One of the most unfortunate circumstances for a car buyer who is the victim of owning a lemon is missing the deadline to file a claim under California law. Once that date has passed, the consumer has no legal recourse to make a claim with the auto manufacturer or dealer.

That’s why it is critical to take action right away if you have been experiencing recurring issues even after multiple repair attempts with your warrantied new or used automobile. As the owner of that vehicle, you have rights under the California Lemon Law. But there are deadlines, known as statute of limitations. This sets the maximum amount of time that someone in a dispute has to initiate legal proceedings. Under the California Lemon Law, that window of time is typically four years. But it’s not that simple.

The clock starts at different times

When the clock starts ticking on the four-year statute of limitations depends on the type of lemon law claim you are bringing. Under some claims, the clock starts from the date you purchased the vehicle. With other claims, it begins when the warranty expires, but your vehicle has multiple warranties, so it’s get complicated. Regardless of what type of lemon law claim you make, if you miss the deadline, you miss your opportunity to seek a refund or cash.

Calculating the statute of limitation deadline

Because the deadline (referred to as a statute of limitation ) is so critical and calculating it can be complicated, contacting an experienced California Lemon Law attorney as soon as possible can make all the difference between receiving a fair settlement and being saddled with a lemon that is unreliable and expensive to maintain. A good attorney can work with you to calculate accurate timelines and ensure that you meet the deadline to file a claim.

Claim criteria

Equally important to the filing deadline is whether your vehicle meets the criteria of a lemon. To determine if you have a lemon law claim in California, your car must meet the following criteria:

  • You purchased or leased a new or used car from a dealer in California.
  • During the factory warranty period, you took the car in several times for the same problem.
  • The dealer has made multiple attempts to repair the vehicle, but the problem still exists.
  • The problem is so significant that it impacts the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.

I have spoken to too many car owners over the years who met those criteria but waited too long to file a claim. That makes an unfortunate situation even more devastating. My best legal advice: don’t delay!


Think you have a claim? Get a free, no-obligation case evaluation from Sotera L. Anderson, California Lemon Law Attorney, here or call  1-855-96-LEMON, or (858) 247-0050. Visit our website for more information.