How a Warranty Covers a Used Car Under California’s Lemon Law

Categories: Lemon Law

California lemon law attorney

If you buy a used car in California and are having major reliability issues with it, you might be tempted to think that you don’t have any options under the state’s lemon law. However, this is not necessarily the case.

The lemon law attorneys at Neale & Fhima want you to know that the California Used Car Lemon Law offers you legal protection if you purchase or lease a used car that is covered by the original factory warranty.

The Used Car Lemon Law also applies to demo vehicles as well as vehicles that were rebought under the lemon law and were sold to you with a manufacturer’s warranty. Also, it covers any used vehicle that has been certified by the manufacturer and given an extended warranty that lengthens the original factory warranty. The law offers owners of defective cars that meet all requirements of the Used Car Lemon Law to obtain compensation. This could be a refund, replacement or cash.

Vehicles that are covered by the Used Car Lemon Law in California are:

  • Used vehicles that are mostly used for family, personal and household reasons
  • Used vehicles that have a gross weight under 10,000 pounds and are used mostly for purposes of business, if there are five or fewer vehicles that the company has registered
  • Any used vehicle that is sold with any type of written warranty
  • Lemon vehicles that are resold to the consumer with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers the specific defects.

The Warranty Length Matters

The Used Car Lemon Law applies for the whole period of the original factory warranty and will extend the warranty if the car was certified and includes an extended warranty. So, if the car has a three-year warranty and a defect is found two years after the start of the warranty, the car manufacturer must replace or repurchase the car. Or, the company must compensate you. Note that there is a four-year statute of limitations in CA to file a lawsuit if there is a breach of warranty.

Duty to Repair

The Used Car Lemon Law offers the car manufacturer and dealer a ‘reasonable’ number of repair attempts. This number typically follows:

  • One or two attempts to repair a serious safety problem, such as an ABS failure
  • Two or more attempts to repair if the defect recurs and could cause death or serious injury
  • The same defect has been attempted to be fixed four times or more
  • The vehicle has been in the shop for repairs for more than 30 days.

What Should You Do Next?

While California’s lemon laws do cover used vehicles in some circumstances, this is a complex area of state law. If you have problems with a used car and you think the California lemon law may apply, check with the lemon law attorneys at Neale & Fhima today for a no-cost review of your case. We will let you know whether or not you have a case. Call us today to get started.