California Lemon Law Guide: How Many Repair Attempts are Enough? Silvio v. Ford Motor Company

Consumers are always wondering when “enough is enough” under the lemon law. How many times do I have to take my lemon car back to the dealer for repair? One way of answering that question is to find out the minimum number of repair attempts. The case of Silvio v. Ford Motor Company, a lemon law case where a Ford Explorer was allegedly accelerating on its own (unintended acceleration), states there must be at least two attempts, and even if the condition is life-threatening! The Silvio decision has been roundly criticized for refusing to read the lemon law in light of the legislative intent to protect consumers. Why would the legislature force a consumer to continue to drive a dangerous vehicle even if a jury found one repair attempt was reasonable and enough? We leave that to future correction by other California court decisions, but, for now, the safest bet under the lemon law is two repair attempts is the minimum. It might not be the safest bet for the consumer to continue to drive a dangerous and unrepaired vehicle, but the consumer faces the prospect of having their lemon law case dismissed if more than one attempt is not undertaken. Notably, the Silvio case does not address the common scenario where multiple repair attempts have been made, although for potentially different problems or conditions. That will be something to talk with your lemon lawyer about.

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