Skip to main content

AVAILABLE 24/7. SE HABLA ESPAÑOL DISPONIBLE 24/7. ¡EMPIEZA AHORA!

Cali Lemon Lawyers Logo

We Get You Paid Nosotros te pagamos

Fast & Easy 🍋 Rápido y fácil 🍋


Author: Cali Lemon Lawyers

Understanding California Lemon Law Time Limits

Our California Lemon Law Attorneys have evaluated over 40,000 inquiries over the last 3 years alone. One of the most frequent topics we discuss with consumers is the specific timeframe available to file a successful lemon law claim.

So, how long is the lemon law good for? Is there a time limit? What are the nuances of the California Lemon Law Statute of Limitations? This article will answer all of those questions.

If you’d like detailed information specific to your situation, call us now for a free consultation. Otherwise continue reading for everything you need to know about the California Lemon Law time limit, how to qualify, and how to file a successful claim. Let’s get started! ¿Hablas Español? Contáctenos ahora para recibir más información.

California Lemon Law Statute of Limitations:

In California, the Lemon Law grants you a four-year window to file a lemon claim. The California lemon law time limit begins when the defect is first found and brought in for repairs under warranty.

California Lemon Law Statute of Limitations: How Much Time Do You Have?

It’s crucial to keep your repair receipts, copies of any correspondence with your dealership, and detailed records of all events so that the claim (and timeframes) can’t be disputed.

Of course, the sooner you file, the higher the likelihood of success. If you wait more than 4 years, it’s significantly harder to file a valid claim.

The Timeframe for Filing Lemon Law Claims in California

Many consumers incorrectly believe that this timeframe begins when you buy or lease the vehicle, but this is not true! Additionally, despite what you may read on certain websites or hear from individuals, the Lemon Law provides consumer protections that go beyond the initial 18 months or 18,000 miles of vehicle ownership.

Common Misconceptions & What You Should Know

Preparing to File Your Lemon Law Claim:

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Duration and Depth of Protection: California’s Lemon Law extends its shield for the full term of the vehicle’s warranty period. It’s not limited to just the initial 18 months or 18,000 miles.  The Lemon Law protects consumers against defects that substantially impair the use, value, or safety of your vehicle.
  • Protection Beyond Warranty: If issues with the vehicle arise while under warranty and persist, your consumer rights under the Lemon Law may continue to be enforced even after the warranty period has passed.
  • Qualification Criteria: For a vehicle to qualify under the Lemon Law, it must have a substantial defect that cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts, typically considered to be two or more, especially if the defect could lead to serious injuries. Alternatively, if the vehicle is in the repair shop for more than 30 days (cumulative) for warranty repairs, it may also qualify.
  • Legal Recourses Available: Should your vehicle be determined as a “lemon,” under California’s Lemon Law, you might be entitled to either a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price. Additionally, manufacturers are typically required to pay for the consumer’s attorney fees and costs in successful Lemon Law claims.

Increase Chances of Success With Your Lemon Law Claim

Increasing Your Chances of Lemon Law Success

Navigating through the complexities of the California Lemon Law within the stipulated time limit is crucial to safeguard your rights and secure a favorable outcome.

It’s always better to act sooner than later. At Cali Lemon Lawyers, we specialize in ensuring you don’t walk this path alone. Our experienced team is here to simplify the process, protect your lemon law rights, and drive towards a winning resolution. Contact Cali Lemon Lawyers today to file a lemon law claim. Together, let’s turn your sour experience into a victory, ensuring that the only one stuck with a lemon is the manufacturer, not you.

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If Your Car Qualifies for Compensation!

or give us a call at:

(310) 627-2665

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If You Qualify for Compensation!

Keep Reading

Cars, Recalls & Lemon Law

More Blogs

Continue reading

What Types of Problems Are Covered By The Lemon Law?

In the landscape of consumer protection, ‘Lemon Laws‘ emerge as critical legislation. These laws address defective vehicles – often referred to as ‘lemons’ – including cars and trucks to motorcycles and RVs. Persistent and chronic problems covered by your car warranty, impacting your vehicle’s safety, value, or usability, may qualify it as a lemon. The defects could range from engine stalling, battery faults, to broken windows and radio issues. If you find yourself with a lemon, laws typically offer three paths: cash compensation, a manufacturer’s repurchase or a replacement vehicle.

Contact Cali Lemon Lawyers for a free lemon law case evaluation today. Leverage in-depth knowledge of regulations to ensure your rights are protected and you receive fair treatment. ¿Hablas Español? Contáctenos ahora para recibir más información.

What is the Lemon Law?

The Lemon Law is a consumer protection law that offers remedies to individuals who purchase or lease vehicles, commonly cars, that fail to meet quality and performance standards. These laws are designed to protect consumers from vehicles that are sold in a defective condition (“lemons”).

Typically, if the vehicle exhibits significant defects within a certain period after purchase or within a certain number of miles—whichever comes first—the buyer is entitled to a remedy from the manufacturer. This often takes the form of a complete refund or a replacement vehicle.

How do Cars Qualify for the Lemon Law?

However, the manufacturer must be given a “reasonable” number of attempts to repair the issue before the law’s protections kick in. The definition of “reasonable” may vary from state to state, but generally, it’s defined as a specific number of repair attempts or a specific amount of time that the vehicle is out of service due to repairs.

Lemon laws vary significantly from one state to another in terms of their coverage and specific provisions. Some laws cover used and leased vehicles, while others only cover new vehicles. Some apply only to vehicles purchased for personal use, while others may extend to commercial vehicles.

It’s important to note that the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act also provides certain protections similar to lemon laws on a national scale. This law applies to all consumer products, including vehicles, that come with a warranty.

Understanding the specifics of the Lemon Law in your state is key to knowing your rights and remedies should you end up with a defective vehicle.

Lemon law application

What Does the Lemon Law Cover?

Manufacturing Defects and Non-conformity to Warranty Standards

The Lemon Law primarily covers issues that arise due to manufacturing defects. These are problems that originate in the factory where the vehicle is made, usually due to faulty components or improper assembly. If your vehicle has a manufacturing defect that causes it not to conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty, it could be considered a lemon under the law. However, it’s crucial to remember that minor defects, such as cosmetic issues, might not qualify under this criterion.

Recurring Problems That Affect the Vehicle’s Performance, Safety, or Value

Defects that Affect Performance

Performance-related defects are another significant category of problems covered by the Lemon Law. If a defect or condition hampers the vehicle’s operation, compromises its performance, or renders it unusable, the Lemon Law could come into effect. This could include problems related to the engine, transmission, steering, or any other essential system of the vehicle.

Safety-Related Issues

The Lemon Law also covers defects that present a serious safety risk. If a fault in your vehicle could cause injury to passengers or other road users, or if it could lead to substantial property damage, it is generally considered a serious safety defect. Examples could include faulty brakes, defective seat belts, and malfunctioning airbags.

Impact on Value

Defects that significantly decrease the vehicle’s market value can also trigger protections under the Lemon Law. Such defects might not necessarily affect the performance or safety of the vehicle, but they could still render the vehicle a lemon due to their impact on the resale value.

Issues Not Rectified Despite Reasonable Repair Attempts

Finally, the Lemon Law is designed to cover situations where the manufacturer or dealer has had a reasonable opportunity to fix the vehicle’s issues but has failed to do so. The specific number of repair attempts required to qualify as a lemon may vary from state to state, but in most cases, if a serious defect persists after multiple repair attempts, the Lemon Law will apply.

Lemon law issues

The Full Scope of the Lemon Law in California

The Types of Vehicles Covered by the Lemon Law

While most people associate the Lemon Law with new cars, its application can be much broader. The law may apply to other types of motor vehicles as well, depending on the specific statutes in your state.

Cars

Both new and used cars can be covered by the Lemon Law, provided they’re covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. This includes both purchased and leased cars. However, the specifics can vary from state to state.

Motorcycles

In many states, motorcycles are included under the umbrella of the Lemon Law. However, this isn’t a universal rule, and in some areas, motorcycles may be excluded.

Recreational vehicles (RVs)

RVs, or motorhomes, might be covered under the Lemon Law, but this often excludes the portions of the RV that are used for habitation. For these vehicles, only the mechanical components may be considered.

What the Lemon Law Cover: State vs Federal Laws

Each U.S state has its own set of Lemon Laws with varying scopes and specifics. Federal law also includes a provision, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which serves as a form of Lemon Law covering consumer products, including vehicles, on a national level.

New vs Used Vehicles: Who is Protected?

While Lemon Laws are more commonly associated with new vehicles, the lemon law also covers used vehicles under certain circumstances. If a used vehicle is still under its original manufacturer’s warranty, it may be covered. Some states also have specific Used Car Lemon Laws.

What Types of Problems Can the Lemon Law Cover?

The range of issues that the Lemon Law might cover is as diverse as the vehicles themselves. The anomalies could be apparent right from the moment you drive your vehicle out of the dealership, or they might surface weeks, months, or even years later. Whether minor or major, overt or subtle, the key determinant is that the defect is a nonconformity – a deviation that significantly affects the vehicle’s safety, usability, or value.

In the realm of vehicular safety, some common challenges that might manifest themselves include:

  1. Engine Issues: These could range from stalling, refusing to start, overheating, hard starting, rough running, lack of power, to misfires, or surging. The appearance of black smoke from the exhaust or problems with turbochargers also fall under this category.
  2. Transmission Problems: Slipping, jerking, hesitation, hard shifting, or leaks in the transmission fluid are some examples.
  3. Steering and Brake Concerns: If your car pulls to one side, the brakes vibrate or show signs of premature wear, make abnormal noises, or are outright defective, it could potentially be a lemon law case. Steering vibrations also fall into this bracket.
  4. Warning Light Alerts: Ignition of the Check Engine Light, Airbag Light, ABS Light, or other warning lights are clear indicators of potential safety threats.
  5. Fluid Leaks: These could include oil, fuel, coolant, or power steering fluid leaks.
  6. Electrical Glitches: These might encompass blown fuses, flickering dash lights, malfunctioning headlights, tail-lights, turning signals, brake lights, air conditioning, windows, doors, and more.
  7. Structural Problems: Defects in suspension, premature or uneven tire wear, and malfunctions in airbags are all severe concerns.
  8. Unusual Phenomena: Any abnormal noises or signs of the engine running hot could also qualify for lemon law protections.

The Lemon Law shields consumers from a broad spectrum of vehicle defects, and understanding its scope can significantly enhance your consumer protection.

Lemon law problem

How Does a Lemon Law Buyback Work?

The procedure of securing a lemon law buyback begins with a legal complaint against the manufacturer. This is something that our lawyers can help you with. Since automakers fight hard to defeat lemon law claims and decrease financial payouts, we expect opposition. We, on the other hand, are proactive and know how to win. We are unafraid of the manufacturers’ lawyers, and we are committed to achieving the best possible result for our clients. To win a lemon law case, you need to be able to:

  • Demonstrate that the fault jeopardizes the usage, value, or safety of your car
  • Make a “reasonable attempt” to have the defect repaired by a mechanic or dealership

This is why you must have proof that you attempted to have the motor vehicle repaired, meaning that you must keep all receipts, used parts, and work orders from every one of your repair appointments.

Car problems

Do Not Drive Unsafe Vehicles

It is critical to recognize that many of the aforementioned auto difficulties make driving a vehicle dangerous. If your car’s engine, brakes, or steering are malfunctioning, you should stop driving it. If your vehicle’s safety features, such as dashboard lights that aren’t working or an airbag that isn’t working, you should be aware that these problems can lead to accidents, injuries, and even death. While some lemon problems are simply inconvenient or expensive, others could jeopardize your safety and the safety of other people around you.

Unsafe driving

Understanding Your Warranty and What it Covers

Understanding your vehicle warranty is an essential prerequisite for successfully leveraging the protections offered by the Lemon Law. A warranty is a promise by the manufacturer, stated in a written document, that it will stand behind its product for a specified period and rectify any manufacturing defects or failures that may occur.

The Two Types of Warranties

When it comes to vehicles, there are typically two types of warranties that consumers should be aware of:

Express Warranty

An express warranty is the most common type of warranty. It is a written guarantee that comes with the vehicle upon purchase. It covers specific parts of the vehicle and lasts for a certain number of miles or a specified period, whichever comes first. The warranty details what kinds of defects or malfunctions are covered and explains the steps to obtain repair or replacement.

Implied Warranty

Implied warranties are unwritten and unspoken promises that a vehicle will be fit for its intended purpose. There are two types: the “implied warranty of merchantability,” which assures that a product will do what it’s supposed to do, and the “implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose,” which applies when you buy a vehicle based on the dealer’s advice that it is suitable for a certain use.

Understanding Warranty Terms and Conditions

Before you can take advantage of the Lemon Law, you need to understand the specifics of your vehicle’s warranty. Here are a few key aspects to consider:

Duration and Mileage

Determine how long your warranty lasts and how many miles it covers. Usually, the warranty period is specified as a timeframe and a maximum mileage, and it expires when either limit is reached.

What’s Covered and What’s Not

Not all vehicle parts or problems are covered by a warranty. Carefully review your warranty to understand what’s included and what’s excluded. For example, wear-and-tear items like brakes and tires, or damage from accidents or misuse, are typically not covered.

The Process to Claim the Warranty

Understand the procedure to make a warranty claim. This usually involves notifying the dealer or manufacturer of the problem and taking the vehicle to an authorized repair facility.

Knowing the specifics of your warranty not only helps you make informed decisions when issues arise but also equips you with the knowledge to assert your rights under the Lemon Law if the need arises.

 

Understanding warranty

Contact A Lemon Law Attorney Today

We know there are plenty of lawyers out there; however, most of them don’t have the same level of experience or success with lemon law matters as Cali Lemon Lawyers. Our legal team is comprised of the brightest and best in the field. We have hundreds of satisfied clients, of which many of them have written five-star testimonials for us.

Here are a few reasons why you should pick us:

Years of Practical Experience

Our attorneys have a combined expertise of a few decades representing individuals throughout California. During this time we have filed thousands of claims and reviewed over 40,000 potential cases.

Our Attorneys Win Lemon Law Cases

Our attorneys have a track record of success. Cali Lemon Lawyers has a success rate of 99 percent. This, we believe, speaks volumes about our attorneys’ abilities. While we cannot promise the outcome of any one case, you can be assured that your claim is being managed by lemon law attorneys with a proven track record of success.

We Value Our Attorney-client Relationships

Client relationships are important to us. In general, clients are often treated as nothing more than a case file in high-volume law firms. The file is handed around until it reaches a paralegal or junior associate who simply wants to complete it and go on with their life. Cali Lemon Lawyers is a unique duo. We take pleasure in getting to know our customers. It also aids us in crafting settlement agreements that are tailored to their specific requirements.

We Have Knowledge Regarding All Lemon Laws

The lemon legislation in California is an excellent illustration of how a state legislature can empower citizens. In addition, the statute’s text, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired in terms of clarity. Our lawyers are familiar with the statute’s intricacies as well as the numerous court decisions that have interpreted it. We put our expertise to work for you.

There Are No Surprises

The majority of the vehicle market in the United States is controlled by a small number of companies. We keep coming up against the same businesses. This enables us to anticipate their responses to accusations concerning specific models and technical flaws. Therefore, you are never in the dark about what to expect as our attorneys explain how these insights may affect your claim.

Get a Free Consultation for Your Lemon Law Coverage Claim

Before you make any choices about a claim, we always review your circumstances with you in a free first consultation. Make sure to contact us for a free case evaluation today! Furthermore, we offer reasonable attorney fees that do not break the bank.

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If Your Car Qualifies for Compensation!

or give us a call at:

(310) 627-2665

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If You Qualify for Compensation!

Keep Reading

Cars, Recalls & Lemon Law

More Blogs

Continue reading

What Qualifies a Car as a Lemon?

If your car under warranty has been having problems, you may be entitled to compensation. Vehicles that don’t meet the standards set by their manufacturers or simply don’t function properly often get the title of “lemon”.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to determine what qualifies a car as a lemon and what steps you should take to get a refund or replacement vehicle. Give us a call or fill out the form below to quickly see if your car qualifies.

With a thorough understanding of car lemon law qualifications and how to properly document your visits to the mechanic, you’ll be able to file a claim

What Qualifies a Car as a Lemon?

According to California Lemon Law, a car is considered a lemon if it has severe defects that cannot be repaired by a certified repair shop after a reasonable number of attempts, while the car is still under warranty. In addition, if the car is new and was serviced by an authorized mechanic or the original manufacturer, it is more likely to qualify as a lemon. Understanding what qualifies a car as a lemon under California Lemon Law can help consumers make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing or leasing a vehicle.

Below we define “severe defects”, “reasonable number of attempts” and “warranty” to give you a clearer picture.

Serious Defects

serious car defects

According to California Lemon Law, a “serious defect” is a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a vehicle, and that is covered by the vehicle’s warranty. The defect or condition must be one that the manufacturer or dealer is unable to repair after a reasonable number of attempts, or that is likely to cause death or serious injury if it is not repaired.

Examples of serious defects might include problems with the engine, transmission, braking system, or electrical system that make the vehicle unsafe to drive, or render it inoperable. Additionally, the defect must be reported within a certain time frame after delivery of the vehicle, usually 18 months or 18,000 miles whichever comes first for the Lemon Law protection in California.

Reasonable Attempts To Fix It

reasonable attempts to fix the car

The manufacturer must be given an opportunity to fix this issue. In California, this is typically 2 or more repair attempts depending on the seriousness of the issue. If the vehicle has been to the manufacturer two or more times and the issue is still not fixed, it will likely qualify as a lemon. A repair from from an unlicensed mechanic, would not qualify as an attempt.

Pro Tip: Keep paperwork from every visit, even if the problem seems fixed

A reasonable number of mechanic visits can vary depending on the situation and the severity of the issue. Some claims are valid after two repairs, while others need more or less. Talk to a lemon lawyer or law firm about your particular situation. 

Warranty Period

warranty period

In order for a car to qualify as a lemon, it must have had these sever issues and repair attempts during the warranty period.  Used cars do not qualify because they are not sold by the vehicle manufacturer directly. 

Of course, not all warranties are fair. Most written warranties are worded so that you can apply for a lemon law claim—it’s illegal for car companies to write grossly unfair warranties or create situations in which you can’t exchange your car. If you feel your contract doesn’t cover enough, talk to a lemon law attorney about it. 

30 Days or More

Another lemon law qualification is the amount of time it has been our for repair.  If you have a new car and it’s been in the shop for more than thirty days, you can receive a replacement or refund. 

What Prevents a Car From Qualifying as a Lemon?

There are certain key factors to be aware of. As soon as you buy your vehicle, you should ensure that you understand what’s covered under warranty and how long the warranty period is. If your new vehicle ends up being a lemon, you’ll be grateful you understand this. 

Used Cars

Most state lemon laws protect new cars, whether leased or sold. This is because lemon laws exist to encourage manufacturers to aim for the highest quality standards in their cars. Once resold, the vehicle cannot qualify for a lemon law claim unless a dealer warranty was included in the sale. 

Broken Warranties

If you break the warranty in any way, your car won’t qualify. This rule is to protect manufacturers from fraudulent claims and help law firms decide which claims will be legitimate in a court of law. When you buy a car with a warranty, ensure that you read it carefully and agree to it before signing. 

Repossessed Cars

repossessed car

If you’ve lost your vehicle to repossession, you won’t be able to apply for a lemon law claim, even if the car is a lemon. Cars with outstanding loans are also difficult to qualify for, so ensure that you keep your payments up to date and stay on top of your car finances. This will be helpful if you need to take it in for multiple repairs. 

Alternative Mechanics

Unfortunately, taking a new car to a mechanic other than the manufacturer can void the warranty and make it impossible for your vehicle to qualify. As long as your car is under contract, any significant repairs and maintenance should be free or cost-reduced. Take your car back to the manufacturer or approved mechanic for service. 

Lack of Paperwork

The most frustrating way to disqualify your car from a lemon claim is to not have the correct paperwork. Every time you take your car in for service, keep the paperwork. It may seem redundant, but you’ll have to be able to prove that your vehicle has undergone a reasonable number of repairs for this issue. 

How to File a Lemon Law Claim

The process for filing a lemon law claim is relatively straightforward, and best handled by an attorney. If you think your car qualifies, a find an attorney that will work on a contingency fee basis – meaning they will not get compensated until you win your case. They will help you file and ensure that you have all the necessary proof and paperwork to receive maximum compensation. 

You can file a law claim on your own, but an experienced attorney will increase your chances of success and speed up the entire process. Most state lemon laws require substantial documentation, and California is no exception. Prepare to have all of your paperwork looked at, from your ID to your bill of sale. 

The first step will be contacting your dealer and informing them that you will be filing a lemon law complaint. Dealers receive a set of cars from the manufacturer, and it often isn’t their fault that a lemon ended up on their lot. However, they can be of assistance and offer paperwork to help. 

Once you’ve officially filed a claim, you’ll wait for a court date. The court date will consist of you presenting all your information to the court and awaiting a verdict. With a lawyer’s assistance, you will likely be able to receive damages and get a new car or monetary reimbursement. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement offer from the manufacturer prior to going to court.

Leased Cars

If you don’t own your car, you can still qualify for a claim. The same rules apply to leased cars:

  • Keep track of all your paperwork.
  • Stay up to date on your payments.
  • Don’t break the warranty.

If you do all these things and your car turns out to be a lemon, you can receive a replacement. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this has helped you understand what qualifies a car as a lemon. Save yourself the hassle. Cali Lemon Lawyers can help you file a lemon claim and save you thousands of dollars.

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If Your Car Qualifies for Compensation!

or give us a call at:

(310) 627-2665

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If You Qualify for Compensation!

Keep Reading

Cars, Recalls & Lemon Law

More Blogs

Continue reading

What Happens if The Dealership Can’t Fix My Car Under Warranty?

Wondering what happens if the dealership can’t fix your car under warranty? Sometimes a repair shop or dealership will take too long to fix your vehicle or, even worse, a dealership or manufacturer may claim that your car under warranty cannot be fixed.

The Lemon Law in the United States guarantees that vehicle owners have the right to an automobile that is functional and working.

If you have purchased or leased a vehicle under warranty and discovered within a certain time period that the car has a problem, you may have the right to file a lemon law claim.

If your car under warranty cannot be fixed you are very likely entitled to compensation. Prequalify below or call (310) 627-2665 for a free case evaluation.

Keep reading to learn what to do if your car under warranty can’t be fixed.

What To Do if Your Car Under Warranty Cannot Be Fixed

what to do if your car under warranty cannot be fixed

You’ve recently purchased or leased a car, but it’s been plagued with issues. It’s under warranty, but what happens if the dealership can’t fix it? Let’s break it down.

Understanding Your Warranty

Warranties act as promises from the manufacturer to stand by their product. When your car has a defect or issue that falls under the warranty’s terms, the dealer is obligated to resolve it. But occasionally, a car under warranty cannot be fixed after multiple attempts. This can be frustrating and confusing for the owner. So, what’s next?

Multiple Repair Attempts

If the dealership can’t fix the car under warranty after several tries, you might be dealing with what’s commonly called a “lemon.” In California, the Lemon Law protects consumers who’ve purchased vehicles with significant defects that the dealer or manufacturer can’t rectify within a reasonable number of attempts.

The Extended Warranty Scenario

What happens if the dealership can’t fix my car under an extended warranty? The same principle applies. Whether it’s the standard manufacturer’s warranty or an extended warranty, if the dealer refuses to fix the car or can’t fix it, you could have a claim under the Lemon Law.

Dealership Obligations and Refusals

Can a dealer refuse to do warranty work? Simply put, if the defect or malfunction is covered by the warranty, then no, the dealer cannot refuse the warranty work. Doing so would breach the warranty agreement.

What to do

  1. Documentation: Always document every repair attempt, including dates, issues reported, and work performed. This will be invaluable if you need to escalate the situation.
  2. Speak Up: Communicate your concerns with the dealership’s management or the car manufacturer directly.
  3. Seek Legal Counsel: If the dealership can’t fix your car under warranty or refuses to do so, it might be time to consult with a Lemon Law attorney. They can guide you through the process and help determine if you have a valid claim.

Repairs Covered Under Warranty

repairs covered under warranty

There are two basic categories of warranties:

  1. Factory warranties 
  2. Extended warranties

The details of a factory warranty will vary based on the manufacturer and the dealership you purchased the vehicle from.

Generally, the vendor through which you purchased the extended warranty determines the coverage.

Under both a factory warranty and an extended warranty, you may have a powertrain warranty and a bumper-to-bumper warranty.  

Typical powertrain warranties will be five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, while others could be ten years or 100,000 miles. Most powertrain warranties will include the coverage of repairs and maintenance to the engine, transmission, transfer case, drive shaft, gaskets, seals, and axles.

Parts such as belts, brakes, and tires aren’t included in a powertrain warranty, but check your policy documentation to be sure.

A bumper-to-bumper warranty may include some of the repairs and maintenance that a powertrain warranty wouldn’t. For example, a bumper-to-bumper warranty can cover electrical components such as alternators, power windows, sunroofs, locking mechanisms, cameras, GPS systems, and some batteries like that of a hybrid or fully electric vehicle.

extended warranties

Extended warranty claims frequently cover more than the powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties, but again, this will depend on the company. The extras could include normal wear and tear repairs, such as brakes and belts.

The extended warranty’s big sell is usually roadside assistance like towing, trip interruption services, and roadside assistance that deals with issues like flats and lockouts.  

A car warranty rarely covers physical damage to the interior, such as seats, consoles, steering wheels, body damage from accidents, or environmental damage like flooding or hail. These factors would fall under your car insurance policy, but be sure to check the fine print.

How Lemon Law Can Help

how lemon law can help

If the dealer is unable to fix your vehicle that is still under warranty or if they take longer than one month to complete the warranty repair, you may have a case.

For example, California Lemon Law protects consumers with leased or purchased in California that are still under a dealer or manufacturer’s warranty.

After all, as a consumer with a valid purchase, you have the right to a properly running new car regardless of the model.

How To Qualify for a Lemon Law Claim

In order for your lease or purchase to qualify under the statute of your state’s lemon laws, you must:

  • Bring your purchase to the manufacturer to be serviced when it has an issue.
  • Keep records of your manufacturer attempting to service the same issue multiple times.
  • Persist that the manufacturer attempts to fix the vehicle even if it seems pointless.
  • Notify the manufacturer in writing about your vehicles’ defects and keep records.

how to qualify for lemon law claim

There are several qualifying factors to consider to determine if a defective car under warranty qualifies as a lemon. The car must also be covered by an active manufacturer’s warranty (other than exceptional cases) at the time of the claim. In terms of faults and defects, the following would be required for a claim:

  1. There have been multiple repair attempts (within the warranty period) by the manufacturer or dealer through an authorized repair facility but the defect persists.
  2. The vehicle has a substantial defect that significantly impacts the functionality, value, or safety of the vehicle. A fault is considered substantial if it affects the owner’s ability to drive the car, impairs the safety features of the vehicle, or detracts from the advertised value.
  3. A defective vehicle is simply not possible to repair, despite reasonable attempts. A manufacturer must be given a fair chance to resolve the issue to determine that it is legitimately truly unfixable.
  4. In most lemon law cases, a used car should have less than 18,000 miles on it and be no older than 7 years old. This is not an all-encompassing law by any means but it does provide a guideline for consumers.

Contact a Lemon Law Attorney

If your car under warranty cannot be fixed or the dealership has failed to fix it after several repair attempts, working with an experienced lemon law attorney is the best way to maximize your recovery. 

We encourage you to contact Cali Lemon Lawyers today for more information. Our experienced team of legal professionals is ready to help guide you through the California Lemon Law process and advocate on your behalf.

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If Your Car Qualifies for Compensation!

or give us a call at:

(310) 627-2665

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If You Qualify for Compensation!

Keep Reading

Cars, Recalls & Lemon Law

More Blogs

Continue reading

Car Warranty Repair Law: What to do If Your Repairs Take Too Long

Not sure what you should do if your car warranty repair is taking too long? As a consumer, you have rights and specific measures you can take under the lemon law. A repair shop or car dealership may be obligated to refund or replace your vehicle if car repairs aren’t possible. A car warranty repair taking too long is typically understood as more than 30 days after you brought it in. 

Is Your Car Warranty Repair Taking Too Long?

Nationwide lemon laws offer protection to drivers throughout the United States. However, before taking legal action against a manufacturer, there are certain steps you should take. These steps and the resulting outcomes will determine if you have enough merit to make file a lemon law claim

If your car warranty repair is taking too long you may be entitled to compensation. Prequalify below or call (310) 627-2665 for a free case evaluation. ¿Hablas Español? Contáctenos ahora para recibir más información.

Let’s examine what rights consumers have when a car repair goes wrong.

Car Repair Warranty Law: An Overview

check your manufacturer's warranty

What Types of Laws Apply to Car Warranties?

Under U.S. federal law, warranties for vehicles and other consumer products must be written in clear, easy-to-understand language. They must specify who is covered by the warranty, provide a clear description of what is covered, detail the responsibilities of the warrantor and the consumer (including where and how repairs and maintenance can be performed), the expiration of the warranty, and ways to handle disputes with the warrantor. This law prevents manufacturers from using disclaimers on warranties in an unfair or misleading manner, and prohibits certain business practices such as conditioning coverage under a written warranty on the consumer’s use of an article or service identified by brand, trade, or corporate name unless that article or service is provided without charge to the consumer. Furthermore, a manufacturer can only deny warranty coverage if it can demonstrate that a non-original equipment part or related service caused a defect to occur in the original product​.

How Does Car Warranty Law Relate to Lemon Law?

A legitimate reason for bringing a lemon law case against a car dealer in California involves the manufacturer’s warranty. Most newly purchased or leased cars come with an initial warranty, which usually covers repair costs for a specific number of months or miles on more than one major car part.

Used vehicles may also still be under the original warranty or come with an extended warranty. When you bring your car in for warranty work or ask to have the vehicle repaired under warranty, it can be because something went wrong before it was supposed to. For example, your transmission might fail after 16,000 miles despite proper maintenance.

Say your transmission is under warranty for 18,000 miles with proper car maintenance. A repair shop should fix your broken car without charging you for these repairs. The shop should reasonably repair it within so many attempts and before 30 days. If your automobile is on a dealership hold for more than 30 days, you may have a legal right to demand a new vehicle.

Reasonable Time for Car Repair Under Warranty

research reasonable wait times

There isn’t a specific timeframe set in law for how long a car repair under warranty should take. The time can vary depending on the complexity of the repair, the availability of parts, the workload of the service center, among other factors.

How do Laws Govern Car Warranties?

However, consumer protection laws such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act govern how warranties work. The Act requires that a company provide a “reasonable opportunity” to repair the vehicle. What constitutes a “reasonable opportunity” or a “reasonable time” isn’t precisely defined by the Act, it can vary depending on the situation. In practice, it is often interpreted on a case-by-case basis, depending on the complexity of the repair and other factors.

How Does Car Warranty Law Work in California Specifically?

As for California, the state has the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, often referred to as California’s Lemon Law. This law states that if the manufacturer or its representative in this state, such as an authorized dealer, is unable to service or repair a new motor vehicle to meet the terms of an express written warranty after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer is required promptly to replace the vehicle or return the purchase price to the buyer.

Under California’s Lemon Law, a “reasonable number of attempts” typically translates to 4 unsuccessful repair attempts for the same issue, or if the vehicle has been in the shop for over 30 days (not necessarily all at once) for any number of issues. If the problem is a serious safety issue, it could be as few as two attempts.

Make a Repair Complaint

make a repair complaint

In most cases, your first action is to file a complaint against the company repairing your car. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the Better Business Bureau. If the company has registered through the bureau, you can do this online via the company’s page. The repair company gets dinged if someone does not respond to your complaint.

A complaint may prompt the shop to make the needed repairs more swiftly or let you know what’s taking so long. Supply chain disruptions are valid reasons for repair delays. However, you should at least get a time frame or updates on this during the repair process. Unreasonable dealership holds may include not searching for used parts if your insurance accepts them.

Making a complaint does not cost you any money. But if the shop doesn’t have registration with the bureau, you may need to go through the company itself. You can try escalating your concerns with the service delay up the command chain. Sometimes calling your insurance company can also put additional pressure on the mechanic. 

Pro Tip: Keep detailed records of your visits to the repair shop, repairs made, and communication with the dealership/repair shop.

Lemon Law Coverage for Warranty Repairs 

lemon law coverage

Most states allow you to take legal action to get a new car if your car warranty repair takes more than thirty days. Warranties entitle you to a buyback or a replacement for your vehicle if a certified mechanic can’t repair your car. However, you may need to do more than take it in for repairs. You might also need to contact and inform the car’s manufacturer.

If a manufacture certified repair shop can’t fix your vehicle after two or more attempts, lemon laws will cover you. If the repair deals with a problem that could cause death or grave injury, it’s extremely likely you’ll win your case. Under the law and warranty, you should not have to pay for or sell your car. Instead, the carmaker has to purchase the vehicle back from you or give you money.

Legal coverage also applies to a car warranty repair taking too long. A repair that takes more than a month qualifies, even if it isn’t consecutive. You can choose a new automobile or ask the carmaker to pay for a refund. Your claim can then be marked as complete, assuming the dealer and manufacturer comply with the law. 

Can a Car be Replaced Under Warranty?

getting a new car

Yes, under certain circumstances, a vehicle can be replaced under warranty. The specifics of this process depend on the terms of the warranty and the laws of the jurisdiction.

In California, for example, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act requires that if a manufacturer or its authorized dealer is unable to service or repair a new motor vehicle to meet the terms of an express written warranty after a reasonable number of attempts (as described above), the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or return the purchase price to the buyer.

Similarly, many manufacturers’ warranties include provisions for vehicle replacement if a serious defect cannot be fixed after a certain number of attempts. These provisions are often included in “lemon law” rights that are provided by the manufacturer in addition to the rights provided by state laws.

If a dealership bought back a car and it’s a lemon, they must disclose that information if they show it to you. A dealership cannot market a vehicle as is without indicating it was not fixable. 

Talk to a Lemon Law Attorney

It is not uncommon for a dealership to take too long with a repair.  Whether you’ve filed a dealership complaint already or not, you should contact an experienced lemon lawyer.

A lawyer will gather all of the necessary documentation and fight your claim at on a contingency fee basis. It’s also a good idea to document any calls or communications you had with the dealership, the bureau, and the automaker. A lawyer may reach out on your behalf to see if they can expedite your car repair. If the dealership hold continues, they may file a lawsuit.

The dealer may continue to hold your car during this period, so you might need to keep your rental or borrow a car from friends or family. Your lawyer can also include this cost in your lawsuit, even if your insurance covers it partially. Some coverage will offer a discounted rate for rental cars if the vehicle isn’t drivable. 

Car Repair Taking Too Long? Some Final Thoughts…

A car warranty repair taking too long is unacceptable. When you take an automobile in for service, you expect results within a reasonable timeframe. If it’s going to take longer,  the company should inform you of that wait time. When service drags on for more than thirty days, it’s time to take action.

Your rights as a consumer include filing a formal complaint and receiving compensation. Typically, a mechanic will respond to those complaints in a timely fashion. They don’t want a black mark on their record or bad reviews and feedback online. A mechanic wants to show they’ve repaired cars in good faith and proved prompt service when asked.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having your car stuck in repair for too long, please contact Cali Lemon Lawyers today for a free case evaluation.



5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If Your Car Qualifies for Compensation!

or give us a call at:

(310) 627-2665

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If You Qualify for Compensation!

Keep Reading

Cars, Recalls & Lemon Law

More Blogs

Continue reading

Average Lemon Law Settlement in California

Are you the owner of a defective car that was leased or purchased in California? If so, you’re not alone. A Lemon is commonly defined as a car with recurring problems that impact its safety, value, or usability.

Lemon law claims are quite unique from case to case, because of this it is difficult to determine an “average settlement”. It is not uncommon for a successful lemon law claim to be thousands of dollars, often comparable to the original value of the car itself.

Seeking a Settlement for Your Lemon

California has a consumer-friendly Lemon Law, which allows you to seek compensation for your defective vehicle. Our law firm has evaluated over 40,000 cases and filed thousands of California Lemon Law claims. While settlement amounts can vary greatly, the average lemon law settlement in California is substantial.

In this article, we will dive into the intricacies of the California Lemon Law, and explain the factors that impact the average settlement amount. When you buy a new car, it’s only fair for you to expect it to function properly and be in pristine condition. No one wants to find out that their new vehicle doesn’t work properly or has a long-term issue.

The lemon law attorneys at Cali Lemon Lawyers serve the entire state of California. We have ample experience assisting clients with lemon law claims free of charge until your case is won. ¿Hablas Español? Contáctenos ahora para recibir más información.

The Average Lemon Law Settlement in California

There is no such thing as an “average” lemon law settlement. In general, settlements under California’s lemon law may vary greatly based on the car’s make and model, as well as its age, purchase price, and mileage. Furthermore, the newer the vehicle and the higher the initial price tag, the bigger the settlement amount. This is, however, merely a general rule of thumb and should not always be relied upon.

Consumers who work with an experienced California lemon law attorney tend to fare better in achieving maximum lemon law settlements. A skilled lemon law attorney understands how to prepare the necessary documentation, communicate with the manufacturer and establish a strong case. A good lemon law attorney will not hesitate to take on an automobile manufacturer in order to obtain the best potential payment for their clients.

At Cali Lemon Lawyers, we’re used to going toe-to-toe in each and every legal battle and don’t stop fighting until we win.

How to Get A Settlement Offer

How to get Settlement Offer

You can get a lemon law settlement offer in California by taking the proper steps in preparing your case. Before submitting a legal lemon law claim, you’ll need to gather all documentation to show that you have made a “reasonable number of attempts” to get the car fixed. Therefore, it is important to keep all your work orders and repair invoices from trips to the mechanic or the dealership’s service department. The law does not specify how many repair efforts constitute a “reasonable amount,” but an experienced lemon law expert can assist you in determining this. Call Cali Lemon Lawyers if you have any questions regarding whether your car qualifies as a lemon.

So, What Qualifies as a Lemon?

A “lemon” is a car, truck, SUV, or other vehicle that has not performed as expected. Despite taking the automobile to the dealer for repairs, a vehicle like this does not function properly due to electrical or mechanical issues. Find out if your vehicle is still covered by the initial manufacturer’s warranty to see if you have a Lemon Law claim. If it is, you most likely have a lemon law case. If you own a used car, you must have one of three warranties in order to file a Lemon Law claim.

These three warranties include:

  1. A lemon law buyback warranty
  2. The manufacturer’s original new-car warranty
  3. A certified pre-owned warranty from your dealership

You need to get all of your ducks in a row because the lemon law claims process is rather specific. Sending a demand letter to the manufacturer of your car is the first step. This can be done on your behalf by one of our California lemon law attorneys. Our lawyers anticipate opposition, but they are unaffected and aggressively negotiate on your behalf.

Lemon Law Compensation: What Happens When You Win?

What can you obtain from Lemon Law Settlement

Filing a claim under the California lemon law might result in a variety of results. Take a look at the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ list of the most common lemon law settlements. Keep in mind that each case is unique, and while settlement patterns may exist, there is no assurance that what your neighbor received for the identical car is going to be the same for you. In order to speed up the procedure, it is sometimes down to what the consumer agrees to.

The following are all of the possible settlement options:

  1. A replacement vehicle
  2. Refund equivalent to the purchase price
  3. An additional repair attempt
  4. “Cash and keep”
  5. Mileage offset
  6. Extended service contract
  7. Reimbursement for incidental expenses
  8. Nothing

1. A Replacement Vehicle

The first option is for the manufacturer to replace the lemon vehicle. This is less common. Even if your lemon is brand new when you buy it, another model year is almost certain to come out before any legal action is taken. In this instance, you generally want to obtain a vehicle with a newer model year than your lemon. Lemons from 2021 can be replaced with 2023 models in hopes that the issues with that model have been resolved during that period.

2. Refund of the Purchase Price

This is the best-case and most common situation for many individuals dealing with lemon law cases. A customer who purchases a Dodge and has nothing but problems with it is typically delighted to receive a refund and walk away. The customer can then use the funds from the refund to buy a completely different car. In this case, the vehicle is returned to the manufacturer or dealership.

The amount of the refund issued may be less than the original purchase price for a multitude of reasons. For example, if there is evident damage to a car, such as if it has been in an accident or has suffered damage from not getting an oil change. If you want additional information on how a refund is computed, prequalify below.

3. An Additional Repair Attempt

A lemon vehicle is typically identified for having the same issue with multiple repair attempts. The dealership needs to be given a reasonable number (2 or more) of attempts to fix it. Well documented repair attempts under warranty are the best ammo for your case.

4. “Cash and Keep”

The offer may be a “cash and keep,” in which case you are given money for your trouble but get to keep the vehicle. If you can live with the lemon’s problem — or believe it can be fixed for good — this could be a good choice.

Accepting the cash-and-keep option might be a challenging decision, especially considering that the defect (if not addressed properly) could put your safety at risk. It is a good idea to consult with your attorney. Ask if he/she thinks this is the best possible outcome and what the alternatives are.

Without understanding more about the other option of lemon law buybacks, it would be challenging to assess if a cash-and-keep settlement would be a suitable fit for you. In most circumstances, if you win, you receive either a cash-and-keep settlement or a lemon law repurchase.

Lemon law buybacks are more frequent than cash and keep settlements.

A cash-and-keep lemon law settlement differs from a consumer lemon law “buyback” in that the consumer does not return the car, and the supplier does not buy it back. Rather, the consumer retains custody of the car, and the manufacturer compensates the consumer.

If the car is leased, however, the consumer almost always returns it once the lease expires.

Keep the following in mind:

  • In a cash-and-keep agreement, the manufacturer acknowledges that the car in question is a lemon, or at the very least agrees to compensate the customer.
  • Furthermore, the consumer retains custody of the car, either through ownership or an ongoing lease, until the conclusion of his or her lease contract.
  • The manufacturer then compensates the customer for the pain, suffering, or trouble they endured for dealing with a faulty car. Even if the manufacturer does not believe the car is a complete lemon, the manufacturer may choose to compensate the customer.

5. Mileage Offset

If your car is a “lemon” and you get a replacement or refund, the manufacturer has a right to deduct a prorated amount from the total reimbursement for the time you drove the car without experiencing any problems. The mileage offset is computed by dividing 120,000 (the average life expectancy of a car as determined by statute) by the mileage at the initial warranty repair attempt for the problem that caused your car to be a lemon, and then multiplying that amount by the vehicle’s purchase price.

6. Extended Service Contract

Occasionally, a manufacturer offers an extended service contract for the lemon car, allowing it to be repaired for longer than the standard warranty period. While this may not seem ideal at first, it can be advantageous if it covers anything else that may go wrong with the automobile in addition to the known lemon issues.

7. Reimbursement for Incidental Expenses

You may be entitled to payment for some expenses incurred as a result of the lemon, in addition to the possible settlements outlined above. You may be reimbursed for towing and rental car costs.

8. Nothing

There is always the possibility that nothing is going to come from your lemon law claim. Regardless of whether the client and the California lemon law attorney believe the case is valid, there is always the possibility that the law (or a jury) is going to rule against the client. While California’s lemon laws are among the most consumer-friendly in the country, things don’t always work out.

Lemon Car Statistics in the US

Car Accident Statistics

The Lemon Law protects consumers in California from defective autos. However,  what are the consequences of malfunctioning cars for consumers? Automobile accident statistics, vehicle safety recalls, and product liability statistics all indicate how hazardous lemons may be.

Interesting California Lemon Law statistics:

  • Over 200,000 new vehicles are registered in California every month.
  • A vehicle is considered a lemon in California if it has a defect that “substantially impairs” the vehicle’s use, value, or safety, and the manufacturer or authorized dealership has been unable to fix the issue after a reasonable number of attempts.
  • There were over 21,000 lemon law cases filed in California between 2014 and 2018, according to the California Department of Justice.
  • The most common issues with defective vehicles in California include engine problems, transmission problems, and issues with the electrical system.
  • The average lemon law settlement in California varies depending on several factors, such as the severity of the defect, the value of the vehicle, and the amount of time and effort required to resolve the issue. Settlements can range from a few thousand dollars to the full value of the vehicle.
  • The California Lemon Law applies not only to new vehicles, but also to used vehicles that are still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Seeking legal help from an experienced lemon law attorney is crucial to ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve.

The Numbers: Safety Recalls

  • Over 390 million automobiles have been recalled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) based on safety problems since 1966.
  • Takata Corp., a provider of airbags to leading brands such as Honda, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, and BMW has issued a recall for more than 70 million vehicles due to potentially explosive airbags. In the US alone, these defective airbags have resulted in at least 180 injuries and 11 deaths.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also had to recall over 66 million car components and 46 million tires due to faults.
  • In the United States, 15.5 million automobiles were recalled in 2011. While this amount is lower than the 20 million recalled in 2010, it is still greater than the 2008 and 2009 figures (8.6 million and 15.2 million).
  • Honda/Acura had the most recalls in 2011, with 3.8 million vehicles. Toyota came in second with 3.5 million vehicles, followed by Ford with 3.3 million.
  • Other companies recalled significantly fewer vehicles than the top three. With 773,000 recalls, Chrysler placed in fourth, and Subaru came in fifth with 591,752 cars recalled. Furthermore, Hyundai (503,418), General Motors (500,000), Nissan (302,013), Volkswagen (289,740), and BMW (276,368) were the next five companies on this recall list.
  • Toyota was previously forced to recall 7.5 million vehicles due to door fires. This comprised a variety of vehicles from 2007 through 2009. Toyota also recently recalled 2.77 million cars (various models) from 2001 to 2011 due to improper steering.

Many of the flaws linked to recalls have resulted in death or serious injury. In 2010, for instance, GM issued a recall for 1.5 million vehicles owing to engine fires that resulted in 14 accidents. Toyota issued an 8.5 million car recall in 2009 owing to power steering failure, which resulted in 2,000 incidents, 16 deaths, and 243 injuries.

Understanding These Statistics

Understanding the Statistics

There are a plethora of statistics on car crashes and safety recalls; however, what do they really tell us? To begin with, the data shows that automobile accidents are a big source of concern in the United States. They are not only common, but they are also a major cause of death among the younger generation. Moreover, auto accidents cause more harm than only the loss of life; they also result in severe injuries that can last a lifetime, as well as financial devastation.

Statistics show that lemons are more common than we might believe when it comes to product recalls. Every year, major automakers recall hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of motor vehicles due to a variety of issues, including engine fires, door fires, faulty steering, airbag problems, headlight failure, unexpected loss of power, and other issues. In some instances, the faults linked to these recalls have resulted in massive accidents, resulting in serious injuries and deaths, demonstrating how deadly lemons might be.

Contact Cali Lemon Lawyers Today!

Got a lemon? We get you paid. Fast & easy! Cali Lemon Lawyers’s qualified and experienced lemon law attorneys have assisted hundreds of individuals just like you. We can immediately put together a solid legal case on your behalf and aggressively negotiate to get you the compensation you deserve.  In California, the statute of limitations on lemon law claims is set at four years. Take action right now! Contact us to speak to a highly qualified California attorney at Cali Lemon Lawyers today!

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If Your Car Qualifies for Compensation!

or give us a call at:

(310) 627-2665

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If You Qualify for Compensation!

Keep Reading

Cars, Recalls & Lemon Law

More Blogs

Continue reading

How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair?

Knowing the answer to the often-asked question of how long a dealership can hold your car for repair is important.

Leasing or purchasing a vehicle comes with the expectation of safety and reliability. However, many car owners encounter unexpected issues, leading them to seek repairs at dealerships. The duration a dealership can hold your car for repair often extends beyond initial estimates, causing inconvenience and concern.

This article explores the various factors that determine the repair duration at a dealership, offering clear guidance for car owners facing extended repair times.

If the dealership has had your car for an extended period of time you may be entitled to compensation under California Lemon Law. Prequalify below or call (310) 627-2665 for a free case evaluation. ¿Hablas Español? Contáctenos ahora para recibir más información.

How Long Does the Dealership Legally Have to Repair Your Car?

how long does the dealership have to repair your car

Regardless of if your car is new or used, the car dealership has 30 days to repair your car as long as the vehicle is under warranty. This 30-day period does not have to be consecutive days. If multiple trips to the dealership result in the dealership holding your car for more than 30 days, you are likely entitled to compensation.

Your car also qualifies for compensation under the lemon law if it was under warranty during two or more repair attempts (Could be less than 30 days).

How long can a mechanic legally keep your car to fix it?

When it comes to independent mechanics or repair shops, the duration they can legally keep your car to fix it is not specifically regulated by law. Unlike dealerships, there is no standard timeframe set for repairs. The time taken to fix your car can vary depending on the complexity of the issue, the availability of parts, the workload of the mechanic, and other factors.

Typically, when you bring your car to a mechanic, they will provide an estimated timeframe for the repairs based on their assessment of the problem. However, it’s important to note that unforeseen complications or delays can arise during the repair process, potentially extending the time it takes to get your car back.

when did you purchase the car

Communication with the mechanic is crucial in understanding the timeline for repairs. It’s recommended to ask for an estimated completion date and regular updates on the progress of the repairs. If the repair process is taking longer than anticipated, it’s advisable to have a conversation with the mechanic to clarify the reasons for the delay and to ensure that work is actively being done on your vehicle.

While there is no specific legal limit on how long a mechanic can keep your car, it’s reasonable to expect that repairs should be completed within a reasonable timeframe. If you feel that the mechanic is unreasonably delaying the repairs or failing to provide adequate communication, it may be necessary to discuss the issue with them or consider seeking assistance from a consumer protection agency or a legal professional.

How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car For Warranty Repair

is the car under warranty

Another important factor to consider when determining how long a dealership should hold your car for repairs is whether the vehicle is covered by a warranty. If your car is still within the warranty period, it’s advisable to contact the dealership and inquire about the reason for the delay in repairs. Depending on the nature of the repairs needed, it’s possible that the necessary work may take a significant amount of time to complete.

In the case of used cars, they often come with a limited warranty that has specific conditions. It is crucial to carefully read and understand the details outlined in your warranty before reaching out to the dealership or filing a complaint. Filing a complaint without the protection of a warranty may not yield the desired outcome.

By reviewing your warranty, you can determine the specific rights and remedies available to you in case of a delay in repairs. It’s recommended to pay attention to any stipulations regarding repair timelines or the resolution process. Understanding your warranty will help you navigate the situation effectively and take appropriate action if necessary.

Remember that warranty terms and conditions can vary, so it’s essential to review the specific details of your warranty coverage and consult any relevant state or local consumer protection laws to understand your rights fully.

Did You Get an Agreement From the Dealership?

did you get an agreement from the dealership

One of the crucial steps you can take to ensure that you receive your car back from the repair shop within a reasonable timeframe is to have a written agreement that specifies the expected duration for the repairs. While there is no legal requirement for a signed agreement before repairs, having a written document outlining the timeframe is highly recommended.

By having a written agreement, you have a tangible piece of evidence to support your claim in case the dealership holds your vehicle for an extended period. This agreement can serve as proof of the expected completion date and can be used to establish the dealership’s obligations. It is always advisable to retain a copy of this agreement for your records.

It’s important to note that insurance companies typically allow around 10-20 days for repairs. While this timeframe may be sufficient for warranty repairs, it may vary depending on the nature and complexity of the repairs needed. However, the specific duration can differ between insurance policies and individual circumstances.

Remember to communicate openly with the repair shop and request regular updates on the progress of the repairs. If the repair process exceeds the agreed-upon timeframe or if there are significant delays without a valid reason, referring to the written agreement can help facilitate discussions and potentially resolve the issue more effectively.

How Can You Receive Compensation For A Defective Car?

how can you receive compensation for a defective car

The Lemon law protects consumers who have purchased bad cars. If you purchase a vehicle experiencing issues due to a manufacturing defect, it’s a lemon and may be protected under the lemon law.

Lemon laws are not uniform across the nation but regulated from state to state. If you think you have a lemon you’ll want to look at lemon laws in your state to learn what rights you have. In general, lemon laws consider the car’s issues, how long the owner has been without a vehicle, and how often the owner has sent it for repair.

After considering all the information, the manufacturer may be required to repurchase the car or provide you with a replacement vehicle. 

When opting to make a complaint against a manufacturer, make sure that your paperwork is in order. Documenting everything that happens with your car will help you file a successful claim.

You should document when you started having troubles with the car, what those issues are, when you took the vehicle to the repair shop, how many times, receipts, and how much money, if any, you have spent attempting to get your vehicle fixed.

Steps You Should Take If The Dealership Has Held Your Car For Too Long

After you have given the manufacturer a reasonable amount of time (30 days) to fix your car and gathered your paperwork, your first course of action would be to contact a lemon law attorney

The attorney will gather all valid proof like work orders and invoices for your case. You’ll also want to state what you see as a proper solution, but be clear about what that solution is. If you want a refund, request it. Don’t leave any action you want done unsaid.

An attorney will review the merits of your case at no cost to you. They will then handle any and all communicate with the manufacturer to handle your case.

Cali Lemon Lawyers can do the work and help you get what you deserve. California’s Lemon law states that you may be eligible to get your money back or get another car if your new car can’t be fixed by the dealership, even after several attempts. The law is on your side! 

If you are in this predicament, contact Cali Lemon Lawyers to assist. Let’s turn your lemon into lemonade!

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If Your Car Qualifies for Compensation!

or give us a call at:

(310) 627-2665

5 Stars

Start Your FREE Case Review

See If You Qualify for Compensation!

Keep Reading

Cars, Recalls & Lemon Law

More Blogs

Continue reading

What To Do If The Dealership Has Had Your Car For One Month

The Lemon Law in the United States guarantees automobile purchasers the right to a functional and working motor vehicle. If you’ve leased or purchased a vehicle under warranty and discover the car has a significant defect within a requisite time limit; you can file a claim.

If the dealership has had your car for a month due to issues with the vehicle they should either give you a replacement, repurchase it, or fix it.

Whatever way you look at it, being denied your vehicle from a service manager is never a pleasant experience. A lemon law lawyer can help you receive compensation depending on how long the new vehicle has been held by the dealership. When a dealership holds a person’s vehicle for over a month it is highly recommended to contact an attorney for a free case evaluation.

Proactive Steps To Take When The Dealerhip Has Had Your Car For A Month or More

When faced with the challenge of your car being held at a dealership for an extended period, there are several proactive steps we recommend to alleviate the situation and potentially expedite the repair process.

Exploring Part Availability: In our experience, a useful first step is to ask whether the required part for your vehicle is available at another dealership. This can sometimes fast-track the repair process, as dealerships can often source parts from each other.

Understanding Your Sales Contract: It’s also important to thoroughly review your sales contract. We’ve found that some contracts include clauses about providing a loaner car during extensive repairs. If your contract includes such a provision, remind the dealership of their obligation. Even in the absence of such a clause, requesting a loaner car is a reasonable demand. Many dealerships are willing to accommodate this to maintain customer satisfaction.

The Power of Persistence: Regular follow-ups with the dealership can be very effective.We’ve noticed that consistent communication keeps your case on their radar and can sometimes prompt quicker action.

Leveraging Insurance Benefits: Another tip is to check with your auto insurance provider. Some policies offer benefits that can be helpful in these situations, such as rental car coverage. This can be a lifesaver, especially when facing long wait times for repairs.

While legal action is always an option under the Lemon Law, these practical steps can often lead to more immediate solutions and reduce the overall stress and inconvenience. Remember, it’s about being proactive and informed. As always, our team is ready to offer advice and support, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive fair treatment during these challenging times.

Dealer Service Department Problems

If The Dealership Has Had Your Car For A Month Or Longer You May Have A Valid Lemon Law Claim

When your vehicle remains with a dealership for repairs for over a month, it’s not just an inconvenience; it could potentially be a Lemon Law case. Many clients express concern, wondering if their situation qualifies for a claim, especially when the dealership is awaiting parts or claims the issue is fixable. The Lemon Law is designed to protect consumers from prolonged unavailability of their vehicles due to manufacturing defects, regardless of the dealership’s ability to eventually fix the problem.

In such scenarios, where you find a fault in your car and the dealership indicates a delay due to waiting for parts, the Lemon Law may still apply. We have seen cases where clients have waited several months, sometimes up to four months, for a dealership to receive the required parts. This prolonged wait can qualify as a valid Lemon Law claim.

Under the Lemon Law, the key factor is not just the ability of the dealership to repair the car but also the reasonable time frame in which these repairs are completed. If your car has been with the dealership for an extended period, it’s worth exploring your legal options. The law is designed to protect you from the burdens and costs associated with prolonged repairs due to manufacturing issues. Our team can help assess your situation and determine if you have a valid claim under the Lemon Law.

What is The Lemon Law?

The Lemon Law in the United States

The Lemon Law is a consumer protection law that provides remedies to individuals who purchase cars and other consumer goods that fail to meet standards of quality and performance. These laws are specific to each state in the United States, but they generally have the same underlying principles.

Here’s how the Lemon Law can apply in the scenario where a dealership has had your car for an extended period:

Key Aspects of the Lemon Law

  1. Defective Vehicle: The Lemon Law typically applies to new vehicles that have a significant defect or a series of defects that substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.
  2. Warranty Period: The defects must occur within a certain time frame or mileage limit, usually within the warranty period provided by the manufacturer.
  3. Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts: The law usually requires that the manufacturer or dealership be given a reasonable number of attempts to fix the defect. What constitutes a “reasonable number” can vary, but it’s often defined as three or four attempts.
  4. Extended Time in Repair: If the vehicle is in the repair shop for an extended period, typically more than 30 cumulative days during the warranty period for the same defect, it may qualify under the Lemon Law.

Application If Your Car Has Been At The Dealership For Repairs For More Than 30 Days

What Qualifies as a Lemon?

  • Extended Repair Time: If your car has been at the dealership for repairs for over a month, it could potentially fall under the Lemon Law. This is especially true if the car is under warranty and the issue is due to a manufacturing defect.
  • Inability to Use the Vehicle: The extended period during which you cannot use your vehicle due to ongoing repairs can be argued as a substantial impairment of the vehicle’s use and value.
  • Potential Remedies: If the Lemon Law applies, you may be entitled to various remedies, such as a replacement vehicle, a buyback of the defective car by the manufacturer, or monetary compensation.
  • Documentation: It’s important to keep detailed records of all repair attempts, communications with the dealership, and the number of days the car has been out of service.
  • Legal Advice: Cali Lemon Lawyers specializes in Lemon Law can provide guidance on whether your situation qualifies under the law and what steps to take next.

Remedies Under the United States Lemon Law

Remedies Under the United States Lemon Law

Vehicle Repurchase

The dealership must pay cash to the value of the purchase price of the vehicles and any other costs incurred, including the following:

  • Sales tax
  • Registration/license fees
  • Finance charges
  • The down payment on the loan
  • Monthly payments while the car was not driving
  • Tow truck cost
  • Rental car expenses
  • Legal fees

These expenses can be claimed on a new vehicle or a used one as long as you have an extended warranty. Every dealership that sells cars in the United States is monitored by the Lemon Law to set a level of fairness amongst consumers. That is why our lemon lawyers can help you with a free consultation to determine the deserved compensation. 

Whether your vehicle is fixed under a warranty issue or not, no dealer has the right to keep a car for such an extended period. It hinders a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and is a massive inconvenience.

If you have paid for the car with your own money, the dealer has to fix it, repurchase it, or replace it to fulfill the warranty. In the case of a brand new vehicle, the dealership offers a replacement car and pays back any owed money to the client.

Replacement Vehicle

Replacement Vehicle

Upon completion of a successful claim, the dealership could be required to provide you with a new vehicle of the same model, make, trim, and style as the malfunctioning car.

A dealership may offer to fix the car, but you can avoid that by getting it replaced if it can be replaced. If you originally owned the vehicle, you’ll need credit records for all the payments made to a bank or financial institution. The lease or loan may not be extended at the dealership, and all payments made towards the loan attached to the faulted vehicle get added to the new car.

Furthermore, the dealership must pay other incidental costs if the dealer has taken more than a month to fix the car. These expenses below include but are not limited to:

  • Expert fees
  • Court costs
  • Attorney expenses
  • Down payment on repair cost
  • Vehicle renting charges

This compensation is meant to protect consumers who have dealt with a lemon.

If the dealership has had your car for a month it’s time to contact us for a free consultation. Nobody deserves to be taken for a ride when it concerns the repair of their vehicle. 

A dealer must communicate effectively with customers and let them know what is happening with the repair process every step of the way. When a dealer keeps a vehicle for over a month without any form of compensation, the best thing to do is remain calm and contact a lawyer immediately.

Speak With A Seasoned Lemon Law Attorneys

If you are seeking compensation from a dealer regarding your vehicle repairs, we would like to offer you a free case assessment. Our lawyers are experienced and knowledgeable in Lemon Law and can assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve.

Over the last decade, we have helped thousands of drivers get back on the road after an incident with a dodgy dealership. You have the right to a fair service, and we can help you fight for what is legally owed to you.

All 2016-2023 Chevy Equinox Recalls

Searching for complete information regarding Chevy Equinox Recalls over the last 10 years? The purpose of this article is to provide readers with a comprehensive list of the most common problems and recalls associated with the Chevy Equinox to ensure you’re informed and safe.

We’ve organized the recalls by newest model year (2023) to oldest (2016), with all of their relevant information below.

If you leased or purchased a defective 2016-2023 Chevy Equinox in California it is very likely that you are entitled to compensation.  Contact Cali Lemon Lawyers for a free Chevy Lemon Law case evaluation. ¿Hablas Español? Contáctenos ahora para recibir más información.

2022-2023 Chevy Equinox Recalls

2022-2023 Chevy Equinox Recalls

The 2022 and 2023 Chevrolet Equinox models have faced significant safety challenges, leading to numerous recalls. These issues span various components, from fuel systems to driver’s seat assembly and child seat anchors, highlighting critical areas of concern for vehicle safety and performance. The continuation of certain issues into 2023 emphasizes the ongoing need for rigorous quality assurance in vehicle production.

Recalls for the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox

  1. Recall ID N222372310: Affects approximately 668,187 vehicles. The issue lies with the fuel pump module, which may not consistently provide sufficient fuel to the engine. This can result in an engine stall, potentially increasing the risk of an accident.
  2. Recall ID N222377890: Affects approximately 6,895 vehicles. The driver’s seat may have a stripped or loose bolt at the seat frame height-adjust pivot. This could result in unexpected seat movement, creating potential safety issues.
  3. Recall ID N222403240: Affects approximately 668,187 vehicles. The four rear-seat lower child seat LATCH anchorage bars may have excessive powder coating. This could prevent a child seat from being correctly installed with the anchorage bars, which could lead to increased risk of injury in the event of a crash.
  4. Recall ID N22V359000: Affects approximately 221 vehicles. The fuel tank may not be properly secured, potentially leading to fuel leakage.
  5. Recall ID N22V799000: Affects approximately 17,413 vehicles. The fuel tank may not be properly welded, which could lead to fuel leakage.

Recalls for the 2023 Chevrolet Equinox

  1. Recall ID N23V339000: Affects approximately 668,187 vehicles. The driver’s seat may have a stripped or loose bolt at the seat frame height-adjust pivot. This could cause the seat to move unexpectedly, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.
  2. Recall ID N23V013000: Affects approximately 668,187 vehicles. The four rear-seat lower child seat LATCH anchorage bars may have excessive powder coating, which could prevent a child seat from being installed with the anchorage bars. This could increase the risk of injury in a crash.

 

2021 Chevy Equinox Recalls

2021 Chevy Equinox Recalls

Faulty Fuel Pump Module

One of the most significant recalls, issued under the ID N222372310, relates to the fuel pump module. This issue affects a significant number of vehicles, around 668,187, to be exact. The fuel pump module may inconsistently supply adequate fuel to the engine, possibly leading to an engine stall. This occurrence can be dangerous, especially if the vehicle stalls while in motion, presenting a serious risk to the driver and other road users.

Driver’s Seat Bolt Defect

The next recall, identified under the ID N222377890, involves potential issues with the driver’s seat. Specifically, the driver’s seat may have a stripped or loose bolt at the seat frame height-adjust pivot. This issue affects a smaller number of vehicles, approximately 6,895. Despite seeming minor, this defect could compromise the stability of the seat, potentially leading to safety concerns.

Rear-Seat Lower Child Seat LATCH Anchorage Bars

Another substantial recall, identified as N222403240, involves the rear-seat lower child seat LATCH anchorage bars. In an estimated 668,187 vehicles, these bars might have an excessive amount of powder coating. The surplus could prevent a child seat from being properly installed with the anchorage bars, thereby compromising the safety of the child occupant.

Improperly Secured Fuel Tank

The first of two recalls concerning the fuel tank, identified under recall ID N22V359000, indicates that the fuel tank may not be correctly secured in around 221 vehicles. This problem could cause the tank to leak fuel, leading to a potential fire risk.

Improper Welding of the Fuel Tank

The second recall related to the fuel tank, assigned the ID N22V799000, pertains to an improper welding process that could also lead to fuel leakage. This recall affects a comparatively larger number of vehicles, specifically, an estimated 17,413.

2019 Chevy Equinox Recalls

2019 Chevy Equinox Recalls

Insufficient Welds on the Head-Restraint Bracket

The first recall, issued under the ID N192209550, involved an estimated 295,738 vehicles that were detected to have insufficient welds on the head-restraint bracket of the rear-right seat. This could potentially heighten the risk of injury for occupants occupying this seat. In response to the identified defect, Chevrolet has initiated a recall to rectify the problem.

Fuel Tanks with Improperly Sealed Seam

The second recall, bearing the ID N192271870, related to a manufacturing defect detected in the fuel tanks of roughly 295,738 vehicles. The affected fuel tanks might have been manufactured with an improperly sealed seam, which could potentially allow for a fuel leak along the seam near the fuel inlet. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source can dramatically increase the risk of a fire, marking this recall as critically important.

Faulty Fuel Pump Relay

Another notable recall, assigned the ID N192303850, referred to a potential defect in the fuel pump relay. This defect could affect an estimated 295,738 vehicles, leading to engine stalling or power loss. Such issues could trigger considerable safety concerns while on the road.

Rearview Camera Malfunction

The final recall, catalogued under the ID N202313440, required Chevrolet to recall approximately 295,738 vehicles due to a malfunction in the rearview camera. This malfunction might impede the driver’s view behind the vehicle while reversing, thereby elevating the risk of an accident.

2018 Chevy Equinox Recalls

2018 Chevy Equinox Recalls

Rearview Camera Functionality Issues

In a recall identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under Campaign ID 18V325000, it was found that the rearview camera on certain 2018 Chevrolet Equinox models may not work properly. This malfunction could potentially make it challenging for drivers to see behind the vehicle while reversing, therefore increasing the risk of a collision.

Front Passenger Airbag Deployment Failure

Under NHTSA Campaign ID 18V225000, it was discovered that the front passenger airbag in some 2018 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles may not deploy in the event of a crash. This malfunction heightens the risk of injury for the front passenger during an accident.

Improper Fuel Tank Strap Installation

In another recall under NHTSA Campaign ID 18V135000, it was found that the fuel tank strap in certain 2018 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles might not have been installed correctly. This improper installation could potentially lead to the fuel tank coming loose and leaking fuel, thereby increasing the risk of a fire.

Potential Power Steering Pump Failure

The NHTSA identified an issue under Campaign ID 17V440000 where the power steering pump in some 2018 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles may fail. This failure could potentially make it difficult for the driver to steer the vehicle, thereby increasing the risk of a crash.

Fuel Pump Functionality Issues

Lastly, under NHTSA Campaign ID 17V341000, it was found that the fuel pump in certain 2018 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles may not work as intended. This malfunction could potentially cause the engine to stall or lose power, increasing the risk of a crash.

In all these instances, owners of affected vehicles are advised to contact Chevrolet customer service or an authorized dealer to schedule necessary repairs or replacements, which are usually carried out free of charge in response to a recall.

2016 Chevy Equinox Recalls

2016 Chevy Equinox Recalls

Faulty Fuel Tank Strap Installation

The first major recall for the 2016 model year, under the NHTSA Campaign ID 16V568000, affected a significant number of vehicles, specifically 422,413. The problem was tied to the fuel tank strap, which may have been improperly installed. Due to this flaw, the fuel tank could potentially detach and leak fuel. This substantial defect could dramatically elevate the risk of a fire or an explosion, presenting a grave safety concern to both the vehicle’s occupants and the surrounding traffic.

Defective Fuel Pump

The second recall of note, assigned the NHTSA Campaign ID 17V341000, was associated with a malfunction in the fuel pump. This fault impacted a total of 334,357 vehicles. The fuel pump was observed to possibly be functioning incorrectly, potentially leading to an unexpected engine stall or a sudden loss of power. Such an abrupt power failure could significantly amplify the risk of an accident, particularly when the vehicle is travelling at high speeds or within densely trafficked areas.

Rearview Camera Malfunction

The third recall, documented under the NHTSA Campaign ID 18V325000, implicated 304,512 vehicles. The recall was triggered by an issue with the rearview camera. This crucial safety feature might not have been operating as intended, impairing the driver’s ability to view the area behind the vehicle when reversing. This fault could raise the odds of a collision, especially in settings like parking lots and other locations where reversing is routinely needed.

 

What Does It Mean When A Car Is Recalled?

If you haven’t heard about vehicle recalls before you may be wondering what exactly that means. A vehicle recall is issued when a vehicle manufacturer (in this case, Chevrolet) or a government-mandated regulatory body such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies a potential problem with a component of the vehicle and requests that all affected vehicles be brought back to the manufacturer and repaired.

When a recall is issued, the dealer is required to notify owners so that they can have their vehicles repaired and manufacturers will often send out owner notification letters.

Do You Have a Lemon? We Can Help!

As you may have already noticed, manufacturers often let major issues fall through the cracks when producing a vehicle. If you’ve experienced any issues with your Chevrolet Equinox, contact Cali Lemon Lawyers today for a free case evaluation.

If you’ve been left with the burden of repairing your vehicle on multiple occasions because of a manufacturing defect, you may have a lemon. If that is the case, we can help! Our California lemon law attorneys have taken on the largest auto manufacturers, holding them accountable for failing to rectify issues with a vehicle and putting the lives of drivers and passengers in danger.

Contact us today to book your free consultation with Cali Lemon Lawyers by Prestige Legal Solutions, PC!

Other Chevy Recalls & Common Problems

Interested in learning more about other recent Chevy Recalls and problems? Click on any of the links below:

California Lemon Law for Replacement Vehicles and New Cars

Has your car had issues recently despite multiple repair attempts? The California Lemon Law exists to protect consumers who have purchased or leased a defective vehicle.  If you’ve recently faced challenges with a leased or purchased vehicle in California, understanding the California Lemon Law is crucial.

The lemon law requires that vehicle manufacturers are held accountable for manufacturing defects that meet specific criteria. This article will provide you with everything you need to know to qualify and file a claim for a refund, replacement or cash compensation. 

If you’ve purchased a defective car from a dealer in California you may be entitled to a new replacement vehicle. Please contact Cali Lemon Lawyers for a fast and free lemon law case evaluation. ¿Hablas Español? Contáctenos ahora para recibir más información.

Hiring an experienced California lemon law attorney is an effective way to ensure a favorable outcome and give you the best chance of receiving compensation. With over 40,000 case reviews and thousands of satisfied California lemon law clients, we have the knowledge and experience to help you

What is California Lemon Law?

What is California Lemon Law?

California’s lemon law dictates that in the case of a defective vehicle (as outlined below), the automobile manufacturer must replace it with a new vehicle or refund the cost in full. The law applies if multiple repair attempts have failed to restore the vehicle to a standard that conforms to the manufacturer’s warranty.

Lemon law is different in every state, as it is not a federal law. The qualification requirements are pretty similar across the board, but some states have additional allowances or stricter rules and regulations. California, for example, includes used cars under certain circumstances, whereas other states do not.

California Lemon Law for Replacement Vehicles Vs New Cars

There is a distinction between new and used cars. California only allows for lemon law claims on used cars if the warranties are in place and they meet the necessary criteria. 

California Lemon Law For New Cars

Brand new cars are the most common for successful lemon law cases, mainly because they are under warranty and it is far easier to determine whether or not a defect is the fault of the manufacturer. The rules are generally straightforward and the proceedings are simple.

With new cars, any issues should cause alarm as there has been limited opportunity for any damage to occur. Because of this, buyers are more likely to suspect the vehicle is a lemon. Additionally, all new cars come with an express written warranty and are covered for repairs for a set length of time, increasing the chance of making a viable claim.

California Lemon Law For Used Cars

With more mileage, an increased risk of wear and tear, and more possibility that a fault was caused by driver error, proving your car is a lemon is more difficult, but still possible. California lemon law specifically states that any damage caused during a car’s use does not qualify for a claim and is not eligible for refunds. However, some used cars have minimal usage, mileage, or damage, and may still be under warranty.

If a used vehicle is sold via a dealership, distributor, or manufacturer and comes with any kind of warranty, a subsequently discovered defect falls under their liability. Even if the original warranty has expired, one that is issued by the current seller is still valid. Most dealerships offer a short-term warranty on used cars (around three months) in case of any undetected faults.

A used car lemon claim is a lot more complicated than with a new car. The claimant must be able to prove that a fault is not the result of use and must have a valid warranty in place. If the vehicle was privately purchased, it is almost impossible to pursue a claim.  Seeking legal advice is a necessity in order to successfully navigate the system and to increase the chance of carving out a viable claim.

California Lemon Law Qualifications

California Lemon Law Qualifications

There are several qualifying factors to consider under California lemon law to determine if a defective vehicle qualifies as a lemon. First, the vehicle must be purchased or leased within California and have a registration issued in the state. The car must also be covered by an active manufacturer’s warranty (other than exceptional cases) at the time of the claim. As long as both these criteria are met, used vehicles would also qualify. 

In terms of faults and defects, lemon law considers the following incidences eligible for a claim:

  1. There have been multiple repair attempts (within the warranty period) by the manufacturer or dealer through an authorized repair facility but the defect persists.
  2. The vehicle has a substantial defect that significantly impacts the functionality, value, or safety of the vehicle. A fault is considered substantial if it affects the owner’s ability to drive the car, impairs the safety features of the vehicle, or detracts from the advertised value.
  3. A defective vehicle is simply not possible to repair, despite reasonable attempts. A manufacturer must be given a fair chance to resolve the issue to determine that it is legitimately truly unfixable.
  4. In most lemon law cases, a used car should have less than 18,000 miles on it and be no older than 7 years old. This is not an all-encompassing law by any means but it does provide a guideline for consumers.

Lemon Law Presumption

California lemon law has an extra layer of qualifying specifications, making it unique to other states. Under California Law, lemon law presumption means that a vehicle is presumed to be a lemon under certain unusual circumstances.

A vehicle qualifies as a presumed lemon in California if the vehicle in question spends more than 30 days out of service due to repairs, meaning the owner has lost at least that length of time of use. The lemon law in California also specifies that any more than four repair attempts during the manufacturer’s warranty period is no longer considered a reasonable number of attempts, meaning a presumption claim is viable.

Additionally, California lemon law specifies that the faults cannot result from driver error, abuse, or any other external factor. There must be a defect that was present in the original vehicle at the time of sale.

California is also strict with time limits when compared to some other states. It is very rare for any claim to resolve successfully if not filed within the constraints of the manufacturer’s express written warranty. According to the statute of limitations, California law allows up to four years for a lemon law claim.

Lemon Law Case Entitlement

Lemon Law Case Entitlement

If the vehicle manufacturer cannot restore the product to the warranty-level condition and all other criteria are met, the consumer is entitled to a cash settlement or a vehicle replacement. Some straightforward cases are settled quickly and privately if there are minimal additional costs involved for both the consumer and the manufacturer.

Law offices step in to provide legal advice when a consumer feels the private offer is unreasonable and works to resolve the case without the need to take it to trial. It is rare for a lemon law case to reach court in California as the law is clear and defective vehicles are not uncommon. Contacting a California law firm with experience in the lemon law process is a wise decision to ensure maximum settlement in a minimal time frame.

Lemon Law Buyback VS Replacement Vehicle

There are two options when resolving a defective vehicle dispute under California lemon law. Lemon law buybacks refer to incidents where the manufacturer repays the cost of the vehicle to the consumer, essentially buying it back. Alternatively, the manufacturer replaces the purchase with a substantially identical vehicle.

Many clients are unsure about what route to take when pursuing their claim, and it may depend on what the manufacturer wants to offer. Here is some additional information about what each solution entails. Always seek legal advice before confirming either a lemon buyback or a vehicle replacement.

Lemon Buyback

Lemon Buyback

Essentially, a lemon buyback is a refund. The cost of purchasing or leasing the vehicle (both the down payment and any monthly payments owed) is, in most cases, paid back in full. That applies to vehicles bought outright, on payment plans, paid for on loan, or obtained through an extended lease agreement.

It is not only the purchase price that is refundable through California’s lemon law buyback policy. Various other fees and charges may be claimable as part of the buyback plan, from tow expenses to sales tax, although exactly what depends entirely on the individual case.

Some possible inclusions in a lemon law buyback are:

  1. Payment of any outstanding loan balance and finance charges
  2. Purchase down payment
  3. Towing charges
  4. Repair expenses
  5. Registration fees, license fees, and other official fees
  6. Sales tax
  7. Cost of a rental car

People who have been forced to pay significant amounts of money between the first repair attempt and the final tow expenses before deciding to file a claim may benefit more from a buyback.

Arrange a free case evaluation with our dedicated and experienced lawyers to find out how much you may be entitled to, and to ensure you receive the entire amount.

Reasonable attorneys’ fees are also covered as part of a lemon law settlement under Californian and Federal laws – if not in full, then at least a significant contribution. This is discussed and determined on a case-by-case basis.

California Lemon Law For Vehicle Replacement

The alternative is vehicle replacement, where the original vehicle (the defective vehicle) is exchanged for a substantially identical model. What that means legally is that the new vehicle must be the same car to all extents and purposes. Model, make, year, color, interior, etc.- everything should be as close to identical as possible. The service contract should also be the same. As should the warranty period and all specifications under the agreement.

If a claimant opts for a vehicle replacement agreement and decides to continue in the established service contract, they are still entitled to a refund for any tow expenses and the cost of a rental car hired in the interim, via monthly payments and a down payment as per the specified agreement. Vehicle replacement is the best option for someone who loves everything other than the vehicle’s defects. Rather than receiving the money only to repeat the process of buying the very same car, it is easier to cut to the chase.

Cost Deductions

Cost Deductions

Manufacturers are required to repay the fees that typically accompany a reasonable number of repair attempts, associated costs and registration fees, and the defective vehicle itself. However, California lemon law allows for a mileage offset.

A used car or other used vehicle can be eligible for a lemon law claim under certain circumstances, but there are additional specifications. If a car has a fair amount of additional miles on it since the date of initial purchase, the manufacturer can apply to reduce the monthly payments to accommodate a reduced vehicle value. Mileage Offset adjusts the proposed value of a car from the date of purchase and can reduce the overall final claim.

Why Hire a Lemon Law Attorney?

A California lemon law attorney can provide expert legal advice and guidance throughout the claims process. Our experienced attorney team offers a free case evaluation to determine the validity of a lemon law claim before embarking on the legal journey.

The lemon law process can be complicated and long-winded, with many elements that must align in order to successfully complete a claim. A lawyer works on the client’s behalf to pursue cash settlements in full, or to obtain a suitable and approved replacement vehicle. If there is a valid lemon law claim to fight for, our dedicated and experienced attorneys are ready to deliver results.

All interactions and proceedings are protected under the attorney-client relationship confidentiality agreement, and the attorneys’ fees are determined on a case-to-case basis.

California Lemon Law Frequently Asked Questions

How long do proceedings usually take?

There is no set time that a lemon law claim is expected to take, as every case is unique. 90 days is a reasonable time for an experienced lemon law attorney to resolve a case, but some may take far longer. It is rare for a lemon law case to go to trial, but if it does, it may take as long as a year.

The best way to ensure maximum compensation as soon as possible is to contact a lemon law lawyer as soon as you think you may have a case. Most attorneys do not charge any fees unless they are able to successfully win your case.

Does Lemon Law apply to a leased vehicle?

Yes, it does. Almost all faulty vehicles under 18 months old or with less than 18,000, either leased or bought outright, are eligible for a claim under California lemon law. The only exceptions are pre-owned motorcycles, some off-roading vehicles, and certain motor homes. Classic cars that are registered under section 401 of the vehicle and traffic law are also not eligible.

Is my rental car covered in a California lemon law claim?

According to California law, a vehicle is presumed to be a lemon if it spends more than 30 days in-shop and out of commission. If a driver must hire a rental car in the interim in order to continue with normal life then the manufacturer is liable for those fees. If you hire a rental car during the first repair attempt only, it may not be recoverable, as a reasonable chance was not given to the manufacturer to repair the faults.

What should I do if I suspect I have a lemon vehicle?

The first thing a person must do in the event of a suspected lemon law case is to report it directly to the vehicle manufacturer. Notifying them of the possible defect is always the first step, regardless of the state. After the formal notification is provided, then the process may differ. Contacting an experienced attorney at the beginning of your claim is the best way to ensure all steps are followed correctly, compliantly, and efficiently.

Summary

California Lemon Law is an essential legislation that helps to protect people from faulty equipment and motor vehicles. Defective vehicles are out there and are incredibly frustrating to deal with. If you have purchased or leased a faulty vehicle and believe that you may have a viable lemon law claim, do not hesitate to contact our team.

Arrange a free consultation to discuss the details of your case or to acquire additional information about lemon laws in the state of California. There are no retainer fees if you decide to pursue a claim with the assistance of our fiercely dedicated team, nor are there and upfront costs to get the ball rolling.

A manufacturer’s fault is not the consumer’s financial responsibility, so do not let it go un-repaid.

Contact our California lemon law experts to receive the compensation you deserve.

(866) 352-0208

 

Skip to content