One of the most frustrating parts of owning a car or truck is taking it in to be fixed or maintained. Many are annoyed at the cost involved not to mention the inconvenience or the time spent in the waiting room for the work to be done. Rarely are even simple things inexpensive, so there is a tendency to barely glance at the work order and run for the door with your keys in hand. This, however, is a mistake.
Careful record keeping is essential
According to Motortrend, keeping careful records will be the most important protection for motor vehicle owners, particularly if the car is new and under warranty. Tips for doing this include:
- Take notes: Document conversations had with service personnel and dealerships (including dates and times). Record odometer readings before and after repairs.
- Put it in writing: Put any complaint about the vehicle in writing and give it to the dealer. Keep a copy of this complaint for your own records.
- Get the paperwork: Dealers will give car owners repair orders and invoices, but also get a copy of the warranty repair order. Make sure the service personnel correctly enter your complaint into the repair order.
- Stay consistent: Continue to describe a recurring problem in the same way as long as it is accurate. Include as many details when doing this as possible.
- Make sure there is a work order: Even if there is a quick fix where a mechanic adjusts something under the hood, make sure he or she creates a work order so there is official documentation by the dealership. If this is not done, it will not count in the number of attempts to repair before getting a lemon designation.
Disputes are common
It is now common for dealers to be customer service-oriented, but at the end of the day that only works if they fix the vehicle. Dealers may want to keep working on the problem long after it is clear that the car or truck is a lemon. This and other lemon law issues can be handled by an experienced lemon law attorney here in California. While complaining in an online forum or to the Better Business Bureau may be the first impulse, an attorney can often get results in these matters.