California Lemon Law – Transmission Issues

When you buy a new or used car under warranty in California, you should rightfully expect a vehicle that operates safely and up to the expectations reflected in the warranty. A common issue that owners and lessors of recently acquired new and used cars often face, however, is that of a faulty or completely defective transmission. As a consumer in California, you may have the right to pursue a full repurchase of the car price under California’s lemon law, and the lemon law attorneys at The Ledbetter Law Firm, APC have the experience to guide you through the lemon law process to win the justice you deserve.

Common Transmission Problems in Lemon Cars

It probably goes without saying that saying that, without a fully operating transmission, your car is not safe to drive. Here are some of the most common types of transmission problems that arise in new and used cars:

  • Leaking transmission fluids
  • Inability to move from gear to gear
  • Slipping out of gear to neutral
  • Overheating/burning
  • Noisy transmission (grinding, clunking, bumping, etc.)

Transmission replacements for a new car would generally run you between $2,000 to $3,500 in out-of-pocket costs, but if your new or used car is still under warranty, the manufacturer has the responsibility to promptly make these repairs at its cost. If that does not occur, you can pursue a lemon law claim for the repurchase of the car.

Relief Under California’s Lemon Law

Under California’s lemon law, you are entitled to a repurchase of your car if the manufacturer has failed to fix a problem with the car that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the car after a reasonable number of attempts have been made to repair the car within the warranty period. So long as the transmission problems were due to issues with the parts or workmanship (and not due to collision damage, wear and tear, or abuse), a serious transmission problem should qualify as a substantial impairment of the use, value, or safety of the car.

In California, a reasonable number of repair attempts is not defined, but a car will be presumed to be a lemon if one of following three conditions were met in the either the first 18,000 miles of use or 18 months of ownership (whichever comes first):

  • The manufacturer has made four or more attempts to fix the same problem;
  • There is an issue with the car that could cause death or serious bodily injury when driven and the manufacturer has made two attempts to fix it; or
  • The car has been out of use for service repairs for 30 days or more.

If this is the case, your best option is to work with an experienced lemon law attorney to bring a lawsuit immediately. Attempting to take matters into your hands through a demand letter or repeated correspondence with the manufacturer may serve only to cause delay and give the manufacturer a strategic advantage in any future lemon law claim.

Get Help With Your Claim From an Experienced Lemon Law Attorney

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.

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