California Lemon Laws: Is Your Car a Lemon?

Cars are a significant part of our modern day lives. For most of us in the US, they are our primary source of transportation. Unfortunately, not all new cars are created equal. Sometimes, they come with major flaws. If it is impossible to fix the manufacturing defects in your new car, the vehicle is considered a “lemon.” That is where California Lemon Laws come into play.
Getting a lemon can be stressful. It can have a serious impact on your ability to safely commute to wherever you need to go. Luckily, there are many laws in place to help protect consumers in these situations. If you think you might have a lemon, or you want to learn more if you receive a lemon in the future, check out this article.

Criteria for California Lemon Laws

California Lemon Laws require manufacturers to buy back new cars if the manufacturer cannot repair a defect which “substantially impairs” the vehicle’s “use, value, or safety.” This also applies to used cars, if purchased during the manufacturer’s warranty period. In order for a car to be considered a lemon in California, it must meet specific criteria. According to the California DMV, a car is considered a lemon if:

  • Two (2) or more attempts have been made by the manufacturer to repair a warranty problem. In addition, these problems could result in death or serious injury;
  • The manufacturer has attempted to repair the same warranty problem at least four (4) times;
  • The car has been out of service for 30 days or more for repair to warranty problems;
  • Problems to the vehicle are not the result of abuse by the owner.

If you are having issues with your vehicle, and you are afraid it may be a lemon, it is important to start keeping detailed records of your experiences, problems, and repairs, as this will help you tremendously later down the line.

Time Limitations

For a car to be considered a lemon, the above criteria must happen within a certain time period. A car will only be considered a lemon if:

  • Manufacturers are made aware within 18 months of the vehicle’s delivery to the buyer
  • It has under 18,000 miles on its odometer

What if My Car is Used?

California Lemon Laws cover all new cars bought from the manufacturer or dealership. The law may also cover used cars. However, the used vehicle will only qualify if it has the original manufacturer’s warranty. This warranty typically lasts for 3 years, or 36,000 miles, but it can be more for some manufacturers.
If a manufacturer’s warranty does not come with the vehicle, the dealer must have provided a guarantee for lemon law to apply. These warranties typically last between 30 days and 3 months but may be longer, depending on the dealership.

What if My Lemon is Leased?

If you leased your car, you are entitled to the same rights as those who purchase their vehicles. Leasing a car does not limit your rights to consumer protection.

What to Do if You Think You Have a Lemon

The California Lemon Laws are in place to protect you. If you believe you own a lemon vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. To get the compensation that you deserve, contact the lemon law lawyers at Sweet Lawyers.
Give our firm a call at (800) 369-4424. We will evaluate your case for free. All our attorneys work on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing unless we can recover a settlement for you.


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