man sitting with lemon car
man sitting with lemon car




California Lemon Law

A car is one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make. Unfortunately, some cars end up being defective before they even leave the dealer’s lot. Then you, the new owner, are left dealing with breakdowns, mechanical issues, or even compromised safety. If your new or used vehicle began experiencing problems while under warranty, you may be legally entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund of your money under California’s lemon law. 

At The Barry Law Firm, we focus exclusively on Lemon Law cases. We know the law inside and out, and we have a long track record of holding large auto manufacturers accountable. Contact us now for a free and fast consultation.

We do not charge any fees to handle Lemon Law claims.  Instead, we make the manufacturers pay all of our costs and fees.


What Is the Lemon Law in California?

The California Lemon Law is a law that protects consumers from buying or leasing defective vehicles. Talk to a California Lemon Law attorney today if you have a lemon.

The state of California implemented the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act in 1970 to protect Californians in a wide variety of consumer transactions, including the purchase or lease of defective vehicles or “lemons.” Generally, a car may qualify as a “lemon” if it begins experiencing defects that cannot be fixed after a “reasonable number of repair attempts” have been made while under warranty. This “lemon law” requires manufacturers to replace or buy back vehicles with serious problems that begin while the cars are under contract.

The Song-Beverly Act covers most vehicles purchased or leased in California. Certain vehicles that are out-of-state purchases or no longer under manufacturer-written warranty may also be protected. If you suspect you have purchased a lemon, contact an experienced California Lemon Law attorney from The Barry Law Firm now to learn about your options.

Lemon Law Basics

The basis of vehicle manufacturer warranties is that when a manufacturer advertises that its product will include specific components or systems, those elements will be present or function as promised. Under an original express written warranty, a motor vehicle with any defective elements or one that fails to live up to the manufacturer’s promised standard should be repaired. The California lemon law goes one step further by requiring manufacturers who are incapable of sufficiently repairing a vehicle to replace or repurchase it.

Throughout the duration of a manufacturer’s new motor vehicle written warranty, any of the following types of vehicles that are leased or purchased the California Lemon Law covers:

  • Compact, mid-size, and full-size sedans and hatchbacks
  • Light trucks, such as pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans
  • Motorhome drivetrains, chassis, and chassis cabs
  • Dealer “demo” motor vehicles and other dealer-owned vehicles
  • Personal vehicles, including motorcycles, purchased or leased for individual, household, or family use
  • Some commercial vehicles purchased or leased for business use

California Lemon Law does not cover:

  • Any motorhome components intended, maintained or used primarily for human habitation
  • Any motorcycles or other vehicles intended exclusively for off-road use
  • Any vehicles purchased or used primarily for business purposes with gross vehicle weight ratings exceeding 10,000 pounds
  • Any business vehicles purchased or used by owners or businesses with more than five registered vehicles in the state of California

How do you tell if your car qualifies for Lemon Law in California?

California’s lemon law requirements offer specific guidelines to determine whether a vehicle qualifies as a lemon. If you begin experiencing problems with your vehicle while it is under the manufacturer’s warranty, you must give the manufacturer a “reasonable number of attempts” to fix it. If the problems continue, your vehicle may qualify as a lemon.

Your car may qualify for Lemon Law in California if it meets the following criteria:

  1. The problem arose while still under the manufacturer’s warranty. You may be eligible for Lemon Law protection if you bought a new motor vehicle and it developed a problem while still covered by the warranty — an original new motor vehicle warranty, a certified pre-owned warranty, or a Lemon Law buy-back warranty.
  2. You notified the manufacturer about the problem. This is typically done by taking the motor vehicle to a dealership authorized by the manufacturer.
  3. You gave the manufacturer a reasonable number of chances to repair the problem. What counts as a reasonable number of chances will vary depending on the specific circumstances, but generally speaking, it’s four or more repair attempts for the same problem or two or more for a serious problem that could cause a serious injury or death.
  4. The manufacturer was unable to fix the problem. Even if the manufacturer made multiple repair attempts to address the problem, your motor vehicle may still qualify for Lemon Law if it cannot do so successfully.

If your motor vehicle meets all these criteria, you may be eligible for a refund or replacement vehicle under California’s Lemon Law.

In most cases, vehicle buyers may only file claims under California’s lemon law if they purchased their vehicles in California. However, there are exceptions for military members. The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act was amended in 2007 to include a provision for members of the armed forces who are either stationed or residing in California. These individuals have the right to file claims regardless of where they purchase or register their vehicles.

What Are You Entitled to Under Lemon Law?

The resolution will depend on the specific details of your case. However, the types of damages commonly sought in lemon law cases include:

  • First-time or additional repair attempt costs
  • Refunds for any payments made toward a vehicle’s retail purchase price, including down payments and subsequent monthly payments made
  • Payment for any loan balance
  • Compensation for incidental costs, such as tow services and rental cars
  • Replacement vehicles
  • All legal fees

How Long Do You Have to Make a Lemon Law Claim?

If you decide to file a legal claim, your lemon law claim will be subject to a four-year statute of limitations. The best way to determine how long you may have to file your claim is to consult with a knowledgeable Los Angeles lemon law attorney.

What to Do If Your Motor Vehicle Is a Lemon

If you are having problems with a new (or new-to-you) car, take action immediately:

  • Take your car to the dealership or other authorized representative of your car’s manufacturer for inspection.
  • Explain your concerns and allow the dealership or manufacturer representative the chance to fix the issue with your vehicle.
  • Allow the dealership a “reasonable number of attempts” to fix the issue, as required under California law. (There is not a set number of attempts defined under the law, but you must give the manufacturer at least two attempts to fix your vehicle.)
  • Save all documentation related to your lemon law case, including your lease or purchase agreement, any repair orders from your dealer or mechanic, and receipts from any expenses you incurred for your faulty vehicle.
  • Consult with an experienced California lemon law attorney who can guide you through the lemon law process in California and help you pursue a refund or replacement vehicle.

Remember that your warranty doesn’t necessarily need to be current to file a lemon law claim as long as you initially attempted to repair your car while it was still under the manufacturer’s warranty. Suppose your dealership or mechanic cannot satisfactorily repair or replace your vehicle. In that case, your next step will likely be to take legal action with the help of Los Angeles lemon law attorneys.

At this stage, the lemon law lawyers at The Barry Law Firm will file a complaint against your vehicle’s manufacturer. Once this official complaint has been filed, the next step includes a process called “discovery,” where both sides gather information about the case. During “discovery,” there are typically one or more rounds of settlement negotiations, which is how most lemon law cases are resolved. If no settlement can be reached, though, our attorneys will be prepared to take your case to trial.

Our Lemon Law Attorneys Are Free for You

If your vehicle is a lemon, you may have already spent a significant amount of money fixing your car and paying for other modes of transportation. At The Barry Law Firm, we understand that you are already in an undesirable and frustrating situation and the last thing you want to do is spend additional money on a lawyer. That is why we will handle your lemon law claim for free.

In fact, under California law, manufacturers must pay legal fees and any other costs incurred by consumers whose cases prevail in court. This means we do not take a portion of your actual damages (actual damages may include down payments, monthly payments, sales taxes, finance charges, out of pocket repair costs and registration fees). By law, the manufacturer is required to pay both you and us.

The Barry Law Firm guarantees that you will never owe us a dime, even if we do not recover payment in your lemon law case.

That means that there is absolutely no risk to you when you retain our services!


Lemon Law FAQs

Lemon Law (2)

How many repairs before a car is a lemon?

Cars are legally considered lemons only after a reasonable number of attempts have been made to repair them. The law does not specify precisely how many attempts qualify as a “reasonable number.” However, California’s lemon law offers general guidelines to help consumers determine whether they have made a sufficient number of repair attempts. After qualifying consumers make a reasonable number of repair attempts, and their vehicles still do not function as intended, they are then eligible for refunds or vehicle replacements under California lemon law. The best way to determine if you have made a “reasonable number” attempts to repair the vehicle is to call us today for a free consultation during which one of our Intake Specialists will discuss in depth the details of your specific case.

How long does a California Lemon Law case take?

It’s impossible to say exactly how long your individual lemon law case may take since the timeline will mostly depend on the manufacturer of your vehicle. If you have a strong case and the manufacturer agrees to settle without too much fuss, your California lemon law claim could be concluded in a matter of four to six months. However, if the manufacturer is unwilling to settle the case without a fight, your case could take significantly longer.

The Barry Law Firm will work quickly to build the strongest case possible and push the manufacturer to do what’s right as efficiently as possible. We will keep you updated every step of the way and will always be available to answer questions.

Furthermore guide: “How the Lemon Law Works in Los Angeles

Talk to a California Lemon Attorney Now

No matter how complicated your California lemon law case, the dedicated and highly experienced team at The Barry Law Firm is here to help.

We offer free case reviews and represent all clients at zero cost, regardless of case outcome. Contact us now to learn about your legal rights!





The Barry Law Firm

11845 W Olympic Blvd Suite 1270

Los Angeles, California 90064

Phone: 310-684-5859

Free Consultation: 877-536-6603