Is it Necessary for a Car to Be Under Warranty to Qualify Under Lemon Law?
If your car is defective, you might be curious whether it meets the threshold of being considered a lemon. There are several key requirements that a defective car must meet to receive Lemon Law protections. One of these requirements relates to the status of the vehicle warranty.
Yes, California Lemon Law requires a car to be under warranty if you wish to file a claim.
When a car leaves the factory and is purchased at an authorized dealership, it has a manufacturer warranty. When you buy your vehicle, you may have the chance to add an extended warranty. When the original manufacturer warranty expires, the extended warranty will then go into effect to cover the costs of necessary repairs.
If your car is not under warranty, it is doubtful that your Lemon Law claim will reach a satisfying outcome.
What Type of Car Warranties Are There?
There are several types of car warranties, so it can all become a little bit confusing when you’re trying to figure out what your car is covered for.
The manufacturer’s warranty (sometimes known as a factory warranty) is the promise made by the car makers that they will be responsible for repairs if problems occur during a certain period or mileage number. In a way, the manufacturer’s warranty is part of the price of the car you’re buying. The warranty does not cover issues that were caused by the driver abusing or misusing the vehicle.
A limited powertrain warranty typically covers vehicle engine and transmission repairs. This may include fixing problems arising from flooding, fire, and improper maintenance.
An extended warranty can be purchased and added to the factory warranty. The extended warranty will go into effect when the original factory warranty expires. This warranty may provide bumper-to-bumper protection and roadside assistance.
An implied warranty, such as a warranty of merchantability, relates to used cars. These are not warranties you sign at a dealership but are protections provided by California state law. The implied warranty states that if a vehicle is bought and sold in the state, it should meet the essential functions for safety and roadworthiness for a certain period of time.
A corrosion warranty covers corrosion and rust on a vehicle. These are much more popular in northern and midwestern states where salt is used in the winter.
Bumper-to-bumper warranties are considered the most comprehensive car warranties.
How Long is a Manufacturer Warranty?
A manufacturer warranty is usually about three years or 50,000 miles, but the limit can vary depending on the automaker.
Recent numbers state that Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes, Porsche, VW, and Volvo all offer a basic factory warranty of four years and 50,000 miles.
Meanwhile, Chevy, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota offer a basic manufacturer warranty of three years or 36,000 miles.
On the longer end of the spectrum, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi offer five-year or 60,000-mile factory warranties.
Why Might a Car Maker or Dealership Deny a Refund or Replacement?
In some cases, even when a valid warranty is in place, a manufacturer or dealership may have a reason not to honor the request for a refund or replacement.
This may be because the warranty terms do not apply to the sort of maintenance or coverage required for your claim. But more likely, a manufacturer or dealer may conclude that the defects are not substantial enough to require a full replacement or refund under Lemon Law. Similarly, they may even go so far as to suggest that the defects were caused by driver misuse or abuse.
Schedule a Free Case Review with an Experienced California Lemon Law Attorney Today
If you believe you are the owner of a lemon car, it’s important that you understand all the necessary requirements for filing a claim in California. For assistance, please get in touch with our law firm to speak with lawyer Justin Ibrahim about your unique case.