Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

ca lemon law repair attempts

In California, a lemon law claim is largely based on the nature and frequency of warranty repair attempts the consumer has had performed on a defective vehicle.

Under California law, a vehicle is considered a lemon if after a “reasonable” number of repair attempts, the vehicle is still defective and impaired. This number will generally be somewhere between two and four repair attempts, but the specifics will vary depending on the vehicle and severity and frequency of the defects at hand.

Other things, like the dangerousness of the defect and the knowledge the manufacturer had of the defect, can also modify how many repair attempts are needed by the consumer for a vehicle to be considered a lemon. It is important for consumers to have records of these repair attempts, as the more information they have on the repair process, the stronger their lemon law claim is likely to be.

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    Understanding “Reasonable Attempts”

    The California lemon law requires a consumer to present their vehicle for a number of “reasonable attempts” to repair the defective vehicle. There are two important things to be aware of as a consumer navigating a potential lemon law claim. The first is the minimum requirement for a claim. Generally speaking, a consumer must have attempted at least two repair attempts for any defect to have a basis for a claim.

    In some situations, only one repair attempt may be sufficient. For example, if a single repair attempt results in the vehicle being out of service for 30 or more days because of that attempt, it could qualify as a lemon because of the 30-day rule for Lemon Law claims if this repair was performed within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles of ownership.

    If a vehicle is out of service for 30 or more days during the first 18 months or 18,000 miles of ownership, whichever come first, (which days do not need to be consecutive) due to a repair, it is presumed to be a lemon.

    At least the first repair attempt must take place within the warranty period of the vehicle to count under California lemon law in order to “count.”

    The second thing to be aware of is problems posing a safety risk to the consumer only require two repair attempts before the vehicle is eligible to be declared a lemon.

    Beyond the Minimum: Factors Determining “Reasonable Attempts”

    “Reasonable attempts” can also go beyond a certain number. There are some general guidelines for what “reasonable attempts” means based on California’s “Lemon Law Presumption.” This presumption includes three specific situations that make a vehicle a lemon if they are true and take place within the vehicle’s warranty or within 18,000 miles. The three situations are:

    • The same defect has been attempted to be repaired on four or more occasions;
    • The same defect has been attempted to be repaired on two or more occasions and that defect could cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is used; or
    • The vehicle has been out of service for repairs for 30 ore more days altogether due to repairs.

    In general, a more severe defect will make a vehicle more eligible to qualify as a lemon. Similarly, the more unsuccessful repair attempts there are for the same issue, the stronger a lemon law claim will be.

    It is still vital to make attempts to repair a defect, no matter how severe, and to document those repairs properly. Doing so ensures the consumer has the most evidence to support their lemon law claim. Finally, if the manufacturer is aware of the defect and cannot fix it, your lemon law claim will be strengthened.

    Additional Resources and Next Steps

    If you believe you may have a lemon law claim, there are several resources that may help you better understand your options and what to do next. The California Department of Consumer Affairs has information regarding consumer rights as well as information specific to California lemon law claims. Our Lemon Law Blog also has many helpful articles ranging from information on specific vehicles and recalls to general information like this article about California’s lemon law.

    Connect with a Qualified California Lemon Law Attorney

    If you believe you have a lemon law claim under California law, do not delay in contacting a skilled lemon law attorney to assist you in navigating the next steps of your claim. Lemon law claims can have a lot of variances in how they should be approached and handled, and having an expert with you can dispel a lot of the stress a defective vehicle situation often generates.

    If you have a vehicle you have made multiple repair attempts on, and it is still within its warranty, you may have a claim. In order to get the representation and compensation you deserve, contact the Lemon Law Experts today. Our years of experience, thousands of satisfied clients, and millions of total settlement dollars prove that we are the best for the job.