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lemon law for leased cars in California

Lemon Law for Leased Cars in California


If you’ve leased a defective car in California, the lemon law provides you with certain protections. With these protections, you could be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle.

In this article, we summarize California’s lemon law and provide you with actionable steps you can take if you think your leased car is a lemon. We’ll help you determine if your car really is a lemon and address how to file a claim under the Lemon Law for leased cars in California.

If your leased car is a lemon, our law firm can help get you the maximum compensation deserved at no cost to you. Call the number above now or fill out the form below for a free consultation.

Is Your Leased Car a Lemon?

Is Your Leased Car a Lemon?

Leasing and maintaining a car can be expensive, but what happens if a new car needs to go to the shop and has repeated maintenance issues? Does that automatically make it a lemon in California?

Our team of experts at Cali Lemon Lawyers has helped countless California residents who’ve had the misfortune of leasing a new car that has been plagued with repeated issues. These flaws didn’t only affect the car’s use but also its value and safety. 

A lemon car can be new or used, provided it meets the criteria cited in the California Lemon Law (Civ. Code, sections 1793.22-1793.32). Furthermore, general federal lemon laws apply to defective vehicles and other products.

  • The Uniform Commercial Code:  Under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), a lemon is any item that manufacturers made with defective materials, or that is representative of poor workmanship, especially if those factors impact the value of the product from the buyer’s perspective. 
  • The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act: This federal law governs warranties for all consumer products that cost more than $25 and comes with a written warranty. The act also prevents unfair warranties.
  • The California Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act: This law provides supplemental coverage if a manufacturer does not have service and repair facilities or replacements for a product covered under a warranty period.

What Is California's Lemon Law For Leased Cars?


The essence of California lemon law is that a manufacturer must provide a refund or a replacement for a defective new vehicle that is not repaired within a reasonable number of attempts. Further characteristics of a “lemon” must include:

  • The defects are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, such as the powertrain warranty.
  • The issues must impair your ability to drive the vehicle safely. Examples could be braking problems, check engine light, engine issues, etc.
  • The manufacturer must have had a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix the vehicle issue; this could mean two to four attempts to repair the problem.
  • The vehicle has been out of service for more than 30 days, not necessarily consecutive, for warranty issues.

If the vehicle is not under warranty or is leased “as is,” it doesn’t qualify as a lemon. It isn’t, therefore, protected by California lemon law. Also, the issues with the vehicle must not be a direct result of improper care. 

How Can a Leased Car Qualify as a Lemon?

How Can a Leased Car Qualify as a Lemon?

The lemon law requirements for leased cars in California are the same as those for new or used vehicles purchased with a warranty. If the warranty was in effect during the time you were experiencing issues with your car, you may be entitled to compensation; if not, the California lemon laws can’t help you. The most common cases occur sometime during the time windows below:

  • Within the first 18,000 miles
  • During the first 12-24 months of ownership

Although these are the most common, there are exceptions that could entitle you to compensation.

How To File a Lemon Law Claim for Your Leased Car

How To File a Lemon Law Claim for Your Leased Car

There are certain things you need to do to file a successful lemon law claim, including:

  1. Hire a Reliable Lemon Law Attorney: Manufacturers and any other liable entity will do everything possible to avoid a lemon law buyback. An experienced lemon law attorney understands the nuances of the law and can help you get the recovery you deserve.
  2. Ask the Manufacturer To Repair the Vehicle: If you haven’t already, you should notify the manufacturer of the lemon and request that they repair it. You can do this by sending a certified letter or calling customer service.
  3. File the Lemon Law Claim: If you’ve tried to work things out with the manufacturer, and they haven’t helped, your attorney can help you build a case to support your claim

The lemon law is a powerful tool that can help you get the compensation you deserve. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind as your prepare to address your lemon law leased car California matter, such as:

  • Keep Records of Everything: You will need to provide evidence to support your claim, so keeping records of all repair attempts, correspondence with the manufacturer, and receipts for expenses related to the lemon is essential.
  • Know the Law: Don’t be fooled by manufacturers’ attempts to exploit your lack of lemon law knowledge; educate yourself on the lemon law in California. Military members who reside or are stationed in California at the time of purchase or lease are protected by California lemon laws, even if the automobile’s purchase or registration occurred outside the state.

Keep Records of Everything


People often assume their car will be flawless just because a vehicle is under warranty when they lease a new or used car. Unfortunately, some vehicles have such pressing issues that aren’t properly addressed. If you have a car with the original manufacturer’s warranty, schedule an initial consultation with a lemon law attorney from Cali Lemon Lawyers to find out if you’re entitled to a buyback or replacement.

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