California Lemon Law News + Info

Can I file a Lemon Law claim for a vehicle I bought at an auction?

Buying a vehicle at an auction may be a chance for you to get a great deal on your desired vehicle. However, purchasing a vehicle at an auction can come at a great deal of risk. If you purchased a vehicle at an auction, only to find that it has substantial problems, you may wonder if your vehicle is a lemon and if you have any recourse under the California Lemon Law.

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What are some signs that my vehicle may be a lemon?

Your vehicle may be a lemon if it has recurring safety problems in its engine, transmission, electrical system or other important parts, and your local repair shop hasn’t been able to repair your vehicle. However, there are a few caveats that determine whether your vehicle problems are covered under the California Lemon Law.

Generally, a vehicle is considered a lemon if it has a problem that is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, impacts your vehicle’s use, value or safety, and has not been repaired within a reasonable number of repair attempts. The number of repairs considered “reasonable” is determined on a case by case basis. If you are not sure whether your vehicle meets this benchmark, consult with a lemon law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Can you file a lemon law claim for a vehicle bought at an auction?

The short answer: no. The California Lemon Law does not protect vehicles purchased at auctions. Many vehicles sold at auctions are sold “as is” and do not come with applicable warranties. In fact, purchasing a car from an auction carries quite a few risks avoided by simply purchasing a vehicle from a reputable dealer. Though some customers are able to get safe, reliable vehicles at decent prices, getting a vehicle at an auction can be quite a gamble.

Steve Lang, auto-auctioneer, said that vehicles that get traded in, leased, repossessed, totaled or end up with more unsavory histories may find themselves among the nearly 9 million vehicles purchased yearly in an auto auction.

“This is a world that average car buyers enter at their own peril,” Lang wrote in Edmunds.com. “Almost nothing is what it first appears to be. That 15-year-old cream puff may be harboring a blown head gasket and electrical issues aplenty. I have seen hundreds of cars in which the ‘Check Engine’ lightbulb has been removed, the oil has been changed to hide a bad engine and the engine bay has been cleaned so that gasket leaks are hidden for that short ride across the auction block.”

If you are wary of buying a lemon (rightfully so) or having little recourse, learn which vehicles the California Lemon Law covers before making such a purchase.

What vehicles does the California Lemon Law cover?

To put it simply, the California Lemon Law covers both new and used motor vehicles that are bought or leased from an authorized dealership in California and sold with warranties issued by the auto manufacturer. These vehicles must be set aside for personal, family or household use. Learn more about the Lemon Law and Used Cars.

The California Lemon Law does not cover vehicles purchased from an auction or via a private sale. For the most part, the California Lemon Law does not cover vehicles set aside for business use or vehicles purchased out of state. Some exceptions apply for business vehicles and out-of-state purchases.

Have questions? Consult a lemon law attorney.

If you have further questions regarding your potential lemon, consult a lemon law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation. Consultations are free and can take as little as fifteen minutes. During your consultation, you can discuss your recurring vehicle problems and get information regarding your legal options. For a free consultation, call us 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.

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