Automotive recalls and lemon law criteria

California car dealers often want buyers to believe that they are purchasing the highest quality and safest vehicle available on the market. However, The Truth About Cars reports that Subaru, within the past two years, has issued recalls for partial welding, faulty software, weak valve springs and, most recently, defective brake light switches. New car models may come off the line with some defect periodically; however, when a particular manufacturer seems to develop a trend of poor quality control, the term “lemon” could come to mind.

Even though recalls for a serious safety issue does not necessarily invoke Lemon Laws, the California Lemon Law Presumption has a relatively straightforward legal definition of a “new vehicle” and guidelines for what would constitute a “reasonable number” of repair attempts. The “reasonable number of attempts” for the same warranty issue varies between two and four or more, depending on the severity of the problem and the likelihood that the error will cause serious bodily harm or death. The Presumption also provides for vehicles out of service a cumulative of 30 days or more for the same problem.

The Lemon Law covers cars sold or leased in the state of California, and the vehicles may be new or used. The car must be under the original manufacturer’s warranty period, and the repair attempts must occur within the first 18 months of delivery to the driver or 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever comes first. A consumer with a car that has persistent defective issues that meet the above criteria may fall under the protection of the Lemon Law, and the law could entitle him or her to a replacement or a refund.