California Lemon Law Attorneys

California Lemon Law: New Cars vs Used Cars

March 15, 2024

California Lemon Law is a consumer protection law that helps protect people who buy new or used cars that have significant defects. The law applies if the manufacturer is unable to fix the defect after a reasonable number of attempts.

New Cars

The California Lemon Law for new cars applies to most vehicles purchased or leased in California that are still under a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty. The warranty period typically lasts for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

To qualify for protection under the California Lemon Law for new cars, the defect must:

> Be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty;

> Substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle; and

>Not to be caused by unauthorized or unreasonable use of the vehicle after sale.

If a new car meets these criteria, the manufacturer may be required to buy back or replace the vehicle if it cannot fix the defect after a reasonable number of repair attempts.

Used Cars

The California Lemon Law for used cars also applies to most vehicles that are still under a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty. However, there are some additional requirements that must be met:

>The used car must have been purchased or leased in California.

> The used car must have been purchased with a written warranty from the manufacturer or dealer.

> The used car must have been driven less than 18,000 miles at the time of purchase.

> To qualify for protection under the California Lemon Law for used cars, the defect must:

> Be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty;

> Substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle; and

> Not be caused by unauthorized or unreasonable use of the vehicle after sale.

If a used car meets these criteria, the manufacturer may be required to buy back or replace the vehicle if it cannot fix the defect after a reasonable number of repair attempts.

What is a “Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts?”

The California Lemon Law does not specify a specific number of repair attempts that must be made before a vehicle can be considered a lemon. However, the law does state that a “reasonable” number of attempts must be made.

The number of repair attempts that are considered reasonable will vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Factors that may be considered include the severity of the defect, the number of times the vehicle has been taken in for repairs, and the amount of time the vehicle has been out of service.

How to File a Lemon Law Claim?

If you believe that your new or used car is a lemon, you can file a lemon law claim with the manufacturer. You can find more information about how to file a claim on the California Department of Justice website. If the manufacturer cannot resolve the issue to your satisfaction, you may be able to file a lawsuit in a California court.

The California Lemon Law is a valuable consumer protection law that can help you get a defective car fixed or replaced if the manufacturer is unable to do so. If you believe that your new or used car is a lemon, you should contact an attorney to discuss your legal options.

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