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California Lemon Law


Under what circumstances is my car purchase (lease) protected by the Lemon Law? I live in California.


- The law applies both to new and used vehicles, assuming that the used vehicle is still under a manufacturer's new car warranty. Also notice that if someone elses lemon is sold to you (resale of a lemon buyback at retail level) then the dealer has to provide a one-year factory warranty to cover defects. The seller cannot sell you this 'used' car "as is."

- The California Lemon Law says that if the manufacturer or dealer is not able to repair a purchased or leased vehicle to conform to its written (express) warranty after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer must promptly replace or repurchase it. The California Lemon Law specifies that 4 unsuccessful attempts or cumulative 30 days in the shop are the limit. These 4 attempts or 30 days may be accrued for a variety of problems. This means that if you had 5 problems and then even if the dealer repairs them successful each time, your car is a lemon (5 is more than 4). Note that in some states, the number is a limit PER problem, but not so in California.

- These 4 repair attempts or 30 days out of service have to occur within the first 18 months that you own your car or the first 18,000 miles

- To prove that your car is a lemon keep exactly track of all repair attempts that the dealer did. This includes your documents of your vehicle's warranty, the repair orders and all inspection reports.

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