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California Lemon Law Handbook

(frequently asked questions)

1.) Am I required to go through Arbitration before pursuing a Lemon Law claim?
No. The California Lemon Law does not require the consumer to participate in arbitration that may be offered by the vehicle manufacturer in order to pursue a Lemon Law claim.

2.) Am I required to notify the vehicle manufacturer and give them a opportunity to repair a problem before pursuing a Lemon Law claim?
No. So long as the manufacturer’s authorized warranty repair facility has had a reasonable number of opportunities to repair a warranty problem, the manufacturer need not be given notice or a opportunity to repair the problem.

3.) Does the Lemon Law apply to vehicles that are older than one or two years?
Yes. As long as the vehicle is having warranty problems, the Lemon Law potentially can apply no matter hold old the vehicle is. The Lemon Law may also apply to a vehicle even if the original new vehicle warranty has expired so long as the vehicle is still having problems complained about on repair orders during the original warranty period.

4.) Does the Lemon Law apply to vehicle that have in excess of 18,000 miles, or 18 months?
Yes. As long as the vehicle is having warranty problems, the Lemon Law may apply no matter what the odometer reading is on the vehicle.

5.) Is a vehicle registered to a business on lease or purchase covered by the Lemon Law?
Please click on our web site link “Senate Bill 1718 Passed” for more information on business use/owned/leased vehicles.

6.) Is there a specific number of repair attempts that must be completed in order to have a valid Lemon Law claim?
No. There must be a reasonable number of repair attempts. The definition of what constitutes a reasonable number of repair attempts will vary given the vehicles particular problem(s). In general, if a problem has been subject to at least four separate repair attempts at the manufacturers authorized repair facility, or has spent more than 30 days cumulative in the shop, this is sufficient to establish a reasonable number.

7.) Are there situations where only 2 repair attempts are considered reasonable?
Please click on our web site link “Senate Bill 1718 passed” for more information.

8.) Does the Lemon Law apply only to passenger cars?
No. The Lemon Law applies not only to passenger cars, but also to trucks, SUV’s, vans, motorcycles, and all consumer goods that are covered by a manufacturers warranty and are used primarily for personal, family or household use.

9.) Does the Lemon Law apply to vehicles that are purchased used?
Yes. The Lemon Law can apply to a used vehicle. The vehicle must be covered by a warranty.

10.) Does the Lemon Law apply to minor defects, or only significant defects? 
The Song-Beverly Act applies to defects which constitute a substantial impairment to the use, value or safety of the vehicle to the owner or lessee. Therefore, inconveniences (static or poor reception in the radio, for example) normally do not make a Lemon Law claim. Serious problems with brakes, transmission, engine function, SRS/airbag, inoperable air conditioning, persistent water leaking, engine oil or transmission oil leaks, overheating, “CHECK ENGINE”, to cite a few, are examples of Lemon Law impairment to use, value, or safety of the vehicle. There are other federal laws that further expand on what is considered to be a “defect” that constitutes replacement of purchase price or a refund of monies spent.

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