10 Signs Your Electric Car Is a Lemon

Electric cars are becoming more and more popular in California – and for good reason. They’re better for the environment, cheaper to operate and provide a better overall driving experience. It’s even estimated that by 2035, nearly 50% of all new car sales will be electric.

However, as with any mass-produced product, there are bound to be a few defective ones in the bunch. That’s why the California lemon law was created – to protect consumers from being stuck with faulty vehicles.

To qualify for the electric car lemon law in California, a vehicle must:

  • Be covered under the manufacturer or dealer warranty when the defect or nonconformity was first reported; and
  • Have one or more defects/nonconformities that substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety; and
  • Have been subjected to a reasonable number of repair attempts by a manufacturer-certified facility to fix the defect/nonconformity; or
  • Have been out of service for repairs on one or more defects/nonconformities for 30 cumulative days; and
  • The defect or nonconformity must not have been caused by driver abuse or neglect.

So, how can you pinpoint a lemon electric car?

Here are ten telltale signs you may be eligible for benefits under CA lemon law.

1. The Car Has Been in the Shop for Repairs Multiple Times

If you’ve taken your car in for warranty-covered repairs more than once, and the issue still hasn’t been resolved, you may have a lemon. In California, a vehicle is considered a lemon if it has one or more substantial defects that cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts (usually at least two).

If the manufacturer insists that they are allotted more than two repair attempts, you may want to contact a lemon law attorney. Sometimes, the manufacturer will tell you false information to delay the process in the hopes that you’ll give up and move on. Don’t fall for it.

2. The Dealer is Offering a Substantial Discount

Once a lemon electric car has been identified, the manufacturer may repurchase it from the consumer and resell it as a used vehicle. This is also known as a lemon buyback. When this happens, the dealer or manufacturer may sell the car at a significantly reduced price (without fixing the problem).

Some buyers choose to purchase lemon electric cars at a discount, knowing they may have to put up with a few defects. This is a risky way to get your hands on a newer car model without paying full price.

Unless you’re confident in your mechanic skills – or plan to spend a lot of money to fix the defect, we recommend avoiding these types of vehicles. Electric car lemon law buybacks are usually a nuisance and a safety risk.

3. The Car Has a Short Range

If you’ve recently purchased an electric vehicle and discover that it doesn’t seem to have the range advertised, that’s a red flag.

When it comes to electric cars, the average range is between 200-250 miles before recharging. So, if your car frequently needs to be plugged in after going short distances, it could indicate a battery defect.

It may be possible to have the battery fixed or replaced under warranty. However, you may qualify to pursue benefits under lemon law for electric cars if they cannot mitigate the issue.

4. The Brakes Aren’t Working Correctly

You cannot make any compromises on the integrity of your vehicle’s brakes.

If your electric car is pulling to one side when you brake, or the brakes are making strange noises, take it to a qualified mechanic right away. These could be indicators of a serious issue that need to be addressed before you get behind the wheel again.

Many times, brake issues can be resolved with a simple adjustment. But sometimes a brake issue is indicative of an underlying defect. You may be entitled to a refund or replacement under California lemon law if this is the case.

5. The Car Takes a Long Time to Charge

If your electric car takes an unusually long time to charge – even if it’s plugged into a high-speed charger – it could signal more battery problems.

A properly functioning battery should only take a few hours to fully charge. If yours takes significantly longer, it may be defective.  Charging defects interfere with vehicle use and can cause serious safety concerns. As such, they often qualify as a substantial impairment under the lemon law for electric cars.

6. There’s a Burning Smell

A burning smell coming from your electric car is never a good sign. In most cases, it indicates an issue with the battery, brakes, or wiring system.

If you notice a burning smell while driving, pull over and call for help right away. Do not attempt to drive the car any further, as your vehicle is likely unsafe. Instead, get your car towed to a manufacturer-certified mechanic and have them inspect it for defects.

7. The Vehicle is Making Strange Noises

Electric cars are notoriously quiet. If yours is making strange noises, it’s cause for concern.

A whining, grinding, and screeching sound often indicate issues with the electric motor or drivetrain. If left unaddressed, these defects can lead to costly repairs down the road – or even render the car unusable.

If a mechanic is unable to fix the issue, consult a lemon law attorney. They will help you determine if you have a case and take the necessary steps to pursue legal action.

8. You Notice Shaking and Pulling

Shaking and pulling can be caused by many things, including defects in the electric motor, drivetrain, or suspension. Regardless of the cause, it’s not normal.

If you notice that your vehicle shifts to one side, especially at high speeds, it could be a simple alignment issue. However, if the problem persists after the alignment is checked, it may indicate a more significant problem.

9. The Software Keeps Glitching

As electric cars become more software-dependent, manufacturers are still working out the kinks. So, it’s not uncommon for buyers to experience software glitches from time to time.

However, if the software on your car is constantly malfunctioning, it could be a sign of a larger problem. Sometimes, these defects can be resolved with an update. Other times, they’re indicative of an underlying hardware issue.

10. The Car Just Doesn’t Seem “Right”

This may sound vague, but it’s important to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right about your electric vehicle, there’s probably a good reason.

Don’t ignore these subtle red flags, whether it’s the way the car handles, an unusual noise, or a strange smell. Doing so could put your safety – and the safety of others – at risk.

Take your vehicle to a manufacturer-certified electric car mechanic for a thorough inspection. They may be able to identify the root cause of the problem and make necessary repairs. However, if they cannot get to the bottom of it, you may be able to pursue a claim under lemon law for electric cars.

Need a CA Lemon Law Attorney?

If you believe you were sold a lemon electric car, don’t hesitate to reach out to Cline APC. Our experienced lemon law attorneys can help you determine if you have a case and the best course of action.

We understand how frustrating and overwhelming it can be to deal with a defective vehicle — but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 888-982-6915, send an email to info@clineapc.com, or fill out a free case evaluation.

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