Faulty Cars: What To Do If You Buy A Lemon

Nothing is more maddening that purchasing a vehicle that breaks down every other week. You spend thousands of dollars on a spanking new model or pristine late model car and then end up spending thousands more to fix it. Although Canada does not have specific "lemon laws" to protect buyers from new cars with manufacturer's defects, it does offer different consumer protection options. As a Canadian citizen, you can get help with your lemon, even if it is used.

Manufacturer Defects

When it comes to cars under four years old and with fewer than 160,000 kilometers, you can seek relief from the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Program or CAMVAP, whether you bought the car new or used. Under this program, you will receive a hearing from an impartial arbitrator. You can only take advantage of this program if your car has a manufacturer's defect or the manufacturer is not standing behind the new car warranty. Once they receive your application, they will schedule a hearing within 50 days. They aim at completing a case within 70 days, so you only have a short wait period after the hearing to learn their decision. Over fifty percent of consumers get a favorable decision from CAMVAP. 

Used Cars

You can never be completely "lemon-safe," but you can take certain precautions to avoid buying a problem used car. Consumer Reports suggests checking out the reliability numbers on the model you want. They provide their own charts for this purpose on a yearly basis. You should also look for models with low mileage that are still under the manufacturer's warranty, which is often 100,000 miles for the drive train, or in some instances, 200,000 miles. Using a service such as CARFAX can give you the vehicle's history of accidents as long as they have been reported to an insurance company. Some experts suggest that you check the brake pedal for wear. If it is extremely worn, it may indicate more use than the odometer indicates. You can also check under the carpet for signs of mold and mildew that may reflect water damage. 

Buying a lemon can wreck you financially and emotionally. Waiting for the next car part to drop causes stress and anxiety. In Canada, you do have choices. The most important ally against defective cars is CAMVAP. If you are purchasing a used car, you can avoid getting stuck with a lemon by exercising due diligence. Look for reliable models with a clean accident record. Research can save you from months of car agony. 

For professional carrepair and maintenance services, contact a company such as Schwabe's Automotive Centre.


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