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How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair?

| by Michelle Yang, Esq.

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!

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(310) 627-2665

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