No, were not talking about the green, refreshing fruit we’ve all come to love- but of a defective car. The term “Lemon” has been coined for new or used cars which after purchase, has been found by the buyer to have defects not readily apparent before it was bought. Defects could range from simple design flaws to life threatening flaws due to parts installed incorrectly during manufacture.
The term nowadays, is also associated with any product which has major defects that make it useless for its purpose.
New and used lemons
In perception, brand new cars may contain technical defects or workmanship errors. This could be due to incorrect design or errors during the assembly process at the factories. Parts and wiring may have been installed incorrectly or cars may have hidden defects under the hood.
Used cars on the other hand, become lemons once they are not used according to the set standards, abused or poorly maintained, repaired or worse, has been unprofessionally rebuilt after meeting an accident. A common practice of fraudulent dealerships is the tampering of lemon vehicles to manipulate high mileage, technical and mechanical defects, corrosion and more.
The used line up may also encounter the same problems as that of their brand new counter parts, but the problems are way much worse.
A form of lemon known as “Cut and shut” a type of car body collision repair where a wrecked portion of a car is sawed off and is replaced with a section from a matching car. A car that is cut and shut is very dangerous as it will surely come apart under strenuous conditions, high speeds and road mishaps. Usually, cars that have been cut and shut are the ones that were salvaged after a serious collision.
Poorly repaired collision-damaged vehicles are also bound to be a risk with Unibody problems. A Unibody by the way, is the type of construction used in motor vehicles where parts such as the floor, roof, and panels are wielded together to produce a unit. This process has been employed in the manufacture of vehicles since 1987. It eliminates the need to construct a separate frame for every vehicle produced.
Car weight may be reduced, but its unibody parts are prone to bending as they were designed to absorb the impact of g-forces or damage in severe accidents which may cause the car not to work properly when it is still driven (even with stringent repairs) after a grave blow.
Protect yourself from lemons
As a consumer, there are legislative measures that protect you against lemons and manufacturers nowadays are very vigilant about their products that they would be willing to give you back your money, buy back the defective vehicle or exchange it for a new one right away once it has undergone multiple repair attempts yet the problems still persist or when defects caused your new vehicle to be out of service over a long period of time because of repairs.
In buying new or used cars, please take note of the following:
1. Do a research on the manufacturer or find out from the authorities if there has been a recall on your model.
2. Be in the know of your model’s safety recall and maintenance history through consumer safety groups, auto magazines, newspaper articles and website reviews.
3. Ask car shops and mechanics how often your model shows up in their shops for repairs.
4. Do a survey among other owners of your model if they are satisfied with their cars.
5. For used vehicles, always get a vehicle history report to make sure that the car you’re buying is clean with no major wrecks or any illegal activity in history.
6. Be suspicious of a model that’s being sold at a very cheap price. Ask around why the price is so. Be warned of dealers / sellers who try to close a deal too quickly.
7. Buying from an owner? Always see to it to have a trusted mechanic inspect the car. Avoid cars that have been in an accident or have frame damage.