Frequently Asked Lemon Law Questions

Do I need to go through arbitration to pursue a lemon law claim in court?

No. There are some advantages to arbitration, but there can also be significant disadvantages. The dealer and manufacturer want you to go through their own sponsored arbitration rather than hire a lawyer and settle in court. Obviously they have their own motives, and their version of arbitration will most likely tip the scales in their favor. We recommend consumers contact a specialized lemon law attorney immediately to decide whether or not arbitration is their best option under the circumstances. We have found that consumers are generally better off avoiding the manufacturer-sponsored arbitration process.

Is there a required amount of repair attempts to be made in order to have a valid lemon law case?

No, but a lemon law claim is generally stronger if the vehicle has been repaired at least four times for the same problem (two if the issue is safety-related or potentially life-threatening), or if it has been in the shop for at least 30 days. California lemon laws provide a legal presumption that the vehicle is considered a lemon if one of the above criteria is met within the first 18 months of the vehicle’s life or before 18,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Does the lemon law apply to cars more than one year old, or have more than 18,000 miles?

Yes. While the presumption guidelines state that a vehicle should meet certain criteria to be considered a lemon in California, such as the vehicle’s age or mileage, it really only means that you have a much stronger case if these criteria are met. The more valid information you have at your disposal, the better the case you’ll be able to make against the manufacturer.

Do California lemon laws only protect against "major" defects?

California lemon laws apply to a wide variety of problems, the underlying principle being that the consumer should get what he or she expected to pay for – i.e. a vehicle that works and looks the way it’s supposed to. Lemon laws can even apply to non-mechanical issues, such as a defective paint job or faulty accessories if they are significant enough. They most likely won’t apply to smaller issues, such as radio static or small squeaking noises. No car or vehicle is flawless, but consumers have the right to expect a certain level of quality when purchasing a new car.

Do I need to notify the manufacturer and give them a chance to fix the problem before going to court for a lemon law claim?

Usually, you should give the manufacturer a chance to repair or repurchase the vehicle before suing in court, which is something that should be discussed with your attorney. If you have any concerns about the manufacturer not following through or questions about lemon laws, contact an attorney immediately. We have actually seen customers who have given too much leeway for the manufacturer to fix the problem – in some cases years – only to be denied later on grounds that they “waited too long.” Don’t let this happen to you – if you have thoughts or concerns that your car may be a lemon, contact the attorneys at Lemon Expert and we’ll help you decide what steps to take next.

Do California lemon laws apply to used cars?

Some used vehicles are covered under California lemon laws if they meet certain requirements. First, the vehicle must be under a manufacturer’s warranty at the time the consumer notices the defect. For example, if the car is two years old, still under warranty and continues to have substantial problems, there is a fair chance it’s covered by the lemon law. If the car is many years old (typically 2011 and older) and the manufacturer’s warranty has already expired, the laws will probably not apply to that car. For more information about the basics of California lemon law, visit our Lemon Law Basics page.

Do California lemon laws apply to RVs, travel trailers and motorcycles?

State lemon laws typically apply to all vehicles used primarily on the roads. Off-road vehicles, such as ATVs and boats, are not covered by lemon laws, but may be covered under other similar laws. Speaking with a practiced and knowledgeable attorney about your particular situation can help you decide what your best options are regarding off-road or other vehicles. Lemon Law Partners, LLP has helped many consumers with their defective RVs, travel trailers and motorcycles. Visit our Defective New RVs, Travel Trailers and Motorcycles page to learn more about that area of practice.

How much will a lemon law claim cost me?

The magical thing about California lemon laws is that the victims of a lemon law purchase are not responsible for fees, including bills for enlisting the help of an attorney. When we win your case, the manufacturer is required to pay our fees, not the consumer. This means there’s no risk associated with consulting the experts at Lemon Law Partners, LLP, so don’t hesitate to give us a call if you’re dealing with a significant problem regarding your car.

For all of your other questions pertaining to your specific circumstances or about California lemon laws, call the experts at Lemon Law Partners, LLP at (800) 887-9362. Our knowledgeable lawyers can answer all your questions and guide you on your next steps regarding a lemon law claim.