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Your rights as a consumer with a defected vehicle

Sometimes, test driving a vehicle and viewing it in a shiny showroom can make a car seem irresistible. Many people spend a large portion of their hard-earned cash on their car, so when a defect becomes apparent a few months or years after the purchase, it can be both upsetting and concerning, because the defect may present a danger to all people in the car.

Defects can occur in any part of the vehicle, from the body and frame, the temperature control and cooling system, to the exhaust system and braking system. Some defects are more serious than others, though all represent a failing of the company that manufactured and sold it.

When can I make a claim against a defect?

As a consumer, you must be able to show that the defect in the vehicle was not created by you or your mishandling of the vehicle, but that it was caused by either a fault in the design of the vehicle, a mistake in the manufacturing of the vehicle, or an accident during the shipping or the handling of the vehicle. This does not mean that the defect needs to be apparent immediately after purchase, since defects can take time to show.

It is important to be aware of the defenses that car manufacturers may have in response to your claim. They will likely try to show that you in part caused the defect, or that you continued to negligently use the car even though you knew about the defect.

If you have suffered as a result of a vehicle defect in California, it is important to take action as soon as possible.