Can You Sue a Dealership for Not Fixing Your Car? Find Out Here.

Car troubles can be a frustrating and expensive experience, especially if your dealership fails to fix an issue you brought to their attention. In some cases, the problem may even pose a safety risk for you and other drivers on the road. So, what can you do if your dealership fails to address your car’s issues? Can you sue them for not fixing your car?

Understanding Your Rights as a Consumer

First and foremost, it’s important to understand your rights as a consumer. When you purchase a car from a dealership, you enter into a contract that comes with certain obligations from the dealer. One of those obligations is the implied warranty of merchantability, which states that the car must be fit for its intended purpose and free from defects.

If your car is still under warranty and you bring it to the dealership for repairs, the dealer is required to fix any issues covered under the warranty. If they fail to do so, they may be liable under breach of warranty laws.

Proving Negligence

However, if your car is no longer under warranty, the situation becomes more complicated. In order to successfully sue a dealership for not fixing your car, you must be able to prove that they were negligent. This means showing that the dealership breached their duty of care to you as a customer and that this breach caused damage to your car.

Proving negligence can be difficult and often requires the expertise of a lawyer. In addition, you may need to provide evidence such as repair invoices, photographs, and witness testimony to support your case.

Alternatives to Lawsuits

While lawsuits can be a viable option, they may not always be the best approach for resolving car-related disputes. Many dealerships have dispute resolution programs that can help resolve problems without going to court. These programs can include mediation or arbitration, and may be faster and less expensive than a lawsuit.

Furthermore, if the dealership is part of a larger automotive chain, you may be able to file a complaint with the corporate office. This can often result in a faster and more satisfactory resolution to your problem.

The Bottom Line

If your dealership fails to fix your car, you do have legal options. However, suing a dealership for not fixing your car can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Consulting with a lawyer or exploring alternative dispute resolution options should be your first step in resolving the issue.

Understanding the Responsibilities of Car Dealerships

Car dealerships are responsible for ensuring that the cars they sell are in good working condition when the buyers take possession of them. This responsibility exists both when the car is sold new and when it is sold used. Dealerships have basic and legal responsibilities to ensure that the vehicles they sell are of good quality and that they function properly. When these responsibilities are not met, buyers can take legal action to seek compensation.

Basic Responsibilities

There are several basic responsibilities that car dealerships have when selling vehicles. These include:

  • Ensuring that the vehicle is safe to operate
  • Disclosing any known defects or problems with the vehicle
  • Providing accurate information about the vehicle, including its mileage and history
  • Offering a reasonable warranty or guarantee

If a dealership fails to meet these basic responsibilities, buyers may be able to take legal action to recover damages.

Legal Responsibilities

In addition to the basic responsibilities, car dealerships also have legal responsibilities when it comes to selling vehicles. These include:

  • Meeting any state, federal, or local laws related to vehicle sales
  • Providing accurate and complete contracts and paperwork
  • Not engaging in any deceptive or fraudulent practices
  • Making repairs as required by law or the terms of the sale contract

If a dealership violates any of these legal responsibilities, buyers may have grounds for legal action. However, it is important to note that the specifics of these responsibilities may vary by state and by the terms of the sale contract. It is also important for buyers to carefully read and understand any contracts or warranties offered by the dealership before signing them.

When Can You Sue a Dealership?

It’s frustrating when you take your car to the dealership for repair, only to have the issue remain unresolved. In certain situations, you may be wondering if you can sue the dealership for not fixing your car. While each case is different, there are some circumstances in which legal action is possible.

Failure to Fix Recalled Vehicles

If your car has been recalled and the dealership fails to fix the issue, you may have a case for legal action. In some cases, recalls are issued for safety concerns that could result in injury or death. If the dealership was aware of the recall but did not fix the issue, they could be held liable for any resulting damages. It’s important to note that this applies to the manufacturer recall, not a dealer-initiated recall.

Violation of Lemon Laws

If you’ve purchased a car and it continues to have issues, it could be considered a “lemon.” Lemon laws vary by state, but they typically provide protection for consumers who have purchased a defective vehicle. If the dealership fails to repair the car after multiple attempts, you may be eligible for a refund or replacement. In some cases, you may be able to sue the dealership for violating lemon laws.

Fraud or Deceptive Practices

If the dealership engaged in fraudulent or deceptive practices, you may be able to sue them for damages. This could include situations where the dealership falsely advertised the vehicle or sold a car with undisclosed issues. It’s important to keep all documentation and communication with the dealership, as these could be used as evidence in a lawsuit.

When Can You Sue a Dealership? Examples
Failure to Fix Recalled Vehicles Dealership fails to fix a known safety issue on a recalled vehicle
Violation of Lemon Laws Dealership fails to repair a “lemon” vehicle after multiple attempts
Fraud or Deceptive Practices Dealership falsely advertises a vehicle or sells a car with undisclosed issues

Steps to Take Before Suing a Dealership

If you are experiencing issues with your car and the dealership has failed to fix the problem, you may be wondering if you have legal options to take against them. Suing a dealership is a complex process that can be costly and time-consuming. Before taking legal action, it is important to consider other options that may lead to a resolution without involving the court system.

1. Gather Documentation

The first step you should take is to gather all documentation related to the repair requests and efforts made to fix the problem. This can include repair orders, service records, warranty information, and any correspondence with the dealership. By having all of this documentation, you will have a better understanding of the situation and what options are available to you.

2. Contact the Dealership

If you have not already done so, you should contact the dealership to make them aware of the ongoing issue. Explain the problem clearly and ask what steps they are willing to take to resolve it. It is important to remain calm and professional during these interactions, as getting angry or hostile is unlikely to lead to a favorable outcome. If the dealership is willing to work with you, it may be possible to come to a mutual agreement without involving legal action.

3. Seek Mediation or Arbitration

If you are unable to reach an agreement with the dealership, you may want to consider seeking mediation or arbitration. These processes involve a neutral third party who will help facilitate discussions between you and the dealership in order to reach a resolution. Mediation and arbitration can often be less expensive and time-consuming than going to court, making them a good option for those who are looking to avoid a lengthy legal battle.

What to Expect When Suing a Dealership

Car dealerships have a responsibility to provide safe and functional vehicles to their customers. When they fail to do so, they may be held accountable for any damages sustained by the customer. Suing a dealership for not fixing your car can be a complicated and stressful process, but if you have a strong case, it may be worth pursuing.

The Lawsuit Process

When suing a dealership, the first step is to hire a lawyer who has experience handling cases against auto dealerships. Your lawyer will help you gather all the necessary documentation, such as records of repairs and receipts for services rendered. They will then file a lawsuit against the dealership, which will begin the legal process. The dealership will be notified of the lawsuit and given the opportunity to respond.

The next step is for both parties to engage in a process called discovery, which involves exchanging information and evidence related to the case. This can include depositions, requests for documents, and written questions. After discovery, both parties may attempt to settle the case outside of court through mediation or negotiation. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial.

Possible Outcomes

If the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will hear the evidence and make a decision. There are several possible outcomes in a dealership lawsuit. If the dealership is found liable, they may be required to reimburse the customer for damages such as repair costs and rental car fees. They may also be required to pay punitive damages, which are intended to punish the dealership for their negligence.

Alternatively, the case may be dismissed if the plaintiff is unable to prove their case or if there is insufficient evidence. In some cases, the dealership may be found not liable, meaning they are not responsible for the damages sustained by the customer.

Overall, suing a dealership for not fixing your car is a complex process that requires the help of an experienced attorney. However, if you have a strong case, it may be possible to hold the dealership accountable and receive compensation for any damages sustained.


When a dealership fails to fix your car, it can be frustrating and even dangerous if the issue affects the safety of your vehicle. While it is possible to sue a dealership for not fixing your car, it is not always the best course of action. Depending on the situation, it may be possible to resolve the issue by working directly with the dealership or pursuing other legal options.

If you do decide to take legal action, it is important to choose the right attorney to help you with your case. Look for a lawyer with experience handling cases related to dealership negligence and consumer protection. With the right legal representation, you may be able to recover damages for any losses you have suffered as a result of the dealership’s failure to fix your car.

When to Consider Legal Action

In general, it is a good idea to consider legal action if the dealership has failed to repair your car after multiple attempts, or if the repair work they have done was inadequate. You may also want to pursue legal action if the dealership has caused additional damage to your car while attempting to fix the initial issue, or if they have been dishonest or deceptive in their dealings with you.

Before pursuing legal action, however, it is important to exhaust all other options for resolving the issue. This might include discussing the problem with the dealership directly, seeking mediation through a third party, or filing a complaint with the appropriate state agency. In some cases, simply threatening legal action may be enough to prompt the dealership to take the necessary steps to fix your car.

Choosing the Right Attorney

If you do decide to pursue legal action against a dealership, it is important to choose an attorney who has experience with these types of cases. Look for a lawyer who specializes in consumer protection and dealership negligence, and who has a track record of success in these types of cases.

Be sure to ask potential attorneys about their experience and success rate in similar cases, as well as their approach to handling these types of legal disputes. You will also want to consider the attorney’s fees and any additional costs associated with pursuing legal action. Some attorneys may work on a contingency basis, which means they will only collect a fee if you win your case.

In addition to choosing the right attorney, it is important to be prepared to provide documentation and evidence to support your case. This might include repair records, correspondence with the dealership, and any other relevant documentation related to the issue. With the right legal representation and evidence, you may be able to recover damages for any losses you have suffered as a result of the dealership’s failure to fix your car.


Can You Sue A Dealership For Not Fixing Your Car?

Yes, you can sue a dealership for not fixing your car under certain circumstances. If the dealership failed to repair your car according to the terms of your warranty agreement, or if they performed repairs improperly and caused additional damages, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. However, it is important to note that before suing, you should exhaust all possible remedies, including giving the dealership a chance to fix the problem and communicating your concerns to the manufacturer if necessary.

What Kind of Damages Can You Sue For?

If you can prove that the dealership failed to fix your car or caused additional damages through improper repairs, you may be able to sue for a variety of damages. These can include the cost of repairs, the diminished value of your car, and even compensation for rental car expenses incurred while waiting for repairs to be completed. Additionally, if the dealership engaged in fraudulent or deceptive practices, you may be able to recover damages for any financial losses you incurred as a result, such as payments for unnecessary repairs or inflated prices.

What Evidence Do You Need to Sue A Dealership?

In order to sue a dealership for not fixing your car, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This can include copies of your warranty agreement, repair invoices and receipts, and any correspondence you have had with the dealership or manufacturer regarding the repairs. Additionally, if you have had to take the car in for multiple repairs for the same issue, this can be strong evidence that the dealership did not fix the problem properly the first time. It may also be helpful to take photos or videos of the car and any damages you are alleging were caused by the dealership’s improper repairs.

Do You Need an Attorney to Sue A Dealership?

While it is not strictly necessary to have an attorney to sue a dealership for not fixing your car, it is highly recommended. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system, advise you on the strength of your case, and negotiate on your behalf with the dealership and its insurance company. Additionally, if you do end up going to trial, having an attorney can significantly increase your chances of success and the amount of damages you are able to recover.

How Long Do You Have to Sue A Dealership?

The statute of limitations for suing a dealership for not fixing your car varies depending on the state in which you live, so it is important to consult with an attorney to determine the deadline in your particular case. In general, however, you will have a limited amount of time (usually between 2-4 years) from the date of the repair or discovery of the problem to file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you may be permanently barred from pursuing legal action to recover damages from the dealership.