If you have taken your vehicle to the repair shop multiple times and your vehicle’s problems are still not resolved, the California Lemon Law may help you obtain a vehicle replacement or recover a significant lemon law settlement. However, your vehicle has to fit specific criteria of what the law considers to be a “lemon.” Namely, it has to have a defect that substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value or safety and has not been fixed within a “reasonable” number of repair attempts.
The Lemon Law Presumption strengthens the California Lemon Law by stating that if your vehicle undergoes a specific number of repair attempts, the burden of proof will shift onto the auto manufacturer and make for a stronger case.
Table of Contents
- Presumed “Reasonable” Number of Repair Attempts
- When Does the Lemon Law Presumption Apply?
- If You Think Your Vehicle Fits The Lemon Law Presumptions
There is no set number of repair attempts considered “reasonable” by the California Lemon Law. Instead, that number is determined on a case-by-case basis. If the Lemon Law Presumptions apply to your case, it is presumed that your vehicle is a lemon – a.k.a. that it was not fixed within a reasonable number of repair attempts.
The Lemon Law Presumptions may apply to your vehicle if, within 18 months or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first, one of the following happens to your vehicle:
- It has undergone two or more repair attempts for a problem that could cause serious bodily injury or death;
- It has undergone four or more repair attempts for a problem that could impair use, safety or value, or;
- The vehicle has been in the repair shop for a cumulative total of at least 30 days.
Even if the Lemon Law Presumption does not apply to your vehicle, you may still be eligible to file a lemon law claim in California. Consult with a lemon law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.
Just because you hit one of the criteria for the Lemon Law Presumption within 18 miles or 18 months, that does not mean that the Lemon Law Presumption applies automatically. In order for you to assert the presumption, you are required to try to go through a qualified third-party dispute resolution process first. Typically, this refers to arbitration.
You can assert the Lemon Law Presumption in your case if:
- Such a dispute resolution process doesn’t exist,
- You go through arbitration and receive an unfavorable outcome, or,
- You went through arbitration and accepted the decision, but the auto manufacturer didn’t comply with it in a timely manner.
The findings and decision of that dispute resolution (i.e. arbitration) can be used as evidence in your lemon law claim.
To review, you may be able to assert the Lemon Law Presumption in a claim if:
- Within 18 months or 18,000 miles, your vehicle
- Has two or more repair attempts for a serious safety defect threatening bodily injury or death
- Has four or more repair attempts for a defect that substantially impairs use, value or safety, or,
- Has been in the shop for a defect for more than 30 cumulative days, and;
- You have attempted to pursue a qualified dispute resolution process and,
- Such a process does not exist,
- You have received an unfavorable outcome, or,
- You agreed to the decision, but the auto manufacturer won’t comply with it.
Whether or not you think the presumptions apply to your case, you must act quickly if you think your vehicle is a lemon. Remember: you should not pay anything out of pocket for lemon law services. Consult with a lemon law attorney regarding your situation at 877-222-2222.
Lemon Law Help by Knight Law Group is an automotive lemon law firm that exclusively practices in California. If you are a California resident who purchased or leased a defective vehicle from a licensed dealership in California, we may be able to help you get rid of your potential lemon and recover significant cash compensation. Model year restrictions apply: 2016–Present vehicle models only. However, we cannot help those who reside outside of California or purchased their vehicle outside of California unless they are active duty members of the Armed Forces, nor will we be able to refer those to a lemon law firm in their states. To learn more about the California Lemon Law and your legal rights, visit our California Lemon Law Guide for more information.