California’s lemon law also may provide rights to purchasers of a used car.

How the Lemon Law Differs for a Used Car

New vehicles are covered from the moment they are purchased or leased, and if you buy a newer vehicle, even if it’s used, you’ll have protection if the auto’s original manufacturer warranties are still in place. The bumper to bumper warranty period is often:

  • 3 years, or
  • 36,000 miles

Or longer. And the powertrain warranty period is often:

  • 5 years, or
  • 60,000 miles

Or longer.

California’s Lemon Law allows a used car owner to enjoy the remaining balance of a car’s original warranty upon purchase. If the original owner sold a vehicle with a year warranty left, you would have a one-year manufacturer warranty transferred at the time of sale.

Some manufacturers will even offer longer warranty periods if you purchase a certified pre-owned vehicle. that offers varying levels of coverage.

Resold Lemons and the Law

When a manufacturer repurchases or buys back a lemon, the lemon vehicle can be resold, but California law provides additional protection. The vehicle’s title must state that the vehicle is a “lemon law buyback,” so all buyers know that the vehicle had a defect or defects that needed a number of repairs. On the inside of the vehicle’s door, there must be a “lemon” sticker to notify any consumers that the vehicle they’re purchasing has been classified as a lemon.

If you purchase a vehicle that should have been branded as a lemon and the dealership never told you in writing that the vehicle was identified as a lemon, you still have rights under the state’s Lemon Law. A lawyer will be able to help you seek a legal remedy in this scenario.

Personal and Commercial Vehicle Protections

For the Lemon Law to apply, a used car must be for use as a:

  • Personal vehicle
  • Family vehicle
  • Household vehicle

Commercial vehicles are only covered under the law if they weigh under 10,000 pounds and the business owns no more than five vehicles.

What to Do If You Think You’ve Purchased a Lemon

If you think your vehicle is a lemon, you must allow the dealership or manufacturer to try and repair the vehicle a “reasonable” number of times. If repairs under warranty are denied, contact a lawyer immediately. Otherwise, the following may be considered to be a reasonable number of times:

  • The vehicle has been in the shop for repairs for 30 days or more
  • Four or more repair attempts were made
  • Two repair attempts were made for an issue that can cause death or serious bodily harm

“Even when the Lemon Law does not apply in your case, other state and federal laws may protect you. These include laws that prohibit deceptive practices and require vehicles to meet minimum safety standards,” states the California Department of Justice.

If you’re dealing with a lemon car and want the best chance of a favorable outcome, contact us right away.