What types of Car Defects apply under the Lemon Law?



For many people, the process of buying a car is an emotionally vested experience for them. You make a decision that now is the time to buy a new car.  After making the decision, you find the car you like. But not just any car. You find that car. At this point, excited and motivated, you begin to plan financially to take “her” home.

Months pass by as you work your 9-5 job earning your modest salary, with a target date in mind to purchase that dream car you’ve planned to buy. The time finally comes, and today is the day. You are finally going to be able to take your “dream car” home.

At the car dealer, you complete an agreement to purchase the vehicle and you drive away in it. It is a proud day as all your patience and hard work has finally paid off. You stop at a red light a few blocks away from your home, and smoke begins to rise from the engine. The smoke is so thick that you can barely see well enough through the windshield to drive the car home. You are furious, and rightfully so. You did not even get to enjoy your dream car for a full day and it has already required repair. You wonder what rights you have as a consumer so that you are not held liable for this defect your car has just unveiled that you were not initially aware of at the time you made the purchase.

Take a deep breath and relax. All is not lost. According to the Lemon Law, certain defects in material and workmanship are covered by the warranty. In addition, the consumer is not liable for defects that substantially impair the use, safety, or market value of the vehicle; and that were not caused by an accident, abuse or neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations to the vehicle.

As a result, in the aforementioned scenario, you would have a good case to have your car repaired and possibly receive compensation, because smoke coming from the engine would substantially hinder you from using your brand-new dream car. On the other hand, if you drive away and, for example the air conditioning does not work, the use and/or market value of the car is not substantially impaired, and a lemon law claim would not apply.

All car consumers should know that they are entitled to certain rights when purchasing a vehicle and should not have to be held responsible for certain car defects that may stop them from enjoying that dream car that they have earned, and therefore deserve to drive uninhibited.


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