If you are like most people, you likely associate new cars with luxury and safety. After all, when you buy a used vehicle, you are at the mercy of the previous driver's maintenance behaviors. Things they failed to do could impact the longevity and safety of your vehicle in the long term.
Buying a new vehicle, on the other hand, should mean that your vehicle is in pristine, undriven condition. Everything from the brakes to the sound system should be in perfect condition.
Unfortunately, that isn't what always happens. Sometimes, an individual vehicle has a few faulty components or some sort of mechanical issue. When that happens, the result can be a cascade of ongoing repairs and issues.
From the second the "check engine" light first flashes on or your brakes start acting up, you will continue to incur increasing amounts of expense to keep your vehicle in operating condition. When those costs and issues are the result of a defective part or improper construction and the manufacturer or dealer isn't working with you, you may have to take action under Virginia's lemon law to recoup your losses. The defect causing them will be harder to address, so the issue won't go away on its own.
The sooner you discover a lemon, the better
When you file a lemon law claim in Virginia, what you do is secure your right to a new replacement vehicle. You may also be able to get compensation for the money you spend on repairing issues related to the defect, but that could be a more difficult battle. You also only have 18 months of protection from the date you receive the vehicle.
In other words, as soon as a new vehicle starts causing problems, your best option is to have a mechanic you trust look at it and give you an honest opinion. If it looks like it's related to a defect, you should talk to a lawyer instead of paying for repairs. Pursuing a lemon law claim before you spend thousands on repeat repairs is usually in your best interests.
You also need to maintain careful records of your vehicle's purchase, as well as all other maintenance and repair costs. This can help you prove that a lack of maintenance was not an issue and help validate your claim of how much money you've had to spend to address the problem.
Many dealerships don't like to absorb the cost of a lemon law claim, which can make it an unpleasant process. Partnering with an experienced attorney who understands the Virginia lemon law can improve your chances of success and make the entire process less stressful for you. After all, if you're dealing with a defective car, you probably already have enough stress in your life.