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The fate of lemon cars

Many people wonder what happens to cars in California that are sent back to dealerships pursuant to the state's lemon laws. Unfortunately, the answer may be surprising to motorists.

Cars that are taken back to a dealership after being determined defective must be bought back by manufacturers. The lemon law only applies to new vehicles, not to vehicles that are bought from private sellers or from used car lots.

After auto manufacturers purchase defective vehicles, they can be resold. Cars that were bought back are not required to be labeled as lemon vehicles when they are sold to other purchasers, regardless of whether or not their problems have been fixed.

Cars with other problems often have special titles. For example, a car that is deemed by an insurance agency to be a total loss usually receives a salvage title. Few states with lemon laws require a car that is bought back to be labeled with a special title.

Figuring out whether a car was ever a lemon may require a careful examination of the car's history. Any notations that the car was bought back by the manufacturer after being sold to an individual or was repaired multiple times under warranty for the same thing may be indications that the car was a lemon.

An attorney could help a driver who has purchased a new vehicle return their car pursuant to their state lemon laws. These regulations require a car to be bought back if it cannot be repaired after a certain number of tries. However, these laws do not protect buyers of used cars.

Buyers of used cars may be afforded protection by manufacturer recalls and service agreements. In cases where the same defect exists in other models of the vehicle made in the same year, an attorney may file a class action lawsuit asking the manufacturer to fix all vehicles with the defect, whether they are new or used.

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