Pick up trucks are sold to men and women. But, let's face it, they are marketed mostly to men. One theme that runs through truck advertising is the image of power, strength, and control. Yet, a truck can end up being a lemon just like a car.
If a defective condition substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle, and it can't be repaired in a reasonable time or number of attempts, that vehicle could be a lemon regardless of whether it is a car or a truck. Some parts of the lemon law even apply to motorcycles, RVs and boats.
The market for trucks has exploded in the last two decades. The first reason for this trend was that trucks were exempt from the fuel economy regulations of CAFE, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy law of 1975. That law set national emissions standards for manufacturers to attain. These were minimum standards that could be averaged across the entire product line or model mix of any particular brand. The legislative compromise that would drive truck production for the next 50 years lay in language that set lower standards for trucks than for cars, initially to protect commercial trucking.
Manufacturers were quick to exploit the loophole. To move the truck inventory and increase the percentage of exempt vehicles in their fleets, automakers beefed up their advertising for family-use trucks. It worked. By the mid-nineties an urban truck craze ran parallel to the increase in another famously exempt category, the SUV. Manufacturers quickly caught on and responded to market demand with extended cabs, extra seats and seat belts for the whole family. Gone are the days when the kids scrambled into the open back and off the family rumbled over dirt country roads. The truck is now a multi-use tool for city dweller or suburban manimal - weekday work and weekend fun. Asked why they bought a truck, many men say it was to cart and carry sports equipment too big to fit in a sedan, or even in an SUV with racks. Bigger is better. But often the "fully-loaded" vehicle has so many options, those extras have over-loaded the chassis. Convenience is the catchword in the glossy brochures. But there is nothing convenient about having a lemon.
If a truck suffers from a substantial defect, the steps to recovery are the same as for a car. First, the owner should return the vehicle to the nearest factory authorized dealer for repairs, carefully describe each symptom or condition at the time of service, and make sure that it is reported in the written repair order. If multiple repair attempts fail to fix the problem(s), the owner's call to the manufacturer with a demand for a new car or a refund may be in order. If that does not work, the consumer's best option is to seek a lawyer's advice. (Make sure you actually speak to an attorney before signing a retainer agreement.)
Trucks remain a symbol of freedom and strength. There is nothing weak about demanding a safe and reliable vehicle. There is strength in knowing and asserting your legal rights.