If you have purchased or leased a car, California law protects you. The body of law, which provides such consumer protection, is entitled “The Lemon Law.”

For example, California Civil Code § 1793.2 states that, with some limited exceptions, “if the manufacturer or its representative in this state does not service or repair the goods to conform to the applicable express warranties after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall either replace the goods or reimburse the buyer in an amount equal to the purchase price paid by the buyer, less that amount directly attributable to use by the buyer prior to the discovery of the nonconformity.” In case of a replacement, the manufacturer must replace a vehicle with a new motor vehicle substantially identical to the vehicle replaced.

In addition, California Civil Code § 1793.22 defines a “nonconformity” as “a nonconformity which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the new motor vehicle to the buyer or lessee”, and this code section creates a presumption that a reasonable number of attempts have been made to conform a new motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties if, within 18 months from delivery to the buyer or 18,000 miles on the odometer of the vehicle, whichever occurs first, one or more of the following conditions occurs:

“(1) The same nonconformity results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven and the nonconformity has been subject to repair two or more times by the manufacturer or its agents, and the buyer or lessee has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the nonconformity.

(2) The same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer or its agents and the buyer has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the nonconformity.

3) The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of nonconformities by the manufacturer or its agents for a cumulative total of more than 30 calendar days since delivery of the vehicle to the buyer. The 30-day limit shall be extended only if repairs cannot be performed due to conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer or its agents.”

Persistent problems with the following car components and systems, which a dealer appears to be unable to repair, may indicate that a new or certified pre-owned car may potentially be considered a “lemon”:

  • Air conditioning (leaking hoses and components, “warm” air, erratic functioning)
  • Brakes (“soft” pedals, vacuum leaks)
  • Electrical and Electronic systems:
    • Electronic fuel injection problems (persistent sensor, ECU, or fuel pump failure) resulting in rough idle, stalling, loss of power, and starting issues
    • Problems with navigation systems, multimedia systems, screens, interior and exterior lights, power mirrors, seats, and locks
  • Exhaust issues (excessive noise, leaking headers, downpipes, catalytic converters, mufflers, and leaking connections between these components)
  • Fluid leaks
    • engine oil leaking through front and rear oil seals, as well as through head, valve cover, and oil pan gaskets;
    • transmission fluid leaks
    • brake fluid leaks
    • fuel leaks (leaking fuel lines, injectors, gas tanks)
    • power steering leaks
    • radiator fluid leaks
    • transmission fluid leaks
    • radiator failure and the mixture of transmission and radiator fluids, resulting in the pink “strawberry milkshake” liquid that ruins transmissions
  • Noises (loose interior trim, squeaking steering wheel and pedals, noisy suspension, and nocking / grinding sounds coming out of the engine compartment)
  • Paint problems (bubbling, rapidly fading clear coat, peeling paint)
  • Suspension issues (wheel alignment, prematurely worn bushings, leaking gas and fluid-filled shock absorbers and struts, too much “free play” when turning a steering wheel)
  • Transmission issues (skipping gears, “jerky” ride, failure to upshift or downshift, reverse gear failure)

As a “gearhead”, Dmitriy Cherepinskiy is very enthusiastic about handling lemon law issues, and he takes a special interest in such cases. As a consumer advocate on your behalf, Cherepinskiy Law Firm will zealously apply all of its significant expertise, skills, and devotion to achieve the best outcome for you.