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The Consumer Law Group, P.C.

Dealers Get One Chance to Fix Safety Defects on New Cars

Crumpled Defective Product SignAn important clause in Virginia’s lemon law stipulates that manufacturers must fix a nonconformity or defect in a “reasonable number of attempts” or the vehicle may qualify as a lemon. This usually means that when something is wrong with your new car, the authorized repair shop gets three tries over an 18-month period to fix it or you can file a lemon law claim for a refund or a replacement vehicle from the date of delivery of the car to the first owner.  One exception to this requirement is when the defect creates a serious safety issue for the driver and passengers. In that case, the manufacturer only gets one chance to make it right after you have notified them about the defect in writing before you can file a lemon law claim.

What Is a Serious Safety Defect?

According to the standards outlined in Virginia’s lemon law, a nonconformity is considered a serious safety defect when any of the following is true:

  • It creates a life-threatening malfunction

  • It impedes the consumer’s ability to control or operate the vehicle

  • It creates the risk of fire or explosion

The law does not list specific defects that would fall under the safety exception, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists defects that would be considered for a safety recall and includes everything from windshield wiper malfunction to steering and brake problems. If you are having a safety issue with your new car, it is important to get it repaired immediately. If it is not fixed the first time, you may have a claim under the lemon law.

A Lemon Law Attorney Can Help

There are some gray areas when it comes to safety issues and the lemon law and it is a good idea to speak to a Virginia lemon law attorney if you are having a problem with a new car that could be a serious safety defect. Some issues are obvious—brake failure, for example—but others are not as clear-cut and a dealer may push back over a lemon law claim. Call The Consumer Law Group, P.C.  today to discuss your new car safety issue.  John Cole Gayle, Jr., helped write Virginia’s lemon law and he will go over your claim with you to determine if you have a case.