How Can I “Lemon” My Car?


For most of the people the word ‘’lemon’’ is associated with yellow-colored citrus fruit. Yet, this is not the only meaning the term holds. Due to its sour flavor, ‘’lemon’’ was used to describe unpleasant and moody people up to the 19th century. Over time, ‘’lemon’’ came to be used as a word defining something that was not working properly. From a legal standpoint, ‘’lemon’’  refers to cars that fail to function properly after being purchased. Thus, cars, trucks, motorcycles and recreational vehicles that come with manufacturing defects tend to be ‘’lemons’’. Statistically, 5% of cars sold in the U.S.end up to be lemons.

There are federal and state lemon laws that regulate the relationships between lemon owners and manufacturers. California lemon law provides a remedy to vehicle buyers whose recently bought cars fail to meet standards of quality and performance. Being aware of your rights under the California lemon law will help you ‘’lemon’’ your defective vehicle and receive a proper recovery. Here are several steps that will help you get most of the lemon laws:

Determine whether your car qualifies as lemon:

The first step in ‘’lemoning’’ your car, is understanding whether or not your defective car falls under the protection of Lemon law. In order to qualify as a lemon under most state laws, a car must meet the following requirements (1) it must have a substantial defect covered by the warranty that occurred within a certain period or number of miles after you bought the car, (2) the defects are not fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts, (3)  must be bought/leased for personal use or for business that only has 5 or fewer business vehicles.

Notify the manufacturer about the defect:

In most states, it is required by law to notify the manufacturer directly, in writing form,  about the substantial car defect, impairing its use and safety. To protect your lemon law rights, it is crucial to provide proper notice in accordance with the requirements of your state’s lemon law.  

Give the manufacturer opportunities to repair:

The manufacturer must be given an opportunity to fix the car defects. California Lemon law requires you to give the manufacturer at least two tries at repair. Generally, what constitutes a reasonable number of repair attempts depends on the seriousness of the defect. The repair attempts can be limited to two for defects that pose serious safety issues or that prevent you from being able to rely on your vehicle. Controversially, less serious problems require more repair attempts.

Consider the 30 days rule:

If your defective car is out of service for more than 30 days due to repairs for any number of problems during the first 18 months or 18,000 miles after purchase, then the car can be labeled a ‘’lemon’’, regardless of the number of repair attempts.

Avoid manufacturer arbitration:

Commonly, manufacturers try to cut corners and offer lemon owners an arbitration as a quick way of solving lemon issues. The manufacturer will possibly claim that the arbitration process is faster and less expensive.  In fact, this is a trap for more lemon owners. Firstly, no matter how illogical and unfair the final decision in an arbitration process is, it is hard to change. Secondly, the lemon owner is not protected by a lemon law attorney, which is a good chance for manufacturer’s representative, who is quite experienced in dealing with arbitration processes, to make the process work for a manufacturer and leave the inexperienced lemon owner with nothing.

Hire an experienced lemon law attorney:

The best and the most effective way to tackle a lemon car problem is consulting an experienced lemon law attorney. Having a skillful lemon law attorney at your side can help you better understand your rights under California lemon law and get the recovery you are entitled by law. What keeps lemon owners from hiring a lemon law attorney is usually the false presumption that it will cost them a ton of money. What actually is, all legal fees are to be paid by the manufacturer after winning the case. So, hiring a lemon law attorney to lemon your defective car is penny-wise and more secure.

The experienced and dedicated attorneys at the Margarian Law firm know California Lemon laws profoundly and have excessive experience in successfully putting their knowledge into practice to protect lemon owners’ rights and receive the best possible recovery they really deserve. Contact us right now and make the most of our free initial consultation on lemon law.