Friday, February 21, 2014

The time I bought a lemon....


Today I am going to share a story with you about the reason you should never buy a brand new car. Like, ever. A few years ago, the hubby and I decided to go car shopping. I was in desperate need of a new car--my battery died on a daily basis, 3 out of my 4 tires needed to be replaced and it was turning into more of a hassle than it was worth. Off we went to the dealership with every intention of buying a used car with good gas mileage. After shopping around, we figured out that my car was worth about as much as a stick of gum, so in order to avoid an exuberant amount of negative equity, I decided on a brand new Dodge Avenger. I guess it was new car fever, because Steven decided to trade in his truck for a brand new Challenger. Off the lot we drove, with 2 brand new cars and 2 ridiculous car payments (seriously, it was more than our mortgage payment and it made me sick every month).  Here is a picture of the beauty herself....

<3 RIP Piper <3


Now on to the fun part...

2 weeks after driving off the lot, I came out after work and noticed that my entire front windshield was cracked. A huge line ran down the center from top to bottom. I knew that I hadn't hit anything and there were no dings or other marks, so I was completely baffled. Lucky for me, windshield replacements are free in Florida, so my beautiful cherry red Piper (that's right, I name my cars...) was back to normal in no time...Until about 2 weeks later. While driving down the interstate on the way home from work, I heard a loud crack and noticed that my windshield had broken yet again. At this point I had owned the car for less than a month and I was on windshield number 3. I knew something wasn't quite right with the car, but I figured I would give it another shot and see what happened. Well that lasted all of about 4 months...

One day I noticed that my engine light came on, and being a complete paranoid freak, I dialed up the dealership immediately. They told me to bring it in and they would take a look. The mechanic came out, plugged some tool up to my car and the light shut off. I was sent on my way, being told that sometimes lights just come on and I had nothing to worry about. Nothing, indeed--the light was back on a week later. Same process all over again. Brought the car in to the dealer, they shut the light off and told me if it happened again to schedule maintenance. Low and behold, the "nothing to worry about" turned into a replacement of my car's computer system due to a malfunction and a crack in the fuel line. Wonderful, right?

During this time, I had gotten in touch with Dodge & Chrysler via an extremely angry yet very professional letter (I am an excellent angry letter write).

The last straw was a month or so later. The engine light was off, the windshield was intact, but I was noticing a new noise. Whenever I would turn my steering wheel, the car made a weird grinding sound. It ended up being the rack and pinion (whatever the hell that is?) and off we went back to the shop. I was without my car for A WEEK while they flew someone in from HQ to replace everything.

By now I had already sent 4 letters, with no resolve, so off went letter number 5. ((Meanwhile, while everything was going on with my car, Steven's brand new car was also having a range of problems! His seat was replaced twice in the first year, his turn signal shifter FELL OFF, and the rubber seal on his hood was destroyed)) After receiving a less than acceptable response from Dodge, I went higher and higher until I reached the CEO of Mopar. It took months of aggravation and what seems like hundreds of phone calls & letters, but I was finally able to get a resolution. Even though my car did not technically qualify as a lemon (it had several different issues, for a lemon it must be the same issue 3+ times) Dodge decided to take it back and replace it with a brand new 2013 vehicle. I ended up going for the brightest most obnoxiously orange car in existence..seriously, the picture does it no justice...

My new baby, Daphne the Dart


Lessons Learned:
-Dodge's are terrible cars
-I will never buy a brand new car again
-Letter writing eventually pays off
-The lemon law is the most difficult, pain in the ass thing to deal with