California lemon laws are governed by the Tanner Consumer Protection Act (“Act”). The Act is stated in California Civil Code, Division 3, Part 4, Title 1.7, Chapter 1 (Consumer Warranty Protection), Article 3 (Sale Warranties).
Section 1793.22 defines nonconformity as a defect which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle. Under Section 1793.22, period within which the buyer should notify the nonconformity and the manufacturer should repair the vehicle is 18 months from date of delivery to buyer or 18,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Under Section 1793.2, if the manufacturer is not able to repair the motor vehicle, the manufacturer will have to replace the vehicle with a new vehicle or reimburse the purchase price of the vehicle. If the vehicle is replaced the buyer will have to pay the manufacturer an amount which is directly attributable to the use of vehicle by the buyer before the discovering the nonconformity. Likewise, when reimbursing the purchase price the manufacturer can deduct an amount which is directly attributable to the use of vehicle by the buyer before discovering the nonconformity.
Cal Civ Code § 1793.22 reads in part:
“§ 1793.22. Reasonable number of attempts to conform vehicle to warranties; Dispute resolution process; Transfer of vehicle
(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Tanner Consumer Protection Act.
(b) It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been made to conform a new motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties if, within 18 months from delivery to the buyer or 18,000 miles on the odometer of the vehicle, whichever occurs first, one or more of the following occurs:
(1) The same nonconformity results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven and the nonconformity has been subject to repair two or more times by the manufacturer or its agents, and the buyer or lessee has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the nonconformity.
(2) The same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer or its agents and the buyer has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the nonconformity.
(3) The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of nonconformities by the manufacturer or its agents for a cumulative total of more than 30 calendar days since delivery of the vehicle to the buyer. The 30-day limit shall be extended only if repairs cannot be performed due to conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer or its agents. The buyer shall be required to directly notify the manufacturer pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) only if the manufacturer has clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the buyer, with the warranty or the owner’s manual, the provisions of this section and that of subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2, including the requirement that the buyer must notify the manufacturer directly pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2). The notification, if required, shall be sent to the address, if any, specified clearly and conspicuously by the manufacturer in the warranty or owner’s manual. This presumption shall be a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof, and it may be asserted by the buyer in any civil action, including an action in small claims court, or other formal or informal proceeding.”
Cal Civ Code § 1793.2 reads in part:
“(2) If the manufacturer or its representative in this state is unable to service or repair a new motor vehicle, as that term is defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 1793.22, to conform to the applicable express warranties after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall either promptly replace the new motor vehicle in accordance with subparagraph (A) or promptly make restitution to the buyer in accordance with subparagraph (B). However, the buyer shall be free to elect restitution in lieu of replacement, and in no event shall the buyer be required by the manufacturer to accept a replacement vehicle.
(A) In the case of replacement, the manufacturer shall replace the buyer’s vehicle with a new motor vehicle substantially identical to the vehicle replaced. The replacement vehicle shall be accompanied by all express and implied warranties that normally accompany new motor vehicles of that specific kind. The manufacturer also shall pay for, or to, the buyer the amount of any sales or use tax, license fees, registration fees, and other official fees which the buyer is obligated to pay in connection with the replacement, plus any incidental damages to which the buyer is entitled under Section 1794, including, but not limited to, reasonable repair, towing, and rental car costs actually incurred by the buyer.
(B) In the case of restitution, the manufacturer shall make restitution in an amount equal to the actual price paid or payable by the buyer, including any charges for transportation and manufacturer-installed options, but excluding nonmanufacturer items installed by a dealer or the buyer, and including any collateral charges such as sales tax, license fees, registration fees, and other official fees, plus any incidental damages to which the buyer is entitled under Section 1794, including, but not limited to, reasonable repair, towing, and rental car costs actually incurred by the buyer.”