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Lemon Law

I bought a “moderately used” 06 Honda Civic with about 43000 miles on it a year and a half ago. Since then, the battery died, and I had a new one put in. The next day it died while I was driving - it was some rod on the front of the engine that held the serpentine belt in place - they fixed that, but it came loose, so Honda bought me a slightly less used engine to replace the now faulty one. I’ve had new tires put on (to replace the cheap retreads it came with), I have replaced both the back and now the front brakes and it seems to be in good repair currently. The question is, at what point do you say, “This is a lemon!” When is it time to call a honest lawyer and seek recompense or a new car???

Well, because of the title of your thread, I have to ask–Have you researched the content of the Lemon Law statute in your particular state?

I ask that question because most, if not all, of the Lemon Laws deal with new cars, not used cars. There may be a few states out there that do provide some protection of that type for buyers of used cars, but since you have not told us which state you reside in, nobody can possibly give you specifics.

However, to give you a general idea of how a Lemon Law usually operates, a car buyer has to have had a repair done for the same symptom or to the same part/system of the car on multiple occasions (usually three times), before Lemon Law protection kicks in. Alternatively, if the car has been out of service for repairs for more than X number of days, this protection can kick in even if the repair is the first attempt. None of the above sounds like it is the case with your car.

Additionally, I have to point out that replacing a battery, tires, and brakes on a 4 year old car is simply maintenance that should be expected on a car that has been driven for over 40,000 miles. The only unusual event was the “rod on the front of the engine” (possibly a belt tensioner??), but by your own admission, you were given a replacement engine–which means that your problem was dealt with fairly by the dealership.

Before you spend even one dime on working with an attorney, I strongly suggest that you take a look at the actual content of your state’s Lemon Law by going to www.lemonlawamerica.com

And, even in the unlikely event that your state does provide Lemon Law protection for used car buyers, you DO NOT need an attorney to press your claim. All one needs is the ability to read and comprehend the claims procedure, the ability to complete some fairly straight-forward forms, the ability to write appropriate letters including copies of relevant documentation, and the fortitude to endure a process that could take a few months.

Battery and tire replacement is pretty normal for a three year (at the time) used car, so those repairs would not fall inside the context of any lemon law. If any lemon law applied, the context is repeated repair requirements that can’t be fixed properly.

I would also note that if any car had retreads on it at 43K miles, that is a warning sign that either the previous owner was very cheap, or that the car might deserve a more thorough mechanics inspection before I bought. Even the cheapest car dealers I know replace with cheap, new tires, not retreads.

An honest lawyer would tell you that you don’t have a case. Almost all the items you mentioned are maintenance - you have to do them anyway. I replaced the battery on my 2005 Accord last year. Four years is a reasonable lifetime. Brake pads and rotors need to be replaced every few years. Honda replaced the engine. I don’t see any real problems here. And most states don’t have lemon laws for used cars. If you don’t like it, sell it. But don’t expect any better service from any other car.

Used cars are sold “As Is”…What you see is what you get…“Buyers Remorse” is not covered by lemon laws.

Brakes, tires, batteries, and the shaky story about a rod holding the serpentine belt in place does not mean you have a Lemon. Those things you mention, other than this rod, are normal maintenance, wear and tear items.

I fail to see how a rod involving a serpentine belt could ruin an engine unless you’re referring to a timing belt or suffered an overheating problem due to a cooling system puncture. If it’s the latter, that’s on you for not stopping the car.

And so now they’re using retreads huh? How sure are you of that?

(And since you’re on a belt kick, have you considered the cost of a timing belt, tensioners, and water pump which may be due now or even long ago depending on the age and mileage of this used engine that was installed? And no, that chore is not a sign of a Lemon car; just an aggravation common to the type. Homework first prevents heartache later.)