California residents who purchase defective vehicles are granted protections under state law. A vehicle may be labeled as a lemon if it has spent more than 30 days in the shop or if four attempts have been made to repair the same issue. Only two attempts are required to fix serious issues that may render a car dangerous to operate. The defect must appear within 18 months or during the first 18,000 miles that the car is driven.
Owners can help themselves by making sure to keep records of all attempts to repair a vehicle. It can also be a good idea to document the time and place where the problem first became apparent. To initiate a lemon law case, an individual must contact the manufacturer of the vehicle as opposed to the dealership where it was purchased.
If the car is deemed to be a lemon, the owner can choose to replace the vehicle or accept a cash payment. If an initial claim is denied, it may be possible to take a case to court to seek compensation or a replacement vehicle. Those who pursue a claim should be patient as it can take weeks or months for the manufacturer to review it and come to a conclusion. It is worth noting that used cars may not be covered by the California lemon law.
A person who wants to make a legal claim against a car manufacturer may want to do so with the help of an attorney. An attorney might be able to make phone calls, send letters and otherwise stay on top of a case on behalf of a vehicle owner. This may make it easier to obtain a favorable outcome whether the parties reach a settlement or resolve the issue in court.