Owning a lemon is a highly frustrating experience.
You might think you’ve landed a nice car; unfortunately, you realize you adopted a mechanical drama queen. Whether it’s stalling, frequent breakdowns, or performance issues, a lemon car leaves you with a bitter taste.
Fortunately, California lemon law protects consumers who accidentally buy vehicles with persistent defects that manufacturers cannot fix. Although it’s normal for a car to develop a mechanical issue, some are persistent, highlighting why understanding the covered faults and qualification criteria is essential.
If you’re stuck with a defective vehicle and are unsure about your rights and legal recourse, consider speaking with an experienced California lemon law attorney about your options.
Lemon law covers new or used vehicles bought in California with the manufacturer’s new warranty.
Examples of vehicles covered under lemon law include:
If a manufacturer or dealer can’t fix a vehicle defect after a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts, the manufacturer must either replace the vehicle or refund its buying price.
A vehicle becomes a lemon if it has a substantial defect that impacts its value, use, and safety.
In all lemon law claims, a question always arises whether a manufacturer has made enough attempts to fix a persistent defect. A ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts is a highly subjective principle that may set back or delay your lemon law claim.
In addition to protecting consumers, California lemon law requires vehicle owners to notify the manufacturer about a defect and give them enough opportunity to fix it. The lemon law doesn’t expressly state a specific number to satisfy the requirement.
Determining a reasonable window depends on the severity of the matter’s circumstances. Some vehicle defects are severe and require several attempts to make repairs. If the vehicle defect is too severe, the manufacturer may be allowed up to five trials.
If a vehicle defect impacts the safety of a vehicle, the manufacturer is allowed fewer attempts. Despite the severity of the defect, the manufacturer has a short window that rules out the possibility of a defective vehicle spending too much time in a dealership.
Ultimately, no set number determines a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts; even so, California lemon law presumption contains the following guidelines to determine if a manufacturer has made a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts:
The California lemon law presumption applies if the vehicle has attained 18,000 miles or 18 months, whichever comes first.
The above guidelines offer a mere direction in determining lemon law claims. The ultimate decision on whether a manufacturer has made a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts lies with a judge or arbitrator.
Sometimes, a manufacturer may request an extension of the opportunity to fix the defect. If a consumer is not ready for such arguments, they’re likely to lose out on their claims or suffer a delay in their quest for justice.
Working with a lemon law attorney is advisable to protect your interest and counter misleading manufacturer claims.
A vehicle becomes a lemon if it has a substantial defect that impacts its value, use, and safety— it doesn’t mean the car has to be undrivable; instead, it should significantly affect it.
Here’s how vehicle defects impact vehicles:
A vehicle defect that impacts vehicle use makes it less fit for its purpose. For instance, a vehicle with an engine or transmission defect will likely have performance issues. An engine or transmission defect causes a car to experience reduced power, acceleration defects, rough handling, and persistent stalling.
As a result, engine or transmission defects make the vehicle difficult to function correctly, as promised by the manufacturer. If you had bought a pick-up truck to deliver groceries to customers in California, a transmission defect that makes the vehicle undrivable could halt your operations.
Any defect that makes the driver and vehicle occupants less secure is considered a lemon. If your car has faults that significantly impact the safety of drivers and other vehicle occupants, you consider pursuing a refund or replacement.
A significant defect can impact the face value of a vehicle and its attractiveness to potential buyers.
Here are a few ways defects impair the value of vehicles:
Although lemon laws cover many vehicle defects, there are exceptions, including:
The role of an airbag is to reduce the probability of your head or upper body striking the car interior in case of a crash. It also increases the cushion around the neck, head, and spine. In case of a collision, it decreases the risk of ejection for car occupants.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, frontal airbags reduce driver deaths in frontal crashes by 29%. Side airbags, on the other hand, reduce the risk of driver’s death in side crashes by 37%.
Although airbags are lifesavers, it’s very hazardous if they fail or deploy improperly. Most airbags deploy at 200 miles per hour, which can be faster —for defective airbags. If it makes a forceful impact on the body instead of offering cushion, it can cause different types of injuries.
Some of the injuries associated with airbag deployment include:
The common complaints associated with defective airbags include failure to deploy, errors in the airbag dashboard light, and airbag deployment without impact.
There are various causes of defective airbags—for instance, the Takata airbag recalls affecting millions of cars. According to its recall notice, high heat and humidity exposure may cause the airbags to explode upon deployment.
If your vehicle has a defective airbag that compromises your safety, you might be eligible for a refund or replacement under lemon laws.
Transmission is the mechanism that conducts power from the engine to the wheels. For a better understanding of the role of transmission, here are a few signs of a defective transmission:
While problems such as jerking or slipping gears are not ideal, a defective transmission can trigger other issues, including a slipping gear. Further, a faulty transmission makes it difficult to enjoy a smooth ride with your vehicle, impacting its functionality, value, and safety.
A seat belt is a crucial safety feature that protects vehicle occupants from injuries in an accident. According to NHTSA records, seatbelts saved approximately 15,000 lives and could have saved 2500 more in a recent year if they had worn seat belts.
Below are a few benefits of seat belts:
Although a seatbelt is a primary safety device, if it fails, it can cause injuries such as decapitation, paralysis, strangulation, and liver lacerations. Causes of seatbelt failure include faulty material, manufacturing errors, or poor design.
Automakers should be liable for accidents and fatalities linked to a defective seatbelt. More importantly, you may be entitled to a refund or a replacement if your vehicle has a bad seat belt that the manufacturer cannot fix after a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts.
Power steering is an important feature when driving a modern vehicle. It makes it easy and safer to navigate your vehicle. It also helps you to quickly swerve and avoid obstacles on the road, such as animals, cars, and pedestrians.
If the power steering has a defect, it compromises the vehicle’s safety and agility. It is an important safety feature that can prevent you from being involved in a potentially fatal accident.
Signs of a defective power steering include:
If your vehicle has a defective power steering, you can’t rely on keeping you safe on the road. If the car is under warranty and the manufacturer has failed to fix it, consider filing for a refund or replacement under California lemon laws.
A functional brake is crucial in keeping the driver, passengers, and other road users safe. When the brakes are fit, they increase your ability to stop in an emergency and safely navigate obstacles.
On the contrary, defective brakes increase the vehicle stopping distance and the likelihood of being involved in an accident.
Here are the warning signs of defective service brakes:
Driving a vehicle with faulty brakes is virtually impossible and a safety hazard. Fortunately, if your car has defective service brakes, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement under lemon laws.
The primary role of a headlight is to illuminate the road and facilitate fatigue-free and safe driving. Headlights also make it possible to drive in low visibility conditions, including foggy weather, during rains, and at night.
Unfortunately, headlights develop issues making navigating obstacles on the road challenging. Defective headlights also increase the risk of collision incidents. Similarly, if you drive with a faulty headlight, you pose a safety risk to other drivers.
Here are the common headlight defects:
Many headlight issues are minor; some are substantial and persistent. If the manufacturer fails to fix a headlight defect, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement under lemon laws.
The engine is the heart of the vehicle that converts burning fuel into energy which propels a vehicle. An engine defect substantially impacts the car more than most components.
Here are the signs of a defective engine:
Owning a vehicle with a persistent engine defect significantly impacts your business or personal life. If you had scheduled an early meeting with a client, the engine would overheat, causing a delay likely to cost you a deal.
With that in mind, you deserve an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to aggressively represent your interest in a lemon law claim.
At Lemonlaw123, our lead attorney Valerie. G.Campbell has a 99% success rate, which gives us the confidence to take on your case.
Contact us online or call us at 657.529.5239 for a free case review.