So When Can You Stop Taking That Lemon Back In For Repairs

The California Lemon Law requires that consumers present their vehicle for repairs a “reasonable” number of times, before invoking the Lemon Law. The attorneys at our firm have talked to thousands of consumers throughout our years of practice. A recurring theme is the question: “what constitutes reasonable” or, in other words: “when is enough enough?”

The benchmark in the California Lemon Law is four times for the same defect under warranty or 30 cumulative days for any number of different or similar defects. If the defect constitutes a safety hazard that could cause bodily injury or death, then the benchmark is two times. But the benchmark is just that – a guideline. It is not a requirement. I have seen manufacturers repurchase vehicles after three repair attempts where the three repair attempts came in the first 5,000 miles. I have also seen manufacturers resist repurchasing vehicles where there have been nine or ten repair attempts, where the repair attempts stretched over 60,000 or 70,000 miles. (We eventually got our client a new replacement truck.)

One argument that we use at our firm is that the case of Krotin v. Porsche held that the California Lemon Law imposes an affirmative duty upon manufacturers to repurchase lemon vehicles after a reasonable number of repair attempts have yielded no fix. The rationale behind the Krotin case is that manufacturers have more knowledge, resources and power than any one individual consumer will every have. They are also charged with knowledge of the Lemon Law. Therefore, if your car starts to look like a lemon, the manufacturer should step up and offer to buy it back or replace it.

To summarize, it’s tempting to use that phrase that lawyers love to use “it depends,” but it really does depend – on the type of defect, on the mileage at the time you make the claim, and on whether the manufacturer knows your lawyer. If you think that you have given the manufacturer a reasonable amount of time to repair your vehicle, but the vehicle is still unrepaired, call an experienced lemon law attorney. Most will provide you with a free consultation, so there is no risk in getting that little bit of information that might help you ditch that lemon.

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