The California Lemon Law is a set of laws that ensure any vehicle you purchase in the state of California from a dealer, brand new or used, does not have any major defects or problems. These laws are designed to protect the consumer’s rights in dealing with the vehicle that was purchased at the dealership. The laws are designed to protect the consumer from getting stuck with a lemon vehicle and ensure that the manufacturer has fixed any issue that occurred. This article by our California lemon law attorney explains everything that a consumer should know about the California lemon law.


What Does the California Lemon Law Do and Do Not Apply To?

Products covered by this law include automobiles, which can be rented, leased, or purchased for personal use. Certain products are not covered by the law for being used for other purposes, such as clothing, consumables, medication and other medical supplies. If you’re sold a product that malfunctions, the manufacturer must either repair the defective item in a reasonable time frame or give you back your money.


What Qualifies as a Lemon Under the California Lemon Law?

If you are experiencing problems with your car, there are certain guidelines that can help determine if it qualifies as a lemon. Under California law, the vehicle may qualify as a lemon if the defect is covered under the warranty, and it occurs within 18,000 miles or 18 months after purchase. If this is the case, the manufacturer must replace the defective part, replace the whole vehicle, or give you back your money.

The good news is that in the State of California, if your lemon vehicle has not been fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts by the manufacturer’s repair service, you’re entitled to your vehicle’s repurchase. To be eligible for repurchase, the offer from the manufacturer must be an appropriate amount based on the terms agreed.

Sometimes manufacturers might not respond to a problem or offer a refund or replacement, but you have the right to file a civil action. If this happens, the manufacturer may be ordered to do the following:

  • Pay for everything related to the case
  • Pay the consumer’s attorney if one was hired
  • Provide a replacement or refund to the consumer

If the lemon vehicle qualifies for a refund, these things will be included in the refund:

  • Down payment
  • Monthly Payments
  • Civil Penalty Damages
  • Registration and Taxes
  • Pay Attorney Fees


Does the Lemon Law Apply to Privately Sold Vehicles?

No, The California lemon law does not apply to vehicles purchased from a private seller. This means that you may be misled by the seller, and the seller is not legally obligated to fix any issues you discover with the vehicle. Before buying a used car from a private seller, it is smart to have a mechanic inspect it first. This will help you avoid any big problems and save some money in the long run.

However, if the car is still under warranty, it’s likely that you’re still protected. For example, if the car is still under manufacturer’s warranty, used car buyers are usually protected as long as they transfer it along with the warranty to the new owner. Also, used car sellers are obligated to comply with any express warranties.


What About a Breach of Warranty?

Your car is still under warranty, but it’s not working properly. Now what? The manufacturer has a responsibility to fix your car. If they refuse or fail to fix the problem, it’s likely that there is a violation of your warranty. The manufacturer legally has to repair all defects that are covered under the warranty. If they violate your warranty, you may be entitled to monetary damages and the four-year statute of limitation can help you sue for breach of warranty.

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What are the Defects Covered Under the Lemon Law?

Defects can be covered by the Lemon Law if they exist at the time the vehicle is delivered and still exist after a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defect or defects. These are some of the defects covered under the California Lemon Law:

  • Defective Steering
  • Defective Airbags
  • Faulty Brakes
  • Defective Seat Belt
  • Bad Car Smells
  • Braking System Defect
  • Electrical Issues
  • Stalling
  • Problems With Acceleration
  • Engine and Transmission Problems

Check your vehicle for any of the defects listed above. If you have any of them, contact our California lemon law lawyer to find out if you have grounds to file a claim. If you’ve got a lemon and you don’t know what to do next, call a lemon law attorney in San Diego. A qualified lawyer from McMillan Law Group will be able to determine if your vehicle qualifies for The California Lemon Law.