When you buy a new car or a used vehicle, you expect that it will work and get you where you need to go. Some people realize after purchasing a vehicle that it is in fact a lemon. It has something substantially wrong with it that the owner cannot easily repair.
California protects consumers both from new vehicles with latent defects and used vehicles with undisclosed and hard-to-repair issues. If you discover that you have recently purchased a lemon, you have certain rights under California law.
How quickly do you need to act if you intend to bring a lemon law claim against a dealership?
Issues must arise in the near future after your purchase
You cannot drive a car for six years and then claim that the issues you have with it at that point make your car a lemon. Instead, the problems with the vehicle need to manifest soon enough after the transaction. This makes it reasonable for you to assume that the dealership involved knew about the issue or failed to catch the problem before selling the vehicle to you. If it is a new vehicle, then the issue should arise soon enough to show it is a manufacturing defect, not a result of wear and tear.
Typically, you need to notice a significant issue with your vehicle in the first 18 months after you purchase it for the lemon law protections in California to apply to your purchase. The sooner after your purchase the issues arise, the more straightforward it may be for you to make a claim. You may be able to ask for repairs or even have the dealership buy the vehicle back from you.
Understanding the details about lemon laws in California may protect you as a consumer and can also help to hold dealerships to account for engaging in unfair practices.