What Qualifies a Car for Lemon Law in California?

Finding yourself the owner of a car that’s plagued by substantial and chronic issues can be extremely frustrating. Not only are you sinking a significant amount of money into repairing your vehicle, but you are also spending your precious time at the mechanic and dealing with transportation complications. Fortunately, there are protections in place to safeguard consumers in California who have been sold a defective products, including cars (also known as “lemons”). Let’s take a closer look at how state laws define a lemon and what you can do if your vehicle qualifies as one.

Defining a Lemon

Under California state law, in order to officially qualify as a lemon, a vehicle must meet two major criteria:

  1. It must possess a significant defect covered by the warranty that impacts its use, value, and/or safety. This defect must take place within a certain period of time or within a certain number of miles.
  2. The defect is still not fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts.

Both new and used cars can qualify as lemons, as long as they are still under the manufacturer’s warranty.

What is a “Substantial Defect”?

Not all issues qualify as substantial defects. Minor hassles, such as a loose door handle, will probably not meet the legal definition of a substantial defect. These major defects directly affect the car’s use, value, or safety, such as a faulty transmission or defective brakes. Of course, the exact differentiation between a minor and a substantial defect is still subjective, so it’s important to keep in mind that, in order to qualify the car as a lemon, the issue must clearly impact either the safety, value, or use of the vehicle.

Next Steps

If you believe that you are in possession of a lemon, you should contact a knowledgeable and experienced lemon law attorney who can help you assess your case and guide you towards a solid plan of action. If you do have a strong case, you can discuss how to seek a refund from the manufacturer, or, if necessary, take your case to court.

If you want to learn more about California lemon law, contact the dedicated attorneys at Lemon Law Partners, LLP today at (800) 887-9362. We offer free case evaluations to all of our Bay Area clients, and we are ready to provide you with the answers you need.