CA Lemon Law FAQs


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California Lemon Law

State of CA Lemon Law

Does the California Lemon Law apply to me?
The Lemon Law covers the following new and used vehicles that come with the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty:
* Cars, pickup trucks and the chassis, chassis cab and the
drivetrain of a motor home. Vans and SUVs are covered
under the CA Lemon Law. After-market parts are not included
* Dealer-owned and demos
* Ones which are purchased or leased for personal, family or
household purposes
* Many which are purchased or leased primarily for business use
The CA Lemon Law DOES NOT apply to:
* Vehicles not registered because they are driven off-road; or
* Ones which have been abused
What if the manufacturer or dealer can’t fix the problem?
If the manufacturer or dealer can’t repair a serious warranty
defect after a “reasonable” number of attempts, they must either:
* Replace it; or
* Refund its purchase price
What is a “reasonable” number of repair attempts?
There is no set number. However, the CA Lemon Law contains a guideline for determining this. This is called the California Lemon Law Presumption.
When does the California Lemon Law Presumption apply?
* If your vehicle falls within the guidelines above
* The problems must be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty
* The problems must occur within 18 months of delivery or within 18,000 miles on the odometer (whichever comes first)
* The problems must substantially reduce the use, value or safety of the vehicle to you; and
* The problems were not caused by abuse
If so, the Lemon Law Presumption applies if
* The manufacturer or dealer hasn’t fixed the same problem after four or more attempts; or
* The problems could cause death or serious bodily injury if it is driven and the manufacturer or dealer has made at least two unsuccessful repair attempts; or
* It has been in the shop for more than 30 days (not necessarily in a row) for repair of any problems covered
by its warranty; and
The warranty or owner’s manual requires you to notify the manufacturer about the problems, and you have already notified the manufacturer. (It’s best to do this in writing.)
If your vehicle meets these criteria, the CA Lemon Law presumes a reasonable number of repair attempts have been made and you may be entitled to a replacement or a refund.
Do there need to be four or more repair attempts or more than 30 days out of service before I can take advantage of the Lemon Law?

No, the manufacturer is obligated to repair serious warranty problems and has a “reasonable” opportunity to do so, even without regard to the Lemon Law presumption.
If the problem is very serious, a “reasonable” number of attempts will ordinarily be fewer than four.
I bought my vehicle used with no warranty. Does California’s Lemon Law still apply?
No, the California Lemon Law applies only to disputes involving the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty.

Printable Copy of the CA Lemon Law Here

California is now one of the nation's leaders in lemon-law protection, thanks to SB 1718, signed into law by Governor Gray Davis. The new California Lemon Law measure puts the squeeze on auto manufacturers who fail to fix life-threatening safety defects.

Previously, automakers were allowed four attempts to fix a major safety problem. But starting January 1, 2001," they'll have just two tries to fix a safety-related problem.

California's Consumer Affairs Director, Kathleen Hamilton, was one of the architects of the original Lemon Law back in the 1970s."This new measure expands lemon law coverage to new vehicles within the first 18 months of service or 18,000 miles. This is the culmination of more than two decades of hard work in our efforts to enhance safety for California drivers," Hamilton stated.

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