What is the California Lemon Law
Statistically the purchase of a new vehicle is the second largest investment individuals make. The CA "Lemon Law" is designed to protect your investment and make sure you are safe on the road. If your new vehicle happens to be defective, here are the criteria under which you may receive a refund.
3 or More Repair AttemptsIf you have taken your vehicle to an authorized repair facility, often the dealer's service department, and after a "reasonable number of repair attempts" the problem or the defect was not fixed then you are most likely eligible for a refund of your down payment, all monthly payment and some relevant expenses (minus a small setback calculated for the fair use during the time of ownership).
The "reasonable" number of repair attempts is usually around 3 or 4, depending on the defect. Some serious and life threatening defects can render the vehicle as a "lemon" only after 2 repair attempts. So if your vehicle has been subject to numerous repairs and the problem still persists, talk to a lemon law attorney.
18 months or 18,000 milesYour potential case would be a lot stronger if the defect has presented itself within the first 18 month or within the first 18,000 miles of ownership. In some cases problems that come up at a later time can qualify under the lemon law.
Some vehicles have been qualified as a "lemon" even when the defect has become apparent much later then 18 months after the purchase date.
30+ Days of Our of ServiceSometimes the defect can be so severe that the service department renders the vehicle unsafe to drive and spends more than 30 days to repair the vehicle. If the cumulative number of days the vehicle stays in the service department exceeds 30 days then the lemon law presumptions apply.
When the vehicle is non-operable because of unavailability of any parts, the "waiting time" may not go into the 30 day consideration.