State Lemon Laws

California Lemon Law Advice


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)

Vehicles Covered:

  • 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
Valid for:
  • Shorter of 18 months or 18,000 miles
  • The duration of the "bumper to bumper" warranty provided by the manufacturer
What to do if you suspect you have a lemon in California:
  • 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 repairs

*Life-threatening defects that can qualify your car as a lemon include loss of steering, sudden stalling, loss of braking, and other extremely serious flaws.

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We are consumer advocates, not a law firm. Information on this website should not be taken as legal advice, and you should consult a lawyer before taking legal action. Although we have taken the utmost care in assembling this information, Online Consumer Alliance Incorporated assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of this information or liability for any errors or omissions in the content. Copyright Online Consumer Alliance Incorporated 2004. All Rights Reserved.