California Automotive Lemon Law for New Cars

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The California Lemon Law is one of the California automotive laws, also known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, designed to protect consumers who end up with a defective or a “lemon” vehicle. Any car that fails to meet the performance requirements warranted by its manufacturer can be justifiably called a “lemon”. “Lemon vehicles”, with their defects, can put a person’s life in danger. Here, the lemon law comes to the rescue of everyone injured or troubled by “lemons”.


For the vehicle to qualify under CA lemon law

  • it must have been purchased from a California dealership when it was new;
  • it must be under the original manufacturer’s warranty at the time of the first breakdown or problem;
  • it must have serious safety related defects;
  • an authorized Dealership’s service department failed to fix the defects in a reasonable number of attempts, which is usually 3 or 4;
  • it must have been in the service department for a total of 30 days or more, combined;

Experienced lemon law lawyers can most likely represent cases and reach settlements even when the vehicle is used for purposes other than personal and family use. The lemon law was not designed for vehicles that have been used for commercial purposes.

In addition, vehicles that are either beyond the warranty coverage mileage or period may still be qualified as a lemon. An experienced law firm has been able to get a lemon refund as far out as the 6 month after the lease on the vehicle has ended and the consumer no longer had the vehicle in the possession.

Reasonable number of attempts – Let’s now see what is meant by the “reasonable number of attempts”, as the meaning of this may vary from one case to another. A “reasonable number of repair attempts” is when after the first 18 months or 18,000 miles:

  • There have been 2 unsuccessful repair attempts to fix a severe safety related problem.
  • There have been made more than 4 unsuccessful repair attempts to fix one and the same problem.
  • If the vehicle has been in the dealership for repairs for at least 30 days.

Vehicles Covered Under the CA Lemon Law

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • SUVs
  • Vans
  • Scooters
  • Boats
  • Motorhomes
  • Motorcycles and much more

California Automotive Lemon Law for Used Cars

CA lemon law gives major rights not only to the new car owners, but also to the owners of the used cars. The only restriction here is that all the cars should have a warranty. Sometimes, used cars are sold on an “as is” basis. Such cars usually do not qualify under the lemon law. It’s better to have some sort of a service contract than nothing at all. As for the service contracts, they are usually called “extended warranties” by the dealerships, but the reality is that they are never equal to the actual extended warranties offered by the manufacturer on new vehicles.


In general, CA lemon law is a useful tool to regain justice and to get a compensation for the damages you have suffered. The compensation may take the form of a buyback and a full refund payable to the consumer or it may involve a cash settlement. Sometime a vehicle replacement is an acceptable remedy if the client really wants the same make and model. It is up to the vehicle owner to choose between the available offers presented by the manufacturer.

Auto manufacturers each have hundreds of attorneys working hard on their side so filing a lemon law claim on your own is strongly discouraged. The lemon law has a provision for attorney fees, which are paid separately and in addition to your lemon law refund settlement. So when faced with a defective and unsafe vehicle, do not hesitate to contact your nearest California Lemon Law office. The concerned Law Office will review and evaluate your case in person or over the phone and all lemon law cases are taken on the contingency basis, which means you do not pay anything out of pocket.

Got a “Lemon”?

If your vehicle breaks down often or if you feel it is not safe to drive

  • stop driving the vehicle and make sure you take it to an authorized dealer service center for repairs;
  • carefully review and keep all paperwork presented to you be the dealership or the service department;
  • make sure that the problem(s) you stated is(are) properly documented by the dealership;
  • collect all service documents, original contracts and other paperwork into one large envelope;
  • collect all receipts for any money spend on the vehicle
  • and call an attorney!

If you help your attorney by providing him/her with all the above documents, he/she will be more likely to reach a successful settlement and have your defective vehicle returned, your down payment and monthly payments credited back to you along with any money you spent to tow, fix or otherwise take care of your defective vehicle. Some minor usage charges may be applied, but those are minor in comparison to your refund.

Author Bio:

This article was provided by Merry, a professional legal writer, on behalf of

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