California Lemon Law FAQs

We are frequently asked questions (FAQs) by our clients regarding California Lemon Law so we have begun posting some of the more common ones on our website. We will continue to add more questions and answers so check back over time to find out more information on Lemon Law in California.
You can also give us a call at 877-751-0765 or send us your question through our Contact Form. We would be happy to answer any of your questions or set up a consultation in person or over the phone. We represent clients throughout California with their lemon law claims.


Most frequent questions and answers

Q: My car is out of warranty now can I still have a lemon law claim?

A: Yes. If you can establish the defect or nonconformity occurred during the original manufacturer’s warranty period your claim may still be valid.

Q: What if my car goes out of warranty during my case, do I still have a claim?

A: Yes. It only matters what has occurred during the warranty period. So if you experience specific transmission problems during the warranty period your transmission complaints should still be covered once the vehicle is out of warranty.

Q: What if I take my vehicle to the dealership and they tell me that there is nothing wrong?

A:  Once you take your vehicle to a dealership or authorized repair facility and complain of a problem, this counts as a repair attempt (assuming there is documentation of this in a service record). The dealership or authorized repair facility however needs to verify that there is something wrong with the vehicle on at least one or two occasions to show a repair history of verified complaints.

Q: Can I drive my vehicle while my case is pending?

A:  Yes. Reasonable use of the vehicle while your case is pending is fine.

Q: Can I take my vehicle anywhere for repairs?

A:  No. You must take the vehicle to an authorized repair facility for repairs while the warranty is in effect or you can invalidate the manufacturer’s written warranty. I also suggest to clients to take the vehicle to the dealer for regular service intervals so as not to invalidate the warranty.

Q: I purchased a third party extended service contract and my vehicle is still under warranty under this extended contract. Does this mean my vehicle still qualifies for lemon law assistance?

A:  No. third party service contracts are not the same as the manufacturer’s original factory warranty. Only extended service contracts purchased directly from the manufacturer are valid to extend certain warranties. If you cannot establish problems during the manufacturer’s original factory warranty period, the third party contract cannot be used to assert that the vehicle is under warranty.

Q: If purchased a used vehicle, can the California lemon law help me?

A:  It depends. If the vehicle is still under the original factory warranty or the manufacturer’s extended warranty the vehicle may qualify for lemon law assistance.

Q: I have high mileage on my vehicle. Can I still make a California lemon law claim?

A:  It depends. We need to analyze when the problem first started to determine if you have a California lemon law claim. This can be done by reviewing service and maintenance records on the vehicle.

Q: Do the economic problems with the auto manufacturers affect my ability to make a lemon law claim at this time?

A:  No. The auto manufacturers are still receiving lemon law claims and processing them in the normal course of business. The economic downturn has not prohibited us from proceeding with lemon law claims against manufacturers on behalf of California consumers as we have done in the past. Although Chrysler Motors has filed for bankruptcy, we believe this to be temporary and are still accepting claims.

Q: How long does it take to complete a California lemon law case?

A:  Usually most cases are completed on the average within six months. Some cases may go longer or shorter depending on the complexity of the facts. However, without the assistance and representation of an experienced California lemon law attorney you could be looking at a longer time period.

The process of correctly filing a California lemon law claim can be very confusing. That coupled with the red tape and road blocks placed by the automobile manufacters can add to the delays even more. Having legal representation by a qualified and aggressive California lemon lawyer can help you file your claim faster and get the results you desire a lot quicker.

Q: Do I have to continue making car payments while my Califorina lemon law case is pending?

A:  Yes!

In order to pursue a lemon law claim you must keep you payments current and you must have possession of the vehicle. By not making your payments, you are only giving ammunition to the auto manufacturers to deny your claim. Talk to a Califorina lemon law attorney about all of these issues during your consultation.

Q: What do I get back when my vehicle is repurchased or there is a “buy back”?

A:  You get all of the payments made including interest. This also includes a down payment if any and a payoff to any existing lien holder. You may also receive payment for any additional items placed on the vehicle known as “aftermarket” items, however under California law, the manufacturer is not obligated to pay or reimburse for these items.

If you purchase gap insurance or a third party service contract these products can in most cases be refunded by the selling dealer.

Q: Do the bankruptcies or Chrysler and GM affect my ability to make a California lemon law claim?

A:  Chrysler has formed a new company called Chrysler Group, which is not in bankruptcy. New warranty claims can proceed against Chrysler Group in the same manner as before the bankruptcy was filed.

Likewise, GM is out of bankruptcy and lemon law cases can proceed with no interruption. Accordingly, the bankruptcies of these auto giants will have little or no effect on consumers filing warranty claims.

Q: Do I have to pay any attorney to make a lemon law claim for me?

A:  Although some attorneys may charge hidden costs or fees, Lemon Law Associates of California does not charge its clients any out of pocket costs or fees. By law, the auto manufacturer is required to pay reasonable attorneys fees and costs. Give us a call today, we do not charge hidden costs or fees! We make the auto manufacturer pay our fees!

Q: Can I choose whether I want the auto manufacturer to buy back my car or give me a replacement?

A:  Yes, a consumer can choose whether or not to request a buyback or a replacement. Usually, if you do not have any negative equity on a prior trade-in you should request a repurchase.

Q: I am not located near your physical office in San Diego. Can you still handle my California lemon law case?

A:  Yes! Lemon Law Associates of California represents consumers all throughout California. Many times we are able to settle your matter without a physical meeting. If a meeting or court hearing is required in your area we always make arrangements to come to your area or your local court with no cost or expense to you.

We are familiar with the court systems and various jurisdictions in California from large to small. Give us a call today at 877-751-0765 and let us help you get rid of that lemon vehicle.