The California Lemon Law protects consumers who have purchased or leased a vehicle with major unfixable flaws. According to the California’s Department of Consumer Affairs:
• The Lemon Law applies to any problem that “substantially impairs the use, value or safety” of a car covered by a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty, provided the problem is discovered within 18 months or 18,000 miles of purchase or lease. Even if you bought the car used, the lemon law applies to the vehicle if the original warranty is still in effect.
If the manufacturer cannot fix the problem, it must replace your car with a new one that is “substantially identical” or refund your money. However, the manufacturer can charge you for the mileage you’ve put on their flawed vehicle. If you’ve driven the car 6,000 miles, for example, the carmaker can deduct 5% of the original price before giving you a refund. This being said, if you think you might have a Lemon Law case, limit the mileage that you put on the car.
• Manufacturers are allowed a “reasonable” number of repair attempts before a car is branded a lemon. In the case of potentially life-threatening problems, such as faulty brakes, the manufacturer only two tries to fix the problem. Also, if the vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days and is still not repaired you’re entitled to a replacement vehicle or refund.
•The dealer or manufacturer may argue that the problem was caused by your abuse or neglect of the vehicle, in which case the lemon law would not apply to your vehicle. The dealer may also contend that the problem is not covered by the warranty, or that it has not had enough opportunities to fix the problem. This is why it is important keep all repair and maintenance records for your vehicle.
If you are having problems with your new car give my office, The Law Office of Todd M. Friedman a call at (877) 449-8898 and we will discuss with you if the Lemon Law applies to your vehicle.