People who own lemon vehicles endure a frustrating experience—for instance, a consumer who bought a 2018 Hyundai Elantra with an engine defect. Due to a faulty manufacturer design, the engine will most likely fail when they least expect it.
Unfortunately, the engine defect makes the vehicle unreliable. The frequent loss of power, engine stalling, and constant overheating make it challenging to enjoy a smooth drive. In addition, manufacturer defects hinder the car’s ability to fulfill its purpose— for example, a family cannot enjoy a road trip riding a vehicle with a constantly overheating engine.
On the bright side, California lemon law protects consumers who buy vehicles with persistent defects that manufacturers have failed to fix.
If you are stuck with a lemon vehicle, consider consulting an experienced lemon law attorney about your legal options.
The California lemon law time limit for pursuing a lemon law case, also called the statute of limitation, is four years. The time limit deters consumers from filing a lemon law claim for a defect that occurred 10 to 20 years ago.
Due to the statute of limitations, consumers are encouraged to file a lemon claim immediately after discovering the defect.
Most consumers believe the statute of limitation starts after buying the vehicle; unfortunately, that’s incorrect. According to the lemon law statute of limitation, the timeline starts after you notice the defect in your vehicle makes it a lemon.
After realizing your vehicle has a persistent defect that the manufacturer cannot fix, the four-year period starts to count.
Since the time limit is unclear, it leaves room for interpretation and litigation. For instance, the manufacturer may request the court to throw out the case based on a technicality since the consumer did not file the claim on time.
However, you can strengthen your case by keeping copies of repair orders, invoices, and correspondences with the dealership.
If you fail to file a lemon law claim before the statute of limitation expires, you may extinguish your right to obtain a refund or replacement under California lemon law. The manufacturer may use the statute of limitation as a solid defense to get your case dismissed.
Although the four-year window is anchored in law, running down the statute of limitation weakens your case. For instance, the manufacturer may blame you by claiming the mileage between the discovery of the defect caused wear and tear, which made the vehicle lemon.
It may also be challenging to prove the seriousness of the defect if you delay or wait until the last minute to file a claim.
California lemon laws protect consumers who buy new and used vehicles with the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty.
It covers the following vehicles:
If a manufacturer or dealer fails to fix a defect after a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts, the manufacturer must either:
Whenever there’s a lemon law claim, a question arises as to whether a manufacturer made a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts to fix a defect. In addition, California lemon law requires consumers to inform automakers about persistent defects in their vehicles.
After informing the manufacturer, they should give the automaker a reasonable window to solve the problem.
Whether an automaker has made a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts depends on the severity of the defect and respective circumstances. For instance, the automaker has a limited opportunity to fix a fault that endangers the lives of the driver, vehicle occupants, and other road users.
On the other hand, the automaker has up to five attempts to fix a defect that causes annoyance. Generally, an automaker has limited time to fix a defect; a consumer can initiate a lemon law claim if the vehicle spends more than 30 days in the repair shop.
Ultimately, California lemon law has no set number. Even so, California lemon law presumption offers the following guidelines to determine whether a manufacturer has made a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts:
The California lemon law presumption applies to vehicles bought in California that develop defects within 18,000 miles or 18 months, whichever comes first. The above guidelines offer a mere direction; only a judge makes the final decision.
Similarly, some manufacturers argue they did not receive a fair chance to fix a manufacturer defect, a tactic that can delay or deny your lemon law claim. However, you can counter the automaker’s resistance by working closely with a lemon law attorney who’ll provide defense and represent your interest.
A vehicle becomes a lemon if its defects impact its value, use, and safety. For instance, a defective airbag can deploy without impact, causing burns or chest injuries to the driver or passenger.
On the other hand, a vehicle cannot rely on a pick-up truck with a defective transmission to transport construction materials to different sites.
If your vehicle has the following defects, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement under lemon law:
While California lemon law covers many defects, there are still a few expectations, including:
Some lemon law cases sail through without hassle; however, most are complicated, tedious, and take time, which can be frustrating. You can ease your burden by seeking help from a lemon law attorney.
A lemon law attorney has deep knowledge and experience in the field, which can help your case in many ways.
Here are a few benefits of hiring a lemon law attorney:
Besides the frequent breakdown of a lemon vehicle, it generates additional expenses. For instance, if the vehicle breaks down while away from home, you may incur accommodation, car rental, and towing charges.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers frustrate consumers who file lemon law claims, highlighting the need to work with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.
At Lemonlaw123, our lead attorney, Valerie. G. Campbell has a 99% success rate, which gives us the confidence to fight for our clients.
Contact us online or call us at 657.529.5239 for a free case review.