The federal Lemon Law is a law that provides protection for consumers who purchase new or used vehicles that fail to meet the manufacturer’s quality standards. This law applies to vehicles purchased or leased from a manufacturer or dealership in the United States. 

The California Lemon Law provides additional protection for consumers who purchase or lease new or used vehicles in California. Under California Lemon Law, the manufacturer or dealer must repair or replace the defective vehicle within a certain period of time or provide a refund or replacement. 

The California Lemon Law also provides additional protection for consumers who purchase or lease vehicles that have been previously certified by the manufacturer as having met certain quality standards. Additionally, the California Lemon Law provides a longer period of time for repairs and refunds than the federal Lemon Law.


Federal Lemon Law

If you have been experiencing continual problems with a car, computer, or other product that you recently purchased, and it is covered under a warranty, you might have what is called a lemon. This is a product that is defective and does not work as it should. You have rights under state and federal law to seek a replacement product or a cash settlement from the dealership or seller. They may also agree to purchase the lemon vehicle or other product back from you.

  • A product has a valid warranty.
  • The product was presented for repairs within the warranty period.
  • The manufacturer failed to adhere to the warranty’s provisions within a reasonable amount of time or repair attempts.

Federal law acknowledges two types of warranties:

  • Express Warranties:- An express warranty is anything that a seller represents to a buyer about the vehicle and primarily becomes part of the sales contract. They usually include statements or declarations in writing such as those provided by the manufacturers in Owner’s Manuals and other written sales or advertising materials.
  • Implied Warranties: Dealers are held responsible if vehicles they sell do not meet reasonable quality standards. These obligations are called implied warranties which are unspoken, unwritten promises to the buyer that the vehicle will function in the way it was intended. There are two types of implied warranties.

California Lemon Law

If you’ve purchased or leased a defective vehicle in California, you may be protected by the state’s lemon laws. These laws require consumers to prove that the manufacturer is unable to repair the vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts. In order to do so, you’ll need to show that the defects are substantial and that they’re preventing you from using the vehicle as intended. If you’re successful, you may be entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund.


What does California’s Lemon Law cover?

The California Lemon Law covers new cars. It covers used cars too if there is still time remaining on the manufacturer’s warranty. The Lemon Law covers:

  • Cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs. It also covers the chassis, chassis cab, and drive train of a motor home. After-market parts such as van conversions are not included.
  • Dealer-owned vehicles and demonstrators.
  • Vehicles purchased or leased for personal, family, or household purposes.
  • Many vehicles that are purchased or leased primarily for business use.


Major Differences between Federal and California Lemon Law

The Federal and California Lemon Laws are two very different sets of regulations that are designed to protect consumers from products that fail to meet standards. These laws address different aspects of the consumer-seller relationship, such as warranties and the rights of the consumer

The most significant difference between the two is that the Federal Lemon Law applies to all states, while the California Lemon Law only applies to California residents. Additionally, the Federal Lemon Law covers primarily vehicles, while the California Lemon Law applies to any consumer product, including vehicles, electronic devices, and appliances. 


The Federal Lemon Law also requires a manufacturer to provide written disclosure of the consumer’s rights, while the California law does not. Finally, the remedies available to consumers under each law are different. Under the Federal Lemon Law, a consumer may be entitled to a refund, repair, or replacement, while the California Lemon Law only provides for a refund or replacement.



If you are considering hiring a lawyer to deal with a California lemon law issue, you should be aware of the pros and cons of doing so. On the upside, hiring a California lemon law lawyer can give you the support and guidance you need to assert your rights effectively. However, hiring a lawyer can also be expensive, and may not be necessary if you can manage your dispute without legal assistance. It is important to weigh all of your options before making a decision.

In conclusion, the California Lemon Law provides more protection for consumers than the federal lemon law. It covers more types of vehicles, has a longer time frame for filing a claim, puts more of the burden on the manufacturer to prove the vehicle is not a lemon and allows for a larger compensation amount. With all that being said, it is important for any consumer in California to be aware of the California Lemon Law and their rights as a consumer.