What Exactly is a Lemon?
A Lemon is a new or used vehicle (depending on the state) that continually has a defect or defects. Most states require that the vehicle be repaired 4 or more times for the same defect during the warranty period before they consider it a Lemon. Also, the defect must be substantial, meaning that it impairs the vehicle’s safety, use or value. Are you wondering if your car is covered? The following states require your Lemon to be new: California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. You can read your state’s exact statute by clicking here. The remaining states allow a Lemon to be any vehicle, new or used.
What is the Purpose of the Lemon Law?
The Lemon Law was established to protect consumers from defective vehicles. Remember that this defect needs to substantially impair the use or value of the vehicle. Your complaint cannot be cosmetic such as you are dissatisfied with a certain aspect of your vehicle’s interior. When you buy a vehicle it should be free of substantial defects that you were not aware of. My Car is a Lemon…Now What? Your first step should be to contact the manufacturer of your vehicle to discuss your situation with them. This of course only applies to cars covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. The Better Business Bureau may be able to help you if your manufacturer participates. Click here to see if the BBB can assist you with your situation. Most of the major manufacturers are listed. You may be required to participate in arbitration. This of course depends on whether or not you state requires this.
Will you be Successful in Turning your Lemon into Lemonade?
If you are lucky everything will go smoothly and your car woes will end. You may be refunded all repair monies that you have paid to fix the defect or you may even get a new vehicle (hopefully one that is free of defects). If things don’t go as planned you will want to consult with an attorney who may be able to convince the manufacturer/dealer to fix the problems that you are experiencing. Remember that before you embark down the Lemon Law road be sure that you have thoroughly read your state’s Lemon Law to make sure that your car is covered, your claim in reasonable, and what remedies you may be entitled to.
By Lisa Zanassi