What is the Lemon Law?

The real name of the California lemon law is the Consumer Warranty Act. It governs the warranty, which is the manufacturer's, and in some cases the dealer's, promise to repair the vehicle if something goes wrong with it. At its most basic, the Lemon Law requires anyone who promises to repair a vehicle, to keep their agreement, or to repurchase or replace it if they don't. Specifically, it requires whoever warrants the vehicle to repair it within "a reasonable number of attempts". It also requires you to take the car to them and say;

"Here's the car. This is the problem. Please fix it."

There is no need to talk lawyers or lemon Law with the dealer. It does not help, and may actually hurt. The lemon law does not tell us what is a reasonable number, so it can vary, depending upon the kind of problem you have.

Documents are very important in these cases, so make sure that you keep all of your 1) purchase documents, and 2) all of your repair orders. DON'T keep them in the car, because all too often they will disappear.

The Lemon Law applies specifically to New Motor Vehicles. Generally, New Motor Vehicles are vehicles registered with the DMV for use on the road, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and motorhomes. It includes any vehicle purchased for personal, family, or household use, whether purchased or leased. It also covers vehicles registered to small businesses, up to a total of 6 vehicles. The vehicles covered must weigh less than 10,000 pounds. Most new car warranties are for three years, or 36,000 miles, but they vary according to the manufacturer. Some components have longer coverage, some have less coverage. Check your warranty book. Problems that arise within the warranty period fall within the Lemon Law.

Protect Your Rights

The lemon law requirements are very technical, and the assistance of a lawyer is important to protect your rights.

San Diego Lemon Law Center | The Law Office of Michael E. Lindsey
Tel: (858) 270-7000 Fax: (858) 270-7710 | 4455 Morena Blvd., Ste. 207 San Diego, CA, 92117 (see map)

General Information Only

The information in the San Diego Lemon Law Center pages is for general information only and is not intended to be taken as legal advice. If you have a specific legal question or problem, please feel free to contact us or you should promptly consult with an Attorney handling such matters in your area for advice.