brand-new one of the same model. It’s going to be an uphill battle unless you have a lawyer with expertise in lemon law by your side. If you’re in California, you will surely find a Lemon Law Attorney Los Angeles car owners trust. 


You will never know if the car you bought is road-worthy, but if you have doubts like any well-meaning motorist should, it’s best to check for defects and solve the issue right away. 

This article was compiled by the editors of LACar.

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