Top 5 California lemon law tips

The last thing anyone expects when they purchase a new or used vehicle is for it to have chronic mechanical defects. Yet, it happens from time to time.

That’s why lemon law exists – to protect consumers from being stuck with a faulty vehicle. These laws provide remedies for drivers who have purchased or leased a car with severe and ongoing defects.

California is one of the most consumer-friendly states in the country, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the state lemon law is extremely comprehensive. However, manufacturers are notorious for finding loopholes to avoid liability. That’s why it’s so important to arm yourself with the right California lemon law tips.

Here are five helpful tips to win a lemon law case in California:

1. Document, Document, Document

One of the most important lemon law tips that you can follow is to document everything related to your defective vehicle. Keep track of all repair orders, conversations with the manufacturer or dealership, and anything else that may be relevant to your case. With this California lemon law tip, you’ll have a paper trail that can back your claim.

Along with written documentation, it’s a good idea to take photos or videos of the defects you are experiencing. These pieces of evidence can provide visual proof that your car isn’t performing as it should. This lemon law tip also combats a manufacturer from documenting your vehicle as “no problem found,” – which they are known to do when faced with a lemon law claim.

2. Pay Attention to Your Repair Order

This California lemon law tip is closely related to the previous one. Whenever you take your car in for repairs, be sure to pay close attention to the repair order and all of the work that is done.

Do not let the service advisor alter or change your complaint or concern. In the state of California, all automobile repair orders follow the rules set forth in the Bureau of Automotive Repair Write it Right manual. All repair orders follow the same general format called the three “C’s.” Concern, Cause, and Correction. 

The concern is the problem with your car. The repair facility must document your concern exactly as stated. A small change by the repair facility in how the concern is documented can negatively affect, even destroy, your lemon law case.

Never leave the dealership without a repair order for that specific visit. You are entitled to a repair order for each and every visit to the repair facility. This tip to win a lemon case not only helps build your claim but also provides a record of the vehicle’s history in question.

3. Do Not Go to Arbitration

Any California lemon law lawyer will tell you not to go to arbitration – and it’s an essential tip to win a lemon law case. The California lemon law does not require you to arbitrate your case prior to filing a lemon law lawsuit. And in most cases, arbitration can hurt your lemon law claim.

Arbitration is essentially a hearing where you and the manufacturer’s representatives present your cases to a third-party panel. While this may seem like an attractive option, arbitration is extremely biased toward the manufacturer. The manufacturer often pays the arbitrators, so they have the incentive to rule in their favor.

Should you lose during arbitration, the manufacturer can use the negative decision against you in any subsequent lemon law case. So, if you ignore this lemon law tip and go to arbitration, you may be creating more problems for yourself.

4. You Need a Lemon Law Lawyer

Perhaps the most essential tip to win a lemon law case is to hire an experienced California Lemon Law lawyer. Even if you have a strong case, it’s possible that the manufacturer will try to find loopholes or strategies to avoid liability.

The dealerships are required to report to the manufacturers when any car goes in for repair more than one time for the same problem. Once alerted to your potential lemon law claim, the manufacturers employ an entire network of agents, technicians, and lemon law defense lawyers to defeat an otherwise valid California lemon law claim.

By working with an experienced California Lemon Law lawyer, you can level the playing field and protect your rights. With their knowledge of lemon law tips, they’ll guide you through every step of the process and increase your chances of a successful claim.

5. The Manufacturer/Dealer is Not Your Friend

This California lemon law tip may seem obvious, but manufacturers and dealerships are good at presenting a friendly face. Don’t be fooled by their hospitality – they are not your friends, and they’re not looking out for your best interests.

Even if your vehicle clearly qualifies as a lemon, the manufacturer does not want to voluntarily buy back your car. Please remember the dealership is the manufacturer’s local representative. It is common for the dealership, acting on behalf of the manufacturer, to get you to trade in your car instead of a lemon law buyback.

Step 1, the dealership tells you your car should be bought back, as it is a lemon. Step 2, you are invited into the salesroom, and the dealership will buy your vehicle. Step 3, you are presented with a sales contract for a trade-in, not a lemon law buyback. Therefore, you lose thousands on the trade-in vs. a California lemon law buyback.

So, be sure to keep this California lemon law tip in mind during the entire process. Remain vigilant and consult your lemon law attorney to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your lemon law case.

In Need of a California Lemon Law Lawyer?

By following these California lemon law tips, you can increase your chances of a successful lemon law case. Whether you are dealing with a defective new car or a used car, it is important to remain vigilant and ensure your legal rights are protected.

If you believe your vehicle is a lemon and would like to find out more about filing a California lemon law claim, contact Cline APC today. Our team of experienced California Lemon Law lawyers knows all the necessary tips to win a lemon law case.

Contact us online, or send an email to We’re always here to answer any questions you may have and provide our expert lemon law tips.

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