Lemon laws provide many important protections for car shoppers, car purchasers and consumers. For that reason, anyone considering a car purchase or who has recently purchased a car should be familiar with lemon laws.
What is a considered a lemon?
What qualifies as a lemon under the law is important to understand. Under the law, to be considered a lemon, the vehicle must have:
- A substantial defect that is covered by the vehicle’s warranty and occurs within a certain period of time after the vehicle is purchased; and
- The substantial defect persists following a “reasonable number” of repair attempts to fix it.
A substantial defect is generally considered a problem with the vehicle what was not caused by the vehicle’s owner that impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle. It typically must occur within a certain time period or a number of miles driven.
In general, four repair attempts is considered a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle. The manufacturer of the vehicle is typically given four attempts to repair the vehicle. The number of repair attempts that is considered reasonable may be lower if the defect is safety-related. Reasonable repair attempts are required for the vehicle to be considered a lemon.
Lemon laws vary by state including what they include and protect. In some circumstances, consumers may also be protected if they purchase a used vehicle. In addition, what is considered a substantial defect or a reasonable number of attempts at repair can also vary by state. Lemons laws are an important consumer protection that new car owners facing problems with their purchase should be familiar with.