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

| by Michelle Yang, Esq.

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.

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