When it is time for a new set of wheels, you have a lot of important decisions to make. From the make and model of the vehicle and how fuel efficient it is to the results of safety and crash testing, there are many different things to consider.
The number one fear of car shoppers everywhere is ending up with a lemon, but just what is a lemon and what should you do if you end up with one? The state of Pennsylvania does provide some protections for new car buyers, but those protections are limited, and it is important to know what is and is not covered.
Protection for New Car Buyers
One of the most important things to know about the Pennsylvania lemon law is that it applies to new car purchases only. At the moment, there is no such similar lemon law for used cars, although there are local and state rules that could protect used car purchases in some situations.
You are protected under the lemon law if the new vehicle you purchase has a significant defect, but you should first work with the dealer to try to get satisfaction. Working through the lemon law can be difficult, time consuming and frustrating, and many dealers are willing to work with their customers to make things right.
The lemon laws in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country do provide some basic protection, but that does not mean you should not be a smart shopper. Shopping for a new set of wheels may be intimidating, but educating yourself can make everything that follows easier and more productive.
You can protect yourself from getting a lemon before you even leave your driveway, scouring the internet for reports of defects, recalls and other potential problems. If the vehicle you have your eye on has a long list of reported issues, you may want to set your sights elsewhere.
Make Your Test Drive Count
Once you have identified a list of target vehicles and traveled to the dealership, it is time for a thorough test drive. You need to make that test drive count, so prepare for it carefully.
If you can, take your test drive on your own, without the distraction of a slick car salesman in the passenger seat. Turn the radio off, listen to the vehicle and be alert for any unusual noises. Test all of the accessories, from the windshield wipers to the entertainment system. If there are any glitches now, when the vehicle is brand new and in pristine condition, those issues could get worse over time.
The good news is you are protected from buying a lemon, at least when you buy on the new car market. That does not mean, however, that you do not need to do your own due diligence, and that starts with a thorough test drive and a complete evaluation of the vehicle you intend to buy.