Does California’s Lemon Law Apply to My Vehicle?

When you’re investing in a new vehicle, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your car will run properly or not. Inevitably, though, some consumers do end up with a faulty vehicle, or what is commonly referred to as a “lemon”. Fortunately, California has stringent laws in place to protect consumers who find themselves in this situation, specifically the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, or as it’s more commonly known, the California Lemon Law.


However, one common question that many vehicle owners have is: Does the California Lemon Law apply to my vehicle? Here, we break down the essential information you need to understand the applicability of California’s Lemon Law to your vehicle.


New Cars
California’s Lemon Law applies predominantly to new vehicles. If you have purchased or leased a new car and it turns out to have serious manufacturing defects that the dealer cannot fix within a reasonable number of attempts, you may be protected under this law.
A reasonable number of attempts usually means two repair attempts for defects that could lead to death or severe bodily injury, or four attempts for other substantial defects. Alternatively, if the vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days (not necessarily consecutive) for repairs related to warranty issues, it could also qualify as a lemon.


Used Cars
A significant point to understand is that California’s Lemon Law does not apply to cars purchased or lease used, or pre-owned, even if they are still under a manufacturer’s car warranty. This is a change from the past, where used cars were also covered by the Lemon Law.
Hence, if you’re planning to purchase a used car, it’s essential to be aware that it won’t be covered by California’s Lemon Law. Even certified pre-owned vehicles from a dealer, which often comes with a manufacturer’s warranty and hence, may not be covered by the Lemon Law.


Other Vehicles
Beyond new cars, the Lemon Law also applies to new trucks, SUVs, vans, boats, yachts, RVs and motorhomes. So, if you’re purchasing a vehicle other than a standard car, you may still be protected under the law.
In conclusion, while the California Lemon Law offers strong protections for consumers, it is crucial to understand its limitations, particularly with respect to used vehicles. Before making a vehicle purchase or lease, consider your options carefully, understand the extent of your legal protections, and always ensure that you’re making a well-informed decision.

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