How Do Lemon Laws Apply To Vehicles?

Although only a small percentage of new cars that are built have irreparable defects, that statistic means nothing if you are one of the people that ended up with a lemon. Fortunately, all states have a Lemon Law, they vary somewhat but there are a great number of similarities as well. If you think your new car is a lemon you need to know a little about the laws so that you can get satisfaction; either a replacement vehicle or a refund of the money you paid.

What is a lemon?

Although the numbers vary from one state to another, generally speaking for a vehicle to qualify as a lemon there must be:

  • A serious and substantial defect that affects the safety, usability and value of the vehicle
  • The defect cannot be identified and rectified within a certain number of attempts
  • The defect must be covered by warranty and occur within a specified number of miles or time after you took possession of the vehicle

Substantial defect:

This is often a debatable subject. In general, for a defect to be considered “substantial” it must impair the vehicles use, value or safety. A loose rear view mirror does not qualify faulty steering does.

There is often a problem with defining what is “minor” and what is “substantial” when it comes to defects. In every state a substantial defect must happen within a certain time frame or within a certain number of miles.

Repair attempts:

Once again, the lemon law varies on the number of tries the manufacturer is given to repair the defect. If the problem is safety oriented many states grant one chance only before you can take action, other states give the manufacturer multiple attempts if the defect does not impair the safety of the vehicle.

Every state has their interpretation of the Lemon Law. For full details and introductions to lawyers that can help you please visit

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    Author: Ally Allshouse

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