Can I Lemon a BMW Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle?

“Can I lemon a car if it was certified pre-owned?” is a common question from owners who end up with a defective used car. The answer is yes, the lemon law applies to used cars that are under warranty and were purchased from a retailer or dealership (not an individual). The category of used cars includes refurbished and certified pre-owned vehicles, which is good news if your car has a substantial defect that cannot be reasonably repaired.

However, manufacturers do not always honor these agreements, nor do they make it easy for you to obtain a refund or a new vehicle, which is your right under California’s lemon law. Guardian Lemon Law can represent your rights and fight for the justice you deserve. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of lemon law clients and know what it takes to achieve victory in these cases. Call us today to schedule a free case review.

Can I Lemon my Car if it was BMW Pre-Owned Certified?

Yes, you can file a lemon claim on a certified pre-owned BMW if it meets the following criteria:

  • The vehicle was purchased from a BMW dealership, and not through a private sale.
  • The car’s defect is covered under an active warranty.
  • The manufacturer was unable to fix the car after a reasonable number of attempts.

As a general rule, a car is declared a lemon if there is a substantial defect that cannot be resolved after 4 or more attempts by the manufacturer. If the problem is serious enough to cause bodily harm or death, the manufacturer must fix the problem in no more than two attempts. You can also lemon a BMW if it’s been out for repairs for 30 days or more.

Which BMW Models are Covered by the Lemon Law?

California’s lemon law covers any certified pre-owned BMW that was bought for personal, family, or household use. Vehicles used for commercial purposes are covered as well, but they must be registered to a business with no more than 5 registered cars in their name. As a reference, here is a list of all BMW models that are protected by the state’s lemon law:


  • BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • BMW X1 sDrive28i


  • BMW X2 xDrive28i
  • BMW X2 sDrive28i


  • BMW X3 xDrive30i
  • BMW X3 M40i
  • BMW X3 sDrive30i
  • BMW X3 M


  • BMW X4 xDrive30i
  • BMW X4 M40i
  • BMW X4 M


  • BMW X5 xDrive40i
  • BMW X5 M50i
  • BMW X5 xDrive45e
  • BMW X5 sDrive40i
  • BMW X5 M


  • BMW X6 xDrive40i
  • BMW X6 M50i
  • BMW X6 M


  • BMW X7 xDrive40i
  • BMW X7 M50i

BMW 3 Series Sedan

  • BMW 330i xDrive Sedan
  • BMW M340i xDrive Sedan
  • BMW 330e xDrive Sedan
  • BMW 330i Sedan
  • BMW M340i Sedan
  • BMW 330e Sedan
  • BMW 5 Series Sedan
  • BMW 530i xDrive Sedan
  • BMW 530e xDrive Sedan
  • BMW 540i xDrive Sedan
  • BMW M550i xDrive Sedan
  • BMW 530i Sedan
  • BMW 530e Sedan
  • BMW 540i Sedan

BMW 7 Series Sedan

  • BMW 740i xDrive Sedan
  • BMW 745e xDrive
  • BMW 750i xDrive Sedan
  • BMW M760i xDrive Sedan
  • ALPINA B7 xDrive
  • BMW 740i Sedan

BMW 2 Series Coupe

  • BMW M240i xDrive Coupe
  • BMW 230i Coupe

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe

  • BMW 228i Gran Coupe
  • BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe
  • BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe

BMW 4 Series Coupe

  • BMW 430i xDrive Coupe
  • BMW M440i Coupe
  • BMW M440i xDrive Coupe
  • BMW 430i Coupe

BMW 8 Series Coupe

  • BMW 840i xDrive Coupe
  • BMW M850i xDrive Coupe
  • BMW 840i Coupe

BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe

  • BMW 840i Gran Coupe
  • BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe
  • BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupe
  • Alpina B8 xDrive Gran Coupe

BMW 4 Series Convertible

  • BMW 430i xDrive Convertible
  • BMW M440i xDrive Convertible
  • BMW 430i Convertible
  • BMW M440i Convertible

BMW 8 Series Convertible

  • BMW 840i xDrive Convertible
  • BMW M850i xDrive Convertible
  • BMW 840i Convertible

BMW M Cars & Coupes

  • BMW M3 Coupe
  • BMW M3 Competition Coupe
  • BMW M4 Coupe
  • BMW M4 Competition Coupe
  • BMW M4 Competition Convertible
  • BMW M5 Sedan
  • BMW M8 Competition Coupe
  • BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe
  • BMW M8 Competition Convertible

BMW Z4 Roadster

  • BMW Z4 sDrive30i
  • BMW Z4 M40i

What are my Rights if my Certified Pre-Owned BMW is a Lemon?

If you were sold a lemon from a BWM dealership, you are entitled to a replacement vehicle of equal value or a refund of the purchase price, along with sales tax, finance charges, license and title fees, and other collateral costs. You can also ask for out of pocket expenses, like towing fees and cost of rental cars, taxis, etc., that are directly related to your car’s mechanical failure.

With either option, the manufacturer is entitled to a mileage offset, which is the amount of depreciation caused by your usage of the car before you noticed the defect. There is a formula to calculate mileage offset for new cars, but the law is not so clear for used, refurbished, and certified pre-owned vehicles. This can be tricky to negotiate with the manufacturer, but a skilled lemon law attorney can help you achieve a favorable outcome.

What is my Lemon Law Claim Worth?

Consumers that come to us are usually curious about the average value of a lemon law claim. The truth is, the answer depends on many factors that are unique to each case. Of course, the contract price of your car is a big factor, but so are the incidental damages you have incurred in an effort to get your car back on the road. If the manufacturer deliberately took actions to deny you payment (stall tactics, rejecting your claim without legal justification, etc.), you may be awarded a civil penalty for up to two times your actual damages. Thus, if you are owed $50,000 on your claim, you may end up receiving an extra $100,000, which is a significant addition to your settlement.

Some lemon owners may also be entitled to personal injury compensation if they had an accident due to the vehicle’s defect. Depending on the level of injury, the total amount of medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc., may be worth anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 and above. This is why it’s important to discuss your case with an attorney, who can fight for every type of compensation you are owed.

Is there a Deadline to File a Lemon Lawsuit?

California imposes a four-year deadline in which to file a lemon lawsuit against the manufacturer. We are frequently asked, “When does the statute of limitations begin on a lemon claim?” The answer to this question is somewhat of a personal matter, as it’s based on when the consumer should have reasonably known that their car was a lemon. This leaves room for argument by the manufacturer, who will, of course, look for any excuse to deny you payment. An experienced lemon lawyer can evaluate your case and help you decide when the statute of limitations began on your claim. Keep in mind that the courts are very strict about deadlines for legal actions. If you miss the window to file a lemon claim, you will lose the right to compensation, even if there is strong evidence to support your case.

How long do these Cases take to Settle?

The majority of claims that we handle are settled within 3 to 6 months, sometimes in as little as 30 days. But high value claims and those involving personal injuries generally take longer, as there are more complications that we will need to work through. BMW’s response time and cooperation during the negotiation process can certainly affect the timeline as well. That’s why some cases take a year or more to settle, especially if court intervention is needed to ensure that you are fairly compensated.

Advice from a Lawyer Experienced in CA Lemon Law Claims

Whether you have yet to file a lemon claim, or you’re in the middle of a lawsuit, our lawyers are here to address all your concerns. If you’re a new claimant, you may have questions about the state’s lemon law, which can be confusing when it comes to used cars. If, on the other hand, you have a pending lemon claim, you may be unhappy with the service you are receiving from your law firm.

We are happy to meet with you for a free case evaluation or second opinion. There is no pressure to sign with us or switch your lawyer to one of our experts, as our main goal is to offer legal advice. If you’re interested in learning more about your legal options, contact Guardian Lemon Law.

Zero Fee Guarantee

As the owner of a lemon, you’ve got enough to deal with, and legal fees are the last thing you should be concerned about. Here at Guardian, you pay nothing upfront to hire one of our attorneys. Our fees are paid by BMW as a part of your lemon law settlement, which means we don’t make a cent unless you do. If we don’t win your case, you won’t be responsible for any legal fees.

Don’t get stuck with a lemon; call us today and let us fight for the payment you deserve.

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