When you purchase a vehicle, you have a rightful expectation that your vehicle will work properly and function as expected. Unfortunately, there are times when a vehicle is manufactured or sold with existing problems that cannot be fixed. When this occurs, your vehicle may be considered a lemon and you can file for compensation or replacement under California lemon law statutes.
At the Law Office of Howard D. Silver, our attorney has had decades of experience helping members of San Bernardino County seek help when they've discovered they purchased a lemon. He specializes in lemon law and consumer fraud so he understands how difficult these cases can become. Mr. Silver can use his experience to help you with your case, so please contact us today by calling (855) 341-2611.
What is a Lemon?
If you have a vehicle that you've tried to have fixed multiple times to no avail, it may be a lemon. However, there are very specific laws in California when considering a lemon, so you have to be sure that your car meets the necessary guidelines.
The following are the imperatives for your vehicle to qualify as a lemon:
- You have to have tried to have your vehicle fixed at least twice at a reputable mechanic, but the problem with your vehicle still exists
- The issue with your car has to render it unsafe or unusable
- There have been four unsuccessful attempts to fix your vehicle done by the manufacturer or dealer
- Your vehicle was unusable for over 30 total days due to warranty repairs
California law further states that the repair attempts to your vehicle must have been performed within 18 months of you purchasing the vehicle or 18,000 miles, whichever happens first.
Types of Lemon Law
Depending on the type of vehicle you have, there are multiple different statutes and requirements that apply. Here is some information about the different types of lemon law in California:
- New car lemon law -- your vehicle must be used for personal uses and not for business or it must weigh less than 10,000 pounds and be used for an LLC, corporation, association, or partnership. Your vehicle must also still be covered by the manufacturer's warranty. New car lemon law can also apply to the chassis or chassis cab of a motor home.
- Used car lemon law -- these cases vary wildly depending on specific circumstances. However, if your vehicle has problems that can't be fixed, it may fall under some form of lemon coverage if you have an expressly written warranty that was issued by the seller.
- Motorcycle lemon law -- your motorcycle must have been purchased in California for its state lemon laws to apply to your bike. Your motorcycle must also have a warranty covering whichever defect you're encountering and you must have brought it either to the manufacturer or a shop that the manufacturer authorized in order for repairs to be attempted.
- Motor home lemon law -- in California, lemon laws only apply to certain portions of a motor home which include the chassis, portion of the motor home that houses devices dedicated to propulsion, and, in some cases, your living quarters. The motor home must have been unusable for 30 days within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles of ownership due to warranty repairs. Also, you must have tried to have the motor home repairs at least twice to no avail or the manufacturer/dealer must have tried at least four times with no success to repair the problem.
Protect Yourself from a Lemon
Now that you know what constitutes lemon law in California, what can you do to avoid inadvertently purchasing a lemon? Our attorney has been helping with these types of cases for so long that he has some tips that can help when you're looking to purchase a vehicle.
Here are some ways to avoid purchasing a lemon (though a lemon may still exist without any way to avoid it):
- Do your research -- prior to purchasing a vehicle, research consumer reports, news stories, and recalls on the vehicles you're interested in purchasing. It is always good to know if your vehicle frequently had recalled parts because that could be a sign of bad manufacturing. It is also important to know how other people's experiences have gone with that type of car.
- Be thorough with the dealer -- ask every question you can think of when it comes to your new or used vehicle. Request to see a historical report of everything that has happened to a used vehicle (accidents, flooding, etc.) and, if the seller won't give it to you, don't purchase the vehicle.
- Take a test drive -- always, always, always test drive the vehicle you're interested in purchasing. Don't be afraid to do things in the test drive to show you how the vehicle will really perform when you're driving it -- brake hard, accelerate quickly, go over bumps, and listen/watch for anything out of the ordinary.
- When it comes to your warranty, pay attention -- read your warranty and determine exactly what is covered and for how long. Make sure that your dealer discloses everything about the warranty to you and, if they withhold information, walk away from the deal.
- Document everything -- save everything when you purchase a vehicle. Also, if you have to begin the process of seeking repairs, document dates, locations, prices, etc.
Our Attorney Can Help with Your Lemon Law Case
If you believe your vehicle might be a lemon, you have recourse to file a lawsuit to be reimbursed for all repair costs and maybe even for the complete replacement of your vehicle. These types of cases require the expertise of an attorney that specializes in them, so please contact Howard Silver today for a free consultation. You can contact us by filling out the form on this page or calling us at (855) 341-2611. We proudly serve clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino County, and the surrounding areas.