What Defects Are Covered by California Lemon Law?
California lemon law provides consumer protections against the purchasing of defective motor vehicles and other consumer products. Car buyers invest a lot of time and money into their passenger vehicles, and that investment should be rewarded with honest and appropriately made products. Failure to meet the standards for passenger motor vehicles can result in those vehicles being considered lemons.
California’s lemon car laws cover the following:
- Brand new vehicles.
- Certain motor vehicles that were purchased or leased for business use.
- Dealer-owned vehicles.
- Passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, motorcycles, and SUVs.
- The chassis, chassis cab, and drivetrain of motorhomes or RVs.
- Used vehicles, provided there is still time in the remainder of the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Vehicles purchased or leased for personal or household use.
To ensure that your defective vehicle falls under California’s lemon law statutes, please contact our Attorney specializing in lemon law in LA to schedule your free consultation.
What is Considered a Valid Vehicle Defect?
A qualifying defect must ‘substantially impair’ the vehicle’s basic use, value, or safety.
Common defects that could be the central factor in a lemon law claim include:
- Air conditioner mold.
- Anti Lock brake system failures.
- Battery issues, such as frequently dying or draining irregularly.
- Braking problems.
- Defective airbags.
- Defective coolant system.
- Defective door locks.
- Defective fuel gauges.
- Defective mechanical latches and doors.
- Defective seat belts.
- Defective speedometers.
- Engine failures.
- Engine fires.
- Electrical problems.
- Inadequate acceleration.
- Malfunctioning engine computer.
- Navigation or GPS system issues.
- Power steering loss.
- Premature rotor wear.
- Sound system problems.
- Transmission issues.
- Uncontrolled acceleration.
- Unexplained steering pull.
- Transmission problems.
If your vehicle is under manufacturer warranty and has any of the above defects, it could be considered a lemon. Speak to our experienced legal team to learn more about California lemon law claims and how to proceed with your case.
What is Not Covered by Lemon Law in California?
Although many vehicle defects are covered by lemon law in California, certain motor vehicle problems will not be covered.
While some of the following defects are not covered by California lemon car law, there may still be legal options for car owners facing these issues.
What Vehicle Problems and Defects Aren’t Covered by Lemon Law?
California lemon law does not cover the following:
- Auto dealership fraud.
- Defects caused by car accidents.
- Commercial vehicle fleets.
- Immaterial defects.
- Improper lending practices.
- Modified vehicles.
- Out-of-state sales.
- Owner negligence.
- Private party sales.
- Vehicle repossessions.
- Vehicles that are unregistered according to the California vehicle code.
- Vehicles that have been abused by their owners or by other parties.
- Vehicles with expired warranties.
- Unauthorized repairs.
What is Considered a Material Defect?
The definition of a ‘material defect’ is any motor vehicle defect that affects the value, daily use, or inherent safety of the motor vehicle.
If a defect affects the vehicle value, that means that you can’t sell the vehicle for the same price that it would be worth if it did not have such a defect. Defects that affect a car’s use are those that affect your ability to drive the vehicle in the way it was intended. Vehicle defects that affect a vehicle’s safety are those that put the driver, their passengers, and others who share the road with them in danger if the vehicle is driven.
If a car’s defects do not meet one or all these material defect standards, it may not be considered a lemon. A defect must substantially impair the car’s use, value, or safety.
What Happens in Instances of Dealership Fraud?
Car dealerships that misrepresent vehicles for sale are violating the law. However, just because a dealership has defrauded you, does not mean your car necessarily qualifies as a lemon. While California law does provide a remedy for car buyers defrauded by dealers, their case likely does not qualify for a lemon claim. Instead, you may pursue A tort lawsuit against the dealership to recover compensation.
What if Your Motor Vehicle Warranty Has Expired?
Lemon law, at its core, is meant to provide car buyers the ability to enforce the terms of the manufacturer’s factory warranties. All new vehicles in California come with a factory warranty.
So, if a new car owner discovers a material defect within the window of their manufacturer warranty, they may be able to seek recourse thanks to lemon law. However, certain other rules apply.
The warranty must have been issued by the auto manufacturer themselves. Extended warranties, even certified pre-owned warranties, may also count. Service contracts sold by car dealerships do not count towards lemon law cases. A valid warranty must still be in effect as of the date of the first repair attempt for the known defect.
Additionally, the warranty must address and cover the known defects. Warranty periods are not the same for all vehicles or all vehicle parts. Get informed with the help of lemon law lawyers.
Will They Deny Your Claim if They Suspect Car Owner Negligence?
Defects caused by poor maintenance, neglect, abuse, or poor vehicle upkeep will not be considered for lemon law claims. If the auto manufacturers believe that the defects were caused by your own hand, they will dismiss your lemon claim.
What if Your Car Was Serviced by an Unauthorized Mechanic?
If you are experiencing an issue with your vehicle and it is under a factory warranty, you must take that vehicle to a certified mechanic for repairs. Attempts to repair the vehicle yourself or seek out unauthorized agents for the repairs could result in any lemon case viability being dismissed.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Experienced California Lemon Law Attorneys Today
Lemon law has many exceptions and can feel complicated at times. It is highly recommended that you retain professional legal counsel experienced in handling lemon law cases in your state. Our law firm has extensive experience representing clients in lemon law cases.
To learn more about our services, please schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation today. You may contact us at 626-600-0890.