Longevity of Ownership

A recent report by R. L. Polk and Company has concluded that Americans are keeping their cars and trucks on the road for record periods as the economy has weakened. Through mid-2008, the median age of cars in operation rose to 9.4 years, up from highs of 9.2 years in 2007 and 2006, the report stated. The median age of trucks of all classes in operation last year was 7.6 years, up from 7.3 years in 2007 and 6.9 years in 2006.

Keeping vehicles on the road longer means that inherent defects can have more of an impact—they might not show up until the car or truck is older. Hence it is important that the owner knows what kind of coverage is still on the vehicle, and what his or her rights are available under the lemon law of the state.

“It is important to know when your warranty expires,” said Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “It is also important to know that certain parts of the vehicle, such as the power train and engine, can have longer warranties than the overall warranty for the car or truck. Checking the warranty manual for the car will reveal such details.”

Taylor is well aware of such issues, having followed them closely for many years. 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.

Another factor important for consumers to know is that if a vehicle owner has been attempting to get the vehicle repaired and the warranty expires, that owner still has rights under the lemon law. “In most states, including California, a manufacturer’s duty to repair a defect under warranty can continue beyond the warranty period,” Taylor explained. “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.”

This rule was established to prevent manufacturers from performing “band-aid” repairs, design to correct—or hide—the defect only until the warranty expires, and then saying, “We have no further obligation.” The law requires a permanent cure.

If you think you might be driving a lemon, the best course of action is to contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.

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