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

Sometimes, under certain conditions, a used California vehicle can be covered by the lemon law. Specifically, California Civil Code 1793.33 says that most vehicles in California that are still under the manufacturer’s original warranty, new or used, are covered by the lemon law.

To discuss your specific situation and vehicle, contact our experienced California Lemon Law attorneys right away. 

What If My Used Car Has No Warranty?

If the used vehicle you purchased is no longer covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty, your car may still qualify as a lemon if the dealer you purchased it from included their own warranty (usually a 30, 60, or 90-day warranty, if anything). The warranty must be in writing.

Private Party Used Car Purchases

In California, a used car that was purchased in a private party sale is not covered by the lemon law – even if the car only has 100 miles on it. California’s lemon law states that qualifying vehicles must be purchased retail. Sometimes a manufacturer’s original warranty won’t even apply in these cases. For instance, Kia’s warranty states that subsequent owners do not receive extended powertrain coverage, but any and all owners are protected by the original factory warranty. 

I Purchased my Used Vehicle “As Is”

Just because there was a sign in the car window saying “Sold As-Is” does not necessarily mean that it is not still covered by or eligible for the manufacturer’s original warranty. In that case, “as is” simply means the dealer is not going to modify the vehicle for you during the sale process (i.e., repaint it, add a spoiler, change the radio). Modifications to the vehicle of this nature might be negotiable, but the dealer is not saying a buyer should expect a purchased vehicle to be delivered in any sort of “upgraded” way.

Which Used Cars Are Automatically Banned from Lemon Law Protection?

The state of California does not extend lemon law coverage to:

  • Vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds
  • Commercial vehicles, cars, and trucks used for work purposes
  • Vehicles that are part of a fleet (registered to a company that owns five or more similar vehicles)

I Purchased an Extended Warranty

There are other remedies available if you are looking at a breach of warranty issue, but your car is not necessarily going to be covered by the lemon law. If the extended warranty provider has repeatedly fixed the same issue on your used car, and it keeps being defective, the warranty should cover you. To be clear, though, only defects covered by a manufacturer’s original warranty (or a dealership warranty) qualify under the lemon law.

Reach Out to a Qualified California Lemon Law Attorney Now

If you are not sure whether a used vehicle you purchased qualifies under the California lemon law, LemonLaw123 offers free case reviews. We are happy to look over your car’s documentation and let you know if you have a case or not. If you would like a free case review by a lemon law attorney, simply contact us today and provide the required information.

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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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.