California Lemon Law

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California Lemon Law Basics


The California Lemon Law (officially known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty act, found in California Civil Code sections 1790 et seq.) is a law designed to protect consumers who purchase or lease warranted motor vehicles. If it is determined that a motor vehicle is a “lemon", the motor vehicle's warrantor must repurchase or replace the motor vehicle from the buyer.

The California Lemon Law commands that if a vehicle manufacturer or its authorized dealer(s) cannot properly repair a material defect in your vehicle while it is under warranty after “a reasonable number of attempts", the manufacturer must either promptly replace your new vehicle or refund your money, at your choice. The California Lemon Law applies to all vehicles (including trucks and recreational vehicles) purchased or leased in the State of California and under the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty.

Eligibility: 4 times subject to repair or 30 calendar days out of service (can be non-consecutive) within shorter of 18 months or 18,000 miles, or reasonable number of attempts during entire express warranty period.

Resolution Attempt: Direct written notice to manufacturer + delivery of car to repair facility for repair attempt within 30 days.

UPDATE: As of 1/1/01, only 2 times subject to repair allowed for safety defects likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. Coverage also expanded to include small businesses registering up to 5 vehicles, weighing up to 10,000 pounds each.

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