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How Long is My Car Protected Under Lemon Law? 

Law Offices of Kevin Faulk Jan. 6, 2023

Are you considering filing a lemon law claim in California? If so, you may be wondering how long your car is protected under the state’s lemon law. The answer to that question depends on several factors.  

Knowing how long your car is protected can help inform whether filing a lemon claim makes sense for your particular situation – so make sure to consult with an attorney who specializes in these matters before taking any action.  

Our lemon law attorney at Law Offices of Kevin Faulk can help you navigate the lemon law process and assist you with filing a claim for protection if you qualify. With an office in Sunnyvale, California, we help consumers resolve their lemon law claims throughout the state of California.  

What Qualifies as a Lemon?  

Knowing exactly what constitutes a “lemon car” will help make sure you get fair compensation if your vehicle does qualify under state law. 

California’s lemon law covers new and used cars, light trucks, and motor homes that have been purchased or leased in the state. The lemon law applies only to vehicles purchased by consumers in the state of California. The law protects consumers against manufacturing defects that substantially impair the use, value, or safety of a vehicle. It does not cover issues caused by normal wear and tear or damage caused by an auto accident. 

According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, if your vehicle meets one or more of the following criteria, it may be considered a lemon:  

  1. The vehicle has experienced nonconformities (defects) that substantially impair its use, value, or safety during the warranty period;  

  1. The vehicle has been out of service for repair for 30 days or more during the warranty period;  

  1. Your dealer has made four attempts to repair the same defect without success; or   

  1. The vehicle has had at least two repairs for nonconformities that could cause serious bodily injury or death if not repaired.  

In addition to these qualifications, any vehicle covered by an express warranty must also comply with California’s lemon law. This includes both new and used cars sold by dealerships as long as they are given an express warranty at the time of sale. However, vehicles sold privately by an individual – not by a dealer – are excluded from lemon law protection in California.  

What Are Your Rights Under California’s Lemon Law?  

Under the law, if your vehicle meets all of the criteria for being considered a lemon, then you are entitled to either receive a refund or a replacement vehicle when you file your claim with the manufacturer or dealer. Additionally, any money spent on repairs due to defects may be reimbursed by the manufacturer or dealer. California’s lemon law also states that if it is determined that your car is indeed a lemon, the manufacturer must pay reasonable attorney fees and other expenses related to the litigation of your case.  

How Long Is My Car Protected Under Lemon Law?  

Your vehicle is typically protected under California’s lemon law for the full warranty period. However, if one of the following applies to you, then your vehicle’s protection period may be longer than the warranty:  

  • Your warranty was extended due to repairs made during its the warranty;  

  • You are covered under an express warranty after purchase or lease; or 

  • The defect existed during the warranty but was not addressed until after the warranty expired.  

Your vehicle may be covered under California’s lemon law even if the warranty has expired. It is vital to discuss your unique case with a skilled lemon law attorney to find out how long your car is protected under the lemon law.   

Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim? 

If you think you have purchased or leased a “lemon car” under California law, it is crucial to understand how long you have to file your claim before time runs out.  

Consumers in California have three years from the date of the last repair attempt with their manufacturer. It is very important to take note of any repair attempts made during this period since it will help determine whether your vehicle qualifies for compensation under state law. 

If you miss the deadline, you will generally be barred from filing a lemon law claim in California, regardless of the reason for the delay. Consult with a knowledgeable attorney before making any decisions regarding legal action related to your car purchase or lease. 

Depend on Trusted Representation  

If you wonder how long your car is protected under California’s lemon law, contact Law Offices of Kevin Faulk to get the guidance you need. Our lemon law attorney can assist you with your claim if you qualify for protection. Reach out to our office in Sunnyvale, California, to schedule a free consultation and determine if you are covered under California’s lemon law.