How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair in California?

Learn How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair in California

As frustrating as it is to have a car that constantly breaks down, it’s worse when it’s stuck in the shop for weeks while you’re awaiting repairs. How do you know when the car dealership is taking too long to fix your automobile?

Some will tell you that the repair process, even major engine work, should be completed in two to three weeks. Or you may hear that, depending on the car, the problem, and the garage’s workload, repairs to a car could take six weeks or more.

If your vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days for a warranty repair, it may be considered a lemon under California’s Lemon Law. If you meet other qualifications, you may demand that the manufacturer replace or buy back a lemon automobile or refund the money you have spent on it.

At The Barry Law Firm, our legal team helps car owners exercise their consumer rights to pursue California Lemon Law claims. Our law firm has a track record of holding large auto manufacturers financially accountable. Talk to a California Lemon Law lawyer about whether your car’s continual need for warranty repairs allows you to seek relief under the California Lemon Law. We can pursue a claim for you and make your vehicle’s manufacturer pay our legal fees and case expenses. Contact us today for a FAST and FREE case review.

How Does California’s Lemon Law Work?

Under the California Lemon Law, a car may qualify as a lemon if it develops mechanical problems or defects while under warranty and cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of attempts or has been in a repair shop for more than 30 days due to any problem covered by its warranty (the 30 days do not have to be consecutive.)

To qualify for a Lemon Law claim:

  • The vehicle must have been bought or leased in California.
  • The defect has not been corrected despite a reasonable number of repair attempts.
  • The defect must be covered by a manufacturer’s new car warranty or a warranty that applies to a used vehicle.
  • The defect was not caused by the owner’s unreasonable use of the vehicle.

What If The Dealership Holds The Car Too Long?

The dealer will open a repair order when you take your car to the dealership for repairs. It should include a description of the problem, the type of repair requested, the date, your name, the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), and more. When you get the car back, it will also state the repair duration and return date with the mechanic’s or service manager’s signature.

If you have one or more service orders for unsuccessful repair attempts for the same problem, and the orders show that your car was in the shop for 30 days or more, you may have a Lemon Law claim. Your next step is reviewing your warranty terms to ensure the uncorrected problem is covered.

Once you have confirmed that you have a warranty issue with your car that has not been corrected despite 30 days or more in the dealership’s garage, you should contact a California Lemon Law lawyer.

A legal professional with The Barry Law Firm can discuss the steps for pursuing a Lemon Law claim.

  • Your next step is to file a lawsuit. Typically, a Lemon Law lawsuit asserts that the car manufacturer (through its dealership) was unable to repair a warranted defect in a reasonable number of repair attempts. A reasonable number may be two unsuccessful repair attempts. The lawsuit demands that the manufacturer should provide the car owner a monetary settlement of some amount or a refund of the purchase price plus any money spent on repairs. A complaint would also demand attorney’s fees, court costs, and sometimes civil penalty damages.

The manufacturer typically has 30 days to file a response, which will likely deny the lawsuit’s assertions.

  • Next, a lawsuit goes through the legal process known as discovery. During discovery, the two sides exchange evidence. In this type of case, you would provide such documents as repair orders, the vehicle’s registration, communications with the dealer or manufacturer, and any other paperwork or statements that support your case. Your experienced Lemon Law attorney would seek documents from the manufacturer that show how well vehicles of the same make and model have performed, such as recall notices, internal reports, or memos.

Before your case goes to trial, your lawyer and the manufacturer may negotiate a settlement, especially once the discovery process has made each side’s evidence known. If the manufacturer makes a settlement offer that you find acceptable, that ends the case. The case goes to trial if the manufacturer fails to make a reasonable offer or refuses to settle. If that happens, your attorney will aggressively argue your case before a judge and jury.

When Should a Lemon Law Lawyer Get Involved?

As soon as you realize your vehicle has been in the dealership’s possession for more than 30 days for warranted repairs that have not been accomplished in multiple repair attempts, you should speak to a Lemon Law attorney. At The Barry Law Firm, we can manage your claim from start to finish. You’ll need to give us your paperwork and let us take care of the rest.

The Barry Law Firm has dedicated its legal practice exclusively to handling California Lemon Law claims. California’s Lemon Law protects consumers. Let us help you seek to recover the financial losses you have suffered because of a defective vehicle. We will handle your case at no cost to you. Call us at 424-688-9516 or reach out online for your FREE consultation.




The Barry Law Firm

11845 W Olympic Blvd Suite 1270

Los Angeles, California 90064

Phone: 310-684-5859

Free Consultation: 877-536-6603