The California lemon law statute is intended to ensure that manufacturers who offer warranties on their cars and trucks make good on them. Accordingly, under California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (the statute commonly referred to as the “California lemon law”) manufacturers must fix any malfunctions in vehicles that are covered by their warranties within a “reasonable number” of repair attempts. If the manufacturer can’t fix the problem, the California lemon law requires that it either replace the vehicle with a new one or repurchase it.
How Many is a “Reasonable Number” of Repair Attempts?
Under the California lemon law’s rules, whether there has been a “reasonable number” of repair attempts depends not only on the number of attempts, but also on how much the vehicle’s defect affects the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. A “reasonable number” can be as little as two repair attempts for defects that pose a danger to the automobile’s driver and passengers. Conversely, when the defect doesn’t pose a safety problem or prevent the car’s owner from relying on the vehicle, then more repair attempts are required before the vehicle is a lemon under the California lemon law.
The best way to find out if your car is a lemon is to talk to an experienced California lemon law lawyer. At the Vachon Law Firm we are experts litigating California lemon law cases, and we offer FREE consultations to consumers seeking advice about the California lemon law’s rules. Call us toll free at (855) 4-LEMON-LAW for a free consultation to see if you are entitled to a California lemon law buyback.
Lemon Law Presumptions For a “Reasonable Number” of Repairs
California’s lemon law statute presumes that a car or truck is a lemon in three situations. Under the California lemon law an automobile is statutorily presumed to have had a “reasonable number” or repair attempts if:
- It has had two or more repairs for a malfunction “that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury” within the first 18 months after consumer purchased it, or within the first 18,000 miles (however, under the California lemon law this presumption only applies if the lemon vehicle owner notified the automobile’s manufacturer about the need for repair);
- It has had four or more repairs for the same defect within the first 18 months or within 18,000 miles after being purchased (again however, California’s lemon law statute requires that the vehicle owner notify the manufacturer about the need for repair in order for this presumption to apply); or
- It has been in the shop for repair for 30 or more days within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles.
Although the Sacramento Legislature included these specific presumptions in the California lemon law statute, they were inserted for guidance only. In a California lemon law lawsuit the jury will ultimately get to decide whether or not the vehicle is a lemon, and the jury members will have complete authority to order a manufacturer to buyback a lemon automobile even if it has had fewer repairs than required by the presumptions in California’s lemon law statute.
According to California Court of Appeals a “Reasonable Number” Means At Least Two Repair Attempts
The California lemon law’s only strict rule regarding how many repair attempts are required is that there must have been at least two in order for an automobile to be a lemon under the CA lemon law’s rules. The “two repair minimum” requirement does not appear in the text of the California lemon law statute. Rather, the California Court of Appeal read this requirement into the statue in the case of Silvio v. Ford Motor Company, 109 Cal.App.4th 1205 (2003). It should be noted that the reasoning in the Silvio case was highly suspect – after all, if a person’s steering goes out while they are on the highway, and then the repairing dealership claims that they can’t find the problem should the vehicle owner be forced to wait for another malfunction and repair attempt? Of course not! However, unless the California Supreme Court overrules Silvio v. Ford Motor Company California lemon vehicle owners should plan on getting at least two repair attempts before they request a buyback under the California lemon law.
Call a California Lemon Law Lawyer to Find Out Whether Your Vehicle Has Had Enough Repair Attempts to be a Lemon
Presuming that your car or truck has been taken in for repair at least twice, the best way to determine whether or not your vehicle qualifies for a buyback under California’s lemon law is to call an expert California lemon law lawyer.
California lemon law attorney Michael Vachon, LL.M. is an experienced lemon law attorney, and he is willing to answer all of your California lemon law questions FREE of charge. Call us toll free at (855) 4-LEMON-LAW to find out whether your car has had enough repair attempts to be a “lemon” under the California lemon law statute.