For many people, a vehicle is a significant purchase. If, shortly after getting it, the buyer notices significant defects and issues, this is a big deal. 

Fortunately, California has a Lemon Law that protects owners of new cars. Depending on the specific scenario, the owner may receive a refund or vehicle replacement. 

Vehicles the law covers 

According to the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs, there are numerous types of vehicles that the Lemon Law covers. They include 

  • Cars, vans, SUVs and trucks 
  • Dealer-owned demonstrators and vehicles 
  • A motor home’s chassis, chassis cab and drive train 
  • Vehicles leased or bought for family, household or personal use 
  • Vehicles leased or bought for business purposes 

Many vehicles that fall under Lemon Law coverage are new. However, the law does cover some used vehicles. The law only applies to new and used vehicles that have the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty. If a vehicle does not have a warranty, or if the warranty expired, the law does not apply. 

Lemon Law overview 

According to Los Angeles County Consumer and Business Affairs, the Lemon Law applies after there have been a number of repair attempts that did not fix the problem. The law only covers problems covered under the warranty and that appeared within the first 18 months of ownership. The problem must also reduce the safety and value of the vehicle. 

After a reasonable number of attempts for repair, the vehicle owner can go through arbitration. The outcomes of arbitration may include a requirement for another repair attempt, refund for part or all of the purchase price, vehicle replacement or incidental expense reimbursement.