Can You Return a Car You Just Bought in California?

Once you’ve bought a new or used car, the deal is final since many dealerships apply a no-return policy. However, you may have a valid reason to request a replacement or a refund. While many new or used vehicles operate perfectly, some turn out to be lemons.

A new or used car is often termed a lemon if it has defective features that affect its use, value, and safety. For instance, if your new vehicle has faulty service brakes that a manufacturer has failed to fix, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement under California lemon laws.

If you want to return a vehicle that you’ve just bought in California, consider speaking to a trusted lemon law attorney for legal guidance and support.

When Can You Return a Car You Just Bought in California?

Can You Return a Car You Just Bought in California?

California lemon laws protect vehicle owners who buy defective units from manufacturers or dealers.

If the dealer or a manufacturer can’t fix a severe warranty defect after a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts, the manufacturer must either:

  • Replace the vehicle
  • Refund its buying price

Types of Vehicles Eligible for Returns

California lemon law allows consumers to return the following new or used vehicle with the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty:

  • Pick-up trucks, vans, SUVs, and cars
  • Demonstrators and dealer-owned vehicles
  • Drive train, chassis, and chassis cab of a motorhome
  • Most vehicles purchased or leased for commercial reasons
  • Most vehicles bought or leased for personal, household, or family reasons.

Establishing a ‘’Reasonable Number’’ of Repair Attempts

There are set guidelines for returning a car that turns out defective. For instance, you must prove that you gave the manufacturer a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts to fix the defect.

Lemon law has no set number.

Even so, California lemon law presumption offers the following guidelines to determine if a manufacturer has met a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts:

  • The manufacturer or dealer has made four or more repair attempts to fix the malfunction.
  • The vehicle could cause severe bodily injury or death, and the manufacturer has made two or more unsuccessful repair attempts.
  • The vehicle has spent more than 30 days—not necessarily consecutive— in a repair shop for defects covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Defects Eligible For Vehicle Returns

If your vehicle has the following defects, you may be entitled to a replacement under California lemon laws:

  • Engine failure
  • Power steering loss
  • Defective airbags
  • Malfunctional vehicle speed control unit
  • Electrical defects
  • Faulty fuel injection
  • Service brake failure

Discover Your Options From an Experienced California Lemon Law Attorney

Owing a lemon car is a frustrating experience. If it regularly stalls, you can’t rely on it to run personal or business errands. In addition, it results in unexpected running costs such as accommodation charges, car rental, or towing fees.

Consider engaging an experienced attorney like Lemonlaw123 with a proven track record to represent you in your quest for a refund or replacement.

Contact us online or call us at 657.529.5239 for a free case review.

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, known as The Lemon Law Lady, has dedicated her entire legal career to the specialized field of Lemon Law, a journey that began immediately after her
graduation from UCLA School of Law.

With a 99% success rate and a policy of no fees unless you win, her practice stands as a testament to her expertise in California’s Lemon Law, her commitment to her clients, and her unwavering dedication to justice and consumer rights.

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I am beyond satisfied. After being told that I did not have a case by other attorneys, I was referred to Ms. Campbell and I am so glad I called her. During the initial consultation, Ms. Campbell was very thorough and answered all of my concerns. She assured me that this was not an overnight fix, however, it took less than three (3) months to resolve. Ms. Campbell was available every step of the way. I rarely called or emailed her because she always kept me in the loop. Every case is different but I am glad mine was quick and painless. I would recommend LemonLaw123 to anyone without any reservations. I could not have asked for better representation. Thank you!!!!


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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, personally handled over 500 lemon law cases and settlements.