Lemon Tips and Pointers
- Keep a logbook. Whether you use a spiral bound notebook or a computer spreadsheet, make a notation every time you speak to or visit the dealer or manufacturer. This proves that you have given them ample opportunity to fix the problem.
- Write down every communication. In your logbook, write down the date and time, as well as the name, title, and phone number of the person to whom you spoke. Make an entry outlining what information and instructions you were given.
- Keep track of your vehicle's performance. In your logbook, note the times and dates when the problems occur.
- Note the days your vehicle is unavailable. In your logbook, record the dates you are unable to use your vehicle, either because it isn't in working condition or because it is in the shop for repair.
- Keep repair records. This may seem pretty obvious, but it's important to keep the original paperwork of all repair and maintenance orders, even those that may not pertain to the recurring problem with your vehicle. Never leave your vehicle at the dealership without a copy of the work order.
- Keep every correspondence. Hold on to a copy of every letter and email you send, as well as proof of delivery. Some states require that you contact the car manufacturer via certified mail. Keep a folder with correspondence and delivery documentation.
- Use the Web. If you want to know if your car has a history of problems, check the Technical Service Bulletins for your vehicle www.nhtsa.dot.gov, which alert dealerships to defects and repairs for certain models. Request that the dealer's service representative write your TSB request on your repair slip.