Nothing can be more frustrating than having to take a car you just bought to the shop over and over again for repairs. When you buy a new or used car that’s still under the manufacturer’s warranty, your car should work as advertised under the warranty’s terms.
It’s even worse if your car is in the shop and the dealership keeps dodging your questions. Meanwhile, you have to live without your primary mode of transportation.
If you’re experiencing this with your newly purchased car, you may have a lemon. A lemon can cause great disruption and inconvenience in your life. But consumers have rights that protect them from getting stuck with defective vehicles. These are called lemon laws.
If you’ve bought a new or used car, truck, sedan, SUV, or motorcycle that:
- Is still under the manufacturer’s warranty,
- Started experiencing problems within 18 months or 18,000 miles of purchase, and
- The manufacturer is unable to repair the vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts,
You could be entitled to a full refund, vehicle replacement, or cash compensation for the vehicle under California’s lemon laws. The experienced lemon lawyers at Pyramid Legal can help you get the most out of California’s consumer protections.
What Makes a Car a Lemon?
Each year, over 150,000 vehicles turn out to be lemons in California. These cars, trucks, SUVs, sedans, and motorcycles fail to perform as promised by the manufacturer’s standards.
It’s the manufacturer’s duty to create a car without defects, especially when defects can lead to dangerous conditions on the road. A vehicle could be a lemon whether it was bought new or used – so long as it still falls under the manufacturer’s warranty.
To qualify as a lemon, the defect must be a substantial impairment to the vehicle’s use, value, or safety. So a faulty glovebox light is not likely to qualify. But if your car doesn’t start or has a life-threatening problem like faulty brakes, that should get fixed ASAP.
Essentially, when you buy a car, you expect it to get you from point A to point B. If your car is constantly in the shop for repairs, the vehicle has failed in its basic purpose. That’s a lemon.
Your recently purchased vehicle may be a lemon if:
- You’ve had to return to the auto shop for repeated repairs,
- You’ve been unable to drive it for extended periods while you wait for repairs,
- You’ve been nagged by persistent performance and safety problems, or
- The vehicle remains defective even after multiple repairs.
In California, manufacturers get a “reasonable” number of attempts to repair a vehicle before you can file a lemon law claim. At the minimum, they get two tries to fix your car. This might be all they get if the problem is serious enough to be a safety hazard.
When car manufacturers fail to live up to the standards required of them, they have a legal duty to repurchase or replace the defective vehicle. If the manufacturer or dealership doesn’t fulfill this duty, you could file a legal claim against them for civil penalties and additional damages.
At Pyramid Legal, we look out for your best interests at every point in the lemon law process. Contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation now.