When is a Defective Car Considered a Lemon?
When we buy or lease a car, we understand that there is always the risk that the vehicle may one day require repairs and maintenance. Hopefully, that need will not arise until many years later. However, in some cases, the issues with a vehicle announce themselves shortly after the ink has dried and the money has changed hands. It could be that you’ve accidentally just purchased a lemon – a car with defects that either render it unsafe for its occupants or significantly diminish its function and value.
But when is a car just a little flawed, and when do those flaws rise to the threshold of California Lemon Law protections?
The qualifications for Lemon Law protection vary from state to state. Before making a claim, you must know the specific qualifications for Lemon Law in California.
What Sort of Defects May Qualify a Vehicle as a Lemon?
To recover a refund or a replacement, you and your Lemon Law attorney must build a case that supports your claims. Only certain defects are covered by California Lemon Law protections.
With that in mind, here are some common examples of vehicle defects that may be covered:
- Braking issues.
- Check engine lights illuminate even when all is fine.
- Defective air conditioning and climate control.
- Door locks that do not lock properly, including automatic door locks.
- Faulty GPS navigation device.
- Lighting defects, including brake lights and headlights.
- No acceleration.
- Poor car battery performance.
- Random fits of acceleration, potentially creating dangerous driving situations.
- Steering issues.
- Transmission problems.
- Unexplained stalling or sputtering when trying to accelerate.
- Windshield wipers do not adequately clean the windshield when it’s raining.
What Defects and Nonconformities May Not Reach the Threshold of Lemon Law Protection?
Not all vehicle defects are covered by Lemon Law. Some issues may be so insubstantial that they represent a mere annoyance for an individual person but do not, in the view of the law, endanger anyone or diminish the car’s value.
Lemon Law requires that the known vehicle defects either represent a threat or substantially reduce the value and function of a civilian car. For example, if a vehicle anomaly endangers its occupants and others on the road, it would likely qualify for Lemon Law protections. Similarly, if the car’s functionality does not meet the promise that the car buyer was led to believe when they purchased it, then this may also qualify the car as a lemon. Failing either of those things may mean that your car, however defective and flawed, might not qualify as a lemon. If your car qualifies, speak with a Lemon Law lawyer.
What Other Qualifications Are Necessary for Motor Vehicles Under California Lemon Law?
In addition to meeting the basic requirements for a vehicle’s defects, the car must also meet specific other criteria to receive Lemon Law protections.
Other requirements for a car to qualify as a lemon include the following:
- The vehicle must either have been purchased at an authorized dealership or straight from the manufacturer.
- The vehicle must still be under either its original manufacturer warranty, an extended warranty, or a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle warranty at the time of purchase.
- When the qualifying defect is discovered, the car company or the car dealer must be given a ‘reasonable number’ of attempts to repair the defect. In typical circumstances, two or three failed attempts to repair a vehicle are considered to be sufficient. If these repair attempts are unsuccessful in correcting the issue, things move on to the next step.
- An alternative to the reasonable number of repair attempts is whether it was out of commission for a certain length of time. If the vehicle is out of service for at least 30 days, it may qualify as a lemon.
Contact Ibrahim Law Firm for a Free Consultation with an Experienced California Lemon Law Attorney
To be sure your problematic new vehicle purchase counts as a lemon car, speak with Lemon Law attorney Justin Ibrahim of California’s Ibrahim Law Firm.
We offer all clients a free case evaluation to discuss their legal options and our services. To speak with a lawyer, call us today at 626-600-0890.