Whether for a new or old car, vehicle repairs can be a bit troublesome. Not only do you lose your access to your car, but you also need to wait for a significant amount of time to get access to it again.

The best way to resolve car problems, especially if still under warranty, is to get it as fast as possible to the dealership or an authorized mechanic. But what should you do if the dealership has been holding your car for too long?

In this article, you must know your rights and the maximum reasonable time for a dealer to hold a car under repair.

Key Takeaways

1. Unless stated by state law, a dealership can only hold your car for repair for a maximum of 30 cumulative days.

2. A dealer is allowed a maximum of three attempts to address the problem.

3. Badell’s Collision offers efficient car repair services for consumers in Malvern and Aston, PA.

How Long Can a Mechanic Legally Keep Your Car to Fix?

The ideally acceptable maximum time frame for a repair is approximately 30 days. Under warranty, 30 days is the maximum time for a dealership to give you a complete diagnosis and resolve your car’s problems. 

The estimated 30 days do not have to be consecutive. This means that the timeframe can be the cumulative result of several trips to the mechanic. Beyond this time, you may be eligible for compensation depending on which state you are in.

The length at which a mechanic or dealership can hold your car for repair depends on several factors. These factors may include the following:

  • the severity of the damage,
  • the availability of spare parts or
  • the repair shop’s queue. 

In many places, consumer protection laws or regulations may require repairs to be completed within a “reasonable” time. What constitutes a reasonable amount of time can depend on the nature of the repair. For minor issues, it might be a matter of days, while for more complex problems, it could be longer.

What Is the Lemon Law Claim?

The Lemon Law in the United States refers to a set of rules established in different states to protect consumers who purchase a new car or, in some states, could use it. This law basically mandates the dealership to address any issues regarding the purchased car in a reasonable timeframe noted by law.

“Lemon” is the term used for a purchased vehicle that requires repairs due to defects impairing the vehicle’s use. Lemon Laws vary depending on the state. In some states, the term lemon can only be used for new cars under warrant, whereas other states have a wider application of the term. 

The timeframe provided to the dealership includes the number of repair attempts and the length of time to resolve the issue. 

How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair in California?

Under the California lemon law, a car dealership can hold your car for a maximum of 30 cumulative repair durations and a number of set repair attempts. Beyond this timeframe, you are eligible for a lemon claim, provided that your car fits the warranty requirements. 

Under the California lemon law, a lemon vehicle may either be used or new. However, the owner must know the maximum coverage time for a used vehicle’s warranty. The consumer is entitled to a buyback or replacement if the vehicle meets any of the following requirements:

  • The vehicle has been under repair for 30 days or more. 
  • The dealership has exceeded the agreed-upon number of repair attempts.
  • The defect is not caused by neglect, abuse, or carelessness. 
  • The defect impairs the vehicle’s safety and main functions. 
  • The warranty is still valid. 

How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair in Florida?

Florida’s Lemon Law requires manufacturers to make a reasonable number of attempts, usually three, to repair a defect within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. If the dealership holds your vehicle and the defect persists for 30 days or more, the consumer may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle.

In Florida, the dealer has a maximum attempt number of three times. If the defect persists, the consumer must write a notification letter to the manufacturer for a final opportunity to repair the vehicle. 

How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair in Georgia?

Georgia does not have a law that states the maximum time a dealership can hold a car for repair. The maximum time for the repair will depend on whether you and the dealership mechanic have a written agreement on the repair process

It is always a good practice to draw a written agreement regarding the repair timeframe. However, you are legally allowed to pull out your car at any given time. 

How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair in Michigan?

The Michigan Lemon Law allows a dealership to hold a car for repair for a maximum of 30 days. This maximum time limit includes the time waiting for a part replacement. 

Dealerships and manufacturers in Michigan are given a maximum repair attempt of four times, after which the consumer can file for Lemon Law claims. 

How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair in Massachusetts?

According to Massachusetts law, a dealer is only allowed to hold your car for repair for a maximum of 11 days in total. In addition, the dealer has 3 repair attempts to diagnose and repair the car’s defect. 

The law governing this rule clearly states that the maximum holding days only include working days – Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays. 

How Long Can a Dealership Hold Your Car for Repair in NJ?

New Jersey law on used cars only allows dealers to hold a car for repair for a total of 20 cumulative days for one reported problem. The dealer is also given a maximum of 3 attempts to address the problem.

The consumer is also responsible for proving that the defect hinders the vehicle from performing properly and affects its safety. 


What to Do if a Body Shop Is Taking Too Long to Fix Car?

The most important thing to do if a body shop is taking too long to fix your car is to communicate with the service manager. During your conversation and, if applicable, review your agreement or written contract with the body shop. This will help you determine if the repair shop is in any way in breach of an agreement. 

Consider legal options if the body shop insists on delaying warranty repairs or refuses to allow you to pull out your vehicle. This could include filing a complaint with consumer protection agencies, seeking mediation, or consulting with a lawyer.

Most states have a lemon law for new and sometimes used cars under warranty. As previously mentioned, this law aims to protect consumers with problematic vehicles that are still under the warranty period. The body shop can be penalized for failing to address the issues you raised when you brought the vehicle to them.

Different states have different provisions for their lemon law. Make sure to understand your state’s law to know your rights when claiming your vehicle. 

Need a repair shop that can surely deliver within or less than a reasonable timeframe? Contact Badell’s Collision today and get expert advice from our mechanics. 

What Is a Reasonable Time for Car Repair Under Warranty?

The term ‘reasonable time’ may vary depending on the dealer-consumer agreement. Generally, a repair shop should finish the job before 30 days. This includes an approximate number of attempts at repair.

Some states clearly identify the maximum time that a repair shop should deliver. In Massachusetts, it is 11 days, whereas in New Jersey, it is 20 days. 

It must be standard practice to create a written agreement stating the estimated time to complete the request. 

Get a Car Service From Experts at Badell’s Collision

Car repair and service shops are valued based on the quality and efficiency of their services. At Badell’s Collision, we guarantee the workmanship, highlighting efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and service accuracy. 

Our services currently cater to car owners from Malvern and Aston, PA. From luxury car repairs to simple scratches and dents, our expert mechanics can do the job within the agreed-upon period. 

Contact us and get a quotation today. 


Mechanic has had my car for 6 months, what should I do?

The best action for this situation is to contact the manager and demand an estimated time. If the repair shop waits for a certain part to arrive, you can demand its shipping status. Repair shops have no hold on your vehicle; therefore, you can pull it out if you are unsatisfied with their services. 

Has my car been in the shop for 3 months?

If your car has been in the repair shop for 3 months or longer, the best action is to talk to the manager. Revisit your agreement with the mechanic and determine if they can still perform the repairs. If your vehicle is with a licensed repair shop and is still under warranty, then you are already entitled to full compensation or a replacement. Consult your state’s Lemon Law about this matter. 

How long is too long for my car to be in the shop?

The generally acceptable maximum time for a car to be in the shop is 30 days. If it is any longer than this timeframe, you are already eligible for a unit replacement or compensation if your vehicle is still within warranty.

What if I get work done on my car and it doesn’t solve the problem?

Car repair shops are given at least three attempts to resolve the problem within 30 days. If still within warranty, you can demand a unit replacement or a complete refund. You can pull out your vehicle and transfer it to another mechanic if outside the warranty. You may be entitled to a refund, depending on your agreement with the mechanic.

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