Be cautious of signs of damage to new cars

Buying a new car is exciting. You might spend hours doing research on a vehicle’s features, reliability, customizable options and more. When the day finally arrives, you happily drive your car out of the dealership parking lot and back to your Philadelphia home.

However, you may be shocked to discover damage to your brand new vehicle either immediately or a few days later. Even brand new vehicles are not exempt from suffering damage, with some issues occurring even before a driver gets behind the wheel.

Types of damage caused to new vehicles

Damage can occur to new cars at multiple points, from the factory to the transportation to even the parking lot of the dealership. Common damage can include:

  • Scratches or dents during the loading and unloading processes
  • Dents from other parked vehicles during the transportation process
  • Minor damage from opening car doors or other hazards in dealer lots
  • Damage from test drives by other prospective drivers

Car dealerships must disclose certain damages to new vehicles. However, many salespeople will not disclose damage unless it reaches a certain monetary value. Pennsylvania law protects consumers to an extent, yet only requires dealerships to disclose damage when it exceeds either $500 or 3% of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

What to do after discovering the damage

At the car dealership, it is important to thoroughly inspect the vehicle for signs of damage. Look for obvious signs, like dents or scratches, and more obscure signs, like hastily completed touch-ups or paint jobs. Even better, ask the salesperson directly if the car suffered any damage. Inquire about the vehicle’s history and ask to take it for a test drive. Test drives can alert you to issues that may be invisible in a showroom or parking lot.

Unfortunately, you may not discover the damage until after the vehicle is in your name. You may learn of the damage during a routine maintenance check, while making a simple repair, after a friend or neighbor notices something or more.

Discovering damage to your brand-new car can be both frustrating and deceiving. What you thought was a vehicle with a clean history can turn into a potentially costly repair. When the damage to your vehicle is greater than initially expected, check Pennsylvania Lemon Law to determine whether your car’s damage could qualify you for some type of reimbursement from the manufacturer.

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