People purchase cars every day with the hope of making their lives more convenient. However, there are cases in which a new vehicle unexpectedly breaks down or needs repairs. This is where the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act comes in. Enacted in 1970, the Song-Beverly Act requires all manufacturers to replace faulty products after a “reasonable number” of attempts at repairs.

California’s consumer warranty act or its lemon law helps protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing a faulty car. Lemon laws are necessary because the average consumer would not have extensive knowledge of what makes a vehicle faulty. 

If you think you purchased a lemon or a defective vehicle, you cannot just rush to the dealership and demand a refund or replacement. In this article, we’ll discuss the things you should know about the Consumer Warranty Act to help you decide your next course of action.


Some defective vehicles are not lemons

A lemon is a new car with a severe enough defect that impedes proper operation. California’s lemon law covers vehicles bought or used for personal, family, or household purposes. In this state, ‘new motor vehicle’ does not include motor homes, motorcycles, or vehicles operated exclusively off-road, such as golf carts. If your defective vehicle falls under any of the exemptions, you will not be able to claim a refund.

In addition, not all defective cars are lemons. Just because your car needs repairs, that does not mean it’s a lemon. For it to be classified as one, you or your technician should have attempted repairs on it. If the problems persist after the repairs, that is when you might have a claim for a refund or replacement.


You must consider depreciation

Sometimes, there might be a legitimate claim on a car, but you might not receive compensation for the full price you paid. This is because of depreciation, or the natural wear and tear of machinery over time. The longer you drive your vehicle, the more it depreciates. This is why it is important for you to make the claims as soon as possible.

When you suspect that your car is a lemon, it is important to contact a lemon law attorney as soon as possible. They can advise you on specifics based on your car’s make and model, as well as on how to  start negotiations for your car.


Some claims may be settled outside of court

It may be best for all parties involved to reach a settlement, instead of trying the case in court. Court trials may take months, even years, which is impractical for both sides. Before you make a deal with the manufacturer, you must speak with an attorney. A legal specialist will help you get the fairest settlement. You would not want to be shortchanged a second time, so hiring a third party would help prevent that.

Filing a lemon law claim requires that you are the owner of the warranty. You must also have all the paperwork to support your case. Getting a lawyer will help in this matter, allowing you some peace of mind by helping you gather all the documents you need for the claim.


Private sellers may not be liable for claims

Generally speaking, in California private sales are not protected by the Consumer Warranty Act. This puts consumers in a bind. On the one hand, private sellers offer lower prices. On the other, buying from them means taking a risk. A private seller may not be held accountable in case you uncover a defect in the car they sold.



Lemon laws are put in place to protect consumers’ safety. If you suspect you purchased a lemon car, you need to seek help from a legal specialist. They can advise you properly on your next steps, and make sure that you aren’t getting less than you deserve on that settlement.

If you are looking for a lemon law attorney in San Diego, get in touch with us today. We are among the best lemon law attorneys in California, and can help you with claims on various types of vehicles.