California Lemon Law For Used Vehicles

When Your Used Car Counts as a Lemon Under California's Lemon Law
When Your Used Car Counts as a Lemon Under California's Lemon Law from


When purchasing a used vehicle, it is important to know your rights as a consumer. In California, there is a specific law known as the California Lemon Law that protects buyers of used vehicles from potential defects and issues. This law ensures that consumers are not stuck with a faulty vehicle and provides legal remedies if a vehicle turns out to be a lemon.

What is the California Lemon Law?

The California Lemon Law, officially known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, covers both new and used vehicles. It requires manufacturers or dealers to repair any defects that significantly impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle within a certain period of time or mileage. If the issue cannot be resolved after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the law provides options for the consumer, such as a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price.

How does the California Lemon Law apply to used vehicles?

While the California Lemon Law primarily focuses on new vehicles, it also offers protection for used vehicles under specific circumstances. To be eligible for coverage under the law, the used vehicle must have been sold with a warranty, either from the manufacturer or the dealer. The warranty can be written or implied, and it should cover a certain period of time or mileage.

Requirements for a Used Vehicle to be Considered a Lemon

For a used vehicle to be considered a lemon under the California Lemon Law, certain requirements must be met. Firstly, the vehicle must have a substantial defect that is covered by the warranty. The defect should affect the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. Secondly, the defect should have been reported to the manufacturer or dealer within the warranty period or within 18 months of the vehicle’s delivery, whichever comes first.

Steps to Take if You Have a Lemon

If you believe that you have purchased a lemon, it is important to take the following steps:

1. Document the Defects

Keep records of all the issues you have encountered with the vehicle. This includes dates, descriptions of the problems, and any repair attempts made.

2. Notify the Manufacturer or Dealer

Contact the manufacturer or dealer and inform them about the issues you are facing with the vehicle. Make sure to follow their prescribed process for reporting defects and seeking repairs.

3. Seek Legal Advice

If the manufacturer or dealer fails to address the issues within a reasonable period or number of repair attempts, it is advisable to seek legal advice from an experienced lemon law attorney.

4. File a Lawsuit if Necessary

If all other attempts to resolve the issue have failed, you may need to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or dealer. An attorney can guide you through the legal process and help you pursue the appropriate legal remedies.


The California Lemon Law provides crucial protection for consumers who purchase used vehicles with warranties. It ensures that they have legal options if they end up with a lemon. If you believe you have a lemon, it is important to understand your rights, document the issues, and seek legal advice if necessary. Remember, you have the right to a safe and reliable vehicle.