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Is Lemon Law Limited By Mileage?

Car Odometer High

When you buy or lease a new vehicle, or you purchase a used vehicle that is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, you are protected by California’s Lemon Law. The Lemon Law is meant to protect auto buyers who are sold duds, defective vehicles. The Lemon Law gives you the right to return a defective vehicle and to either get a replacement or a refund, depending on the nature of the problem and what the manufacturer is able to provide. You are not stuck with the lemon you were sold. Many people are under the impression that the Lemon Law only applies until you’ve racked up enough miles on the vehicle, and that you’re on your own after that. Below, we discuss the limitations of California’s Lemon Law and how the mileage on your vehicle plays a role. If you’ve been sold a lemon or otherwise subjected to auto fraud, call a seasoned California lemon law attorney for help protecting your rights and your safety.

There’s No 18,000 Mile Limit

Many auto manufacturers try to lead people into believing that the Lemon Law is limited by the mileage of the vehicle. Specifically, they try to claim that the Lemon Law applies only for the first 18,000 miles after the vehicle is sold. This is not accurate and is, in fact, a misread of California law. The Lemon Law applies so long as the car is under the manufacturer’s warranty, regardless of whether the car has been driven for more than 18,000 miles.

The confusion over the 18,000-mile figure arises from the Tanner Consumer Protection Act. Replacement or refunds are available after the buyer has made a reasonable number of attempts to have the vehicle defect repaired. According to the Tanner Consumer Protection Act, auto buyers are entitled to a presumption that they’ve made sufficient repair attempts, and thus that their vehicle should be subject to a refund or replacement under the Lemon Law, under certain circumstances.

These circumstances include when the buyer has made a certain number of repair attempts, which varies depending upon the nature of the problem (whether it renders the car unusable for a certain period of time, whether it presents a danger of serious injury, etc.). If the buyer has made such repair attempts within 18,000 miles or 18 months of taking delivery of the vehicle, the buyer is entitled to a presumption that their car is due for a refund or replacement under the Lemon Law.

The mileage cap is only there to help the buyer; the buyer gets a presumption of validity of their claim, and a presumption that allows them to forgo additional unnecessary repair attempts before getting a refund or replacement. If the car has more than 18,000 miles but is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, the buyer can absolutely still make a Lemon Law claim. They will simply not benefit from that specific presumption that they have already made enough repair attempts. If the buyer has made a reasonable number of repair attempts and the manufacturer still can’t fix the problem, and the warranty still applies, the buyer is eligible for Lemon Law protections, regardless of what the manufacturer alleges about the vehicle’s mileage.

Seasoned Advice and Representation From a Dedicated California Lemon Law Attorney at Nita Lemon Law Firm

If you are experiencing problems with your vehicle, I would like the opportunity to evaluate your lemon law claim at no charge to you and discuss your legal options. For a free, no-obligation consultation, please call me toll-free at 877-921-5256, submit a free case evaluation on my website at www.nitalemonlaw.com, or email me directly at nick@nitalemonlaw.com. Either way, I will personally evaluate your case and promptly respond to your inquiries. I look forward to hearing from you.

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