What Does Lemon Law Cover?

If you have got stuck with a defective vehicle that has repeated and unfixable problems, you need to know about the protection under the “lemon law”. To win your case, you first need to know what qualifies as a lemon and how to seek a lemon law remedy.


What is a Lemon Law?

Lemon laws provide remedies for both new and used vehicles and consumer goods that turn out to be defective in terms of quality and performance. These are American laws that may vary by state in certain aspects. Whatsoever the difference, these laws are specifically designed to reduce lemon problems and cover vehicle nonconformities.

In other words, the lemon law protects consumers from substandard vehicles, which may range from automobiles and trucks to SUVs and motorcycles. The list is not exhaustive, though, and you need to check what the lemon law of your state covers.


What Qualifies as a “Lemon”?

In order to qualify as a lemon, the vehicle must fail to meet standards of performance and quality per the contract. This means that the vehicle must:

  1. have a substantial defect which is covered by the warranty. This defect must appear or occur within a certain period of time or number of miles after the consumer bought the vehicle;
  2. not be fixed after the manufacturer has made a reasonable number of repair attempts.

In other words, the lemon law only applies to cars, which fail to meet the performance and quality expectations based on the contractual descriptors. Vehicle appearance and finish, its fitness for all purposes and other factors may also count in deciding whether a product qualifies as a “lemon”.


Substantial Defect

Covered by the warranty, a“substantial defect” is a major defect that impairs the vehicle’s use, its value or safety (e.g., brakes or steering). Minor defects, such as loose knobs or door handles do not qualify for a “substantial defect”. However, you need to check which defects meet the legal definition of a “substantial defect” under the lemon law.


Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts

Before your vehicle is labeled a “lemon” under the lemon law, you shall allow the manufacturer to make a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix the substandard car. This means that the vehicle should meet one of these standards:

  • If the defect poses a serious safety issue (faulty brakes, for example), and remains unfixed after one attempt.
  • If the defect does not pose a serious safety issue and remains unfixed after a certain number of repair attempts (the number differs per state).
  • If the vehicle has one or more substantial warranty defects and this requires to “park” the car in the shop for 30 days in a one-year period.


Lemon Law Remedies

Under the lemon law, the consumer may seek either Repurchase or Replacement remedies.

This means that you are entitled to repurchase of the vehicle in case the manufacturer cannot repair a defective vehicle within a “reasonable number of attempts”.

The Replacement remedy, on the other hand, provides you with a comparable vehicle as a replacement of the defective product. In this case, the vehicle bears substantial similarity to the original vehicle or maybe newer with similar features.

In both cases, you will be entitled to the compensation of collateral charges that accompany the sale. This may include the sales tax, license and registration fees, and any other statutory fees associated with the sale.

To reach a fair compensation for your lemon car hiring an attorney is something you shouldn’t avoid. The good news is that the manufacturer will pay the attorney fee if you win the case. Our attorneys at Margarian Law are qualified in providing expert assistance to all those who have lemon car claims. We are eager to aggressively fight for your case and assist you in winning your case.