When a consumer decides to lease or buy a car, many will receive a manufacturer’s car warranty with their purchase. With any luck, consumers will have little to no use for their car warranty, but there remains a portion of the population that will lease or buy a car and will require a valid manufacturer warranty if and when they find it necessary to file a lemon law claim. Understanding what a car warranty is and what it does for the consumer is important when filing a lawsuit alleging a defective product, but it is also important to understand how a warranty operates at the time the consumer decides to lease or buy a car in order to protect the consumer should a lemon law claim be necessary in the future.

A warranty is typically a written guarantee of the reliability of a product and of the product manufacturer’s responsibility for repairing or replacing defective parts. The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, a more general section of the law that contains the specific lemon law provisions, specifies that an express car warranty is a written statement that arises when a consumer decides to lease or buy a car from a manufacturer. During the sale process, the manufacturer, distributor or retailer assumes the responsibility for maintaining the performance and structure of the vehicle and, should a problem with the vehicle arise, the manufacturer, dealer or distributor agrees to compensate the consumer for the vehicle’s failures and shortcomings.

While the lemon law does not necessarily require wording such as “warrant” or “guarantee” in the car warranty, when the warranty does contain this verbiage, an express car warranty is created. Should a manufacturer issue a statement supporting of the overall value of the car or an opinion of the reliability of the vehicle, without subjecting the manufacturer to any limitation, this statement may not necessarily be considered as a warranty that the a consumer could rely on when filing a lemon law claim. Because statements or representations by the manufacturer, that relate to consumer satisfaction at the time they choose to buy a car, could be confusing or misleading, it is important for consumers to consult with an experienced lemon law attorney to determine whether the consumer has a valid car warranty and legitimate lemon law claim.

Under the California Lemon Law, a written car warranty is a written promise between a consumer and a manufacturer that develops in association with the purchase of a new motor vehicle. A written car warranty relates to the car parts, or materials used when manufacturing the vehicle, and the workmanship that went into building the vehicle. In their written car warranty, the manufacturer is guaranteeing that the materials used and workmanship attributed remains free from any and all defects and will perform at a specific level for a defined period of time. The warranty will clearly define, in writing, the responsibilities of the manufacturer for refunding, repairing or replacing the motor vehicle in the event that the vehicle fails to conform to the manufacturer’s warranty.

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