Does a Bad Power Steering Pump Make My Vehicle a Lemon?
The power steering pump is an integral element in any motor vehicle, and it must be in good working order for your car to operate safely. Specifically, the power steering pump is a component that directs fluid from the car’s reservoir to the steering system. While this part of a vehicle is subject to wear and tear over time, a new vehicle shouldn’t experience steering pump issues. If you purchased a car, SUV, or truck with a bad power steering pump, you might have a lemon and be entitled to assert your rights to a refund or replacement vehicle under California’s lemon law.
Signs of a Bad Power Steering Pump
The purpose of the power steering pump is to make the steering function in the vehicle work more efficiently. The part is made up of a slotted rotor that allows fluid to enter the pump by rotating. Once the fluid enters the power steering system reservoir, it helps the steering gear apply the correct pressure so that the wheels can turn smoothly.
There are several signs that a power steering pump may not work properly, including:
- Whining noises when turning the wheel
- Slow steering wheel response
- Difficulty steering
- Stiff steering wheel
- Groaning or squealing noises
- Fluid leaks
- Oxidation of power steering fluid
If you have experienced any of these issues, it’s essential to ensure you bring your vehicle to an authorized dealership immediately. Not only can a bad steering pump make operating the vehicle dangerous, but continuing to drive a car with a faulty steering pump can cause damage to other components of the vehicle. If the issue cannot be remedied after several repair attempts have been made, you might have a lemon.
When is a Car a Lemon Due to a Bad Power Steering Pump?
Just because your car has a bad power steering pump doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a lemon. There are specific legal criteria that must be met in order for a vehicle to qualify for a refund or replacement vehicle under California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, also known as the “lemon law.”
The lemon law is meant to protect consumers from the hassle and inconvenience of purchasing a new or used vehicle with a problem that impairs its safety or value, including power steering pump issues. Specifically, a car must still be under the original manufacturer’s warranty when the defect is discovered in order for the lemon law to apply.
Additionally, a reasonable number of repair attempts must also be made before you can file a claim to allow the manufacturer the opportunity to remedy the defect. In many cases, four repair attempts will be considered sufficient, but only two are necessary if the problem could result in injury or fatality. A lemon law case may also be filed if the vehicle was in the repair shop for a total of 30 days or more.
If a power steering pump issue (or any other defect) arises within 18 months of the vehicle’s delivery or the first 18,000 miles driven, the vehicle will be presumed to be a lemon under California law.
What Damages Are Awarded in a Lemon Law Claim for a Bad Power Steering Pump?
In the event that your vehicle has a bad power steering pump that cannot be repaired, you may be able to commence a lawsuit under the lemon law. Significantly, a prevailing plaintiff has the option of a refund or substantially similar replacement. Compensation may also include incidental damages incurred, attorney’s fees, litigation costs, and in some cases, a “civil penalty.”
Incidental damages for a bad power steering pump can include the costs of reimbursement for towing, vehicle rentals, and out-of-pocket repairs. A civil penalty may be awarded if you can establish that the manufacturer willfully and knowingly violated their obligations under California’s lemon law. Since a civil penalty can be up to double the amount of your actual damages, a substantial amount of compensation may be awarded based on the amount of the vehicle.
Contact an Experienced Southern California Lemon Law Attorney
Not only can a vehicle with a bad power steering pump be dangerous, but repairs can be costly, time-consuming, and cause a considerable amount of inconvenience. If you have noticed power steering pump issues in your vehicle, it’s crucial to take action immediately. Importantly, you only have four years from the date you found out about the defect to commence a lemon law lawsuit. The attorneys at the Ledbetter Law Firm are dedicated to advocating for the rights of consumers in California who have purchased lemon cars and helping them obtain positive results in their cases.
The Ledbetter Law Firm provides effective counsel to clients throughout Southern California who have experienced lemon law issues with their vehicles and works to secure the replacement or the refund they deserve. With offices conveniently located in Torrance and San Diego, California, telephone and video conferencing options are also available. Call (310) 878-0067 to schedule a consultation with a California Lemon Law attorney today.