California State Lemon Law Directory of Information, and Attorneys by County

California Lemon Law Warranty Repairs: Defining a "Repair Attempt"

Under our California Lemon Law statute, the manufacturer is allowed a “reasonable” number of “repair attempts” to correct the substantial non-conformity to warranty that the offending vehicle has suffered from.

So, what is a “repair attempt”, and what does it mean to a potential “lemon law” claim?

Under our California Lemon Law, a repair attempt is when the consumer gives the authorized car dealership a description of the complaint/symptom that is written on the Repair Order. and gives the dealership an opportunity to effect repairs.

The consumer is not expected to be an auto mechanic. The consumer’s complaint/symptom should, however, contain information on the “system” which may be the source of the problem. Here is a good example: your car does not seem to shift properly and “surges” when accelerating. How would you describe this to be written on the Repair Order? “customer states that vehicle will not shift correctly”. That’s complaint # 1. Complaint # 2 (listed as a separate line item) would be: “customer states that engine surges while driving”. You have now created two distinctly different complaints and have incorporated the likely culprit components, namely transmission and engine systems.

What happens if the Repair Invoice comes back noting “could not duplicate”, “no problem found”, or “operating as to mfg’s design intent”? Does this mean that it is not counted as a valid “repair attempt”? Answer - NO. It is a valid “repair attempt” under our California Lemon Law as you have given the dealer both description and opportunity to repair. Whether or not the dealer is capable or incapable of effecting diagnosis or repair is of no concern to the consumer in California. The consumer, however, must get a copy of the completed “Repair Invoice” upon returning to the dealership to pick up their vehicle.

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