Lemon Law and the Differing Warranties

Honda has just expanded a recall from last year, dealing with a potentially deadly airbag defect—once again illustrating the continuing need for the lemon law. Nearly half a million vehicles have been added to the recall, the models now including 2001-2002 Honda Accord, the 2001 Civic, and the 2002-2003 Acura TL. Owners are being told they will need to have the driver’s side steering-wheel-mounted airbag inflator either fixed or replaced.

Vehicle defects can run from simply annoying to potentially life-threatening—and lemon laws exist to protect all of us from being stuck with defective cars and trucks. It can happen, though, that consumers don’t pursue their rights under the lemon law because their vehicle warranty period has expired; they think there’s no point in filing cases.

It could be, however, that the portion of your vehicle that is defective is indeed covered, even though the warranty period for your overall vehicle has expired. If you take a close look at your warranty manual, you will find that different parts of the vehicle have different warranty periods, some of them far longer than the primary vehicle warranty. For example, the engine, emission equipment and power train may all have different warranty periods, and will be covered even after the regular warranty has run out.

It is also true that defects can be covered even after a warranty has expired.

“A warranty does not necessarily expire when the vehicle reaches the specific time or mileage limit stated in the warranty,” explained Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “In most states, including California, a manufacturer’s duty to repair a defect under warranty can continue beyond a warranty period.”

Taylor knows the ins and outs of warranties well. He has been a lemon law specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor and Associates, have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98 percent success rate.

“When a defect appears during the warranty but repair attempts fail to correct the defect, the warranty period is extended until the defect has actually been fixed,” Taylor explained further. “The warranty period is essentially a ‘discovery’ period, and the warranty continues to cover any defect uncovered during the warranty period, even if the repairs extend beyond it.”

The best course of action: if you think you might be driving a lemon, contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.

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