At first glance, someone reading the California’s lemon vehicle statute might think that used cars are not covered under the lemon law in California. Specifically, the section that contains the California lemon law buyback remedy, Code Section 1793.2(d)(2), only appears to apply to “new motor vehicles.” However (and more importantly), Civil Code Section 1795.5 makes clear that even though Section 1793.2 of the lemon law statute appears to apply only to new cars “the obligation of a distributor or retail seller of used consumer goods in a sale in which an express warranty is given shall be the same as that imposed on manufacturers.” Thus, the lemon law applies to used cars in California if they are still covered by their manufacturers’ warranties.
Non-Manufacturer Warranties Do Not Activate Coverage Under the Lemon Law
Anyone who has been to a car dealership in California knows that dealers try to push so-called “extended warranties” onto automobile purchasers. These “extended warranties” are actually what the California lemon law statute refers to as “service contracts” – which are typically agreements with a third-party company (i.e., not the manufacturer) to fix any malfunctions in the automobile during a specified period. Because these warranties do not come from the manufacturer, they do not trigger coverage under the lemon law.
Any Manufacturer’s Warranty Will Do to Trigger the California Lemon Law
Although service contracts and extended warranties don’t create coverage by the lemon law in California, that does not necessary mean that California’s lemon law expires with the manufacturer’s 3 year/36,000 mile warranty. Most automobile manufacturer who sell vehicles in this State offer longer warranties for specific vehicle components. For example, some car manufacturers offer warranties of up to 10 years/100,000 miles for the vehicle power trains. Under the California lemon law, there is no reason why this longer power train warranty cannot be used to trigger coverage under the lemon law statute.
If you have a used car or truck that developed malfunctions or defects during the manufacturer’s warranty period, then be sure to check this site’s pages on the lemon law’s basic rules, what defects are covered by the lemon law, and how many repairs are needed under the lemon law. Find out if your used car is a lemon!
Still have questions about when the California lemon law applies, or what types of automobile warranties can be used to trigger coverage for used cars under the lemon law? If so, give the Vachon Law Firm a call. Lemon law consultations are always no charge, and the call is toll free. Call 1-855-4-LEMON-LAW (1-855-453-6665) today.