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The Ledbetter Law Firm, APC

Los Angeles, California, Lemon Law Blog

Toyota still recalling vehicles, and some could be in Los Angeles

It seems as though several years have gone by since the initial recall of defective airbags made by Takata. The issue required the recall of millions of vehicles across the world, including many here in Los Angeles, beginning in 2016. Despite this, Toyota continues to have to issue recalls for this particular defect.

Here it is 2019, and the car manufacturer recently issued yet another recall for the defective airbags. This time, it affects some 1.7 million Toyota vehicles. Reports indicate that this is not a new recall, but instead, a continuation of the one begun over two years ago now. Apparently, another 16.7 million may still need to be fixed, and owners could receive notices on them at some point in the future.

California Ford truck owners claim trucks fail to reverse

As motor vehicles evolve and advance, new car buyers may be amazed at the capabilities their vehicles have. It may seem at times as if the car or truck can think for itself, anticipate the driver's moves and even adjust for conditions in the environment. However, what does a driver do when the vehicle will not back up? It seems like a basic thing to expect from a vehicle, but California owners of Ford F-150s are finding their trucks cannot always perform this function.

A proposed class action claim against Ford describes a disturbing defect in F-150s manufactured after 2012. When drivers put the truck in reverse, it fails to engage. The engine suddenly races as high as 3,000 RPM, but the vehicle does not move. Drivers are forced to turn the truck off and restart it before they can back the truck up.

California's lemon law may apply to RVs, too

Not everyone understands the joys of RV living. Whether one purchases an RV or trailer for family vacations or plans and saves for a retirement of traveling across the country, the choice of vehicle is critical. A consumer may spend much time researching models and visiting dealers before making the purchase. However, if the new purchase is a disappointment because the owner must make numerous trips to the mechanic for repairs, the RV may fall under California's lemon law.

A lemon is not necessarily a broken down used vehicle that is beyond repair. Because of the methods manufacturers use to build RVs, it is not uncommon for owners of new vehicles to experience issues with the drivetrain, chassis or chassis cab. Depending on the circumstances, issues with any of these may be covered by lemon laws.

Auto defect causes sunroofs to explode

A defect in a motor vehicle that places drivers and passengers in danger is something one would think auto makers and safety agencies would deal with swiftly. This does not seem to be the case with reports of sunroofs spontaneously exploding in California and across the country, often while drivers are operating their vehicles at highway speeds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has apparently kept records of reports of exploding sunroofs for five years, but no action concerning this auto defect has been taken on the federal level.

Since the first reports came to the attention of the NHTSA, the agency has logged over 900 incidents of exploding sunroofs. Car owners relate similar experiences of driving along, hearing a sound like a shotgun overhead and feeling chunks of glass raining down over them. Numerous injuries resulted, though none fatal, according to reports. However, safety advocates warn that the situation is a tragedy waiting to happen if a driver traveling over 60 mph suddenly cannot see because his eyes are full of glass.

Getting help with the lemon law claims process

Car buyers in California and across the country are fortunate to have laws to protect them from defective or dangerous merchandise. This includes everything from medicine to automobiles. While lawmakers have good intentions when they draft these laws, it is not always easy to get the manufacturers of these products to comply so that the consumer is satisfied. This may be especially true for the lemon law claims process.

If a consumer purchases a car that requires numerous repairs while its warranty is still valid, the manufacturer or dealer is required to replace the vehicle or make a refund to the owner. However, it is not that simple. To set the lemon law process in motion, the car owner must have given the manufacturer a reasonable chance to make the repairs. The process goes much smoother with more chance of success if the car owner keeps all relevant documents and makes a detailed log of the attempts to repair the vehicle.

Understanding the California lemon law

Dealing with car repairs is part of life. However, when a consumer purchases a new vehicle or a vehicle that is still covered by a manufacturer's warranty, it is often with the hope that the car will not need repairs, at least in the beginning. Having to make multiple trips to a mechanic can quickly become discouraging, and many turn to California's lemon law to understand their options.

The lemon law, also called the Tanner Consumer Protection Act, protects car owners from vehicles that have irreparable defects that affect the safety, value or use of the vehicle. When a car owner experiences the same malfunction numerous times within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles, or the vehicle has a series of issues in that time, the law considers that car a lemon. Nevertheless, the owner must take the appropriate steps when seeking satisfaction through the lemon law.

More defective vehicles catching fire

Recently, the media seems to be reporting more incidents of automobiles catching fire. Many of these vehicles are manufactured by Kia and Hyundai, but numerous other carmakers have dealt with similar issues when customers complain that their vehicles spontaneously combust. In fact, hundreds of complaints have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other safety agencies, yet no one has issued a recall for the defective vehicles. More concerning to California consumers may be the fact that some carmakers do not think the matter is serious.

Using euphemisms like "thermal event," Kia spokespeople promise to continue investigating reports about fires. In numerous examples of these vehicle fires, the drivers were unaware that their cars were burning until another driver got their attention to warn them. In at least one case, the fire created an electrical malfunction that trapped the driver in the vehicle while it burned.

Carmakers discourage lemon law claims process

Vehicle owners in California and elsewhere often face many frustrations when dealing with a breakdown or other defect. They are fortunate when the mechanic quickly finds the trouble and repairs the problem effectively. However, when a new vehicle breaks down and the dealer's mechanic cannot repair the problem, car owners may have to begin the lemon law claims process.

This process involves collecting proof that the owner has made several unsuccessful attempts to repair the vehicle. The owner then contacts the manufacturer to report the issue. Theoretically, the manufacturer will offer to replace or repurchase the problem vehicle. Unfortunately, some manufacturers are not eager to do this. In fact, consumer advocates report that the toll-free number many car manufacturers publicize for complaints of lemons may connect consumers to a public relations agent, not someone who can really assist them.

Fulltime RVers rely on California lemon laws

Purchasing an RV or camper is not something you do on an impulse. You may have spent years planning and saving until you were ready to shop for the perfect RV. It had to be safe, reliable and comfortable enough to live in, especially if you planned to RV full time or to spend entire seasons in your new recreational vehicle. If traveling across California or even seeing the country was your plan, you never thought you would end up with a lemon for an RV.

It's one thing to be stranded when your car breaks down. However, if your new RV lets you down, you may be stranded hundreds or thousands of miles from home, far from anything you know or anyone you trust. This may be even more frustrating if an RV manufacturer's mechanic is unable to find the reason for the problem.

More California car owners rely on lemon law rights

One of the costliest purchases a consumer makes is buying a new vehicle. Many in California have gone through the frustration and uncertainty of owning a used car, often dealing with expensive repairs while still paying on a car loan. To avoid this, they study their options and purchase a new vehicle, assuming it will be reliable. Unfortunately, some find themselves facing lemon law issues nonetheless.

Investigating the reliability of a new car includes reading reports and reviews from consumer advocates. Recently Consumer Reports released its list of the most and least-reliable new car models. The criteria with which new vehicles are judged includes the number of issues consumers and researchers have had with the vehicle over the past year. While Lexus, Mazda and Toyota have put out fairly reliable vehicles this year, consumers are frustrated with the problems they have after purchasing Tesla, Volvo or Cadillac cars.

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