With the average cost of a new car in the United States now at $33,560 – and that is before California adds its 7.5% sales tax (another $2,500+) and the cost of title fees – the last word you want to hear after shelling out the kind of cash is “defect.” And while the number of defects in new cars is not as high as it used to be, such overall improvements in automobile design and manufacture is cold comfort when you are the one stuck with a $36,000+ purchase that has a problem affecting the use, value, or safety of the car. But, you are not alone, as thousands of new car purchasers end up with defective cars each year. Fortunately, California law is on your side, and you may be eligible to obtain the full repurchase value of your car under California’s Lemon Law. Before we get into that, however, let us take a look at the most common types of new car defects you are likely to see.
Earlier this year, Subaru recalled over 48,000 new cars for steering defects which caused the movement of the steering wheel on Outbacks to have no impact on the car’s direction. Obviously, this is a terrifying thought, but Subaru is far from the only manufacturer that has recalled cars due to steering defects in recent years.
With most cars, engines do eventually deteriorate resulting in replacement costs starting at several thousand dollars and only going up from up there. But current engines are designed to last for years and years, so if you are experiencing significant engine problems in the first 18 months of your car’s life, you may have a lemon on your hands.
Although a car that eats up more gas than was stated at purchase might not result in a collision due to that issue, it can cost you big in the long run. Even a small 5.5% deviation between the stated gas usage and actual usage can cost you several thousands over a five-year period, so imagine what a larger deviation can cost over the lifetime of your car.
When Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin died in his driveway after being pinned by his new Jeep Grand Cherokee, investigators suspected there was an issue with the shifting mechanism which made the driver unaware that the car was not in park. Yelchin was not the only person to complain of the shifting defect, and a recall of 1.1 million Jeep Grand Cherokees occurred just after his death.
Electrical System Defects
Over the decades, our automobiles have increasingly come to resemble computers with wheels, which has provided some incredible technological advances (with many more to come), but these advances have also presented a whole new set of potential defects which can keep an otherwise fine car from operating safely and consistently. Such problems can range from air conditioning systems that do not work to far more serious concerns like cars that simply lose power in the middle of traffic.
Bringing a Lemon Law Claim in California
Under California law, you have the right to pursue remedies against your new car’s manufacturer/seller if the car is still under warranty and there is a defect affecting the value, use, or safety of the car which the manufacturer has not addressed after a reasonable number of repair attempts.
Thomas Ledbetter at The Ledbetter Law Firm, APC spent a decade working as legal counsel to automotive manufacturers and dealers in responding to consumer litigation. During that time he gained a wealth of knowledge and experience litigating lemon law claims. He now represents California consumers in achieving fair and just outcomes to their lemon law claims. Contact The Ledbetter Law Firm, APC to see how we can help you achieve victory in your lemon law claim.