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Valencia Lemon Law Blog

Center for Auto Safety ranks all 50 states' Lemon Laws

The Center for Auto Safety is a consumer advocacy group that has supported Lemon Laws since Connecticut drafted the first one 37 years ago. It has now looked at the laws in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and ranked them. California did pretty well in taking the 12th spot (more on that in a minute), but it was New Jersey that took the top spot, while Illinois was at the bottom.

The rankings were based on the following criteria as well as other metrics:

Hyundai and Kia facing suit

Korean motor vehicle manufacturers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. were sued over defects that reportedly cause their engine to catch fire. According to Bloomberg and others, 350 consumer complaints involving non-collision fires were reported to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The class-action lawsuit was filed December 14 in the Central District of California. The affected models are Kia Sorento, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Santa Fe, and 2010-2015 Kia Soul.

This is on top of the Center for Auto Safety's October 2018 call to recall 2.9 million vehicles in five different models. It argued that there was a four-month period where a non-accident fire was reported every day.

The difference between state and federal Lemon Laws

The Lemon Law’s basic premise protects those buying cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and RVs from being taken advantage of. A manufacturer cannot repeatedly try to fix a vehicle with a recurring issue after a reasonable number of attempts. A seller or a dealer cannot misrepresent the product they sell by such subterfuge as changing the odometer, not noting crash damage repairs or omitting relevant information. Both federal and state Lemon Laws enable buyers to recover damages as well as attorney’s fees and costs.

Where California law usually goes further

California Lemon applies to some commercial vehicles

California Lemon Laws are some of the strictest in the country, and for good reason. Our famously car-centric culture means that we spend a lot of time in our vehicles, whether it is for personal reasons or conducting business. Either way, the roads are usually full with drivers in vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

Which commercial vehicles qualify?

What to do when dealers do not provide sufficient results

It is an unfortunate fact that dealerships cannot or will not solve all motor vehicle issues. Whether they have fixed a car multiple times without results, or if they claim there is no issue with the vehicle, owners and their attorneys sometimes need to look elsewhere for satisfaction. The next step in this process for many is turning to the manufacturer.

There are a number of steps or protocols to while the consumer works their way through the process. These include:

How to get the most out of a test drive

The test drive is one of the more enjoyable parts of car shopping. Some look at it as a chance to stomp on the gas, perhaps drive a car out of their price range, or just have a little fun, but the test drive addresses some important considerations. Here are some tips from experts about how to make the most of it.

Pick your own test drive route

Protect yourself against odometer fraud

Many will remember the scene towards the end of Ferris Buellers Day Off where the vintage car crashes through a garage wall and lands on the ground below. This was after the kids who took dad’s prized car for a joyride tried to rollback the odometer. The characters were unable to change the mileage, but there are fraudsters in real life who can and do change the mileage readings on cars.

It is hard to detect these mileage changes, but not impossible. Below are tips from the National Highway Safety Administration that used car buyers can use to avoid being taken advantage of:

Class action involving Ford touchscreens ends in settlement

Many complain about drivers looking at their devices or texting when they should have their eyes on the road. However, modern day cars have a variety technological bells and whistles in the dashboard to look at, none larger, more important and distracting than the ubiquitous touch screen used to operate the stereo system, climate control, navigation and other functions in today’s cars.

Unfortunately, Ford manufactured one that was prone to freeze up. This can be safety hazard if one is driving down the street and the defrost will not go on. And while other devices with screens can easily be rebooted, that is not possible in a moving vehicle. 

IKEA recalls defective bicycle

IKEA recently announced that it was recalling 5,100 SLADDA bikes sold in the US and Canada. The reason for the recall is that the belt this bike used in lieu of the traditional bike chain can break. Depending on the circumstances of the break, this could potentially lead to injury from falling or another type of accident. According to the company, it has received 11 reports of the bike's belt breaking, including two that led to minor injuries. None of these incidents was in the U.S.

The models of the recall are the 26-inch and 28-inch SLADDA bikes. These bicycles are light grey in color with an aluminum frame and have the IKEA brand stenciled on the seat tube near the pedals and bottom bracket. Manufactured in China, the bicycles are sold exclusively by IKEA for $400 to $500. The recalls are for bikes sold between August of 2016 and January of 2018.

Diagnosing a steering problem

The Ford Fusion and certain other models have become infamous for problems with their steering. For the safety of the driver, passengers and fellow motorists, it is advisable to address a steering issue as soon as possible. However, it is not a bad idea to gather a little information before going to the mechanic. These from experts may be easy fixes, or at the very least provide you and the mechanic a certain level of information when you bring the car in for work to be done.

Check your power steering fluid: There should be a light on the dashboard for this, but it does not hurt to check under the hood. The power steering fluid cap will be well marked on newer cars. Look at the owner’s manual if you do not see it. Unscrew the cap and check the level. If it is not full, buy some power steering fluid from your automotive supply store and fill the reservoir. There is likely a leak if it needs to be filled regularly.