One of the last things we expect after spending a significant amount of money on a vehicle is that it will break down, malfunction, or have a defect. Because a car has so many parts and elements, there is always the risk that an individual car will just be a bad apple, or that the manufacturer of the vehicle will produce a mass of them with a defective part or parts. Unfortunately, defects are a reality that most people do not think about until they are faced with the problem and have to scramble to get it fixed and move on with their lives.
Common Vehicle Issues
Vehicle defects can range from substantial defects that affect the safety of the driver and passengers all the way down to simple cosmetic defects. It is important to remember that not all defects are covered by lemon laws, however, most times defective vehicles are protected by the law and must be repaired by the dealer or manufacturer if under warranty. Some of the most common problems that owners of lemons will experience include:
- Frequent stalling
- Seat belt failure
- Uncontrolled acceleration
- Steering problems
- Engine fire
- Fuel line leaks
- Rapid wearing of the brakes and rotors
- Malfunctions of cruise control
- Defective airbags
What is a Lemon?
Defects that cause a car to be considered a lemon are often substantial and can cause serious disruption in the normal function of the car or pose a safety risk to those in the car. Specifically, cars are lemons when the defect substantially affects the vehicle’s use, value, or safety and the defect cannot be fixed after a reasonable amount of attempts.
The standard that a vehicle must meet to be considered a lemon is that it must substantially affect the use, value, or safety, which is not actually a hard standard to reach. This is because many defects affect the vehicle’s safety because they are so heavy and are operated at high speeds. The vehicle’s defect does not actually have to put the owner in danger, but rather, have the potential to. The possibility of a future accident due to the defect is enough to be a substantial defect that affects the safety of the vehicle.
There are many times where a vehicle may be damaged or may require general maintenance due to normal wear and tear. These are not considered to be defects because they occur with normal use of any vehicle. There are many times when a problem with a car is not a defect, but there are some warning signs for owners to be aware of that may signal a car defect, including:
- Sudden change in acceleration
- Sudden change in braking time
- Battery dying repeatedly
- Repeated check engine light signals
- Malfunctions of the brake lights or headlights
- Malfunctions with the fuel gauges
- Suspicious noises
If you are experiencing any of the above problems, you may have a lemon and may be entitled to relief under California lemon law. If you have questions or concerns about your vehicle and your rights under the law, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.