Buying a car is the second-biggest expenditure after housing. Add that to the fact that there have been hefty increases in the average cost of a new vehicle over the past few years due to the COVID pandemic, and you’re talking about a significant investment.
Therefore, when you purchase a new vehicle, you expect it to be in great working order. What you don’t expect is a “lemon” car. What is a lemon in the car world? A lemon is a car that has a manufacturer’s defect that can’t be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts.
If you have problems or concerns with a car, new or used, and it was bought from the dealer, you’re in luck. The good news is that California’s Lemon Law offers protection for consumers who have purchased new or used vehicles that come with manufacturer’s warranty.
If the dealer or manufacturer can’t repair a serious warranty defect in your vehicle after a “reasonable” number of attempts, the manufacturer must replace your vehicle or refund its purchase price – your choice.
What is considered to be a reasonable number of attempts? According to California’s Lemon Law Presumption, the following apply:
- The vehicle can’t be fixed after four or more attempts
- The vehicle’s defect could cause death or serious bodily injury if driven AND the dealer/manufacturer has made at least two unsuccessful attempts to fix it
- The vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days (not consecutive) for problems covered under warranty
While there are some obvious signs that your car is a lemon – problems with the brakes, steering, electrical, and transmission systems – that are easy to detect, there are some things that you may have overlooked that could be signs of a lemon vehicle.
Things you may not have thought to look for
When buying a car from a dealer, there are some other warning signs that the car isn’t a good deal and could turn out to be a lemon including:
- The tire tread wear
- No car history
- Damaged interior
- Homemade modifications, if used
- Low price that isn’t competitive
- Sold “as-is”
- Bad or strong odors
If your car turns out to be a lemon and the defect is covered under warranty, you may be eligible to get your money back or another car under California’s Lemon Law.
What you should look for now
If you’ve purchased a new car or used car that is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, and you bought a lemon, you must first have a clear understanding of how California’s Lemon Law works and how to report your car as lemon in California.
But, what happens if the dealer or manufacturer won’t fix your car?
It’s time to enlist the services of an experienced lemon law attorney. The Law Offices of Robert F. Brennan, lemon law attorney in Los Angeles, takes most lemon law cases on a contingency fee basis.