California Lemon Law vs. Warranty: Know Your Rights

Lemon Law vs. Warranty: Know Your Rights as a California Car Buyer

Some car buyers may be confused about the different protections they are provided by California’s Lemon Law vs. the new car warranty that accompanies their automobile purchase. In California, new car warranties work hand-in-hand with the Lemon Law if you have a recently purchased or leased car with persistent problems.

If you purchased or leased a vehicle that developed problems under warranty and the problems have defied repeated repair attempts, it is important for you to understand how the California Lemon Law applies and the steps you can take. If your car proves to be a lemon under the terms of California’s Lemon Law, The Barry Law Firm can help you demand a refund of the money you have spent on the faulty vehicle.

The Barry Law Firm focuses exclusively on representing automobile owners in Lemon Law claims. We provide this service at no cost to you because the law requires that the manufacturers pay our legal fees when we bring a successful Lemon Law claim on behalf of consumers. If you’ve been saddled with a defective vehicle in California, let a Lemon Law lawyer at The Barry Law Firm in Los Angeles seek to resolve your automotive problems.

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What is a Warranty?

A warranty is a guarantee made by a manufacturer regarding the condition of a consumer product. A written warranty states the terms and situations in which repairs, refunds, or exchanges will be made if the product does not function as originally intended. A warranty’s guarantees are generally only good for a specified period of time, or for an automobile, for a specified period or a maximum allowable number of miles driven.

Most new vehicles come with an express manufacturer’s warranty that gives the buyer certain rights if the vehicle does not perform as promised. An express warranty is a stated guarantee expressed in writing. Motor vehicle warranties are typically included in the sales contract.

Another term you may hear is implied warranty. Under the Uniform Commercial Code, “implied warranty of merchantability” means that an entity or individual who sells consumer goods does so with the implied promise that the product works as advertised when used as intended.

Car dealers may also sell service contracts — sometimes called extended warranties — for new or used vehicles.

Most express warranties for new cars cover the major parts of the vehicle, such as engines, transmissions, and electrical systems. If a covered part fails during the vehicle’s warranty period, the warranty will pay for the repair. Some are known as “bumper-to-bumper” warranties, ostensibly covering anything that goes wrong with the vehicle.

A warranty is a contract between the buyer and the automaker. It may state certain acts by the buyer that void the warranty and make it no longer enforceable. Misusing the vehicle, altering the odometer, causing environmental damage, or an insurance company declaring that the vehicle is a total loss will typically void the warranty.

Car owners should familiarize themselves with their vehicle’s warranty. The language of a manufacturer’s warranty can be complex and confusing in some cases. When there’s a dispute, a consumer may need to consult a lawyer for advice about their rights under their vehicle’s warranty.

What Is the Lemon Law in California?

Under California’s Lemon Law, a car is a lemon if, after a reasonable number of attempts, repair work cannot resolve a problem that:

  • Is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty,
  • Substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle, and
  • Is not caused by unauthorized or unreasonable use of the vehicle after its sale.

The law requires the vehicle owner to make a reasonable number of attempts to have the vehicle repaired. A reasonable number of repair attempts means the vehicle has been in a repair shop:

  • Two or more times for an unresolved problem severe enough to cause death or serious bodily injury. If the problem is less severe, manufacturers may be entitled to more than two attempts to fix the problem.
  • In certain circumstances, if your vehicle is out of service for an inordinate amount of time, it may automatically qualify as a lemon.

The law requires the manufacturer of a lemon vehicle to buy it back from the consumer or to replace it. When the consumer opts to have their money refunded, the payment should cover everything, including the vehicle’s purchase price (less a deduction for usage), repairs, towing expenses, and alternative transportation when the car is in the shop.

The Differences Between Lemon Law vs. Warranty

A car’s warranty states that covered repairs will be made at no cost to the car owner. The Lemon Law offers the consumer relief when warrantied repairs prove to be ineffective.

Scope of Repairs

An express warranty states what parts of the car will be repaired without charge until a specified time period and mileage after purchase. The California Lemon Law provides for a refund or replacement vehicle when repeated unsuccessful repair attempts under warranty indicate that the vehicle’s design or manufacture was faulty.

Potential Compensation

The Lemon Law’s financial remedies far exceed standard warranty terms.

Before a car owner may begin the Lemon Law claim process, he or she must make repeated attempts to have the car repaired under the terms of the warranty.

Why Having a Lemon Law Attorney is Crucial?

The California Lemon Law offers strong consumer protection. However, the law has specific requirements that must be met for a successful claim. Working with a Lemon Law attorney at The Barry Law Firm offers the advantage of having knowledgeable legal representation as you enter the Lemon Law process. The Barry Law Firm only handles Lemon Law cases. Our experienced Lemon Law attorneys in Los Angeles have helped thousands of frustrated California consumers resolve Lemon Law disputes.

California’s Lemon Law requires manufacturers to pay consumers’ legal costs. You’ll never get a bill from us, no matter what is required of your case (the law requires that the manufacturers pay us for the time incurred litigating your case.) To learn how The Barry Law Firm can help you, call us now or contact us online for a free consultation.




The Barry Law Firm

11845 W Olympic Blvd Suite 1270

Los Angeles, California 90064

Phone: 310-684-5859

Free Consultation: 877-536-6603