Beware: Which Cars Could Have the Most Lemon Complaints?

Buying a new vehicle can be an extremely stressful process. You are searching far and wide to find a vehicle that fits your needs – and your budget.

Plus, you are trying to avoid one of the biggest new car fears: buying a lemon.

Now, what exactly is a lemon? Well, according to the state of California, a car can qualify as a lemon if:

  • The vehicle has a defect, commonly referred to an impairment in use, value or safety.
  • These issues occurred while the vehicle was covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • The vehicle has been subjected to two or more unsuccessful repair attempts for a warranty-covered defect; or
  • The vehicle has been out of service for warranty-covered repairs for more than 30 days.
  • The defect was not caused by the consumer.

If your vehicle meets these criteria, your next step should involve looking into California lemon law lawyers to help file a claim against the manufacturer. But of course, this can take time.

There are some major red flags that could signal a car is a lemon – which you can sometimes spot before you buy. But one of the best places to start is researching the reliability of the car’s manufacturer and model.

While not every vehicle of a certain year or model is a lemon, there are some cars and trucks that have a few common reported issues and complaints. So, if you are on the hunt for a new or used vehicle, the following is a list of problems with a certain year/make/model vehicles. In my experience, commonly reported problems may lead to a more serious issue like a lemon car or truck.


1. Chevy Cruze

The Chevrolet Cruze was introduced in 2008. It is one of the manufacturer’s compact sedan class series. It is certainly on the more affordable end, making it a fairly popular vehicle.

However, according to the website CarComplaints, the Chevy Cruze has a few reported repeat issues:

  • Coolant leaks
  • Exterior lighting issues
  • Faulty shifting with automatic transmission
  • Electrical system problems
  • Turbo and water pump malfunctions
  • Engine overheating or stalling

These problems have been reported most commonly as seen in models made from 2011 to 2017, but if you have these sorts of problems in any year or model line, it may be a good idea to contact a California lemon law lawyer for advice.


2. GMC Acadia

The GMC Acadia is a mid-size SUV introduced to the market in 2006. But unfortunately, this model has numerous reported mechanical issues that have resulted in lemon law cases.

Recently, California lemon law lawyers presented a case for a 2017 GMC Acadia with major transmission issues. This resulted in a cash settlement as well as a trade-in for a new vehicle. There was also a recall for the 2016 Acadia due to an issue with windshield wiper motors.

Some of the problems that have been reported for the Acadia include:

  • Surging and stalling while driving
  • Engine overheating
  • Coolant leaks
  • Issues with exterior lights
  • Power steering problems
  • Transmission issues


3. Chevrolet Silverado

The Chevy Silverado pickup truck comes in both light-duty and heavy-duty models. Even though Chevrolet’s pickup trucks are well-loved by many drivers, there have been a number of problematic models reported.

There was a massive recall of over 7,000 2019-2020 Silverados due to an installation issue with the optional Advantage tri-fold soft tonneau covers. There was also recall in 2014 due to a power steering issue that seemed to be connected to internal electrical problems.


4. Dodge Challenge

However, there have been many lemon law type problems reported for the years 2015 through 2019 which include the following issues:

  • Power loss
  • Unexplained “check engine” light coming on
  • Transmission shifting issues
  • Surging when accelerating
  • Leaking fluids
  • Trouble shifting gears or gears slipping
  • Sudden lunging, stalling and vibrating


5. Ford Escape

The Ford Escape is considered a crossover vehicle. This model has been quite popular ever since it was first sold in 2000, but there have been numerous recalls and lemon law qualifying defects due to mechanical issues.

It has been reported that Ford Escape models made between 2011 to 2014 have experienced the highest number of problems. Many were recalled due to engine, transmission, and electrical issues. As recently as the 2017 model a recall was issued for seat belts that had been improperly installed.


6. Ford Focus

The Ford Focus is available in sedan, coupe, and hatchback styles. It was Ford’s global compact model. There was a major issue with the 2012 to 2016 Focus model’s “PowerShift” dual-clutch transmissions. Ford was required to pay out owners for repairs after a class action lawsuit.

Although the Ford Focus is currently a retired model in the US, buyers should still be aware that the state of California does extend lemon law to used vehicles – in some cases. You will need to seek out an experienced California lemon law lawyer to help you make your case if your used Focus model is a lemon.

seek out an experienced California lemon law lawyer to help you make your case if your used Focus model is a lemon.


7. Jeep Cherokee

According to AutoGuide, Jeep makes the top four for manufacturers with the highest legitimate complaints about lemon vehicles – with one out of every 131,574 being a lemon.

To put this into perspective, the top-rated manufacturers only had one lemon for every 2 to 11 million cars produced.

So, it should be no surprise that the Jeep Cherokee has a high number of complaints and lemon law qualifying defects. Most recently, 86,000 2019 Jeep Cherokees were recalled due to powertrain controller malfunctions. It should also be noted that both the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee have the most recalls of any Jeep models.


8. Jeep Wrangler

The classic Jeep Wrangler was first sold in 1986 and has long been a favorite of many off-road enthusiasts. Although this model is equipped for some intense road conditions, unfortunately, a quick Google search reveals a history of issues, according to

Most recently, over 18,000 2018-2019 Wranglers were recalled because of improperly welded front track bar brackets. Other past recalls have included braking defects, anti-lock braking system electronic errors, and even a fire risk for 2015 models from faulty air-conditioning lines.



If you are in the market for a new vehicle, you want to avoid the headache of purchasing a lemon and fighting the manufacturer for a refund.

Now, I am not saying all of the vehicles sold above will be a lemon. It is also true that for many, many consumers a lemon car is still a small percentage of the total year/make/model sold. But, if you do end up getting a lemon, it is not the end of the world. Our California lemon law lawyers are highly experienced. We’ll help you determine whether you qualify – and walk you through the process to file a claim.

If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you have purchased a lemon, feel free to reach out to our team. We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have.

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