People purchase vehicle customizations for a variety of reasons – to stand out on the road, increase performance, or simply express their unique personality through their car. They don’t, however, purchase the vehicle with the intention of being stuck with a lemon. Yet, unfortunately, it sometimes happens.
That’s why lemon laws exist in each state – to protect consumers from being stuck with a faulty vehicle. These laws provide remedies for drivers who have purchased or leased a car that does not function properly. Typically, in the form of a refund or replacement vehicle.
But does California lemon law extend to customized cars? Here’s everything you need to know.
What Are the Requirements for California Lemon Law?
Before anything else, it’s important to understand the requirements of California lemon law. To be eligible for benefits, a vehicle must:
- Be covered under the manufacturer or dealer warranty when the defect or nonconformity was first reported; and
- Have one or more defects/nonconformities that substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety; and
- Have been subjected to a reasonable number of repair attempts by a manufacturer-certified facility to fix the defect/nonconformity; or
- Have been out of service for repairs on one or more defects/nonconformities for at least 30 days; and
- The defect or nonconformity must not have been caused by driver abuse or neglect.
Some California lemon law requirements are a bit vague, leaving room for interpretation. If you’re unsure whether your vehicle qualifies, it’s best to consult with a California lemon law lawyer. They will be able to analyze the details of your case and determine if you have a strong claim.
Do Customizations Impact California Lemon Law Coverage?
Now, onto the main question – are customized cars covered under California lemon law? The answer is: it depends.
If the manufacturer-certified dealer facility did your vehicle’s customization before purchase, it should not impact coverage under California lemon law. For instance, if a dealership adds special rims or a sound system to your vehicle, your warranty will still apply, and you can pursue a lemon claim. This is because the manufacturer is still responsible for the quality and performance of those parts.
However, lemon law for customized cars becomes a bit more complicated if you had the customization done later by a non-certified facility. When you install after-market parts, such as a new engine or suspension, it can void your warranty.
Without a warranty, the manufacturer will no longer be responsible for any defects or nonconformities that may arise from the customization. In this case, California lemon law will no longer apply to your vehicle.
How Can You Prove Your Customized Vehicle is a Lemon?
If you believe you may qualify under lemon law for customized cars, there are steps you can take to prove your case.
First, gather proof that the customization was done by a manufacturer-certified facility. This may include receipts or invoices from the dealership, as well as any correspondence with the manufacturer regarding the customization.
Next, keep track of all repairs attempted on your vehicle. It’s important to only have those repairs done at manufacturer-certified facilities. If you go to a third-party mechanic, it may void your warranty or compromise your claim.
You should also document any incidents or issues related to the faulty vehicle. This may include photos or videos of the defect, as well as records of other losses incurred because of the issue.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, having a skilled California lemon law lawyer by your side makes all the difference in proving a substantial defect. They can guide you in gathering the necessary evidence and set you up for the best chance at a successful lemon law claim.
The Wrap Up
Customizations can pose a challenge for California lemon law, but it’s never impossible to have a successful claim. The key is to gather evidence and work with a knowledgeable attorney to support your case.
If you meet all the qualifications for a lemon law claim, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle. Don’t let your faulty vehicle hold you back – take action and get the justice you deserve.
Author Bio: Brian K. Cline’s Lemon Law Legal Group provides premier legal services. Our California lemon law lawyers aggressively and ethically force vehicle manufacturers to buy back defective and dangerous vehicles. Our team includes experienced trial lawyers with over 40 years of combined trial experience.