California Lemon Law Requirements

Automobile troubles - California Lemon Law Attorneys

The California lemon law provides a solution for California consumers with repeated problems related to the safety, value, or use of their vehicle. There are certain requirements necessary to meet the qualifications for a California Lemon Law claim. Your vehicle must have been purchased in California, new or used, leased, or Certified Pre-owned, from an authorized factory dealership.

Most lemon law claims involve defects that require multiple repairs or a specific amount of days out of service to repair the defect under the factory warranty. However, there are other factors involved in determining if a vehicle is a lemon outside the most obvious. For instance, whether the defect involves a safety hazard is very important to ascertain.

Gathering Information for Your Claim

It is important to take your vehicle in for repairs at a qualified dealership to create a paper trail. The most important information is proof your vehicle is problematic. To prove that your vehicle is a lemon and qualifies under the California Lemon law, you must have repair orders showing the ongoing complaints. The repair orders paint a history of what you have experienced and what the defects are. They show what the complaints have been, what the dealership has done to address your complaints, and how long it has been out of service. After a reasonable number of attempts or numerous days out of service, it’s time to contact a skilled Lemon Law Attorney to begin the process. Let our expert team take the hassle and out of resolving your Lemon Law case and help get you the best settlement.

Legal Experience Equals the Best Outcome

Every case is unique because each has its own set of facts and circumstances. Consulting an experienced Lemon Law attorney to determine if you have a valid Lemon Law claim is free. Seek the advice of a successful Lemon Law Lawyer with high standards and an excellent track record. Most of the communication between the consumer and the manufacturer is one sided. Manufacturers usually attempt to “string” the consumer along and try to delay repairs or persuade you to admit liability.

It is often frustrating and infuriating when trying to resolve a claim on your own. James Johnson and his team of lemon law advocates are on your side. We can resolve your lemon law claim quickly giving you peace of mind. Our high standards set us apart from others. As a result, the manufacturers commonly accept our demands swiftly. Therefore, the majority of cases are resolved without the need of prolonged litigation.


FAQ About the California Lemon Law


If you are wondering how to know if a car is a lemon, you’re not alone. Officially, the lemon law is titled the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. California’s lemon law protects consumers by requiring manufacturers to repurchase or replace faulty products they failed to fix after a “reasonable number” of repair attempts, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs. There is no concrete criteria for what constitutes a “reasonable number”—or what qualifies a car as a lemon—but the law provides guidelines that can be applied to make a determination.

California’s lemon law applies to both new and used vehicles, including cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, ATVs, motorcycles, RVs, electric cars, and pickup trucks. However, in the case of used cars, the used car lemon law only provides protection if the vehicle was purchased with the original factory warranty..

Yes. In California, the lemon law applies to leased cars and other vehicles, in addition to used or new. You must adhere to the same reporting process and keep good documentation to have leverage when filing a claim with a California lemon law attorney.

Yes, a recall will impact your situation. Generally, the dealer or manufacturer will alert consumers if there is a recall, whether you are personally aware of a defect or not. If a defective vehicle is fixed adequately during the recall process, you would no longer have grounds under California’s lemon law. If a particular problem persists post-recall, however, a lemon law claim may be in order.

California, as with other states, has certain specifications outlined in its lemon law presumption. The California lemon law presumption assumes a vehicle is a lemon if the following occurs within the first 18,000 miles or 18 months of delivery to the buyer or lessee:

  • The vehicle is repaired by the manufacturer or its agents four or more times for the same non-substantial warranty defect;
  • The vehicle is repaired at least two times for a serious safety defect that could lead to serious bodily harm or death;
  • Or, the vehicle is out of service for more than 30 days total while any number or combination of warranty defects are repaired.

California’s lemon law covers motor vehicles that are “used or bought for use primarily for personal, family or household purposes” or with a gross weight under 10,000 pounds. The law does not cover motorcycles or boats, nor does it cover RVs, motor homes, or other consumer vehicles used or maintained primarily for human habitation, according to the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Substantial defects are those that affect a vehicle’s “use, value, or safety” and were not caused by you. They can include issues that negatively affect the engine, braking system, driveline, suspension, rear differential, turbocharger, axle system, cooling system, or SRS/airbag system. The lemon law also pertains to electrical problems and issues with the navigation system. This list can give you an idea of how to know if your car is a lemon, but our California lemon law lawyers can provide more insight into substantial defects.

According to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the California lemon law does not cover any problems or defects caused by the unauthorized or unreasonable use of the vehicle after sale. The law also does not apply to common defects that arise from frequent use or everyday wear and tear.

The California lemon law presumption provides criteria for how many repair attempts are required before a car can be classified as a lemon. For any serious safety defect that could cause death or serious bodily injury, at least two unsuccessful repair attempts must have been made. For non-substantial defects, you must have made at least four attempts to repair the same problem.

If the manufacturer or dealer cannot fix your vehicle after a “reasonable number” of attempts, you are entitled to either a replacement vehicle or a refund equal to your vehicle’s purchase price. A California lemon law buyback or California lemon law used car must be identified by the dealer or manufacturer when they put the defective vehicle up for sale again.

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act does not specifically set a California lemon law time limit for a consumer to make a claim about a suspected lemon, but the “lemon law rights period” applies for the duration of the written warranty from the manufacturer.

The more documents you have to corroborate your claim, the better. The Department of Consumer Affairs states these documents are necessary when filing a lemon law claim:

  • the sales contract and finance/lease agreement,
  • all repair and service orders,
  • any letters between you and the dealer or manufacturer,
  • and any other documents, such as signed statements, that might help support your case.

Whether you are hoping the California lemon law can cover a used, new or leased car that is defective, you benefit by working with an experienced California lemon law attorney to help you through the process. Our California lemon attorneys provide a free lemon law case review, walk you through how to file a lemon law claim in California, and provide invaluable support and council to help you achieve an optimal outcome.


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