How to Take a Car Back to the Dealership

by FaithAnn Marie

When purchasing a car, there is always a risk you may have to take your car back to the dealership--especially if there are defects having an impact on the car's reliability or safety. New cars are protected by the lemon law, but what about used cars? There are steps you can take as a consumer to protect your rights, resolve the issue and successfully return the car.

Read your warranty regarding where repairs are to be made and if you need to contact the dealership regarding the repair. Warranties can be considered invalid if you knowingly or unknowingly breech the contract signed at the time of purchase.

Contact the repair shop and describe the issue. Mention any maintenance lights that are on, any noises or other issues the car is having. After the repair is completed, save the records.

Contact the repair shop if the same problem persists or if a new one arises. Describe the problem using the same wording as the first call. Typically, if a new car is brought in for repair four times for the same issue, the car qualifies as a lemon.

Visit (see Resources) to learn about the lemon law and to find out if your car qualifies as a lemon according to state law.

Talk to the manager at the dealership where your car was purchased. Bring copies of the records and printouts of the state lemon law. Calmly discuss the issues you have had, the attempt at repair and the results up to that point. State how you would like to return the car to the dealership for a refund, exchange or substitution.


  • check If you are not able to make car payments, you will not be able to return the car to the dealer. Instead, you will have to contact the lending institution for resolution. Laws vary by state, but you can return a car if it is within a specific time period (usually 48 hours) after the papers are signed. Typically, used cars cannot be qualified as lemons, but may be returned to the dealership if you are faced with persistent major problems that have an impact on the car or its safety. File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Consumer Affairs if you are having problems returning your car to the dealership.

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About the Author

FaithAnn Marie began writing in 2009, and her work appears on eHow and Answerbag. Her areas of expertise include health, science, computers, information management, data organization and computer networking. She is a certified phlebotomy technician and is working toward a Bachelor of Science in clinical laboratory research.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Serghei Starus