When Does the Lemon Law Apply?
The estimates suggest that about 150,000 cars or 1% of new cars are lemons. What does this mean in real life? This means that you may claim for full refund if your vehicle repeatedly causes problems, which the manufacturer or the dealer cannot fix.
When can you claim for Lemon Law?
There are certain preconditions to qualify as a lemon. First, there must be a substantial defect covered by the warranty that occurred within a specified period or number of miles after you purchased your car. Second, the manufacturer or the dealer cannot fix the problem after a reasonable number of repair attempt.
Let’s look at this definition in detail.
What is a substantial defect under Lemon Law?
First, the defect must impair the car’s use, value or safety. Examples of such defects are faulty brakes or steering. Something like loose radio knobs or door handles do not qualify as a “substantial defect.”
Second, it must be proven that you are not the one who caused the defect.
Finally, the substantial defect must have occurred within a specified period. Usually, this is one or two years. You can also qualify for Lemon Law if the defect occurred within a certain number of miles, which is often 12,000 or 24,000 miles.
What is a reasonable number of repair attempts?
Before your car is considered to be a lemon, the manufacturer or the dealer must make a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix the problem.
The definition of the “reasonable number” varies according to a problem type. If a safety issue is involved, like brakes or steering, one repair attempt is enough to consider that “reasonable” number of attempts is made.
If the defect is not a serious safety issue, it must remain unfixed after three or four repair attempts. This number varies by state.
Finally, if your car stays at a shop typically 30 days in a one-year period to fix a substantial warrant defect, again it may fit the definition of a lemon.
The lemon law varies by state
While the general scope of Lemon Law is almost the same in all states, there are differences concerning the legal definition of what is “reasonable attempt,” “warranty time,” “substantial defect” and so on. You can consult information on various states for your specific case.