Lemon Law derives from the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, which protects consumers ("you") when you lease or purchase a new motor vehicle in California. Most vehicles qualify under this Act, but there are some exceptions (e.g. unregistered off-road vehicles).
How does California Lemon Law protect me?
If you leased or purchased a new vehicle from the dealership and experience defects with the vehicle that fall under your warranty, you are entitled to have it repaired. However, if your manufacturer/dealership is unable to repair the defect after a "reasonable" number of attempts, you may be entitled to have 1) your vehicle replaced; or 2) receive a refund of the purchase price (less usage value).
What are the requirement to claim my vehicle under Lemon Law?
1. Your vehicle must have a new warranty intact when the defect occurs. The defect must be covered under such warranty. The defect must occur within 18,000 miles on the odometer or 18 months from delivery of your vehicle to you (whichever comes first); 2. Your manufacturer has attempted a "reasonable" number of repairs, which is usually 4 or more times. (If the defect is considered dangerous, a reasonable attempt is only 2 repair attempts). Or, your vehicle has been at the dealership for more than a totality of 30 days or more to repair the defect; and 3. The defect must substantially affect the value, use or safety of your vehicle. And, the defects were not caused by your abuse.
How is my usage value or deduction calculated?
Usage value in California is calculated by the formula: purchase price x miles driven by you at first repair/120,000 = deduction.