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Is There Really Such a Thing as a "Lemon"?

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
edited April 1 in Lincoln
The term "lemon" has been popularized to describe a very troublesome automobile, but in reality, is it even possible for a modern automobile to be a lemon?

Can a car with 15,000 parts be TOTALLY bad?

I'd like to see the term "lemon" done away with, since IMO it really doesn't get to the root of the problem, and in fact merely confuses the issue at hand.

Isn't a "lemon" a misnomer, a kind of scapegoat term to excuse away the following?

1. indifferent dealer service
2. a few correctable, fixable factory defects
3. owner negligence or ignorance of a developing situation.
4. buyer remorse
5. inadequate parts
6. inadequate training of technicians

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Comments

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    It depends on what you mean. If a car constantly has different stuff breaking but each item can be fixed, is that a lemon? For purposes of the lemon law, it is more like the same thing breaking over and over. A lot of the time this happens because the mechanics keep replacing a broken part without trying to figure out why it keeps breaking.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,911
    A lot of the time this happens because the mechanics keep replacing a broken part without trying to figure out why it keeps breaking.

    I think sometimes too, there's just an inherent flaw in the part. So when the mechanics replace a broken part, the new part is destined to fail in short order, too. This might actually be a bigger problem as a car ages though, and you're left to fend with crappy aftermarket parts, rather than higher quality OEM. A few years back, I had an '89 Gran Fury ex police car. Over the four years that I drove it, I think the starter, one of those lightweight things that was really more suited to a little 4-cyl, failed five times!
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,288
    "...the starter...failed five times!..."

    I can beat that. My 1986 Toyota pick-up had the alternator fail seven times. It also blew the head gasket twice and rusted through in just three years. It may not have been a lemon but it was definitely in the citrus family. :cry:

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
    Now that's a good example. It obviously is not the car's fault that an alternator blows out 7 times. Someone in the repair shop is not paying attention. Ditto two head gaskets. These Toyota engines were among the best in the world.

    As for rust, well part of that is luck of the draw where you live, and how you store and clean the car, etc. and the generally crappy rust protection in the 1980s.

    I guess what I mean is---if the dealer can't fix the car after 3 tries, does that make the car a "lemon" in REALITY, or is that just an arbitrary legal term these days.

    I think ANY car can be fixed in the right hands.

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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Shifty,

    Maybe someone should update that old classic book "Cherries and Lemons" to expand upon this subject.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,911
    of a crappy dealership, IMO, is what happened with my buddy's 1998 Tracker. He bought it new. It had a 5 year/60K warranty. Just like clockwork, that tranny went out about every 20K miles and would have to go back to the dealer. I have a feeling that since it was warranty work, and not very profitable, they just did the bare minimum to get the thing running again to nurse it out of the warranty period. Luckily, the third time was just before the 60K mark.

    Well, around 86K, it lost all its gears on the way to work and left him stranded. I used my AAA membership to get him a free tow to the transmission shop I frequent. They got it running for about 60 bucks, but told him they couldn't guarantee how long it would last, and that the next time it acted up it would probably be too late. The next time came around 92K, although it didn't get bad enough to leave him stranded. He took it to the dealer first, and they gave him a vague estimate of $1-3K. I started calling around to local junkyards, and found a tranny out of a wrecked 1995 Sidekick with about 55K miles on it. He bought the tranny from them, and the place just down the street from them put it in. Total bill was under $1100. It had a 90 day warranty. It turns out the lockup on the torque converter was acting up, so that was replaced under warranty. But after that, the thing ran fine from 92K on up to 134K, when he traded it on a brand-new '06 Xterra.

    As for lemons, one candidate might be my co-worker's 2000 Lincoln LS. That was the first year for them, and he bought a V-6 model. Almost immediately the transmission failed. After that was fixed, he had problems with it overheating. Then it had some other issues, and it ended up being so bad that a year later the dealer essentially gave him what he paid for it and he paid the difference to upgrade to a 2001 V-8. And then, when that one got to about the 50,000 mile mark, he just didn't trust it, so he traded it on an Acura TL and never looked back. Sad, really, because he had an '87 Mark VII and a '92, and trusted them both enough to take him up to around 150K miles or more.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
    I think owners start branding their cars "lemons" right at the point where they do not trust the car anymore. Remember the old Peanuts cartoon with Charley Brown and the football? Each time Lucy said "trust me" and he kept falling for it.

    I, too, wonder about how thorough warranty work really is because the factory will only allow the dealer so much time on a kind of "flat rate".

    I do have sympathy for the dealer on occasion, when he gets book-ended between owner and factory.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I don't think a car with a million parts has to be "TOTALLY bad" to be a lemon for its owner. I am all for keeping the lemon term exactly as is, because I have known a few folks with lemons, and believe me it's no fun owning one. I am lucky I have avoided that curse for myself.

    Andre's friend with the junky 2000 Lincoln LS? That's a lemon in my book.

    Any time you ante up all the money for a brand new car and have multiple problems that keep the car out of service in the first year, that's a lemon. The manufacturer should have to provide a better product than that for the amount of money new cars cost, and I think the lemon law is pretty well sorted in that regard.

    Now when you say "is it really the car's fault?", well, I'm not sure what that means. A car is not a living entity, so nothing can really be its "fault". I see what you mean about poor repair work at the dealership, but I also believe that lots of components of cars nowadays are designed to be as cheap as possible with little to no regard for quality or durability, and while that's not the "car's fault", it IS the car manufacturer's fault, and not something the car buyer should have to put up with on a brand new car.

    As a footnote to all that, I should add that it is certainly also the case that lots of people call their cars "lemons" when they are not under the legal definition. For instance, some people buying Toyota or Honda experience one problem, often one fixed on the first attempt, and to them their car is a "lemon" forever afterwards, because they expected a Japanese make to be flawless in every aspect of reliability. That's not a lemon to me. A lemon has to have repeated problems that take it out of service to qualify for that moniker in my book.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
    I'd be more apt to believe a car was a "lemon" if it had failures of DIFFERENT components time after time, rather than failure of one component multiple times. If the same part fails time after time, that to me is encouraging---it means that some smart person can fix it once and for all.

    But if one part after another breaks without cessation, that seems to make the car hopeless.

    But you're right-- a lot of cars owners call "lemons" are probably "buyer's remorse" more than anything else. They bought or leased a car they really couldn't afford, and after the first glitch they are sick at heart over the entire purchase. Can't say that's not a very human trait.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,911
    I'd be more apt to believe a car was a "lemon" if it had failures of DIFFERENT components time after time, rather than failure of one component multiple times. If the same part fails time after time, that to me is encouraging---it means that some smart person can fix it once and for all.

    What if it's a part that's designed defective from the factory? When your car experiences a failure, about all they can do is just put a new part on, but if it's flawed it'll just fail again. Not really much you can do about it, if the part's prone to failure, right from the factory.

    I know it's not exactly current events, but would a 1980 Citation have been easy to classify as a lemon? It was the most recalled car in history, wresting that title from the 1976 Aspen/Volare. I heard that the 2000 Ford Focus actually beat the Citation...not in number of cars recalled, but in number of recalls.

    Back in, say, 1980 though, if a car got recalled it was usually for something serious. Nowadays they'll issue a call over the stupidest things, like if Dodge forgot to include a section in the 2000 Intrepid owner's manual explaining how to fasten a child seat, or if Honda accidentally mis-prints their customer service # in their owner's manual and gives you a phone sex hotline instead! :shades:
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,154
    I must say, that Honda Customer Service Rep sounds HOT!!! She says she'll do whatever she can to please me! No wonder Hondas sell so well! ;)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,622
    we had a car that had multiple problems introduced by the dealer service department. of course, we had no faith in the car or the brand, after that.
    too bad, i really wanted to like that car.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    . indifferent dealer service
    2. a few correctable, fixable factory defects
    3. owner negligence or ignorance of a developing situation.
    4. buyer remorse
    5. inadequate parts
    6. inadequate training of technicians


    I would say all of the above, except for number 5, could be considered "scapegoats". After all, inadequate parts and installation is what a lemon is all about. Repeated failure of multiple, or individual, parts is a lemon in my book. :lemon:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
    Well repeated failure of ONE part makes that PART a lemon, or those parts a lemon. But really, how many cars, if any, have had more than 3 or 4 MULTIPLE failures of multiple parts? The odds of finding such a car would be astronomical.

    So if your power steering pump fails 4 times, that pump is obviously a factory defect, not the entire car. Or if the power steering pump, the windshield wiper motor and the radio are all replaced 4Xs each (for an exhausting 12 visits to the dealer), that's still only 3 "lemon" parts, not a whole "lemon".

    Right? :shades:

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  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,288
    "...(for an exhausting 12 visits to the dealer), that's still only 3 "lemon" parts, not a whole "lemon"..."

    That would be enough for me to declare it a lemon, or at least call the dealer a lemon for not fixing the problem.

    My wife bought a Dodge charger that had a weird starting problem. It took a few visits to fix the problem but it was fixed for good. My Toyota was a never ending cycle of parts failure for it's entire 13 years.

    The first I would not call a lemon, the second sure was. :mad:

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,911
    But really, how many cars, if any, have had more than 3 or 4 MULTIPLE failures of multiple parts? The odds of finding such a car would be astronomical.

    Actually, I can think of four different vehicles where that has happened. However, I can also come up with rational explanations for each one, where it's not necessarily the car's fault.

    Case #1. 1969 Bonneville 4-door hardtop. My cousin bought the thing in 1989. It got struck by lightning in 1990. I bought the thing in 1992. Initially it had a problem where the starter solenoid would get stuck. If you tried to start it but it wouldn't catch, it would keep turning over even with the key off, until you either got it started, it killed the battery, or you yanked the battery cable, which would somehow "reset" the starter, but would also give you a nice spark. Well, eventually it ate that solenoid. I put a new starter and solenoid on it, and it seemed like the problem was solved. It wouldn't get stuck anymore. But then it fried that solenoid. And then the one after. And the one after that. Stupidly, I just kept replacing the solenoid, when I should have just taken the thing to the mechanic and traced the problem further, which I'm sure was associated with that lightning strike. I really can't blame the car here though. I should have just had it checked out by a pro.

    Case #2. My friend's 1998 Tracker's transmission, which failed like clockwork around 20K, 40K, and 60K. And then again around 86K. I've mentioned this one before. I'm convinced that the first three failures, since it was under warranty, they just did the bare minimum to limp it along until it would no longer be covered. When it failed at 86K, the local transmission place got it running for $60, but said that it was probably doomed and couldn't guarantee how long it would last. It made it to around 92K, when we had a used tranny put in with 55K on it. It never had any troubles through 134K, when he finally got rid of it. So here I'd place the fault partially on the original tranny, and partially on the dealer's service dept.

    Now that I think about it, that Tracker also had a persistent problem with the EGR valve. It was replaced once or twice, but the mechanic said that sometimes it would be fine, but the OBD-II would trigger a false read sometimes. I guess if my buddy wanted to blow the money, he could have paid to have the mechanic tear more into it but instead the mechanic just reset the OBD-II for free, and then my bud bought an OBD-II scanner himself and would reset it when it came on.

    Case #3. 1989 Gran Fury ex-police car. It had a 318 V-8, but a lightweight starter that I was told was an identical part used in 4-cyl Honda Accords of the era. I bought the thing used in August 1998. Starter went out about 2 months later. It went out again sometime in 1999. And then in 2002 the real fun began. I think it went out 4 times total. Luckily, I only had to pay for the first one. It was getting to the point though that I had used up my 4 free tows per year from AAA! I used one of 'em to get my buddy's Tracker to the tranny place when it died at 86K miles. The 3 other times in that 12 month period were used up getting that Damn Gran Fury towed! One time it started, barely, and made it to the shop under its own power, but after I turned it off they had to push it into the service bay! They said it was just crappy rebuilt starters that were breaking a shaft, but I always wondered if there was some other root cause causing them to fail?

    I also asked if they could just put an old-fashioned starter actually DESIGNED for a smallblock V-8, but they said it wouldn't fit on the newer ones. Dunno if that was true or not. Now finally, that last starter did hold, and still worked in 2004, when I finally got rid of that thing. I guess here, we could blame the crappy rebuilds. Oh, and around that time the owners of that garage retired and sold the place, and I don't think the new people were quite as knowledgeable.

    Case #4. Same garage, but this was when the original owners, Walt and Al still had it. I was talking to Walt one day, and he mentioned a late 80's Plymouth Voyager minivan they had in there that had well over 200,000 miles. It was on its original engine, which I think was the Mitsubishi 3.0 V-6, but probably had about 4 or 5 transmissions put in it. The local dealer, which sold the van new, asked the owner if they could use it in some advertising, but he said only if he could put a sign on the side that said "Seabrook Garage made this car run!"
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
    the closest I ever came to declaring a car a "lemon" was a Saab 900 Turbo I owned, and this car was unique in that a) I did all the work b) I bought the best possible parts and c) the SAME part never failed---it was always a different component, time after time. So I had clutch failure, hydraulic failure, power steering failure, water pump failure, turbo failure, alternator failure, convertible top motor failure, heater core leak, shifter linkage stuck, speedometer failure, door handle broken, ignition lock failure (very common), muffler failure. All this in 15 months. So I just gave up after that.

    But you know it ran great and weird as it sounds, only left me stranded 2X---like the fighter plane all shot up, I managed to belly-land back at base most of the time.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,911
    Since all of my cars, with the exception of my Intrepid, were purchased used. Often VERY used. IMO, a car can only really be a lemon if it's a piece of junk right off the showroom floor. If you buy some ancient used car that's older than you are and it ends up being junk, well, that's hardly the car's fault!

    So in my case, I think the only car I've owned that could have lemon potential was my Intrepid, since I bought it new. But as luck would have it, it's been a good car. I wonder though, if I hadn't bought the extended warranty that covered it to 5 years/100K miles, if it would have ended up being a POS? :surprise: Karma can be funny like that. I really didn't have to sink much money into it until 2007, when I think I blew about $2K total on it. But by that time it was beyond the 130K mark, so I figured the car didn't really owe me anything. I'm in it about $940 so far this year. The a/c is in its death throes though, so I'll either have to get it fixed or tough it out. Lately I've just been letting my roommate borrow it, while I cycle through my old cars. Let him suffer with it! :shades:

    As for the biggest piece of junk I've owned, I'd say it would have to be a tie between my '82 Cutlass Supreme and my '88 LeBaron turbo coupe. The Cutlass was the only car I ever had that puked its tranny AND its engine, but it was also 11 years old when I bought it, and I only paid $800 for it. My uncle bought the LeBaron when it was two years old, and he took fairly good care of it. When I was married, he sold it to us. This was 1995 and I think it had about 75K miles on it. In its defense it was fairly reliable until about 90K, just before we split up in 1996. That was when we had the timing belt done, and the crankshaft and camshaft seals. That was no big deal, as that engine was actually designed to be serviceable, so it was fairly cheap. But it needed new CV boots or joints, or something like that. I remember the whole bill was about $900.

    Well, when we split, I let her have the LeBaron as part of the settlement. The a/c blew, the power antenna broke, the trip computer started lying through its teeth. It had some sensor fry that confused the computer, and made it idle at something like 2000 rpm. Then the head gasket blew. Turbo fried. She ended up giving the thing back to me in 1997, in exchange for two tickets to see Faith No More at the 9:30 Club in DC. Their lead singer looked a bit like one of her ex boyfriend so yeah, that made me feel good. :sick: But hey, she was the EX by that time! Oddly, she says their lead singer also looks vaguely like me, at certain angles, too, although I never saw it. Anyway, I figure getting it back cost about 90 bucks. I lucked out and sold it for $800, for parts. I still have its radio somewhere. Don't ask me why I pulled it out. It was the same size as a '79 Newport I had, so maybe I thought it would mate up? Evidently it didn't, since it's still lurking in the back of my grandmother's garage somewhere!

    So basically, the LeBaron was a decent car for 90K miles, and then turned into crap and was done by 118K. The Cutlass Supreme blew its tranny at 61K and 11 years of age, and the engine at 73K and 12 years...but I really didn't know its service history for the first 11 years of its life. So that's why I more or less put these two at a tie for biggest POS I've ever owned.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    The stars have to align properly, as well as a whole lot of other variables, to concoct a true lemon. Some lines of cars are more prone to lemon status due to inferior parts, design or installation... say early Kia models. Other times you'll get the standard of reliability in a Honda or Toyota being branded a lemon by it's owner.

    Maybe, a workers band-aid falls off into the transmission casing during installation... or the guy just divorced his wife and then his dog ran away. You unluckily happen to be the guy to buy that particular car.

    But, whether the factory part is defective, or the mechanic improperly trained, is inmaterial to me as a owner/consumer. All I know it that I'm without a car for another 4 or 5 days. Things keep breaking down... strange people I've never met keep telling me that when life hands you a lemon, make some lemonade. :cry:

    But, I've had pretty good luck with my cars (knock on wood), so what do I know. :cry:
  • hudsonthedoghudsonthedog Posts: 552
    Well repeated failure of ONE part makes that PART a lemon, or those parts a lemon. But really, how many cars, if any, have had more than 3 or 4 MULTIPLE failures of multiple parts? The odds of finding such a car would be astronomical.

    Failure of one part is a bad part. Repeated failure of a crucial part can make the vehicle a lemon. If that bad part causes the car to strand the driver multiple times or causes other parts to fail in a domino effect, then the car can be considered to be a lemon.

    All of my vehicles have been considered to be on the low end of "quality" ratings. Sometimes it was bad enough to leave me stranded (repeated dead batteries on my 1986 Merkur XR4Ti), but usually the problems were minor if anything at all. My 1991 Suzuki Swift GT was the second lowest-rated brand in terms of initial quality the year it was made...and yet it has been nearly flawless for 17 years!

    Individual vehicles can be put together poorly and be considered lemons. With the increased focus on "quality," "customer service," and "customer retention" along with the increased competition in the automotive marketplace, lemons are much more rare than they once were. With the incredible gains in comlexity of modern cars, there are more things to go wrong and yet fewer cars break down.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
    Your points are well taken but I'm still hung up on the idea that if the alternator is bad, you might as well throw the whole car away. That doesn't quite make sense to me, as I'm seeing a car that's 95% good and 5% terrible.

    I'll offer a compromise. Let's break a car down into major SYSTEMS: (remember we are talking "major", not ashtrays)

    powertrain
    heating/AC
    brakes
    suspension/steering
    lighting/instruments

    If a car had a serious failure in ALL of the above systems, within warranty, I might consider that car a real demon seed.

    But if we had, say an engine miss one time that was corrected, an AC leak that was plugged up, squeaky brakes, one bad strut bushing making noise and a rear tail light bulb out, no, that's not a lemon in my book. That's just not REAL bad stuff.

    More like---> head gasket failure, seized AC compressor, leaking calipers, defective steering rack and wiring harness failure.

    OR perhaps a mixture of major and minor failures in all systems recurring with annoying regularity. That might sway me as well to use the "L" word.

    To use a clumsy analogy, there's the bad dog that digs under the fence and needs retraining, and then there's the bad dog who bites children.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    remember we are talking "major", not ashtrays)

    But cars don't have ashtrays any more, Shifty...

    :-)

    My Toyota just needed a new radiator (leaking) and timing belt tensioner at 19K miles. Lemon? No, but I'm not thrilled that at such a low mileage it needed two repairs that if unchecked could have lead to engine failure (a leaking radiator) or at least being stranded (the tensioner fails, the engine jumps timing and just quits).

    That's the first repair it has needed at the age of 18 months, and it was fully covered under warranty, so I'm certainly not crying lemon. But if those parts go on to repeatedly fail, I will most certainly consider it to be one, even though under the law I no longer have any recourse due to its age.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
    SCENE: Old man with cane pointing to interior of car as little kid looks on:

    "See that sonny? That there is an ashtray. All cars used to have 'em. Why, I could put spare change or gum wrapper in there, too!"

    The reason I mentioned ashtrays is that mid 90s Porsches used to have ashtrays that mysterious popped their lids while the car was turned off. Nobody every figured out why either.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,911
    how times have changed. My '79 New Yorkers each have 5 ashtrays and four cigarette lighters! There's a big his & hers thing that slides out from the dash with a cigarette lighter in the middle, and the back doors and passenger side front door each have a lighter and ashtray. I guess nowadays they could market those things as "power points". Look Ma, you can have FOUR plug-in's going at once!
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,329
    Yeah -- I remember the five ashtrays and multiple lighters.

    My 99 Celica actually has an ashtray. Hadn't had one in a car in years! Wasn't in only in the mid-90s when Chrysler started making ashtrays optional? My older kids were around at that point but neither has any meaningful memory of a car with an ashtray and they can't wrap their minds around the concept. "People SMOKED in cars??"

    Lemons - boy, it's a tough definition. My 80 Rabbit was a lemon. Multiple failures of different things while still in warranty. Wasn't so much costing me as it was I could never count on it as reliable transportation.

    The old Windstall is a different matter. It had multiple failures that cost me a bundle but they didn't start until about 80K - probably 81 or 82 really - but then it would fail with a vengeance. Before it hit 85 it was no longer something to be trusted. If you think 80K out of a vehicle is OK then it wasn't a lemon. In my book it was.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
    80K is too premature for disposing of an entire vehicle, but 80K would be normal for failure of some components, especially suspension, alternator, water pump, etc.

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  • fezofezo Posts: 9,329
    Those I could have lived with and up to 80K the van was OK - not stellar but not terrible either. It started throwing seals at 80K and each time the dealer would say "it's just this one; the others test out fine." This happened three times. Two days after we square away the head gasket the transmission died.
  • But if we had, say an engine miss one time that was corrected, an AC leak that was plugged up, squeaky brakes, one bad strut bushing making noise and a rear tail light bulb out, no, that's not a lemon in my book. That's just not REAL bad stuff.
    I've had things go wrong and not called my cars lemons. But when something goes wrong that could adversely affect the car's life expectancy, I may be more apt to call it a lemon. If you have any major problem early in the car's life...leaking fluids (coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, oil, etc) or any problem that a mechanic can't solve in one or two trips to the garage, I'm going to have a problem with the car.

    I'm sure that people are too quick to call any product a "lemon," but there are still a number of real, by anyone's definition. poorly built products that could be called detrimentally bad.

    No, if the ashtray is bad or one component goes bad and is easily replaced without damaging the system or product as a whole, it's not a lemon.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,911
    don't they tend to blow a head gasket and and/or drop the tranny around 80-90,000 miles? Once you calculate the book value of an 80-90K Windstall, one of those failures could certainly be enough to dispose of the thing.

    I guess at that age, you really can't call it a lemon, but how would you classify something that just doesn't tend to last as long as it "should". For instance, if a typical tranny lasts 150K miles, but another tranny is only known for being good for 80-90K on average, what would be the proper word for that?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,618
    "a bad transmission".

    It's not like bad parts contaminate an entire car, right?

    For instance, there have been some outstanding cars that have one weak component. Would you for instance throw away an entire Subaru Outback because the 2.5 engines blow head gaskets regularly? No, you install the improved head gaskets. If the previous owner wants to sell me his "lemon" Outback for $500, I'd take every one I could find, because the rest of the car is great.

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