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Know Your Emissions Warranties

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  January 12, 2010

With new vehicles, it is common to find that an emissions warranty lasts longer than the manufacturer’s basic warranty. Some emissions warranties last as long as 8 years or 80,000 miles, covering parts such as the catalytic converter and the power train control module. It’s important to check a vehicle’s warranty manual, as it will be found that different parts of the vehicle—such as the emission system—have different warranty periods.

As can be seen in the news every day, tougher emissions standards are constantly on the horizon, and with new standards, new equipment will be built into vehicles. If emissions requirements are made more demanding on the manufacturers and dealers in the state of California and even the nation as a whole, then it is possible that we will see longer warranties for emissions-related repairs or warranties that cover more parts. How quickly we may see this change may depend on the stability or volatility of the price per barrel of oil.

“For consumers, tougher standards could mean that if they are having defects related to the emissions system, that they may have longer coverage and hopefully more extensive coverage of certain parts,” said Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “If defects were occurring, the California lemon law might treat the emissions warranty much like the manufacturer’s basic warranty, and the consumer may be entitled to a buyback or replacement vehicle.”

Taylor understands the fine points of lemon law well. He has been a California lemon law specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor and Associates, have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98 percent success rate.

“The crux of the matter is, is the vehicle a lemon or not?” Taylor continued. “A lemon is understood to mean a vehicle with a defect that the manufacturer has not successfully repaired after a certain number of attempts, or after the vehicle has been out of service for a particular number of days.”

A “defect” is defined as something the vehicle does or does not do that falls below the standard set forth in the warranty. Some states, such as California, use the term “nonconformity” in their lemon laws. A nonconformity is essentially the same as a defect.

The bottom line: it is important to understand your warranties and their limits. In any case, however, if you think you are driving a lemon, contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.

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