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The Lemon Law Is In Place To Help New Car Buyers

For many people the purchase of a new car is a significant moment in their life, it also represents for many, the second biggest investment they have next to their home. Imagine the disappointment of buying a new car only to find out a little later that there is something seriously wrong with it. If it is a defect that can be fixed on the first attempt, that’s good, but if happens again and again you may have bought a lemon. Fortunately, each state has a version of the vehicle lemon law to provide protection for this unfortunate buyer, the laws may be slightly different from one state to the next but they all tend to have common components.

What is a lemon?

Although there are minor variances in the law is crafted, in general the vehicle must

* Have a “substantial” defect which is covered under the new car warranty and happens in a specified time frame after the vehicle is first purchased, and
* The defect cannot be rectified after a “reasonable” number of tries

The law contains two issues which are often contentious: what is meant by substantial and reasonable?


A substantial defect is one that impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle, it must not be traced to misuse of the car, the defect must be covered by the warranty and the defect must affect a function of the vehicle that is considered important. Faulty brakes for example would qualify under the vehicle lemon law; a loose door handle would not.


If the car meets the definition of substantial it then must also meet the definition of reasonable number of repair attempts. In the majority of states the vehicle manufacturer or authorized representative, is given four chances to fix the defect and, there is a limit to the number of days the vehicle is in for repair.

If the new car you bought meets these rules, it may be deemed a lemon.

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