Lemon Law Safeguards for Leased Vehicles in California

Have you ever wondered what the California Lemon Law is and how it protects your rights as a vehicle owner or lessee? In this article, we’ll discuss the California Lemon Law, how it applies to both purchased and leased vehicles, what makes your leased car a lemon, and how long can you expect to be covered by the law.

Lemon Law Coverage For Leased Vehicles

The California Lemon Law is designed to shield consumers who find themselves grappling with defective vehicles bought or leased in California. It offers a formidable protection for consumers facing persistent vehicle issues that are not resolved, even after repeated attempts at repair.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the California Lemon Law is that it applies not only to vehicles that have been outright purchased but also to those that have been leased. So, whether you assume ownership or choose the flexibility of a lease agreement, the California Lemon Law stands ready to protect your rights.

The essence of the California Lemon Law lies in providing consumers with recourse when they encounter major issues in their newly purchased or leased vehicles. If you find yourself contending with problems that significantly impair the vehicle’s utility, value, or safety, you have the right to seek a remedy under the sturdy shelter of the
California Lemon Law.

Does Your Leased Vehicle Qualify for Lemon Law in California?

Under the Lemon Law, a vehicle is considered a “lemon” if it has a defect that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety, and the manufacturer or dealer has been given a reasonable number of attempts to fix the issue.

To qualify as a “lemon,” the defect must also be covered by the manufacturer’s express warranty. The Lemon Law also contains a specific “presumption provision” that assumes a vehicle is a “lemon” when:

the manufacturer or dealer has tried two or more times to fix the same defect that could cause death or serious bodily harm;
four or more times to repair the same non-safety-related issue;
or, the vehicle has been out of service for more than 30 days due to repairs for any number of problems.

So, if your vehicle meets these criteria, you may be able to seek relief under California’s Lemon Law.

The Lease Is About To End, Can You Still File A Claim?


If your vehicle lease is coming to an end and you’ve encountered issues throughout the lease period, you may wonder if you can still seek compensation under the Lemon Law. The answer is yes, as long as the problems or defects occurred during the lease period.

Under the California Lemon Law, the focus is on whether the issues arose during the lease, rather than the lease’s expiration. As long as you experienced significant problems covered by the manufacturer’s warranty while leasing the vehicle, you have the right to file a lemon law case and pursue compensation.

Remember, the purpose of the Lemon Law is to hold manufacturers accountable for vehicles that fail to meet expectations and have substantial defects. The timeline of when these issues occurred is what matters, not the lease’s end date.

To protect your rights, ensure you have documented evidence of the persistent problems you encountered during the lease period. This documentation will be crucial in pursuing a lemon law case and seeking appropriate compensation.


The California Lemon Law is a consumer protection law that helps you deal with the frustrations and financial burden caused by defective vehicles. This law is in place to ensure that manufacturers are held accountable for providing vehicles that don’t meet expectations. Whether you have purchased or leased a vehicle in California, understanding how the law works can provide you with valuable peace of mind.

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