If your car’s a lemon, it means that it suffers from one or more substantial safety defects that multiple repair attempts failed to resolve. These defects affect its safety, drivability, and/or use, and they must be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and be repaired at the authorized manufacturer’s facility.
Basically, no one wants a lemon. Not only are they disappointments, but they can quickly become money pits putting you out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Avoiding lemons is always ideal, but unfortunately, you may not know for sure if you have one or not until you’ve owned it for a while.
You can’t always spot a lemon on the lot, but fortunately, California Lemon Laws are the strongest consumer protein laws in California. You can fight to get your money back or a replacement vehicle if you bought one. The first step of this process, though, is to determine if you’ve bought a lemon. We mentioned some of the qualities of a lemon above, but we’ll go into more detail below.
You Bought Your Car from a Authorized Dealer or the Manufacturer
If you’re concerned that you’ve bought a lemon, first make sure that you bought it from a dealer or manufacturer. Only these “consumer goods” sales qualify for protection under California’s lemon law. Unfortunately, any private sale between you and another party, or a used car lot (friend, relative, etc.) won’t qualify your car for lemon law protections.
Your Car Was Purchased with a Valid Manufacturer Warranty
If you bought your car from a dealer or manufacturer, did you check if it has a warranty or extended manufacturer’s warranty? The lemon law only applies to vehicles that are covered by an express and active warranty, such as a new car warranty from the manufacturer or a manufacturer extended warranty. If the vehicle was purchased used but was sold as a certified preowned vehicle, then the manufacturer must has offered you an extended manufactures warranty - any extended warranty offered by the dealership may apply.
There Is at Least One Substantial Material Defect to Your Vehicle
Sometimes we don’t notice a car’s flaws until we bring it home. Small scratches and dents would be upsetting to discover, but they aren’t substantial defects that would qualify your car as a lemon. The kind of defects that qualify under the lemon law have to affect the safety, drivability, and have substantially affected the use of the vehicle.
Examples of such defects can include the following:
- Defective airbags
- Seatbelt defects
- Brake and/or acceleration pedal defects
- Engine Failures
- Transmission Failures
- Power steering failure
- Defective locks
- Electrical malfunctions
- Fluid leaks
- Windshield cracking
If you notice any of these problems or others like them when you bring your car home, create records of them before taking the vehicle back to the dealer or manufacturer for repair.
A Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts Have Failed
Once you’ve identified a substantial defect to your possible lemon, the dealer or manufacturer must attempt to repair it a “reasonable” number of times. For a defect that could cause injury or death, the reasonable number of repair attempts is less than few; for all other qualifying defects, the number of reasonable repair attempts is based on the extent of the severity of those repairs.
Also, another qualifying benchmark for lemon law is if it’s been in the shop for repairs 30 or more days (doesn’t have to be consecutive).
Statute of Limitations on Lemon Law Claims
If your car meets all of the criteria above, chances are you have a lemon on your hands – and no doubt it’s leaving a sour taste in your mouth. That said, you don’t have forever to file a lemon law claim to seek compensation. The sooner you contact an attorney to answer the most burning questions to see if you qualify for lemon law provisions, the better.
In California, you can file a lemon law claim within four years of noticing the first warrantable defect with your vehicle. Although you have a considerable amount of time, taking action as soon as possible is usually an effective way to protect your chance at recovery.
By getting a legal consultation from California Lemon Lawyers, we will explain your rights and possible settlement scenarios that your manufacturer might offer. Your attorney will also be able to answer all of your questions regarding fees, quote costs (if any), or any cost associated with the filing a lawsuit.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
If your car’s a lemon and you want to hold the dealer or manufacturer accountable under California lemon law provisions or under California consumer protections laws, then California Lemon Lawyers can help. Our firm has over 15 years of proven experience when it comes to helping consumers like you achieve your goals after purchasing a defective vehicle.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, contact California Lemon Lawyers, APC online now.