6 Things to Check Before Buying a Nissan to Avoid a Lemon


Nissan is known for manufacturing innovative, long-lasting vehicles. In fact, Nissan ranks among the top 10 most reliable car brands based on cost, reliability, and severity of unscheduled repairs. However, every manufacturer is guilty of producing defective vehicles from time to time – even those known for their safety and reliability.

That’s why lemon laws exist.

Lemon law protects consumers who have purchased a defective vehicle under warranty. In most states, vehicles with unrepairable mechanical defects that interfere with the safety, use, or value qualify as lemons. If a car is a lemon, the buyer or lessee could be entitled to a buyback (refund) or replacement from the manufacturer.

Of course, every Nissan buyer would like to avoid buying a lemon in the first place. So, here are six things to check before purchase to prevent the frustration of dealing with Nissan lemon law.

1) If the Vehicle is Being Sold “As Is”

Some states’ lemon law – such as lemon law California – protect consumers who buy used lemons unless it was sold “as is.”

Buying a used vehicle ‘as is” means that there is no warranty in place and the dealership or seller is not responsible for repairs. Thus, the buyer assumes all risks and responsibilities involved with the purchase. If you buy your Nissan from a private seller, be aware that “as is” sales are common practice.

However, if you are purchasing from a dealership, they are required by law to post a Buyer’s Guide with every used vehicle they sell. This guide indicates whether the car is being sold “as is” or is covered by a dealer warranty.

2) The Reliability Record

Although the Nissan brand has a high-reliability record, some individual models tend to be more reliable than others. Therefore, it’s important to research your desired model to minimize the risk of dealing with a Nissan lemon law claim.

Consumer Reports and similar websites offer comprehensive reliability ratings for vehicle models every year. They’ll tell you everything you need to know about the car’s performance, comfort, safety, common problems, and repair frequency.

3) Weird Sounds in the Test Drive

It’s also a good idea to test drive your Nissan before purchase. Test drives not only give you a feel for the vehicle but can also reveal underlying issues.

If you hear strange sounds during your drive – take note of it. For example, if your test drive reveals that the brakes are screeching or grinding, it may be a warning sign that the vehicle is a lemon. The same goes for rod knocking engines, whining transmissions, and squeaky steering wheels.

4) Check the Steering

Steering issues are extremely dangerous and may end up being the reason you need to call a lemon law lawyer. Therefore, you should pay attention to any steering issues during your test drive.

Check to make sure that the vehicle tracks straight and doesn’t vibrate or drift. Sudden loss of power steering may also indicate a defective pump, which is another potential lemon issue. Be sure to pay close attention to the vehicle’s handling.

5) Red Flags in the Interior

Issues with the interior of a vehicle can also result in lemon claims. For instance, if the seatbelt doesn’t lock properly or fails to adjust to your size, it may be a sign that the car is defective.

Also, be sure to look for an airbag warning light. This may indicate that the airbag has been deployed or was replaced improperly – which could be a severe issue if you are involved in a road traffic accident.

Several other signs in the interior may indicate a vehicle is defective. Look for things like cracks in the dashboard, electrical issues, and faulty door latches.

6) Under the Hood

It’s super important to check under the hood of your Nissan before purchase – especially if you are buying a used model.

Look for signs of corrosion, melted hoses, oil leakage, and general wear on components. These issues may be signs of a lemon. For example, corroded battery cables are common in vehicles with electrical problems.

Finally, you should check the transmission after the car has been driven. With the engine idling and the emergency brake on, shift through all the gears. If the fluid is dark brown or black, this could signify serious problems.

Wrap Up

The tips mentioned in this article will help you avoid dealing with a Nissan lemon law claim.

However, if you discover any mechanical defects in your new or used Nissan while under warranty, you may be entitled to a buyback from the manufacturer. The longer you wait to file a claim, the lower your chances of securing a settlement. If you notice a defect, act quickly.


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