California Lemon Laws for Used Cars FAQs

Find Out if California Lemon Laws for Used Cars Apply to Your Case

A car eligible for a California lemon law buybackThere are many benefits associated with purchasing a used car. They are more affordable and come with lower insurance rates. However, used cars also come with their share of difficulties. They break down more often than new cars. As a used car owner, having your car break down is devastating. However, you are not without hope. California lemon laws for used cars may provide you with a legal remedy. In many cases, you could receive a replacement or refund if your used car qualifies as a lemon.

At Kostas Law Firm, our California lemon law attorney can help you with your used car lemon law claim. Attorney Jim Kostas has over three decades of experience helping people obtain favorable settlements. He understands the importance of asserting your legal rights during the California lemon law process. He has provided you with answers to the following list of frequently asked questions

You can use this information to improve your knowledge of lemon laws in California. If you have additional questions, then please contact our firm immediately for a free consultation.

California Lemon Laws for Used Cars Frequently Asked Questions

Does My Used Car Qualify as a Lemon Under California Lemon Law?

If your used car meets the following qualifications, then it qualifies as a lemon under California lemon law. 

  • You purchased the used car from a retailer and not a private individual
  • There is an active warranty on your used car (original manufacturer’s warranty or extended warranty provided by the retailer)
  • The used car has a substantial defect
  • You have spent an excessive amount of time having your used car repaired
  • The attempts to have your used car repaired have been unsuccessful

California lemon law is much less specific when it comes to used cars. You should consult with a California lemon law attorney to ensure your used car qualifies as a lemon. You can conduct a quick Google search to find an attorney in your area. Look for attorneys that have a strong case record and a client testimonials pageBack to the Top

What Are the Signs of a Defective Used Car?

The statute of limitations for filing a California lemon law claim is four years. The majority of people have no trouble meeting this deadline. However, California lemon law requires you to submit your vehicle for repairs within the warranty period. Many people have their lemon law claims rejected because they waited too long to repair their vehicle. 

If you purchased a used car, then your warranty may already be close to its expiration date. You should look out for the following signs of a defective used car. 

  • Overheated engine
  • Electrical problems
  • Brake problems
  • Transmission problems
  • Exhaust system problems
  • Faulty ignition system 
  • Issues with the fuel delivery system
  • Broken speedometer or gauges
  • Fluid leaks 
  • Steering or alignment issues
  • Defective seat belts
  • Broken car windows or locks

Defects that impair the use, value or safety of your vehicle are covered under California lemon law. An experienced attorney can help you assess whether your used car qualifies as a lemon. Reach out to Attorney Jim Kostas today to schedule a free consultation. Back to the Top

What Steps Should I Take After Discovering My Used Car Is a Lemon?

Have you purchased a used car in California? The State of California has some of the strongest lemon laws in the nation. Complete the following steps if the warranty for your used car remains active. 

  • Take your vehicle to an authorized dealership for repair 
  • Receive a copy of the automotive work order 
  • If repairs are not completed quickly, then contact a lemon law attorney 

At Kostas Law Firm, we take lemon law cases in Antelope Valley, Lancaster and Palmdale. Attorney Jim Kostas works on a contingency fee basis. He does not get paid unless your case is successful. Do not let a fear of paying attorney fees keep you from recovering compensation for your defective used car. Back to the Top

How Do I Determine the Value of My Used Car?

There is often confusion surrounding California lemon laws for used cars. Alternatively, there is no such confusion surrounding lemon laws for new vehicle purchases. California law is much more specific in that regard. For example, a vehicle manufacturer must fix your car within a reasonable amount of repair attempts. If your car repairs cannot be made, then the manufacturer has two options.

  • Provide you with a replacement vehicle
  • Fully refund your purchase minus the amount of use your vehicle received before you discovered the defect 

With new vehicle purchases, California law provides a formula you can use to calculate the amount of your refund. A formula for used car purchases does not exist, making it harder for you to calculate the amount of your refund. You and the other parties involved must negotiate an appropriate amount. 

A California lemon law attorney is useful in these scenarios. Attorney Jim Kostas has decades of experience handling lemon law claims. He can use the knowledge he has gained to help you determine the value of your used car refund. He can also help you negotiate with the other parties involved in your lemon law claim.
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Can You Explain California’s “At Retail” Provision?

Have you purchased a used car from your neighbor? Did the used car come with an unexpired warranty? You may assume that California lemon law covers your vehicle. However, you may have assumed incorrectly. California lemon law applies solely to vehicles purchased “at retail.” The law excludes vehicles purchased through a private party. If your car has a defect, then you may not have the option of filing a lemon law claim. 

If you purchased a vehicle under warranty from a private party, then you should give our office a call. Attorney Jim Kostas understands California lemon laws for used cars. He can offer you sound advice and help you review your legal options.
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Do I Need a Manufacturer’s Warranty for a Lemon Law Claim?

Your vehicle generally needs to be under the manufacturer’s warranty to file a lemon law claim for a serious defect. Warranties hold auto manufacturers accountable for fixing issues covered under vehicle warranties, such as a faulty transmission or engine. Fortunately, some used cars are sold while they are still under the warranty, which means your vehicle could qualify for a lemon claim.

You may still be eligible for a lemon law claim if the warranty expired and you sought multiple repair attempts before the warranty’s expiration date. If the defect occurred while your vehicle was still under warranty, then you should speak with a California lemon lawyer about filing a claim.Back to the Top

What If I Bought My Used Car in Another State?

California’s lemon law applies to vehicles sold or leased in our state. If you purchased the vehicle in another state, you may have options to file a claim if you live in California and took delivery of the vehicle in our state. 

During a free consultation, our California lemon lawyer can help you determine if it is still possible to file a lemon law claim.Back to the Top

How Many Repair Attempts Do I Need Before Filing a Lemon Law Claim?

Under state law, you must give the dealership a “reasonable number of opportunities” to repair a faulty vehicle. However, California’s lemon law does not specify how many attempts is considered “reasonable”. 

There are some actions you can take during the repairs process to make a potential lemon claim more successful. 

  • If it is not your first attempt repairing the defect, be clear with the service technician that you are bringing in your vehicle again to repair the same defect. If you are able, try to put any communication with the dealership in writing and save a copy of the email or correspondence. 
  • Keep copies of the repair order. Make sure the repair order accurately describes the defect and repair attempts. You may need to have the service technician rewrite the repair order. It is important to keep a paper trail that accurately shows you are seeking repairs for the same defect.

In addition to repair orders, you should be sure to keep copies of any other maintenance records. The more evidence you have that demonstrates your vehicle is defective, the more likely a lemon law claim is to succeed.Back to the Top

Should I File a Lemon Law Claim for a Used Car?

Filing a lemon law claim can help you recover losses caused by purchasing and seeking to repair a defective used vehicle. If your claim succeeds, then you may be eligible to have your vehicle loan paid in full as well as reimbursement for rental car and repair expenses. Depending on your individual circumstances, this means you could recover thousands of dollars in compensation. 

You should never wait to speak with an attorney if you suspect your vehicle is a lemon. There are strict deadlines for filing a claim. If you wait too long, then you may be unable to recover compensation for your defective vehicle.Back to the Top

Do I Need an Attorney for a Lemon Law Claim?

There are good reasons to consider contacting an attorney if you are struggling to repair a defective vehicle. First, it costs nothing to speak with a lemon law attorney – including our attorney. Most lemon law attorneys offer free consultations. 

Second, dealerships may fight tooth and nail to avoid paying a lemon law claim. Without an attorney, it can be more difficult to resolve a claim.

When you consider that your alternative could be paying for your defective vehicle and repair costs out of pocket, what harm could be done by contacting a lemon law lawyer to discuss your potential legal options? Back to the Top

Contact a California Lemon Law Attorney

Have you purchased a used car in California? Did it break down within weeks of the purchase date? If so, then California lemon laws for used cars may apply to your case. Consult with a California lemon law attorney to find out. 

Contact Kostas Law Firm today at (661) 886-0235 for a free consultation. You can also fill out the online submission form on our website. Attorney Jim Kostas provides legal services to people in Antelope Valley, Lancaster and Palmdale. Reach out to him if you are having trouble with your defective vehicle.