It’s estimated that 150,000 cars a year are deemed to be “lemon cars” under our current lemon laws. That represents around 1% of the 17+ million new cars and trucks sold in the U.S.

What happens to those lemon cars? You might be surprised to find many of the cars that are repurchased by manufacturers are turned around and sold again, putting them back on the streets. That’s according to a recent article in Road & Track Magazine.

While some states require some type of disclosure (less than 1/3 of all states), most do not. Of those that do, titles do not typically have any reference to “lemon cars”.  The often use words such “Manufacturer Repurchase”.

What can used car shoppers do? Well, not as much as you think. First, the buyer needs to be aware that it’s a possibility. Second, buyers need to do their due diligence. This includes reviewing the registration history. After its initial sale, has the car ever purchased by a manufacturer? Are there lots of changes in ownership in a short period of time? And finally, buyers can look to services such as Carfax to help spot significant or chronic problems experienced by the cars they are shopping for.

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