When you lease or purchase a new vehicle, it should be problem-free. It
shouldn’t break down. It shouldn’t leave you stranded by the
side of the road, and it certainly shouldn’t put your life or your
passenger’s lives in danger.
What do you do if your new vehicle is having mechanical problems or endangering
your safety? What if instead of enjoying your new vehicle, it’s
turning into a real headache because its problems have forced you to return
to the dealer for service, not once but multiple times?
If a dealer cannot repair a defective vehicle, the consumer is protected
under California’s lemon law, assuming the defects are covered under
the manufacturer’s warranty. These protections are provided by the
Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, otherwise known as California’s
What About the 18,000 or 18-Month Rule?
If you’re like a lot of consumers, you’ve been doing your research
on the Internet. Your research may have led you to wonder, “Does
the lemon law only apply to the first 18,000 miles or 18 months of the
vehicle?” In a word – no. The mileage and “presumption”
language of the Act are often and erroneously believed to be a limitation.
But it is NOT. Without getting too technical, this information is used
by the court only at the time of trial, and gives the consumer some advantages.
But, the actual test is whether someone has given a manufacturer a reasonable
opportunity to repair a substantial defect on the vehicle.
Fortunately for consumers, California’s lemon law is not strictly
limited by the miles or age of the vehicle. As long as the manufacturer’s
new car warranty is still in effect, the law applies. Sometimes, consumers
have even more time. In many cases, a vehicle will still qualify under
the lemon law, even if the vehicle is outside the
warranty period, as long as the first attempt to repair the defective vehicle occurred
before the warranty expired.
We hope this post has answered your questions. If you have purchased or
leased a defective vehicle, we urge you to
contact Norman Taylor & Associates
to set up a
free case evaluation. We would be happy to help you
if you have
to file a lemon law case in California.