Why the Lemon Law is Important to People in California


There are Lemon Laws around the county, but the one in California is not the same as elsewhere as it pertains to consumers and vehicle manufacturers. There are different provisions in California, such as what proof is required and who is permitted to claim the first place.

Here are a few specifics about the California Lemon Law for vehicle owners who are unsure or moving to California soon.

It is Not Only Applicable to Purchased Vehicles

The first significant deviation with the California lemon law compared to others is that it isn’t just applicable to purchased vehicles. It also relates to leased ones too.

The thinking behind this is that there is just as much risk of a new leased vehicle developing a serious defect that cannot be fixed as there is with the purchase of a new vehicle. Therefore, it follows that the law should cover both approaches to car usage.

It is Not Only Cars That Are Covered

California is broader on the type of purchase that is covered by the Lemon Law.

The types of vehicle or other large purchase covered include:

  • Camper trailers
  • Travel trailers
  • ATVs
  • Side-by-sides
  • Motorcycles
  • Jet-skis
  • Boats
  • Small-sized planes

The distinction with each of the above is that they must have been purchased through a dealer (not a private sale). Additionally, they must still be under a factory warranty.

Used Cars May Also Qualify

In some situations, a used vehicle may have some protections under the Lemon Law too.

For instance, vehicles that are not already too old and are still under the original warranty from the manufacturer may still be covered.

The exceptions here include warranties that have been extended with things such as servicing via a third party or a dealer.

4-Year Limitation for Filing a Claim

There is a four-year statute of limitations for filing a Lemon Law-related claim against a manufacturer.

The period will often extend beyond the original warranty period.

The reason is that whilst the warranty usually would begin at the purchase or lease date, the statute of limitations timeframe only starts the clock running when a defect is discovered and the dealership does not repair it satisfactorily.

Reasonable Number of Chances

Dealerships must be given a reasonable number of chances to fix a defect or fault with a vehicle.

This avoids endless repairs when it’s clear the vehicle cannot be successfully repaired.

For a defect to be relevant, it must impact the safety, value, or usage in a meaningful way. Dealers are permitted as many as two tries to address a defect successfully when it is one that could potentially lead to a serious injury or a fatality. In other situations, up to four repair attempts are permitted.

Generally speaking, such repairs should be completed within the first 18,000 miles driven or 18 months, whichever comes first.

Don’t be caught out when you’ve moved to California or have lived there all your life and don’t know your rights. Avoid buying or leasing a vehicle and feeling stuck with it when it’s endlessly faulty. There are other solutions.

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