California Lemon Law

California Lemon Law Attorney

Over the past several years, the lemon law attorneys at Wirtz Law APC have recovered over $45 million for California consumers like you. We consistently recover more than just a buyback for our clients, recovering both actual damages and civil penalties against the automakers and distributors. The experienced trial teams at Wirtz Law APC represent clients in every part of California -- from San Diego to San Jose, from Sacramento to San Bernardino, and from Ventura to Los Angeles to Riverside.

What is the Lemon Law?

The California Lemon Law is a consumer protection statute that protects consumers like you who have purchased a car or truck that has had a defect or defects that substantially impair your use, value or safety of the vehicle and the defects have not been repaired after a reasonable number of repair attempts, which can be as little as two attempts.  If your car is determined to be a lemon, the automaker must buy back your vehicle.

Nothing is more aggravating and dangerous than a vehicle with defects. A defective vehicle jeopardizes you, your family, and your friends – as well as everyone else on the road. No one expects a perfect car, just one that is safe, reliable, and does what it is supposed to do. When the big multinational automakers sell you a lemon and won’t buy back your vehicle, it is time to call (858) 259-5009.  The experienced trial attorneys at Wirtz Law will protect your Lemon Law rights and pursue your claim at no cost to you.

How Does the Lemon Law Work?

The automakers must promptly buyback cars or trucks that qualify as a lemon. Although you are not required to ask for a buyback or a replacement, most automakers will not do anything to help you until you ask for a buyback.

Once you ask, the automaker is supposed to perform a good-faith review and promptly repurchase your vehicle when it is a lemon. You should contact us at (858) 879-3557 to determine if your rights have been violated by your automaker or to make a lemon law claim.

The following list contains examples of covered defects, but it is not exhaustive. Talk to an attorney even if you do not see your issue listed.

Any defects that substantially impair your use, value or safety are covered, including:

  • Airbag defects
  • Engine malfunctions
  • Electrical problems
  • Faulty coolant systems
  • Brake problems
  • Fuel system problems
  • Power equipment defects
  • Power steering issues
  • Suspension and transmission problems
  • Navigation malfunctions
  • Leaks of coolant, fluid, oil, etc.
  • Faulty dashboard lights
  • Defective seat belts
  • Exhaust system defects

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Lemon Law Claim?

The law does not require you to hire a lawyer to make a lemon law claim, but don’t fight the automakers without one. To protect your rights and recover all that the law provides, you should hire experienced trial attorneys to handle your claim. The automakers have armies of full-time employees and attorneys working against you.  The automakers ignore the law and take advantage of you with hidden obstacles. Wirtz Law APC knows all their tricks and knows how to handle them.

What kind of attorney handles Lemon Law?

Lots of lawyers claim to know the law and promise fast results. At Wirtz Law APC, we know the law because we actually try cases to juries. No other firm knows the Lemon Law better than Wirtz Law. We have tried more cases and know the law better than other California Lemon Law trial attorneys, and our winning record speaks for itself. While other lawyers promise fast results, we seek the best results for each claim.

Getting Started with a Lemon Law Claim

  • How do I start a Lemon Law claim?

    It’s simple. Just call us at (858) 357-9549 or start a chat on this page and we will evaluate your case for free. If your car is a lemon, we will take your case and immediately start your claim for you.

  • How long does a case take?

    Your case does not have to take a long time to complete. Some cases are resolved immediately upon hiring our firm.  Other cases can take several months to complete depending on what county the case is filed in. Most courts try to get your case to trial within a year.

  • Does the Lemon Law apply to vehicles used in business?

    Yes. Provided the business registers no more than 5 vehicles and the vehicle’s gross weight is less than 10,000 pounds, vehicles primarily used for business are covered by California’s Lemon Law.

  • How much does it cost?

    Filing a Lemon Law claim does not cost you anything. At Wirtz Law APC, we work for you without any out of pocket costs to you and on a contingency fee basis.  There is no cost to you. The automakers pay your attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses when you win.

  • How do Lemon Law lawyers get paid?

    The automakers pay your attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses when you win. Wirtz Law APC gets paid by the automakers when we are successful. If there is no recovery, there is no cost to you.

  • Can you Lemon Law a lease?

    Yes.  Leased vehicles can be lemons too.  Moreover, you do not have to currently possess or own the vehicle to file a claim. If your car or truck was a lemon while you leased it, you can still make a claim.

California’s lemon law protects vehicle owners when their newly purchased or leased vehicle has a dangerous or persistent defect. Lemon car owners may seek a replacement vehicle, a refund, and other compensation for their losses.

Does my car or truck qualify for Lemon Law? Is my vehicle a Lemon?

A car or truck qualifies as a Lemon if:

  • It is a new vehicle purchased or leased from a California dealer
  • The authorized repair facility (dealer) cannot repair your vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts under the warranty — it doesn’t have to be the same part
  • The defect or defects in your vehicle have substantially impaired the use, value, or safety of the vehicle

What types of problems are covered?

Any and all defects in your car or truck that substantially impairs your use, value or safety count in determining if your vehicle is a lemon.


What Does the Lemon Law Cover?

Your car or truck is covered if you purchased it new or leased it from a California dealer. If during your ownership or possession the authorized repair facility cannot repair your vehicle (it can be different components each time) after a reasonable number of attempts under the new car warranty or Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) warranty, and the defects in your vehicle have substantially impaired the use, value, or safety of your vehicle, then the auto manufacturer must replace or repurchase your vehicle.

How Many Repairs are Necessary Before Lemon Law Applies?

There is no set number.  The automaker only needs a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle (not a particular component), which can be as few as two repair attempts to the vehicle. The law does not require that the same part or the same component be repaired multiple times. The vehicle is a lemon, not a component.  Once a vehicle qualifies as a lemon under the California Lemon Law, the automakers must replace or repurchase your vehicle.

Does the Lemon Law apply to private party sales?

The Lemon Law applies to private party sales, sales by dealerships, brokers, or any other sale of a vehicle so long as any part of the new car or CPO warranty has not expired. If a car or truck still has time or mileage left under the automaker’s warranty, defects presented during that warranty are counted.  Extended service contracts, which are sometimes called extended warranties, do not apply. However, new car warranties extended by the automaker under a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty do apply.

Do I need to go to arbitration?

California consumers are not required to arbitrate their Lemon Law claims against an automaker.  Many automakers encourage consumers to use the BBB Autoline, a arbitration venue funded by the automakers.

However, a recent study by the non-profit organization Public Citizen analyzed 19,000 consumer arbitrations conducted by the National Arbitration Forum shows just how unfair this venue is.  The results were staggering.  More than 94% of the decisions were in favor of the corporation that paid them and against the consumer.

Because of these statistics, the automakers have been trying to compel arbitration by bootstrapping into the dealer’s sales contract to which they are not a party.

Arbitration in Lemon Law Claims

At Wirtz Law, we will never voluntarily forfeit your constitutional right to a jury trial and will fight for maximum recovery.

Damages in Lemon Law Claims

What is a Lemon Law buyback?

A buyback is the repurchase of your lemon by the automaker.  It occurs when a new, leased, or CPO car or truck qualifies as lemon and the automaker pays you back the money you spent on the vehicle, less a money offset for the miles used up to the first repair.  The formula for a buyback is provided by the law.

In addition, related costs, called incidental and consequential damages, may be added to the buyback. To make sure you are getting the full value of a buyback offer, you should contact us for a free evaluation.

A History of Results

Wirtz Law has successfully obtained recoveries for our clients in excess of $45 million.


Our client, the plaintiff, purchased a brand new 2014 Focus for $40,007, including add-ons and financing. Within three days, the transmission began to slip and…

Read More


Our client, Sam P. purchased a new 2010 BMW X5, as a premium luxury SUV to enjoy in his retirement and to use for safe…

Read More


Matthew J. and Marisa J. bought a used 2011 Dodge Durango to be their primary family vehicle, to be used to drive to and from…

Read More

Additional Frequently Asked Lemon Law Questions

Client Testimonials

Where can I find a Lemon Law Attorney near me?

If you are looking for a California Lemon Law firm “near me,” look no further than Wirtz Law APC. If you are fed up, have had enough, and think your car is a lemon, call us at (858) 259-5009 for a free evaluation.  If your vehicle is a lemon we will take your case at no charge to you on a contingency fee basis. Wirtz Law APC provides one of the best Lemon Law attorney service everywhere in California including Southern California, Central California, Eastern California, and Northern California.

Contact Our Lemon Law Attorneys Today

If your car or truck is experiencing substantial or repeated problems, you need an experienced attorney to handle your case. At Wirtz Law, our firm focuses on helping California consumers get the compensation they deserve after purchasing a lemon. Our attorneys have a well-deserved reputation as motor vehicle consumer advocates. If you suspect that your vehicle qualifies as a lemon under the California lemon law, contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.

Contact Us Today

All of our consultations are free and there’s no obligation. Don’t hesitate to contact us.

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4370 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 800
San Diego, CA 92122
Phone | (858) 259-5009

10866 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1200
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Phone | (858) 259-5009

384 Forest Ave, Suite 17
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Phone | (858) 259-5009