How To Declare a Car as a Lemon in California?

How To Declare a Car as a Lemon in California?

When you purchase a new or used vehicle from a dealership, you have certain expectations. You expect the car to be clean, safe, and free from defects. Unfortunately, a faulty car sometimes slips through the cracks and makes its way onto your driveway.

That’s why California lemon law exists – to protect consumers from being stuck with a defective vehicle. It provides remedies for those who have purchased or leased a car (under warranty) with substantial defect(s) that the dealership cannot fix within a certain number of attempts. Typically, these remedies come in the form of a lemon buyback or a replacement car.

So, how does California lemon law work? Here’s a quick look at the steps you’ll need to take to declare your car as a lemon in California:

1. Take Your Vehicle to the Dealership for Repairs

The first thing you’ll need to do once you’ve identified a defect with your vehicle is take it to the dealership for repairs. Do not go to a third-party repair shop, as this could void your warranty and render it ineligible for a lemon buyback or replacement car.

Under California lemon law, the dealership must be given a “reasonable” number of attempts to repair the defect. The exact number of attempts is a matter of debate, but it’s typically viewed as three to four.


You’ll also want to keep track of all repair attempts and save all relevant documents, such as invoices and estimates. Keeping these records will make it easier for you to prove your case should the dealership deny that the defect(s) exist or argue that insufficient repair attempts have been made.

2. Keep a Record of Any Associated Expenses

During the process of attempting to repair the defect, keep a written record of any additional costs you incur. This includes expenses such as towing fees, rental car charges, and any other related costs that you wouldn’t have had to pay if your vehicle was not experiencing issues.

You may be able to recover these costs under California lemon law if you’re successful in having your vehicle declared a lemon. Make sure to save any receipts, invoices, and other proof of payment so that you can present them when filing for compensation.

You may also want to contact a lemon law attorney in California and ask for their advice regarding what costs you should record. This could help you get the maximum compensation possible if your case ends up going to court.

Lemon Law in California - Help With Lemons

3. Hire a Lemon Law Attorney in California

When dealing with a potential lemon law case, hiring an experienced lemon law attorney in California can be crucial to navigating the complex legal process effectively. Manufacturers are notorious for putting up a fight when it comes to lemon law claims. As such, having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference in getting a favorable outcome.

Your attorney will be able to assess your case and help you determine if it’s worthwhile to pursue a lemon law claim. If you decide to proceed, they will be able to guide you through the process of filing a claim and ensure that all your rights under the law are protected.

If you end up winning your case, the manufacturer may be required to pay your attorney’s fees and costs. This means you won’t have to bear the full burden of legal expenses, so hiring a lemon law attorney can be well worth the investment.

4. Be Wary of Arbitration

When trying to declare a lemon car, the manufacturer might request you to take the arbitration route.

Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that some manufacturers use to try to settle lemon law claims without going to court. It involves presenting your case to a neutral third party, an arbitrator, who will make a decision about whether your vehicle qualifies as a lemon and what remedy you should receive.

While arbitration may seem like a more straightforward and cost-effective way to resolve your lemon law case, you should approach it cautiously. Arbitration decisions are binding, which means that if you agree to arbitration and the decision doesn’t go in your favor, you might be stuck with an unfavorable outcome.

Before agreeing to arbitration, it’s essential to consult with your lemon law attorney in California. They can provide you with insights into whether arbitration is the right choice for your specific situation. Keep in mind that manufacturers often have experience with arbitration and might try to persuade you to choose this route because it can be more favorable to them.

In Conclusion

If you believe you have purchased a lemon car in California, it’s essential to act quickly and contact a qualified lemon law attorney. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to establish your case and get a successful outcome.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you will be well-prepared to handle your lemon law case and make an informed decision about how to move forward. With the right information and legal representation, you can be confident that you will get a fair resolution.

Author: Brian K. Cline’s Lemon Law Legal Group provides premier legal services. Our California lemon law lawyers aggressively and ethically force vehicle manufacturers to buy back defective and dangerous vehicles. Our team includes experienced trial lawyers with over 40 years of combined trial experience.