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What is a ‘Lemon’? What are ‘Lemon Laws’?

A “lemon” is a car that has been determined to have issues beyond repair. Each state has its own set of requirements for what qualifies as a “lemon”. These requirements can include:

  • Number of miles driven/time of ownership – The defects have to happen within a certain period of time/number of miles drive. In most states this falls between 12-24 months or 12,000 – 24,000 miles.
  • Substantial defects – Defects must be substantial and impact the actual operation of the vehicle.
  • Reasonable repair attempts – The manufacturer is given a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defect. Depending on the severity of the defect, they may only have one chance to repair it or up to 3-4 attempts.
  • Number of days in the shop – The vehicle has been in the shop for a certain number of days within a year. This is typically 30 days.

Do Lemon Laws apply with used vehicles?

Most states only have lemon laws in place for new vehicle purchases and not for used vehicles. In fact, only 6 states have lemon laws for used vehicles while another 13 have limited protections. A common condition in almost all jurisdictions is that the used vehicle must have included an express written warranty for lemon laws to apply.

More Information

Helpful link with breakdown of Lemon Laws on a state by state basis:

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