The Lemon Law: Your Key to Protecting Vehicle Investments

When a person buys a defective car brand-new off the lot, they want help. Nobody wants to spend a large sum to be stuck with a “lemon”. Lemon laws vary by state. However, most laws of this type require the manufacturer to replace or repurchase a car with substantial defects. The buyer must meet certain requirements before the law goes into effect though.  


Lemon laws were introduced in the early 1980s. Legislators put these laws in place after consumers complained about buying new cars with major defects. The laws varied by state but shared similar provisions around refunds or replacement of seriously defective new products. They shifted more power to consumers who had previously had little recourse under warranty law alone if they purchased a defective product. Lemon laws have now existed in the majority of states for over 30 years and continue to evolve and expand. A person who believes they bought a bad car in New Jersey should review the NJ lemon law. They should then consult an attorney for help in resolving the matter.

Key Provisions

Lemon laws have three key elements. First, they designate what constitutes a lemon, usually based on the number of repair attempts or days out of service. Second, they describe the consumer’s rights, typically a refund or replacement vehicle, and remedies like recovering legal fees. Finally, they define the obligations of manufacturers, often requiring them to operate informal dispute settlement programs. Lemon laws generally apply only to defects that substantially impair the use, value, or safety of vehicles within their first couple of years.

State Laws

While almost all states have some type of lemon law, specifics differ among states. For example, the number of days a vehicle must be out of service or repair attempts allowed before qualifying as a lemon ranges from 15 days and three attempts in Delaware to 30 days and five attempts in Indiana. Some state laws provide greater consumer protections than others regarding refund amounts, replacement options, time limits, and more. A few states have lemon laws that apply to used vehicles as well.

Federal Law

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is the federal lemon law enacted in 1975. Under this law, manufacturers are accountable for defective vehicles. They must provide a full refund or replacement vehicle if they cannot repair a defective product after a reasonable number of attempts. While state lemon laws often provide advantages like better-defined standards and processes, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act offers its consumer protections. For example, it applies to vehicles even up to 10 years old or with 100,000 miles, significantly expanding eligibility compared to most state laws.

Using Lemon Laws

Usually, consumers must first submit their vehicles for manufacturer-approved repairs before qualifying under lemon laws. It is critical to keep detailed records of all repair attempts, days out of service, loaner vehicles provided, and correspondence. If the problems persist and meet statutory thresholds after multiple tries, submitting the records along with a demand letter to the manufacturer can formally initiate the lemon law claim process.

Lemon laws give consumers important protections and legal options if they end up with seriously defective vehicles that cannot reasonably be fixed. Though specifics vary among federal and state statutes, all lemon laws aim to hold auto manufacturers accountable and provide remedies for paying customers who receive unacceptable products. For vehicles qualifying as lemons, these laws mandate solutions like refunds or replacement cars to the great relief of frustrated owners.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos and Leaf Racewear Safety Equipment Giveaway

Rocketplay Casino

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles