GMC Lemon Law Lawyer: GM Buyback Program in California

GM is one of the best auto-mobile American companies known for its popular brands like GMC, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and more. Despite GM’s quality and position in the market, consumers have registered numerous complaints concerning defective vehicles.

GM vehicles’ problems include air condition failure, ignition malfunction, and defective power steering. Unfortunately, most GM defects persist despite numerous repair attempts.

Luckily, lemon laws offer consumers a reprieve through buybacks and refunds. More importantly, understanding the Lemon law buyback process makes a big difference while dealing with manufacturers.

If you’re stuck with a defective GM truck or car, consider consulting a California lemon law attorney to pursue a lemon law buyback.

Here’s what you need to know.

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GM Brands Covered Under Lemon Laws

California lemon laws cover the following new and used GM brands with the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty.

  • Vans, pick-up trucks, cars, and SUVs
  • Cars purchased or leased primarily for business use
  • Vehicles bought or mainly leased for household, personal, or household reasons
  • Dealer-owned vehicles and demonstrators
  • Drivetrain, chassis, and chassis cab of a motorhome

A GM vehicle becomes a lemon if it has a substantial defect that impacts its value, use, and safety.

Here are a few examples of GM brands covered under lemon laws:

  • Chevrolet
  • Buick
  • GMC
  • Cadillac

Common GM Lemon Defects

Here’s a list of common defects to look out for in GM vehicles:

Steering Defects

Several GM vehicles have power steering defects. According to complaints registered on the NHTSA website, the power steering could temporarily stop working and resume normalcy within a one-second window.

The steering defect occurs due to a faulty electrical system. The electrical system makes it easier for a driver to turn the steering wheel. As a result, GM issued a recall targeting 1,015,918 trucks and SUVs because of a power steering issue likely to stop working temporarily.

Some of the vehicles affected by the power steering defect include:

Excessive Oil Consumption

Excessive oil consumption is an engine defect often resulting in car stalling, internal engine damage, and premature breakdown. Consumers of GM brands who experienced excessive oil consumption defects initiated a lawsuit to hold the automaker accountable.

Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against GM, accusing them of knowingly selling vehicles with excessive engine oil consumption defects. The affected drivers claimed that GM concealed a glaring engine defect behind excessive engine consumption.

The defect mainly occurs in the automaker’s Vortec 5.3-liter V8 engine, found in numerous GM trucks and SUVs. According to the suit, consumers alleged that GM was aware of a piston defect that was likely to cause irregular oil consumption.

Ultimately, the jury found GM responsible for the defect and awarded $2,700 to each of the 3,800 members enlisted in the class action.

Some of the notable vehicles affected by the class action include:

  • 2010-14 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2010-14 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2010-14 GMC Yukon
  • 2010-14 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2010-14 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2010-14 GMC Yukon XL

Transmission Defects

Some significant issues with GMC vehicles include shuddering, rough shifting, and hesitation. Rough shifting occurs when you have difficulty shifting from one gear to another. You could also notice a clunk, unpleasant noise, or a distinctive jump as your truck shifts to the next gear.

Another distinctive malfunction is a vibration that shakes the entire truck. Shuddering can occur at any gear but mostly during rapid acceleration. Some vehicles display hesitation characterized by an apparent delay during acceleration.

Here’s a list of GM vehicles with transmission defects:

  • 2019 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2016-2019 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac CTS
  • 2019 Cadillac CTS-V
  • 2014 GMC Sierra
  • 2019 Cadillac Escalade/Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2017- 2019 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2015-2019 GMC Yukon Denali XL
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac ATS-V
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac ATS

Electrical Defects

Some GM vehicles display electrical defects that compromise their performance and may sometimes lead to stalling.

Here are the common GMC electrical issues:

  • Faulty Alternator: A defective alternative may not charge the battery properly, which can cause electrical problems.
  • Blown Fuses: Overloading circuits of faults can trigger blown fuses, resulting in several issues.
  • Faulty Ignition Switch: A defective ignition switch can cause random stalling or difficulties starting the vehicle.
  • Malfunctioning Sensors: Some GM vehicles experience failed sensors, such as oxygen or mass airflow sensors, which can trigger warning lights or hinder engine performance.
  • Dim or Flickering Lights: Battery, wiring, or alternator problems can cause interior or external lighting issues.
  • Faulty Power Windows: Faulty window regulators, switches, or wiring may cause non-functional power windows or door locks.

Recent GM Recalls

Here’s a list of recent recalls:

Defective Running Lights

On November 3, 2022, GM issued a recall to fix models with daytime running lights that failed to activate as intended. According to the recall notice, the daytime running lights may not deactivate when headlights are on.

When the daytime running lights fail to activate as intended, they may cause glare, reduce visibility, and increase the crash risk.

The recall notice affected the following 2021 vehicles:

  • Yukon
  • Yukon XL
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • Cadillac Escalade

GM instructed the dealers to provide an over-the-air update of the Body Control Module software free of charge.

Front Wheel Hub Recall

On March 28, 2024, General Motors, LLC issued a recall for certain 2023 GMC Canyon Chevrolet Colorado vehicles. According to the notice, the front wheel hub bolts might have been overtightened, causing damage during installation.

The damaged bolts may loosen or break, leading to loss of vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash. The automaker instructed the dealers to replace the left and right wheel hub bolts without a charge.

Loss of Power Steering Assist

On June 17, 2021, GM issued a recall targeting the following vehicles:

  • 2021 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2021 Escalade ESV
  • 2021 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2021 Yukon XL
  • 2021 GMC Yukon

According to the recall notice, a software defect may cause loss of power steering while starting or during motion. As a result, drivers tend to increase steering efforts at low speeds, which can increase the risk of crash.

The automaker instructed the dealer to update the software through over-the-air (OTA) updates, free of charge.

Seat Belt Recall

On March 18, 2021, GM issued a recall to fix a seat belt defect in vehicles with third-row seats. According to the notice, the third-row seat may have been entrapped or misrouted behind the outbound seat-folding mechanism, which could cause seat-belt damage.

A faulty seat belt can break during a crash, increasing the risk of passenger injury.

The recall affected the following vehicles:

  • 2021 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2021 Escalade ESV
  • 2021 GMC Yukon
  • 2021 Yukon XL
  • 2021 Chevrolet Suburban

GM instructed dealers to inspect the third-row outboard seat belts, replace any damaged seat belts, and reroute them as necessary, free of charge.

Negotiating a Fair Lemon Law Buyback Settlement with GMC

You may settle with GM out of court; an attorney is best suited to represent your interest for a fair buyback amount. One of the best ways to get ahead of the negotiation is to clearly understand the target payout before commencing negotiations.

The prior understanding improves your ability to negotiate effectively and know when to use your leverage over GM.

Moreover, if parties to negotiations fail to anticipate associated costs, such as legal fees and loss of time, it can lead to a reduced payout. With that in mind, opt for a speedy resolution to maximize your payout.

Understanding the Lemon Law Criteria for GM Vehicles

California lemon law has set several minimum requirements determining whether your vehicle qualifies for protection. The criteria concern the nature of defects and if you’ve allowed the manufacturer a reasonable time to fix your car.

Moreover, lemon laws cover new and used GM vehicles with a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty. The California lemon laws cover many types of vehicles, including;

  • Cars
  • Vans
  • Motorcycles
  • SUVs
  • Pick-up tracks

It also covers the following types of vehicles.

  • Vehicles bought or leased for personal, household, or family reasons
  • Dealer-owned vehicles or demonstrators
  • Cars purchased or hired for business
  • Components of motor home including chassis, chassis cab, and drive train

What Counts as GM Lemon Under California Lemon Laws

You must meet the following requirements for your vehicle to qualify as a lemon.

  • Substantial Defect: The vehicle defect must be material, a malfunction that significantly alters the vehicle’s use, value, and safety.
  • Existing Warranty: The vehicle should have been bought or hired with an existing and active express warranty.
  • Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts: In addition to securing the interest of consumers, lemon laws allow manufacturers, including GM, an appropriate window to fix the vehicle’s defect.
  • Bought From a Dealer: California Lemon laws protect ‘’consumer goods’’ not vehicles purchased from private sellers.

How Do You Determine a Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts?

Lemon Laws have not prescribed a specific number. Nonetheless, California Lemon Law Presumption provides guidelines determining whether a manufacturer has met ‘’ a reasonable number of repair attempts’’.

Below are the guidelines;

  • The vehicle has been in the repair shop for more than 30 days— not necessarily consecutive for repair defects covered by the warranty.
  • The manufacturer or dealer hasn’t fixed the malfunction after four or more attempts.
  • The vehicle defect or malfunction could cause death or severe injury if driven, and the manufacturer has made two unsuccessful repair attempts.

Understanding ‘Substantial Defects’ in GM Vehicles

Generally, lemon laws protect consumers who unknowingly buy vehicles with persistent defects. More importantly, lemon laws apply to cars whose defects affect their use, value, and safety. The car doesn’t have to be immobile to be marked defective; even so, the malfunction should impact the car.

Here’s the breakdown of substantial defects according to their impact on vehicles;

  • Impaired Value: A vehicle defect that results in flawed value affects more than its cash worth. For instance, a defective steering wheel is likely to produce rattling sounds that can give you a low perception of the vehicle.
  • Impaired Use: Impaired use doesn’t mean the undrivable; it affects its use if it falls short of the intended purpose. For instance, if you bought a 2023 Chevy Equinox to meet your interstate clients and the vehicle can’t drive for long distances due to a persistent transmission defect.
  • Impaired Safety: These defects expose drivers or passengers to the risk of injuries or death.

Examples of substantial defects include electrical problems, engine fires, loss of power steering, defective anti-lock brake systems, paint defects, airbag defects, malfunctioning air conditioners, and transmission defects.

Documentation and Evidence Needed for a Successful GMC Lemon Buyback Claim

The success of any legal claim, including lemon law buyback, depends on proper documentation. The more documents you have, the easier it becomes to process the claim. It’s also less expensive because a lawyer will employ minimal resources to compile the case.

Here’s a list of the necessary documentation that’ll help your case;

Repair Orders

A repair order is documentation that the repair facility will give you after dropping off the vehicle. It acts as a legal document for the work expected on the car and the chargeable price.

Ensure the repair order adequately describes the vehicle defect, the date, mileage, the price of parts, and a labor estimate. As a legal document, accuracy is of the essence. Therefore, counter-check whether the dealer or manufacturer has correctly captured the notations and timestamps.

If you have visited the dealership severally, ensure it captures updated records such as the correct phone number, valid email address, and current mileage. Usually, errors during documentation could be the source of discrepancies that could cause delays during claim processing.

Repair Invoice

A repair invoice means invoices, bills, and documents that indicate labor and material towards completion of an approved repair. It’s similar to a repair order because it describes the repair attempts made by a dealer. Contrary to the repair order, a vehicle owner receives a repair invoice after picking up the vehicle.

For seamless claim processing, ensure the repair invoice accurately captures the vehicle defect, completed repairs, the date, cost of repairs, and mileage.

Original Purchase or Lease Documents

You’ll also need the original documents you were provided with when you bought or leased the vehicle. The sales contract contains critical information such as the sales date, cost of your car, rebates, after-market purchases, and trade-in information.

Find documents that capture those transactions if you bought your vehicle using an auto-financing loan. The information captured in the sales contract and financing agreement directly impacts the payout you’ll receive for your faulty GM vehicle.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

The manufacturer’s warranty is the document with the owner’s manual as you purchase the vehicle. It contains the express warranty from GM with details on what aspects are covered and for how long.

A manufacturer’s warranty proves the document was under contract when the defect occurred. It also clarifies whether the manufacturer’s warranty covered the required repairs.

Communication With GM or Authorized Dealership

Keep copies of your communication with the dealership or manufacturer. A copy of these correspondents may also help determine the availability of a‘’ reasonable number of repair attempts’’ or failure to make repairs by General Motors.

Other Crucial Documentation

  • Accident history
  • Maintenance Records
  • List and provide contacts of any witnesses that observed the vehicle defect
  • Receipts of expenses incurred, such as car rental

What Happens After You File a Lemon Law Claim with GMC?

Once you file a lemon law claim, the manufacturer will assess it and provide you with some feedback. A manufacturer can either accept your buyback proposal, reject it, or table a counteroffer with a lower value.

Alternatively, GM may offer arbitration to resolve disputes related to the Lemon law buybacks. Although arbitration is an affordable alternative, the arbitrator may act in the manufacturer’s interest, resulting in a lower payout.

Considering the risk of dealing with a manufacturer, hiring a Lemon law attorney is a good idea.

A lemon law attorney will enhance your buyback case in the following ways:

  • Boosts Your Payout; Top on a manufacturer’s mind is to engage an attorney and reduce the payout as much as possible. You, therefore, need to work with a lemon law attorney to guard your interests. Usually, attorneys apply their extensive knowledge of lemon laws to boost your payout.
  • Counters All Arguments; Manufacturers have a team of lawyers in their books who can poke holes in your lemon law case. You can counter such tactics by partnering with a lemon law attorney.
  • Handles Time-Consuming Litigation Process: If your case goes to trial, an attorney will represent you in the complex and time-consuming process.

Secure the Compensation You Deserve with a GMC Lemon Law Lawyer

A faulty GMC vehicle can be a major source of frustration and danger. Imagine a Cadillac with a defective steering wheel that locks up suddenly, putting you, your passengers, and other road users at risk. Beyond the immediate danger, defective vehicles bring additional costs due to repairs and the inconvenience they cause.

You deserve top-notch representation in your pursuit of a lemon law buyback for fair compensation.

At LemonLaw123, our team of experienced and knowledgeable GMC lemon law attorneys explains why we maintain a high success rate.

Contact us online or call us at 657.529.5239 for a free case review to discuss your GMC lemon law claim.


Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, known as The Lemon Law Lady, has dedicated her entire legal career to the specialized field of Lemon Law, a journey that began immediately after her
graduation from UCLA School of Law.

With a 99% success rate and a policy of no fees unless you win, her practice stands as a testament to her expertise in California’s Lemon Law, her commitment to her clients, and her unwavering dedication to justice and consumer rights.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, personally handled over 500 lemon law cases and settlements.