Although all fifty states now have a lemon law on their books, not all of them are the same. Many differ in the requirements, documentation, and benefits that will be covered by the law. In California, the California Lemon Law is pretty cut and dry.
The California Lemon Law allows the purchaser to have an out if the car they purchased turns out to be a “lemon”. First, though, the car has to come with the manufacturer’s warranty (it can also be a used car as long as the car still has some of the manufacture’s warranty attached to it). The car needs to have substantial amounts of warranty defects with reasonable attempts to fix those said defects. In California, the amount of reasonable attempts equals four attempts (two if it’s a safety issue) or more than 30 days of loss of service in an eighteen month period.
Since the law is written so clearly, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out if your car falls under the California Lemon Law. Deciding you have a case, though, is just the first step. Since your vehicle has been in the shop and experiencing ongoing problems for some time, this process will feel as if it is taking forever to complete. In actuality, once you have reached the point where you qualify to pursue the lemon law, the process from that point on should only take about 30 to 45 days. If you choose to, you could even hire an attorney who specializes in this type of action and the process may go a bit more smoothly. This is up to you, though, since California does not require you to obtain one.
Once you realize that you are going to have trouble with your new car, there are steps that you should take to make sure you meet the requirements you will need to pursue the California Lemon Law. Documentation of any and all repairs will be necessary, including invoices, time spent in the shop, and any conversations you have had with personnel regarding your car.
Once you have proven that the California Lemon Law covers your vehicle, you should be able to recoup all your expenses. These include the license fees, registration fees, tax, car rentals, and any monthly payments you have made so far; less a usage fee for the miles you’ve put on the car.