When you buy a car, you expect it to serve you for a considerable time in the coming years. However, you may be in for frustrations and disappointments if the car keeps breaking down every now and then. The resulting inconvenience can leave you questioning your decision to buy the vehicle.
Fortunately, all is not lost. If you bought a car with manufacturing issues that affect its safety, utility or value, California lemon laws could help you recover your money.
Is your vehicle a lemon?
For a car to be deemed a lemon, it must meet some requirements. Having your vehicle repaired one or two times over minor issues does not necessarily make it a lemon. The following guidelines apply in California:
- Your vehicle is presumed a lemon if any of these occur within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles after purchase.
- The vehicle is repaired at least twice for serious safety defects that can cause injuries or death if driven.
- The manufacturer or dealer has not fixed the problems after four or more attempts.
- The vehicle has been out of service for more than 30 days because of its defects. Note that the 30 days are cumulative, not consecutive.
- The car is presumed a lemon if you can demonstrate any of the above scenarios.
You may have a valid lemon car claim
If you are having issues with your recently purchased vehicle, you may have a lemon car claim, and you should protect your rights. If the manufacturer fails to fix your vehicle after reasonable attempts, they may have to replace it or refund you.
However, lemon car laws are complex and technical. It is advisable to seek an informed evaluation of your situation, including the vehicle’s repair history. It can help you determine the best way of handling your lemon car claim.