If your vehicle has recurring problems or defects that your local repair shop can’t seem to solve, you might begin to suspect that your vehicle is a lemon. Luckily, the California Lemon Law may help you get rid of your lemon and get a full refund or a vehicle replacement. Depending on the nature of the vehicle defect and the facts of your case, you may get additional compensation for your troubles.
However, there are important steps you will have to take: get repairs, get repair orders, get your documents and, finally, consult a lemon law attorney. If you suspect that your vehicle is a lemon, read our detailed breakdown of what you should do in this situation.
Table Of Contents
- Act Quickly And Understand The Lemon Law
- If You Haven’t Gotten Repairs Yet
- Locate Your Nearest Auto Dealership
- Schedule a Repair (If You Haven’t Done So)
- Report Your Vehicle Problems To A Technician
- Collect Your Repair Order
- If You Have Already Received Repairs
- Collect Your Documents
- Make A Timeline of Events
- Consult A Lemon Law Attorney
You do not have to know the entire California Lemon Law by heart, but it does not hurt to be armed with knowledge of the basics. Here are some basic facts: the California Lemon Law covers new or used motor vehicles that are sold or leased from authorized dealerships in California, as long as the vehicles were sold with the right warranties and are set aside for personal, family or household use. There are some exceptions for out-of-state purchased and vehicles registered for business. See if you fit the exceptions.
Vehicle defects are covered if the affected parts are covered by the auto manufacturer’s warranty, are not caused by aftermarket parts and are not caused by neglect or abuse of the vehicle.
On top of that, the auto manufacturer must be given a reasonable number of chances to fix your vehicle to make it conform to its warranty. This is why it’s important to bring your vehicle in for repairs. It’s even more important to keep records of those repair attempts. Otherwise, you may not be eligible to pursue a lemon law claim.
Search for the nearest dealership for your specific auto manufacturer. Remember: it should be the dealership for the automaker that made your specific vehicle. If you, for example, bring a Volkswagen to a Chrysler dealership, the dealership may not have the parts or knowledge necessary to repair your specific vehicle.
Once you find a local dealership for your vehicle, contact the dealership and try to schedule an appointment for your vehicle repairs. Keep track of when you made the appointment, as well as the date of the appointment itself.
When you arrive for your appointment, report your vehicle problems to the technician. Keep track of the problems you described at the appointment. If you have questions about expected service time, the nature of the repair or other factors, ask them.
At the end of your repair visit, you should receive a document called a “work order” or a “repair order.” This document should have the date of your appointment, the problems you reported to the technician, the repairs made on your vehicle and the cost of the repairs. The expenses should be itemized. If your repair took place under warranty, the repair order will indicate that.
If you received one or more repairs for your vehicle already, you may be advised to take it in for another repair. However, in the meantime, follow these steps to get your potential lemon law case in order.
Make sure to gather all of your paperwork. This includes your sales or lease agreement, your vehicle warranty, vehicle registration and/or other receipts or proof of ownership. Gather all of your repair orders. If you do not have a repair order for a specific repair visit, contact the dealership where the repair visit took place.
Once you’ve gathered your documents, organize them chronologically. Document the date and mileages at which the defect occurred or caused an incident. Document the dates of all communications with the auto manufacturer and repair visits at the dealership.
If your auto manufacturer is unable to repair your vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, find a lemon law attorney that offers free consultations. An experienced lemon law attorney should be able to help you understand your legal options and answer any questions you have about your lemon law rights.
Our lemon law attorneys do not expect any upfront, out of pocket payments from you. Call our experienced lemon law team for a free consultation at 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.