Guide to the California Lemon Law

  • Eligibility: 4 times subject to repair or 30 calendar days out of service (can be non-consecutive) within shorter of 18 months or 18,000 miles, or reasonable number of attempts during entire express warranty period.
  • Resolution Attempt: Direct written notice to manufacturer + delivery of car to repair facility for repair attempt within 30 days.
  • UPDATE: As of 1/1/01, only 2 times subject to repair allowed for safety defects likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. Coverage also expanded to include small businesses registering up to 5 vehicles, weighing up to 10,000 pounds each.

More information:

  • California Lemon Law Blog
  • SoCal Lemon Law Blog


Lemons aren’t all that uncommon in California, and no, I’m not talking about the fruit. The last thing you want to happen on your way home from work is to be stranded suddenly on the 405…during rush hour. Thanks to California’s lemon laws, however, there are ways to get justice from your vehicle woes.

I spoke to a couple of attorneys in the state who specialize in handling lemon law cases. Howard Silver at Howard Silver Law Firm explained to me the characteristics needed for a vehicle to be classified as a lemon include the vehicle having at least 2 safety related repairs in the first 18 months/18,000 miles of ownership, whichever occurs first. He clarified that in addition to that there are repair contingencies that come into play as well.

“It must have at least 4 repair attempts for defects that affect the use or value of the vehicle during the same time period,” he said. “Or the vehicle must have been out of service for warranty repairs at least 30 days during that time.”

Silver explained that since California is one of the most pro-consumer laws in the country, consumers do not have to arbitrate their claim before filing a lawsuit, and often times can recover a civil penalty (reimbursement two times your out-of-pocket expenses) against the manufacturer, unlike other states.

An attorney at Weisberg & Meyers, LLC explained the benefits of using an attorney to pursue a lemon law case in the state of California.

“Most lemon law attorneys offer a free case review to a distressed consumer,” she said. “If the breach of warranty claim is filed, attorney’s fees are covered.”

She also explained the possible benefits from winning a lemon law case with the help of an attorney who is well-versed in California lemon laws.

“Under federal and state lemon laws, a consumer could be entitled to a new vehicle, cash compensation, a refund, and getting rid of the lemon that has caused a vehicle owner much distress.”

For more information on how to begin the process on getting rid of your lemon, you can contact the attorneys at the information below:

Howard Silver Law Firm: phone - (818) 597-2610 email –

Weisberg & Meyers, LLC: phone – (888) 595-9111 email –