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When you request a new car instead of repair?

I just bought a brand new 2012 Chrysler 200 (6 cylinder). I really like this car. But, the second day, (Jan. 5th), I notice this annoying rattle, which sounds as if it is coming from the behind the front dashboard. My anxiety is saying to me, “Oh no. A repair that will be impossible to really fix, and I will have this rattle for the rest of my life, as long as I own this car. The mechanics will have to pry open the dashboard and it will never look new again… etc”. I have an appointment for this coming Saturday with the Service Department, trusting they can fix the rattle permanently, and without scratching the dashboard, not even one bit.
My question is: when do I have the right to simply say to the Dealer, “Please just give me a new car, without the rattle, and you send this car back to Detroit and let Detroit fix it. I want a new car without a rattle.” Is this reasonable, and is this legal for me to request this? As I said, I have this anxiety that I will have a dashboard that has obviously been removed and put back into place, and a rattle that will be intermittent forever… The Lemon Law in New Mexico is 30 days in the shop. Who wants their car to be in the shop for 30 days, before being able to say, “Please give me a new car.”
Thanks for your reply: Ask for a new car now, or do I have to let the dealership try to repair it?

You’re getting way ahead of yourself here. Regardless of the lemon law, you need to give them a few chances to fix it first. If they damage anything in the process, then they’ll need to fix that. It’s best if you show the dashboard to the service advisor when you drop the car off so that there can be no argument about existing damage.

Brand new 2012 in 2013? Was this a new car (as in 3 or 4 miles on it) or a dealer demo or lease return with very low miles?

I’m not familiar with NM Lemon Law but as a rule of thumb a car has to be in the shop X amount of time and X number of visits for the same problem to qualify as a Lemon.

As it stands right now the car is yours, warts and all, and no dealer is going to send any car back to Detroit except in the most extreme of circumstances; as in the Ford GT.

I think you are a little over worried. Probably the mechanic will be able to fix the rattle without removing the dash. Either by underneath, or by removing the instrument cluster, or glove box. or center radio, or climate control.

Many cars come with rattles that get fixed just fine. Just keep complete records and get everything in writing.

The Chrysler 200 has one of the worst ratings with Consumer Reports as far as new vehicles.

This is why I would stay away from the new Dodge Dart.


It would be interesting to know if this is a dealer demostrator due to the year model and sale date.
NM Lemon Law says it applies for 1 year from the original transfer date to a consumer and if the car became a demo back at the end of 2011 or whatever that might become an issue as a demo is considered a used car and the dealer is technically a consumer.
Much could depend on how NM law is interpreted.

Fiat left a sour taste in my mouth, along with a very brief period of unemployment, a long time ago due to policy when they helped greatly to sink a company I worked for.

Yep! It’s not a Chysler product. It’s a FIAT product.

Can you speak French?


@Tester Can you speak Italian?

FIAT is Italian, as far as I know

" I want a new car without a rattle." Is this reasonable, and is this legal for me to request this?"

Not even on the same continent as reasonable. It’s a rattle. Any new car is going to have a problem. There are tens of thousands of parts in a car, and more lines of code in its computer than in a fighter jet. Something will go wrong. If they gave you a new car, you’d only have a new problem to deal with. A behind the dash rattle is child’s play to fix as long as it can be found. Just have 'em fix it. Only if they can’t fix it should you start escalating things.

3 strikes and out would be my start. I cannot imagine accepting the dashboard will never look new again, but can imagine a squeak as an unfixable defect. I think they can fix it and it is not worth a lemon law challenge. Some states have a return option, but my god man I understand your frustration, and might say live with it or I am mad as hell and won’t take it anymore.

Cars come apart and go together again nicely without damage. That’s what dealers are for. They should be able to locate the problem and take care of it no problem. Thatw what they do all the time. You already are aware of the lemon law so that’s when its serious enough to take the car back.

I don’t think you purchased a lemon. We bought a brand new Toyota 4Runner back in 2003. From the second day we had the car, a bad chirping noise started up under the hood. We took it back to the dealer only to have the noise reoccur a couple of days later. Back to the dealer again. A few days later not only did the chirping sound return, but there was a bad oil leak. Apparently, the technician at the dealer installed the second serpentine belt incorrectly and it pulled out the oil seal. Another belt was installed and the oil seal replaced. Two days later, the chirp was back. My wife really liked the car and wanted to pay our independent mechanic to repair it. I said that the dealer was going to make it right. I gave the dealer one more chance before invoking the lemon law and having him buy it back. This last time they found the problem–the belt tensioner had a weak spring. We still have the car and have had no problems since.
The point is that any manufacturer can turn out a car with a defect. That is what warranties are for. I remember back in 1949 our neighbors drove home in a brand new Chevrolet. I noticed that the tail lights were on. It turned out that the car had a defective brake light switch.
My guess is that the rattle is something pretty simple and the dealer will find it.

NOBODY ever got a new car because of a dash-board rattle, and neither will you…

It is possible for something to be left loose or a stray item to be left behind during the manufacturing process. Even surgeons have left their tools inside a patient’s body before. Your car can be disassembled and reassembled, noise corrected, and look the same. It’s a brand new car, and the service department is extremely unlikely to trash it and return it to you. I also believe it is beyond unreasonable to ask for a new car because of a rattle in the dashboard without giving them any attempt at making it right. Issues like this happen to new cars more often than you may think. I used to work with a fellow who had previously worked in the service department at a Honda dealership for several years. He said his primary job there was tracking down squeaks and rattles in new cars, and this single assignment kept him quite busy during his time there. It’s not just a “junk Chrysler” or “junk Fiat” thing, it happens to Hondas too.

“NOBODY ever got a new car because of a dash-board rattle, and neither will you.”


As has already been stated, the OP needs to give the dealer’s service department a fair chance (or two, or three…) to fix the problem. Complaints can always be escalated to the corporate level if the dealer does not seem to be resolving the problem, and once the corporate folks step into the picture, better service does frequently result. I had that experience with both Ford and Toyota.

As to a replacement vehicle, that would only happen under the terms of the Lemon Law in the OP’s state. I don’t know the full content of that statute, but the OP can easily research it. I suggest further research into the NM Lemon Law because many (or most) of them include wording to the effect of…“defects that materially affect the safety or driveability of the vehicle”…which means that you cannot file a Lemon Law claim for things like a defective radio or a rattle.

If the OP throws a temper tantrum by demanding something that is not even vaguely possible, it is going to be very embarrassing to go back to the service department if and when there is an issue that is a genuinely serious problem. In other words, select your battles carefully, and don’t begin a fight that you have no chance of winning, as it only makes you look foolish.

READ THE OWNERS MANUEL!!!there is a lot of good info in that book.

Give them a chance to fix it before getting anxious. Rattles in new cars are not uncommon, and almost always easy to fix. Having gutted and rebuilt everything from the front windows back in my own car, as well as having pulled apart a few other interiors over the years, I can tell you that there are countless plastic clips etc. and likely one if them just didn’t get fully clipped at the factory.

I think we are seeing a big case of buyer’s remorse here and he or she is just looking for an excuse to get out of the deal.

@kenmicn, you are smart to think about the lemon law. At this point, you should make sure that you get a receipt for this visit and keep a log of the number of days that you are without the car. Always get a receipt for the visit and do not take it back until you get one. The receipts are your proof that the dealer tried to fix the problem. If they can’t hear it, take them out for a drive and point it out to them. If they still can’t hear it, get the service manager to ride with you, and go up the line to the owner or general manager.

I’m not suggesting that you will need even a second visit, but you need a plan to fix the problem. By having a plan, it will relieve some anxiety and you will be better able to deal with the stress and not get too angry in front of the dealer reps. You don’t seem like that type of person from your post, but any of us can get bent and blow up.