As a Lemon Law attorney in California, I understand that one of the most pressing questions consumers often have is about the timelines for filing a Lemon Law lawsuit. Navigating these timelines can be complex, with various factors at play. In this guide, we’ll break down the key considerations and deadlines, helping consumers understand their rights and take timely action.

1. Types of Lemon Law Claims

California’s Lemon Law is covered by the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.  Under this law, there are several types of lemon law causes of action (or claims) that a consumer can assert, depending on their vehicle’s repair history.  Some of the most common types of lemon law claims include breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, breach of the manufacturer’s limited express warranty, failure to repurchase the vehicle, and failure to repair the vehicle within 30 days.  These laws provide different timelines for filing a lawsuit based on the nature of the claim.

2. Four-Year Deadline (Statute of Limitations)

In California, the general statute of limitations for filing a Lemon Law lawsuit is four years from the date the cause of action accrues.  When the “cause of action” or claim “accrues,” depends on the claim, the warranty involved, and it can get complicated real quick.

3. Complexities in Calculations

While the four-year deadline serves as a general guideline, the specifics can get intricate. The exact start date of the statute of limitations may vary based on the circumstances of the case. This complexity emphasizes the importance of consulting a Lemon Law attorney promptly to ensure accurate calculations.

For instance, the deadline to file a breach of implied warranty claim is four-years from the date you purchased the vehicle. That one is easy.

The deadline for a failure to repurchase the vehicle is four years from when the warranty expires.  A vehicle may have several warranties (i.e., bumper to bumper warranty, powertrain warranty, emissions warranty, etc.). So, if your issue relates to the air conditioning that is covered under the manufacturer’s bumper to bumper warranty, you have four years from when that A/C warranty expires to file that claim.

But, again, it get complicated trying to figure out the correct deadline, which is why you should contact a lemon law attorney for help once you’ve taken the vehicle in 3-4 times for the same issue.  Let the attorney calculate the deadline.

4. Importance of Timely Action

Filing a Lemon Law lawsuit within the specified timeframe is crucial. Waiting too long might result in the loss of legal remedies. Manufacturers might also use delayed filing as a defense against the claim. If you miss the deadline, you cannot bring your claim.

5. Consultation with a Lemon Law Attorney

Consumers are strongly encouraged to consult with a Lemon Law attorney, like Sotera Anderson, as soon as they suspect their vehicle may be a lemon. Attorneys have the expertise to determine the appropriate deadlines for specific claims, ensuring that consumers take timely and accurate action.


Understanding the timelines for filing a Lemon Law lawsuit in California is vital for consumers seeking recourse for persistent vehicle defects. While the general four-year statute of limitations applies, nuances based on the type of claim and warranty involved make the process intricate. To navigate these complexities, consulting with a Lemon Law attorney promptly is the key to ensuring that consumers protect their rights and pursue timely legal action.


If you’re facing car problems and suspect your vehicle may be a lemon, contact our experienced Lemon Law attorneys today for a free consultation. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and helping you seek justice in your lemon law case.

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Disclaimer: This blog article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For accurate and up-to-date information regarding the lemon law in your jurisdiction, consult with a qualified attorney.