If you have purchased a new or used car, truck, or motorcycle that has a significant defect that cannot be fixed, you may be able to file a Lemon Law claim against the manufacturer. However, some people may be hesitant to file a claim if they have taken their vehicle to a third-party mechanic for repairs. The good news is that in most cases, you can still file a Lemon Law claim even if you’ve had repairs done by someone other than the manufacturer or an authorized dealer.
The key factor in determining whether you can file a Lemon Law claim is whether the repairs were done within the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty. If you had repairs done that were covered by the warranty, you can still file a claim. However, if you had repairs done that were not covered by the warranty or if you paid for the repairs out of pocket, you should consult with a lemon law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.
Table of Contents
- Do You Have To Use The Dealer For Repairs (In General)
- Do You Have To Use The Dealer For Repairs (For Warranty)
- Do You Have To Use The Dealer For Repairs (For A Lemon Law Claim)
- Keep All Of Your Repair Documents
No, although if your vehicle problem is covered by your warranty and your warranty hasn’t yet expired, take advantage of warrantied repairs at your nearest local dealership. Don’t pay out of pocket if you do not have to; warranties exist for a reason.
You do not have to use the dealership for repairs or maintenance just to keep your warranty in effect. You are allowed to get routine maintenance or repairs done by a third-party mechanic, and it’s illegal for auto manufacturers to deny your warranty coverage on this basis.
However, an auto manufacturer can require you to use their repair facilities if the repair is covered by their warranty (and therefore done for free). If you get your repair done by a third-party mechanic in this case, the repair would be coming out of pocket.
Regular maintenance repairs by a third-party mechanic don’t disqualify you from filing a lemon law claim in California. However, when it comes to repairs specifically for the defect you are trying to address, it is better to visit the dealership for a warrantied repair visit. The California Lemon Law requires you to give the auto manufacturer or repair shop a reasonable number of opportunities to repair your vehicle to conform to warranty.
An auto manufacturer might try to blame the vehicle defect on outside factors, such as natural disasters, mistakes from third-party mechanics, or abuse and neglect of the vehicle.
It’s important to keep all documents related to your vehicle repairs, whether you got them done at the dealership or at a third-party repair facility. These repair documents should note the problems reported and the repairs performed on the vehicle. You should also keep any documentation of communication with both the dealership and the third-party mechanic.
You should keep a record of dates at which these repairs took place and construct a clear timeline of your vehicle defects and problems.
If you’re not sure whether you can file a lemon law claim in California, get a consultation with a lemon law attorney. A lemon law attorney can discuss your legal options and answer any questions you may have regarding your repairs and the California Lemon Law. Initial consultations are free, and you will not pay anything out of pocket if you choose to retain an attorney for your lemon law claim.
Contact our lemon law attorneys today: (877) 222-2222.
Lemon Law Help by Knight Law Group is an automotive lemon law firm that exclusively practices in California. If you are a California resident who purchased or leased a defective vehicle from a licensed dealership in California, we may be able to help you get rid of your potential lemon and recover significant cash compensation. Model year restrictions apply: 2016–Present vehicle models only. However, we cannot help those who reside outside of California or purchased their vehicle outside of California unless they are active duty members of the Armed Forces, nor will we be able to refer those to a lemon law firm in their states. To learn more about the California Lemon Law and your legal rights, visit our guides on the California Lemon Law and Used Car Lemon Law for more information.