How to deal with a ‘lemon’ car

How to deal with a ‘lemon’ car

Updated on June 10 2024

By Careen Malahay, for Automart.PH

CEBU CITY, – The Court of Appeals recently upheld the order of the Department of Trade and Industry for a Chevrolet dealer to replace for free a brand-new car that it sold in 2013.

Despite multiple attempts to fix it, the vehicle still had persistent issues with the transmission. Some cars just seem to have defects that no shop or mechanic can resolve. The automotive industry calls these vehicles “lemons.”

If you’re planning to buy a car, it’s vital that you get one that can function well, whether it’s brand-new or second-hand. Here are some ways you can just do that.

1.  Check out reviews and service records

For used cars, make sure to take a look at the vehicle’s service history before buying. Some models may have been the subject of recalls, where owners must voluntarily go to the dealer for free work. Poorly maintained vehicles can also lead to major headaches down the line.

You can also do a plate check on the vehicle with the Land Transportation Office. It’s as simple as texting LTOVEHICLE<space>plate number of the car and sending it to 2600.

And if you’re looking at a new car, make it a point to read forums and car reviews to find out more about how dependable a vehicle can be.

2. Inspect the interior and exterior

This tip applies more for used cars. Make sure to closely inspect both the interior and exterior of the car you want to purchase.

Don’t just rely on what the previous owner says about it. Remember, sellers will do everything just to convince the buyer to purchase their product.

First of all, take a step back and look at the vehicle as a whole. From front to rear, it should be fairly level. Vehicles that sit unevenly may have suspension damage.

Afterwards, get in the driver’s seat and test the seatbelt. A damaged seatbelt could indicate that the vehicle was involved in a collision, which means it must be replaced.

You should also look over the vehicle’s exterior. Examine the body for dents, accident marks and scratches. Check for rust spots as well.

Make it a point to open and close each door to ensure that the handles and hinges are in good working order. Doors that refuse or are difficult to open can be a sign that the car was involved in a collision.

Finally, take a look at the tires. You can always replace worn-out tires, but they may have a story to tell about the car’s current condition. Examine the tire tread for uneven wear. This may indicate that the car is out of alignment.

3. Know your rights

As a buyer, it is essential to know the laws related to your purchase, especially when it comes to buying cars.

For instance, Republic Act 10642 or the “Philippine Lemon Law” will protect you in case you buy a defective brand-new vehicle and help you manage issues with the seller.

As the buyer, you have the right to file a complaint if you experience the same issue after bringing the vehicle at least four times for repair within the warranty period and the problem is not resolved.

During the repair, you must be compensated with a transportation allowance. You can also get a replacement car if you continue experiencing problems with the vehicle.

House Deputy Speaker Strike Revilla wants to include used car buyers in the Lemon Law. The Used Car Lemon Act or House Bill No. 443 seeks to “protect the rights of consumers in the sale of used motor vehicles that have defects or safety issues that could cause harm to individuals.”

If passed, the law will also require private car sellers to add a warranty period for the vehicles they are selling.

Indeed, there are already used cars with warranties that are available in the market. Automart.PH Certified Used Vehicles are restored until they feel like new again. They also come with a three-day money-back guarantee and, for Gold Certified units, a one-year warranty.

Automart.PH offers a wide selection of used cars at great prices, ranging from compact cars to pick-up trucks, that suit your needs.

Automart.PH Senior Content Creator VJ Bacungan contributed to this story.