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We Are Lawyers4Lemons

Experienced attorneys here to help you recover costs associated with persistent automotive problems.

Is Your Tesla Lemon Law Material?

Tesla car charging

Widely known for their modern design and technological innovation, Tesla vehicles are in high demand. With many models costing $50,000 or more — and some priced over $200,000 — buying a Tesla is a significant investment. If you’re in the market for one, you expect to purchase a reliable luxury car with the most advanced tech features and no required maintenance. Importantly, you assume that for the money you’re willing to spend, your new Tesla won’t have any quality issues or manufacturing defects. However, even a Tesla can be a lemon.

When is a Tesla a Lemon?

California Lemon Law helps to protect consumers from the financial burden, inconvenience, and potential injuries that could arise from purchasing a vehicle within the state that does not conform to its warranty.

If you bought a Tesla and began to notice that it had any of the following problems, it might be a lemon:

  • Charging problems
  • Autopilot malfunctions
  • Steering wheel issues
  • Software or computer problems
  • Squeaking or rattling sounds
  • Falcon door malfunctions
  • Sensor issues
  • Powertrain defects

If you think your Tesla is a lemon, it’s important to take the vehicle to a Tesla service center for a full diagnostic and repairs. Several reasonable attempts at repairs must have been made before you're entitled to invoke the lemon law. If Tesla still can’t repair the defect, or the vehicle has been in the shop for thirty or more days, you might be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle as long as it’s still under the original manufacturer’s warranty.

Tesla Warranties

Just because Tesla manufactures high-tech vehicles does not guarantee that they will be without flaws or defects. Since they run on electric, Tesla vehicles are often subject to different kinds of problems than those that might occur in gas-powered cars — many consumers have complained about Tesla battery or charging issues. There have also been numerous reports by Tesla owners who say they experienced touchscreen and computer malfunctions.

Tesla provides a new vehicle limited warranty for its Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y vehicles, covering the first four years or 50,000 miles driven — whichever comes first. Used Tesla vehicles are covered by whatever remains on the warranty at the time of transfer.

Specifically, Tesla states that its warranty “covers the repair or replacement necessary to correct defects in the materials or workmanship of any parts manufactured or supplied by Tesla under normal use” during the period.

Tesla includes an additional warranty for the battery and drive units in their vehicles — this warranty covers the Tesla Model X for a period of eight years or the first 150,000 miles. In accordance with its warranty, Tesla also covers damage resulting from battery fires, even those caused by user error. It should be noted that the battery warranty gives Tesla the discretion to replace a battery with either a “new, reconditioned, or remanufactured part” — this means your repair could potentially be made with a battery that was once deemed “defective” and refurbished.

Other warranties included in the new vehicle limited warranty are those made concerning the supplemental restraint system, providing for five years or 60,000 miles of coverage for the seat belt and airbag system. Tesla also provides for body and paint repairs in its new vehicle limited warranty.

If your Tesla fails to conform to its warranty, and the vehicle cannot be repaired after several attempts, it may be time to assert your right to a refund or replacement vehicle under the lemon law.

Tesla Lemon Law: Model X

Countless California consumers have reported significant defects with the Tesla Model X from 2015 to present, including door and autopilot malfunctions, unintended acceleration, software problems, and paint issues. Many Tesla Model X vehicles have also been reported to leave the assembly line with windows that don’t operate properly, squeaking or rattling issues, and various other safety problems such as windshields that cause “double vision.”

Additionally, Tesla Model X vehicles have been subject to a number of voluntary recalls over the last few years for manufacturing defects to the electric parking brakes, problems with the power steering component, and faulty seat reclining mechanisms.

The issues that owners of the Tesla Model X have experienced are not only a hassle to get repaired — they can be extremely dangerous and create hazardous conditions for the vehicle’s driver and passengers. If you’ve experienced any of these problems with your Tesla Model X, you may be able to invoke the lemon law to protect your rights.

Tesla Lemon Law Buybacks

When a manufacturer repurchases a lemon from a consumer who is entitled to a buyback, the defect is typically repaired and the vehicle is resold to another consumer as a “lemon law buyback.” However, manufacturers and dealers must first meet certain requirements under California law to resell lemon vehicles. Lemon law buybacks must be clearly labeled to ensure the consumer is aware that they are purchasing a vehicle with a lemon history.

Not all Tesla lemon buybacks are unsafe or have unrepairable problems — some vehicles are labeled as lemons simply because they remained in the repair shop for over thirty days. However, if you’re thinking about purchasing a used Tesla or one that has been labeled a lemon law buyback, make sure you do your diligence and conduct an inquiry into the history of the vehicle. If it was a lemon buyback or a “goodwill” repurchase, you have a right to know what defects occurred to the vehicle and what repairs were made to remedy them.

Under the California Automotive Consumer Notification Act, a lemon — including Tesla lemon vehicles — must be labeled with a decal indicating its history. A consumer must also be provided with and sign a disclosure statement that provides notice of the vehicle’s lemon status. Failure to disclose that the vehicle's nonconformities and lemon history may constitute fraud.

Contact a Southern California Lemon Law Attorney

If you purchased a Tesla in California that continues to malfunction or have problems after several repair attempts, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle under the lemon law. An experienced California Lemon Law attorney who handles Tesla lemon law cases can advise you of your legal rights and remedies.

The Ledbetter Law Firm helps people in Southern California who have experienced lemon law issues with their Tesla vehicles obtain a vehicle replacement or the refund that they deserve. With offices conveniently located in San Diego and Torrance, California, telephone and video conferencing options are also available. Call (619) 374-0252 to schedule a consultation with a California Lemon Law attorney today.

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