When you purchase or lease a vehicle, you have certain expectations as to the condition of that car. The biggest of which is that it will be safe and reliable. Unfortunately, every now and again, car defects slip through the cracks.
That’s why California lemon law exists – to protect consumers from being stuck with defective cars. These laws provide remedies for those who have purchased or leased a vehicle (under warranty) with one or more ongoing defects. Typically, in the form of a lemon buyback or replacement vehicle.
In order to qualify under California lemon law, a vehicle must:
- Be covered under the manufacturer or dealer warranty when the defect/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 at least 30 days; and
- The defect/nonconformity must not have been caused by driver abuse or neglect.
If your vehicle fits these criteria, you may be entitled to compensation for your defective car. But what kinds of defects are actually covered under California lemon law? Here’s everything you need to know.
Common Automobile Defects Found in a Lemon Car
A vehicle defect can present itself in a variety of ways, and if they impact its use, value, or safety, they are likely covered by California lemon law. Some of the most common lemon car defects include:
A defective airbag system is a safety hazard that should not be taken lightly. If your vehicle’s airbags fail to deploy upon impact or even deploy when they shouldn’t, you could be at risk of serious injury.
For this reason, automakers will often issue a recall to remedy this automobile defect free of charge. If you’re unsure if your car is under a recall, you can check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.
However, suppose your car is under warranty, and they cannot fix the defective airbag system after a reasonable number of attempts. In that case, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement car under California lemon law. For more information on whether you qualify, it’s best to contact an experienced lemon law lawyer in California.
Entertainment System Malfunctions
While defective entertainment systems don’t pose a safety risk, they can still be a source of major frustration. If your car’s entertainment system is faulty (e.g., the audio doesn’t work or the navigation system fails to operate properly), you should call your dealership and let them know.
If they are unable to resolve the automobile defect, then you may be entitled to compensation. This is because defective entertainment systems decrease the value of your vehicle, which is considered a qualifying vehicle defect under CA lemon law.
Steering Component Problems
Your car’s steering system is responsible for controlling the direction of your vehicle. As such, defective steering components can pose a significant hazard to you and other drivers on the road.
With that said, if you have a defective car with malfunctioning steering components, take your car in to get a diagnosis right away. The manufacturer should fix the problem free of charge if your car is under warranty. But, again, if they fail to do so after a certain number of attempts, your next step would be to file a lemon law claim.
Another common type of car defect is transmission failure. This occurs when the transmission system fails to shift into the correct gear or doesn’t engage at all. If this happens on a regular basis, it could be a sign that something is wrong with your car’s transmission system.
If you discover your vehicle has this automobile defect, you need to inform the manufacturer immediately. If they can’t resolve the car defect, consulting a lemon law attorney might be your next best option.
Which Car Defects Are Not Covered Under California Lemon Law?
While defective cars are often covered under CA lemon law, there are certain car defects that do not qualify for legal protection. Here are a few examples:
- Wear and tear due to regular use.
- Defects caused by car owner neglect or abuse.
- Issues caused by an aftermarket part or modification.
- Minor problems that do not affect the safety, value, or use of the car.
Need a Lemon Law Lawyer in California?
At Cline APC, we understand the stress and frustration vehicle defects can cause, which is why we are here to help. Our experienced California lemon law attorneys will guide you every step of the way to make sure you receive the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!