California has a very consumer friendly set of lemon laws.
The number of repair attempts required for a car to qualify as a lemon is
high, although the number of attempts required for serious defects is fewer. The warranty period is relatively long. Additionally, consumers do not need to give the manufacturer a final repair attempt if the car has failed all other prior attempts.
California Lemon Law Rating: 5 (positive - favors the the consumer)
- Any vehicle that is meant for family, personal, or household purposes
- Excludes motorcycles
- Includes the habitable portion of a motor home as well as the chassis
- Includes dealer-owned vehicles
- Includes commercial vehicles part of a fleet of less than 5 vehicles
What constitutes a "lemon":
- Four attempts to repair the vehicle
- Two attempts to repair a serious or life-threatening* defect
- 30 calendar days out of service
What to do if you suspect you have a lemon in California:
- Shorter of 18 months or 18,000 miles
- The duration of the "bumper to bumper" warranty provided by the manufacturer
- Immediately draft a letter to the manufacturer of your automobile
informing them of the defects you are experiencing. It is a good idea
to send this letter via certified mail.
- Ensure that you save ALL documentation related to your automobile
*Life-threatening defects that can qualify your car as a lemon include
loss of steering, sudden stalling, loss of braking, and other extremely
Lemon Laws in Other States