California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act aka “The Lemon Law”, provides purchasers of vehicles covered by a warranty with strong protection should your new vehicle turn out to be a lemon. But what can you do to avoid purchasing a lemon? There are several important things to consider.

First, check Consumer Reports’ April Car Buying Issue and check on the reliability of the make and model vehicle you are considering purchasing. Consumer Reports contains detailed information regarding a vehicle’s features, safety and reliability, as well as cost. You can also compare competing models.

If the vehicle has been out for awhile, you can also check the Department of Transportation’s NHTSA website. It will have complaints by consumers and recalls listed so that you can tell if a particular model is already plagued with problems and how serious any reported problems are.

If you are buying a used car, you can always have the vehicle checked out by an independent mechanic. An experienced mechanic can spot red flags on a used vehicle quickly and at very little cost to you. CARFAX reports can also identify major problems in some cases.

After you purchase your vehicle, be diligent in servicing it and reporting to an authorized dealership any problems you have. California Lemon law rights are based upon a sufficient number of reported complaints to authorized repair facilities. Also, keep good records: A dealership is required to provide you with invoices for warranty work performed on a vehicle.

If a dealership fails to resolve a problem or problems keep occurring, contact the manufacturer and inform them of the issues. This kind of communication can sometimes resolve the problem by getting a manufacturer’s technical specialist involved with the vehicle prior to numerous unsuccessful repair attempts by the dealership.

If problems persist and you believe legal action is necessary contact an experienced attorney. Many lawyers take these type of cases on a contingency at little or no cost to you. A person’s car is typically second in expense only to one’s home and deserves protection.