Around 150,000 vehicles or about 1 percent of brand new cars are reported to be lemons. For your knowledge, lemon cars are cars that have unfixable and repeated problems. Each and every state enacted some sort of “lemon law” as a way to protect consumers who are stuck with these types of vehicles.
On the other hand, to take advantage of such law, it is important to know the qualifications for a lemon car and on how you can get a replacement or refund for it. To answer this question, a basic requirement is that the car should:
- Not be fixed after multiple trials of repairing it and;
- Has serious defect that is covered by warranty and occurred within certain timeframe or number of miles after buying the car
In several states, lemon law is applicable only to new cars. But every state is different so check out below.
Substantial defect is defined as a problem that’s covered by warranty impairing the car’s value, usability and above everything else, safety similar to faulty steering or brakes.
Minor defects similar to loose radio knobs as well as door handles do not qualify for substantial defect. Like with other legal definitions, there’s a fine line between the definition of substantial and legal. Some of the not so obvious concerns like horrible smells or defective paint job may be deemed to be substantial defect.
Reasonable Repair Attempts
You should let your manufacturer or dealer to at least make several attempts to reasonably fix your car’s substantial problem before considering it as a lemon car. Oftentimes, you need to meet one of the standards set below prior to get protection from your state’s lemon law.
- If you have a serious safety defect that involves steering or brakes for example and it remains unfixed after the repair attempt.
- If for instance that the defect isn’t concerning about safety and remains unfixed even after 3 or 4 attempts (the number varies as per state)
- If the car is in the shop for several days, oftentimes 30-day period in a year just to fix one or several defects in warranty
When looking for a shop to conduct repairs though, use a website audit tool to see its reputation and popularity. This will give you idea on what to expect from their service.