CA Lemon Law and Your New Car | A Complete Overview

CA Lemon Law for New Cars

California Lemon Law is a legal provision designed to protect consumers. It is for those who purchase or lease new or used vehicles that turn out to be defective or “lemons”. This comprehensive overview will delve into the workings of the lemon car law. We’ll provide a clear understanding of the definition of a lemon, the requirements for qualifying, and how it works for consumers.

What is the Lemon Law For Cars?

The Lemon Law is a consumer protection law that provides remedies for buyers or lessees of vehicles. It is for those vehicles that fail to meet certain quality and performance standards. The lemon law California has allows consumers to seek compensation for defective vehicles. This compensation could come in the form of a refund or replacement. To qualify the vehicle must have persistent defects or malfunctions within a specific timeframe.

Lemon Law in California

The car lemon law California grants offers strong protections to consumers who have purchased or leased defective vehicles. It covers both new and used vehicles and includes cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and motorhomes. The auto lemon law is applicable to vehicles sold or leased within California. Also, if you registered the car in the state, regardless of the location of the manufacturer or dealer, the law can apply as well.

How Does the Lemon Law Work?

To be eligible for protection under the Lemon California Law, the vehicle must meet certain criteria. Generally, the law applies if the vehicle has a substantial defect or non-conformity. This defect must impair the car’s safety, value, or use. The defect must arise within the first 18 months of ownership. Alternatively, it could occur within the first 18,000 miles driven, whichever happens first.

Before starting an automobile Lemon Law claim, the vehicle owner must provide the manufacturer or authorized dealer an opportunity to repair the defects. It is only if the repairs are unsuccessful after a reasonable number of attempts that you can proceed with a claim. The manufacturer would then replace the vehicle or refund the purchase price subject to certain deductions.

Lemon Law for New Cars in California

For new cars, the Lemon Law rules are particularly favorable to consumers in California. This is because the lemon law requirements are relatively consumer friendly compared to other states. It first begins with your vehicle experiencing significant defects within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles. If this happens, you must give the manufacturer a “reasonable number of attempts” to fix the problem. 

Then if the issues persist, the consumer may be entitled to a replacement vehicle or a full refund. This usually includes any down payment, monthly payments, and other collateral costs.

What Makes A New Vehicle A Lemon? 

In summary, California’s Lemon Law mandates that a manufacturer replace a new car that turns out to be a lemon. Otherwise, they must give the customer a refund if they are unable to fix a problem that compromises the vehicle’s safety, use, or value. This is usually dependent on a reasonable timeframe or after a reasonable number of repair attempts.

Now, determining what constitutes “reasonable” can be difficult. The presumption in California’s new car lemon law definition helps buyers easily determine whether their new car is a lemon. A legal presumption is a statement that, in the presence of certain facts, is true.

According to California’s Lemon Law, any of the following must occur within the first 18,000 miles or 18 months to deem a vehicle a lemon:

  • The manufacturer has attempted to fix the issue at least twice. However, the problem still poses a risk of serious injury or death; 
  • The car has been in the shop for more than 30 days;
  • The manufacturer has performed four attempts at repairs;
  • For the presumption to be applicable, you must express your concerns about the vehicle’s problems to the manufacturer. As such, if you believe your new car might be a lemon, you have to notify the manufacturer. 

Furthermore, you must give the manufacturer permission to attempt repairs.

Note that in certain instances, it doesn’t mean your car isn’t a lemon just because it doesn’t fall into one of these categories. However, you might need to put in a little more work to prove it. A knowledgeable Lemon lawyer can assist you in assessing your lemon law case. 

What is the Lemon Law for Used Cars?

Contrary to popular belief, the Lemon Law can also apply to used cars in California. However, the eligibility criteria for CA lemon law used cars differ from those for new cars. To be covered under the legal presumption, a California lemon law used car must still be under the manufacturer’s original warranty. 

As an alternative, the dealer must have sold it to you with a warranty. The defects must arise during the warranty period and the purchaser must notify the manufacturer or dealer within a specified lemon law timeframe.

How To File a Lemon Law Claim

To file a Lemon Law claim in California, vehicle owners need to adhere to certain procedures. First, they must provide written notice to the manufacturer or dealer. This means giving them a final opportunity to repair the defects. 

If the manufacturer fails to resolve the issues within a reasonable timeframe, the consumer can proceed to file a claim. This is commonly known as the 30-day lemon law rule. After this period, you can then file a claim through various means such as arbitration, legal action, or mediation.


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What Does the Lemon Law Cover?

The Lemon Law meaning covers a wide range of defects or non-conformities. These defects impair the functioning or value of a vehicle. As such, they can include issues with the engine, transmission, brakes, and steering. It could also involve the electrical system or other critical components. However, minor defects or issues caused by owner negligence or misuse are usually not covered by the Lemon Law.

Timeframe and Lemon Law Rules

The timeframe and specific rules surrounding Lemon Law claims can vary. It all depends on the circumstances and jurisdiction. In California, the Lemon Law is designed to provide a remedy within a reasonable time period. It is essential to understand the specific timeframe for reporting defects. This gives the manufacturer an opportunity to repair the defects, and if unsuccessful, you can proceed with a claim to protect your rights and obtain compensation.

Final Thoughts

The California Lemon Law is a powerful consumer protection tool. It helps provide relief and recourse for individuals who purchase or lease defective vehicles. If you didn’t know how to lemon law a car, then hopefully you learned something.

Whether it’s a new or used car, understanding Lemon Law provisions is essential for consumers. It helps you exercise your rights and seek compensation when experiencing persistent defects or malfunctions. Pay close attention to the Lemon Law requirements and take the necessary steps to file a claim. This way, consumers can navigate the process to find a resolution and regain their peace of mind.

Even if you know and understand the process, lemon law is best navigated with a competent lemon lawyer by your side. This is where Quill and Arrow LLP help make matters easier. They help you out with the complexities of the lemon law and will walk you through the entire process. They’ll make sure you receive the maximum compensation available to you. If you have any questions at all, they’re ready to answer them, all you have to do is reach out.

Media Contact: 

Carlo V. DeFalco

eCustom Solutions

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