This is part of a series entitled “Lemon Law: 5 Things You Should Know.” It is written by Sergei Lemberg, who is an attorney who specializes in lemon law. His site, Lemon Justice, offers detailed information about lemon laws, as well as an interactive Lemon Meter for consumers who want to see if their vehicle qualifies as a lemon.

There are few things more frustrating than realizing that you have a defective vehicle. After all, a new car is supposed to run like a charm, right? If your new car has problems, though, the chances are good that you’ll have more than one opportunity to hone your conflict engagement skills.

Your first engagements will probably be at the dealership. You’ll take your vehicle in for repair, and the service department will have the opportunity to fix the problem. You don’t need to be antagonistic, but you do have to stand firm in your position that a problem exists and that it needs to be repaired. It’s helpful if you have a logbook of sorts where you’ve jotted down the dates and times that the problems have surfaced, and your best description of what happens when it does.

If your vehicle isn’t repaired after the first attempt, you have to be persistent. Make sure that your reported problem is written on the work order, and insist upon receiving a copy both before and after the repair attempt. With repeated repair attempts, the conflict between you and the dealer will likely escalate. It doesn’t have to get nasty, but you also can’t back down. Standing up for yourself is empowering – and it’s the right thing to do.

Lemon laws vary greatly from state to state, so it’s important to know how many repair attempts are required in your state in order for your vehicle to be considered a lemon. It’s a good idea to contact a lemon law attorney after the second to last repair attempt. He or she can guide you through the process of establishing your vehicle as a lemon in the eyes of the law.

For previous posts in the series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3