How Long Can A Dealership Hold Your Car For Repair?

How Long Can A Dealership Hold Your Car For Repair?

Owning a vehicle comes with the responsibility of maintenance, and occasionally repairs are needed. Did you know there is an actual limit to how long a dealership can keep your car for repair? So, how long can a dealership hold your car for repair?

30 days is the legally set maximum time a dealership can keep your car for a repair. Your vehicle may be deemed a lemon, and entitled to a refund, replacement vehicle, or compensation for the repair. However, if the dealership doesn’t have the parts to fix the vehicle then they may hold your car for a long period. 

Whether you’re driving a shiny, brand new sedan or that trusty old coupe you’ve had for years, there’s a ticking clock that every car owner should be aware. Thirty days is legally the set maximum time a dealership can keep your car.

But what happens if they overstay this welcome? Well, the consequences could be much more significant than you think. And in some cases, might even usher in the intervention of lemon law attorneys.

Fact is, when a vehicle is kept by a dealership for an extended period, it can cause financial hardship. Not to mention an inconvenience for the vehicle owner.

Let’s dive into how long can a dealership hold your car for repair. Then we’ll touch on what steps you can take if a dealership crosses that time for a repair threshold.

Legal Limitations on How Long Can A Dealership Hold Your Car For Repair

In most cases, how long can a dealership hold your car for repair is 30 days. This is the maximum time set by the lemon law. And this applies whether your car is new or used.

If a dealership takes more than 30 days, it could mean the vehicle has serious issues that are difficult to repair. In many cases, this is when the lemon law attorneys step in.

If the situation does escalate to having to speak with a lemon law attorney, they can help getting you either a new vehicle, repayment of money spent, or payment for repairs done.

What Are The Consequences of a Repair Exceeding The Time Limit?

If the dealership takes too long for a repair, your car may be classified as a lemon. This means you have rights under this law if you bought your car new or used.

In most states, a vehicle is deemed a lemon if repeated repair attempts result in the vehicle being out of service for a cumulative 30 days.

This 30-day duration must occur within a specific timeframe. For example, within the initial 12, 18, or 24 months following the vehicle purchase date. Be aware that, unavailability of parts may extend this time.

However, New York has a special rule for new cars and certain used cars. Under NY lemon law, your car is a lemon after three tries to fix it or 15 days in the shop for fixes.

Sure, the dealership can fight this but they must show proof of fewer visits or less time in the shop.

Going past time limit for repairs may mean money for you! That might be the dealership paying back all the money you paid them. Or, buying back your car at full price, even replacing your broken vehicle with a shiny new one.

What Are The Factors Affecting Repair Time?

Factors affecting repair time include the complexity of the repair, availability of necessary parts and mechanics, and communication and cooperation between the dealership and the customer.

Let’s take a look at the most common.

Complexity of The Repair

Let’s face it – some repairs are tough to handle. Even for the most skilled mechanic. Truth is, they may need extra time for complex repairs.

For example, a transmission overhaul or replacement ranks among the most challenging automotive repairs to perform.

Fact is, the transmission is a complex assembly of numerous components. Diagnosing issues accurately requires both advanced tools, time and an experienced touch.

Even the removal process is time consuming, as it involves detaching various crucial linkages, connectors, and other parts. Then there is the reinstalling the transmission process.

Overall, the multifaceted nature of this repair, makes it a daunting task even for seasoned mechanics.

This of course, is just one of many examples affecting how long can a dealership hold your car for repair.

Availability of Necessary Parts and Mechanics

The availability of necessary parts can impact the time it takes to repair your car. Sometimes, if the needed parts are not in stock, it may take longer for the repairs to be completed.

Fact is, the dealership will have to order the parts from a supplier. If the supplier for some reason is unable to manufacturer and ship the needed parts, it will cause delays.

While frustrating for vehicle owners, you will need to have some understanding and flexibility over the parts shortage, and time needed to make the repairs.

Communication And Cooperation Between The Dealership And The Customer

It goes without saying, good communication between car dealerships and customers helps speed up repairs. Being open with each other helps spot and fix issues faster.

To help manage customer expectations, dealerships should keep customers in the loop about how repairs are going. This is especially important if there are delays because of part shortages.

What to Do If Your Car Repair is Taking Too Long

If you believe your car repair is taking to too long, there are some steps you should take immediately.

Contact The Dealership to Inquire About The Delay

If your car repair is taking too long, reach out to the dealership Service Advisor and ask about the delay. First, give them a call regarding the status of your car and why it’s taking longer than expected. Be sure to get the email address of the Service Advisor.

Next, follow up with an email to the Service Advisor reiterating the conversion. This way you have a record of the conversation if you ever need to take legal action.

And as my mom always told me, you will catch more Bees with honey. Being polite and understanding when contacting the dealership can help facilitate a better outcome.

They may provide a valid reason for the delay, such as waiting for parts or dealing with unexpected repairs on other cars.

Keep in mind, it’s in the dealerships best interest to keep you as a happy customer.

Document All Communication And Repair Attempts

It’s so important to document all communication and repair attempts regarding your car repair. Keep a record of every conversation, email, or written correspondence with the dealership.

If you speak on the phone, make notes of who you spoke to and what was discussed. This documentation will serve as evidence if any legal action becomes necessary.

Additionally, keep detailed records of the repair attempts made by the dealership. Note down dates, descriptions of the repairs attempted, whether they were successful in resolving the issue, or not.

It’s also important to track how many days your car has been out of service due to repairs.

Fact is, documenting everything can help establish a strong claim under lemon laws if needed.

Seek Legal Assistance From a Lemon Law Attorney if Necessary

When all else fails, and the dealership is not resolving the issue, it may be necessary to speak to a lemon law attorney.

These attorneys specialize in handling cases related to vehicle defects and consumer rights protection.

They can provide you with legal advice on your situation, and help you understand your rights under the lemon law regulations.

In many cases, lemon law attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if they win your case.

Can I Request a Loaner Vehicle if The Dealership Keeps my Car For an Extended Period?

Yes, you have the right to request a loaner vehicle if the dealership needs to keep your car for an extended period. However, this may depend on the dealership’s policies and availability of loaner vehicles.

Final Thoughts: How Long Can A Dealership Hold Your Car For Repair

It’s important to know your rights when it comes to car repairs at a dealership. They can typically hold your car for up to 30 days if it’s under warranty. If the repair takes longer than that, you may have legal options and protections under lemon laws.

Remember to document everything and seek legal help if needed.

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