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My Check Engine Light is ON!..Now What?

Disbelief! That's what you feel when the “Check Engine Light” comes on in your NEW car. Then the questions, rapid-fire: Can I drive? Will I destroy the engine? Is it safe? Where’s the User’s Manual? What should I do!!

A check engine light can mean several things. When the check engine light is solid, not flashing, the problem is often less serious than a flashing check engine light. A flashing check engine light generally means: Get to your dealer, pronto!

A solid check engine light can mean a loose gas cap, an emissions issue or an electrical issue. A flashing check engine is generally more serious, and can mean the failure of a key component, such as a catalytic converter or O2 sensor.

Take the Vehicle to the Dealership for Repairs

If the light persists, visit your authorized dealership. A new, or low-mileage used vehicle will be under warranty, so you’ll be covered. Taking the vehicle to a dealer when you see the light is the best way to fix the problem, document the repairs, and keep your family safe.

Document, Document, Document

Every time you bring your vehicle in for repairs, you want a record of what you tell the service rep. Make sure that your comments are included on the repair order. This is particularly important if your vehicle is not running properly because of a significant defect. If you are experiencing stalling, jerking, or flashing dashboard warnings, make sure the symptom appears on the repair order, especially when the same problem re-occurs. This is important for two reasons: (1) you want to be clear that the dealer understands the problem; and (2) you want a documented history of all repair work.

SO….Keep All Your Repair Orders

Repeat: Keep all repair orders! Multiple repair orders for a vehicle under warranty are necessary to establish that your vehicle is a Lemon. You may also want to keep a log – your own written record - of your experiences before and after each repair attempt. This can be extremely helpful in explaining to the Manufacturer why your vehicle is a Lemon.

Multiple Repairs May Mean a Lemon

The California Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to repurchase or replace a vehicle when, as a result of a defect occurring during the first 18 months or 18,000 miles whichever occurs first (“18 or 18”), it has been to the dealer four or more times for the same repair, or down for repairs for more than 30 calendar days, total. If a defect arises after "18 or 18", but during the term of the original warranty, you may still have a Lemon

Fewer visits are required when the defect is life-threatening or likely to cause serious bodily injury. In this event, two repairs for the same complaint may qualify your vehicle for repurchase or replacement under the California Lemon Law.

Finally, even if your vehicle doesn’t meet the strict legal definition of a Lemon, the manufacturer may still be willing to provide financial compensation, depending upon how your case is presented.

If you think your vehicle may be a Lemon, Rose Consumer Law can help. We'll give you a free consultation and evaluation of your rights.The laws are there to protect you. Call us for a FREE consultation.

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