Does the Lemon Law Apply to Used Cars with No Warranty?

Does the Lemon Law Apply to Used Cars with No Warranty?

There are some great deals out there when it comes to used cars. Letting depreciation happen before purchasing a vehicle that is used can be a smart move. But what are your protections? Does the lemon law apply to used cars with no warranty?

There’s always inherent risk in purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. The way to hedge your bets is to purchase a used car with a warranty still in effect. Generally, the lemon law applies to used cars with one of three types of warranties:

  • Transferred New Car Warranty
  • Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
  • Lemon Law Buyback Warranty

But exceptions do apply, and sometimes a very skilled lemon law attorney can find ways to get a used car to qualify even though it may not initially appear to meet the requirements. The difference between an experienced lemon law attorney and a beginner is vast. At Neale & Fhima, our lawyers have more than 40 years of combined experience. We’ve been able to help our clients qualify for lemon law protection even with older cars or in unusual circumstances. We bring all our know-how and legal skill to bear on even the most complicated lemon law claims. We’ll do the same for you. To find out more about how we can help, call us at 877-308-2128.

Why Choose Neale & Fhima?


We know that there are a lot of lemon law attorneys in California to choose from, but we believe our legal team stands head and shoulders above the rest. Attorney Aaron Fhima has decades of experience winning these cases. Our firm has an exceptional pattern of success in handling lemon law claims. Testimonials from satisfied clients speak to our winning track record.

Here are 5 good reasons you should choose us:

  1. WE WIN CASES. Neale & Fhima enjoys a 99% success rate. We think this says a lot about the skill of our attorneys. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any particular case, you can take comfort in knowing your claim is being handled by lemon law lawyers who have a track record of success.
  2. WE KNOW THE LAW.California’s lemon law is a fine example of how the state legislature can empower consumers. When it comes to clarity, though, the text of the statute leaves much to be desired. Our attorneys understand the quirks of the statute, as well as the many court opinions interpreting it. We put this knowledge to work for you.
  3. WE VALUE CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS. High-volume law offices tend to think of clients as nothing more than a case file. The file gets passed around until it ends up with a paralegal or junior associate who just wants to finish it and move on. Neale & Fhima is different. We enjoy getting to know our clients. It also helps us craft settlement agreements that meet their individual needs.
  4. WE AVOID SURPRISES. A handful of manufacturers control most of the U.S. vehicle market. We repeatedly go up against these same companies. This allows us to anticipate how they will respond to claims involving specific models and mechanical defects. Our lawyers will share how these insights can impact your claim, so you are never in the dark about what to expect.
  5. WE OFFER FREE CONSULTATIONS. We will always discuss your situation with you in a free initial consultation before you make any decisions about a claim.
Neale & Fhima has a 99% success rate in lemon law cases.

How Do I Qualify for the California Lemon Law?


If a dealership sold you a bad or defective car, California lemon law provides protections in some circumstances. There are times when dealerships unknowingly sell a defective or unsafe vehicle, but if they do, they are often subject to the lemon law, and the manufacturer will be forced to buy back or replace the car, SUV, or truck. The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act provides protection and comprehensive legal rights for new and used car purchasers. To prevail in a California lemon law claim, a consumer must:

  1. show that the defect compromises the use, value or safety of your vehicle, and
  2. make “reasonable attempts” to have a dealership repair the defect.

Keep in mind, too, that even without a warranty, if the dealer committed fraud by misrepresenting the quality of the car or truck he was selling, you could have legal recourse. Auto dealer fraud exists, and there are state and federal laws that make misrepresentation illegal – such as odometer tampering or failure to disclose past vehicle damage and abuse. The California Department of Consumer Affairs and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have established regulations to protect consumers from dealer fraud and misrepresentation.

And finally, even if you purchased a used car “as is” without one of the three warranties listed above, don’t give up easily if you have a lemon. The skilled and experienced used car lemon law lawyers at Neale & Fhima may be able to find a way for your vehicle to qualify for lemon law protection. It’s worth a phone call to find out. What have you got to lose?

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Are There California Used Car Warranty Laws?

California dealers are required to provide warranties on any vehicles they advertise as Certified Pre-Owned (CPO). The “certified” designation means that they’ve been put through an exhaustive inspection and repair process, ensuring that all systems meet quality standards. A CPO warranty provides protection that is not as extensive as a new car warranty, but certainly more than having no warranty at all. The CPO designation is usually reflected in the sales price, which is typically higher than similar vehicles without the “certified” label.

California Vehicle Code Section 11713.18 imposes mandatory requirements for any vehicle designated as “certified,” and any dealer who abuses the certified used car rules will run afoul of and can be taken to court under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

Used car purchasers also have other protections. What many consumers may not know is a California law requires certain car dealerships to repair all problems that arise within the first few weeks of sale. A 2013 law passed by the California Legislature updated civil code and forces certain sellers, known as “buy here, pay here” dealers, to offer a 30-day or 1,000-mile warranty — whichever comes first — on all used vehicles they sell. The warranty must cover essential items like the transmission, steering, engine, brakes, and most electrical components. If the dealer can’t repair these problems, it must offer buyers a refund.

What is the statute of limitations on a California lemon law claim?

The statute of limitations for filing a lemon law claim in California is four (4) years from the date a consumer knew or should have known that the vehicle was a lemon. This does not mean that if you have had your vehicle for more than 4 years, you cannot bring a lemon law claim. Our attorneys at Neale & Fhima have successfully “lemoned” vehicles that are over 10 years old. If you have purchased or leased a lemon, you’ll want to start the buyback process as soon as possible. After the statute of limitations has passed, a judge may dismiss your case, but don’t hesitate to contact our team if you have questions about the statute of limitations. Collect copies of your work orders, repair bills, and receipts and call a Neale & Fhima lemon law attorney today.

Talk to a Used Car Lemon Law Lawyer to Get Started

Auto manufacturers are multibillion-dollar corporations, and lemon law claims cut into their profit margins. That’s why it’s so important that you hire a tough and aggressive lemon law attorney who knows how to file a lemon law claim properly. Every major car company doing business in California has a team of warranty specialists and defense lawyers charged with avoiding or minimizing otherwise valid claims. Our lemon law lawyers never allow themselves to be intimidated by the large automakers, and neither should you. If you want a skilled and unstoppable lemon law attorney, choose Neale & Fhima. For a free initial consultation about your case, call us at 877-308-2128. We know how to win these lemon law cases.

Attorney Aaron Fhima

Attorney Aaron Fhima is a trial attorney who has secured numerous settlements and verdicts against large corporations and some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world. Representing consumers and injury victims throughout the state of California, Aaron’s practice areas include personal injury, and lemon law litigation. Aaron has a long record of success taking on large defense firms; and he doesn’t hesitate to take cases to trial when necessary to enforce his clients’ rights.