California’s lemon law provides protection against non-repairable issues covered by your new vehicle warranty. What this means for you is that the law does not cover every defect or issue.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the lemon law does not cover anything not in the original manufacturer’s warranty. However, if an issue has a substantial impact on your ability to use the vehicle, the law may also cover it, especially if it reduces the value or safety of the vehicle.

Not covered

The lemon law will not cover any issue that is due to your negligence. For example, if you put the wrong fuel in the vehicle and damage the fuel system, then the law does not cover repairs or require the manufacturer to fix the issue. It also will not cover issues due to unauthorized use. For example, if someone steals your vehicle and causes damage, you would use your auto insurance for repairs, not the lemon law.

The law also does not cover the living quarters in a motorhome. It only covers the motor portion of an RV. It also will not cover any vehicle made for off-road use only or motorcycles.

New California cars only

The lemon law only covers new vehicles that still have the manufacturer’s warranty. Warranties from the dealer or that your purchase from another company do not evoke the lemon law rights. Your vehicle must be under the original warranty. In addition, you must also buy or lease it in California or be a member of the Armed Forces with residency in the state.