It might sound absurd to suggest that man-made climate change could possibly have any effect on the number of clunkers traversing our back streets and highways — but unless sweeping new legislation can be passed, it will. And we’re not talking about sweeping new legislation that reduces or eliminates mankind’s impact on our environment. We’re talking about sweeping new legislation aimed at changing how used cars are bought and sold.
The reason for this claim is actually simple: many used vehicles are sold to dealerships after hurricanes, floods, or other natural disasters. It’s not unusual for a used car dealership in one of the northern states to suddenly find itself in possession of a vehicle from a southern state where a hurricane recently hit.
Flood damage can drastically reduce the miles a vehicle will be able to drive, and many of these cars can never be fixed at all because the damage is so extensive. That’s why buyers should be vigilant when looking at used cars. A vehicle’s history can usually be found for free online these days. All someone has to do is punch in the car’s VIN number, and there it is: your shiny 2004 corvette was actually submerged in the flood waters of Katrina over a decade ago. Whoops!
Man-made climate change will drastically impact the number of lemons on the road — barring new legislation — because increasing temperatures mean more frequent freak-weather events. Sea level rise will flood cities, droughts will bake some areas of the country, while warmer ocean water will result in increasingly strong hurricanes and monsoons. The reality fifty years from now is no joke.
This is just another reason to promote stricter environmental legislation, but we also need new laws to prevent used car dealerships from trying to scam or con would-be buyers.
What can you do to prevent this sort of thing from happening to you?
First, know the Lemon Law: if your vehicle breaks down three times for the same reason within a year, it’s a lemon and the dealer is legally obligated to buy it back. When you suspect your vehicle has a defect, contact the manufacturer for instructions on how to get it repaired.
If you believe that a dealership or manufacturer is not working with you on good faith to ensure your rights under the law are protected, then it might be time to speak with a lawyer about legal options. You have the right to be compensated for a vehicle that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do — drive.