If you’re here on our site and investigating lemons, there’s a good chance that you’re having trouble with your vehicle. If you’ve had enough problems with it, you might actually have a lemon and should speak with a lemon law attorney in Los Angeles or San Diego.

But what is a lemon, and why are some cars lemons while some are still running perfectly well after 30 or more years? Read on to find out.


A lemon car is one that has defects that substantially impair the use of it, its value, or its safety. Cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, motorcycles, and parts of a motorhome can be covered under the California lemon law, formally known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. Typically (but not always), a vehicle is considered a lemon if it’s in for the same repair three to four times and the dealer cannot seem to fix it.

Sometimes an entire make and model year is considered a lemon, with a considerable percentage of buyers having the same troubles. Other times, an individual car can be a lemon, so make sure you contact a California lemon law attorney even if you find out on the internet that other people are not having problems with the same year, make and model as your vehicle.


There’s no one reason why a vehicle becomes a lemon. Some lemons have transmission problems, others have electrical problems. Some explode when rear-ended. But something went wrong in the process of creating it that is causing it to fail more often than other vehicles. Here are a few of the reasons:


One of the most common reasons that cars become lemons is that there was a design flaw. Car designers are always looking for ways to reduce weight, increase interior space, or improve performance. The problem is that some of their “innovative designs” are not as great as they thought they would be.

Of course, car designers are also tasked with reducing the cost of the vehicle, and that often mean using parts that might not hold up as long. While they might anticipate a part lasting 10 years, it might end up lasting only three years. But in a complex system like a car, it might take years before they figure out what the actual problem part is. If the problem can’t be fixed, the car might become a lemon vehicle.


Even if a particular car part is properly designed, the mass production of it can cause problems. Sometimes parts aren’t made to exacting tolerances, which cause them to wear down unevenly or affect matching parts. Other times, there are problems with the batch of chemicals used in the creation of the parts (for plastic and rubber pieces) or the metal isn’t of a high enough quality to withstand everything a car goes through.

Unfortunately, sometimes these replacement parts are made in such high quantities that they can end up finding their way back into cars, replacing the lemon part with a lemon part. Manufacturers and dealerships aren’t always quick to admit that they’ve made a mistake, and sometimes it’s just easier and cheaper for them to keep replacing the part and hoping that it will work. If it lasts until after the warranty runs out, all the better (for them).


Design flaws affect most of the run of cars, while a batch of bad parts can affect thousands of them. But there are some lemons that can occur even when the rest of the run was great, and that just comes down to human error.

Have you ever heard of “Monday Morning Cars” or “Friday Afternoon Cars”? These are the cars that are built when employees are at their most distracted, when they’re most likely to make a mistake. This can also happen if a car goes along the assembly line on the day of the company party, if it’s the day before a major holiday weekend, or if there’s a strong strain of the flu making everyone sick. Maybe factory workers forget to put a couple of screws in, or they didn’t tighten the hoses correctly. These might be the days on which they think that good enough is good enough. And bad is also good enough.

Will all of these Monday or Friday cars become lemons? Not necessarily, because many of them can be fixed with a single trip to the dealership. But if the car has to keep going back again and again, whether to fix a single issue or a host of issues, you should contact a California lemon law attorney.


If you believe your car is a lemon, it doesn’t matter why it happened. All that matters is that you take full advantage of California’s lemon law and contact a lemon law attorney as soon as possible. Click here to get a free consultation!