California Used Car Lemon Laws

In California, used cars that qualify under lemon laws include:

  • used vehicles purchased for personal, family, or household use
  • used business vehicles that are under 10,000 lbs and registered to a business with five or fewer registered vehicles.
  • used vehicles that were sold with a written warranty
  • used lemon vehicles that were repurchased by the manufacturer and resold to consumers with a warranty covering the defects.

If any of the California used car lemon laws criteria apply to you, contact our Los Angeles office today so we can get the California used car lemon law process started for you. If you’re struggling with a used car that’s still under warranty, you deserve compensation and protection. We’re well-versed in California used car lemon law and can get you the results you deserve.

What constitutes a “reasonable number” of repair attempts in California used car lemon law?

“Reasonable number.” You’ll hear this phrase a lot in association with California used car lemon law. What exactly does it mean? In California lemon law, manufacturers are only allowed a certain number of attempts at fixing your car before you can start to pursue a lemon law claim. Listed below are the criteria needed to be considered a “reasonable number” of repair attempts:

  • Your vehicle’s issues are such that they could cause death or bodily harm, the car has been in for repair two or more times, and the manufacturer has been notified of need for the repairs.
  • The car been in for repairs four or more times and the manufacturer has been notified of the need for repairs.
  • The issue has caused your car to be out of service for more than 30 days since your car was purchased.

How Do Extended Warranties Apply to Used Car Lemon Law?

Many consumers get talked into purchasing what is commonly known as “extended warranties” for their used vehicle, a means to double-down on insuring their purchase from any damage to the vehicle from the previous owner that didn’t initially show up at the time of purchase. 

What you should understand, for the purpose of used car lemon law in the state of California, is that these extended warranties do not qualify as warranties at all; they would be considered more akin to a “service contract”. Lemon law is indeed designed to hold manufacturers and dealers up to their word when it comes to vehicle warranties, but extended warranties are not written in the same spirit. Rather than conveying that the manufacturer promises the vehicle is in a good and safe condition to operate, an extended warranty is a third party’s promise to repair a vehicle should it have certain faults. 

Legally speaking, this is a critical distinction to make when examining a used car lemon law case. If you purchased a vehicle with strictly an extended warranty only, there will be a strong chance that your vehicle may not qualify under the lemon law. The lone exception to this rule is when an extended warranty specifically states that the selling dealer is responsible for handling repairs themselves, and not through a third party. In such a case, it is critical that you speak with an experienced lemon law legal specialist like those at Shainfeld Law for more information on how your case would qualify under California’s used car lemon law.

How Does the Used Car Lemon Law Protect When You Have A Dealer Warranty?

When dealers provide a warranty on a used vehicle, you are protected as a consumer in two ways. First and foremost, a dealer warranty protects the parts and components of a used vehicle much in the same way that a warranty for a new vehicle would. The range of components may be more limited as compared to a new vehicle, but the warranty functions much the same; the dealership must repair within a reasonable number of attempts or offer a refund/replacement.

Implied Warranties

The other way that you’re covered is that all used cars sold in California with a dealer warranty of any type are protected by the state’s lemon law statute that imposes an “implied warranty of merchantability”. This implied warranty lasts for a minimum of thirty days; if the dealer’s warranty lasts for longer than thirty days, then the implied warranty follows suit for the same period. 

The strongest benefit of this implied warranty is that, while dealer warranties may only extend to certain components of the vehicle, the implied warranty spans the entirety of the vehicle. This may sound like pure gold, but it should be noted that the implied warranty is as basic as it can get. It only states that the vehicle be safe and reliable to use during the warranty period, so any type of defect that cannot be shown to affect the safety or maneuverability of the vehicle will not fall under the implied warranty. If, however, something like the brakes, which may not be listed in the dealer warranty, is not functioning properly during the dealer warranty, the existence of the dealer warranty will confer the implied warranty, which will cover the brakes and entitle the vehicle owner to a repair or refund. The implied warranty may also waive certain fees or deductibles that are listed in the dealer warranty. 

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