A Guide on Lemon Law for New & Used Cars

The Lemon Law

Buying a car can be a tricky experience, whether it’s new or used. You may ask yourself a few questions. Am I getting a good deal? What’s the best make and model that is right for me? Is the dealership giving me a fair deal? So many more questions can go through your mind. You may also wonder what rights you have when purchasing a vehicle. The fantastic thing is, you do have certain rights to protect you, and these are called lemon laws.


What is Lemon Law?

The lemon law is a set of laws that are put in place to protect consumers in transactions that involve the sales or purchase of motor vehicles. For example, any new or used car that is subject to repairs and repeated visits to the repair shop under the manufacturer’s warranty is a lemon. 

What is the lemon law

Lemon Laws for New Cars

Owning a new motor vehicle gives you the best chance of having a car that will perform better. You may have also purchased this car, maybe because it’s coming straight from the manufacturer, and no one has owned it. An unfortunate and unexpected situation would be that car breaking down on you. But what rights would you have to protect you if something like this happens? 

Every state has a different lemon law, but most states require that four repairs or so within a year or two years qualify for the lemon law. Additionally, there is the Magnuson-moss warranty act, and it’s a federal law that states that any time throughout the warranty period, your vehicle succumbs to an excessive number of repairs, you are entitled to recovery. Consumers can get a refund of the purchase price and could make the dealership take the vehicle back or recover money to recoup the difference in value between what you thought you bought and what you did buy. But, it all depends on what state you reside in. 

Lemon Law for Used Cars

You may have walked into a dealership, and the dealer sells you a vehicle. The dealer tells you how great this vehicle is. It has only had one owner, and its history is terrific. Unfortunately, some dealerships advertise that their vehicles had only one owner, when later on, you find out that the prior owner was a well-known rental car company. 

There may also be situations where a consumer goes to the dealership asking whether the vehicle has an accident history. The dealer might say no, when in fact that is not the truth. In these situations, consumers have rights as well. Every state has a Consumer Fraud Act where consumers can recover from the dealership if fraud is suspected. If that fraud caused your vehicle to sustain a significant loss in value, such as if the car was not worth what it was when you paid for it, as a consumer, you are entitled to recoup that money and have your attorney fees paid for by the dealership that caused this fraud. 

Who Can File a Lemon Law Claim

Anyone can file a lemon law claim. So, for example, if a consumer has a lemon and wants to file a claim, a lemon car lawyer would look into the problems you may have or problems you may not even know of. In addition, some lemon car lawyers may even provide free consultations or free in-depth research of the situation. 

File a Lemon Law Claim

When Does the Lemon Law Apply

The lemon law is applied to new car buyers and used car buyers that still have the manufacturer’s warranty on the vehicle. It depends on the problem with the car. If it has been in the garage two to three times or more and if it’s unrepairable, it’s a lemon. Furthermore, once the vehicle is in a shop for 30 days or more and unrepairable, it’s a lemon. The good news is that you may get your money back and sometimes the attorney’s fees if you file a lawsuit once proven that the vehicle is a lemon. 

Which States Have Lemon Laws

Lemon laws exist in every state, and they do vary from state to state. In addition, some states have different lemon laws for new cars as well as used cars. However, it doesn’t matter what state you live in; every consumer has an automobile lemon law designed to protect them when a vehicle is purchased under its manufactured warranty. 

How much will your refund be if you win your case under the lemon law?

Under the lemon law, the dealer would be legally obligated to refund the consumer the total payments made on the vehicle. However, any amount paid to third parties would be subtracted. That includes any service contracts, gap insurance, and removing a deduction for mileage based on the vehicle’s useful life. 

Lemon law refund

What are some tips to avoid getting stuck with a “lemon” car in the first place?

Getting stuck with a lemon car can be a terrible situation to be in. So let’s take a look at a few tips on how to avoid being stuck with a lemon car:

  • Do a road test – When driving the vehicle, look at aspects like the steering, car stops, and stability. 
  • Tire condition – It’s always a good idea to ask the seller for a tire warranty. Consumers can always check for any outer tread wear or any inner tread wear on the tire because this can indicate a problem with the vehicle’s suspension. The problem may be minor or just an old-fashioned alignment, so the best bet is to ask the seller when the alignment was done. 
  • Check your fluids – You can get many clues from the condition of the fluids in a vehicle. First, make sure that the engine oil level is full and it’s not extremely low. Also, check the oil state; it should be a dark brown color with no contaminants. Finally, make sure that the transmission fluid isn’t too low and contaminated as well. 
  • Check for warning lights on the dash – the check engine light is crucial. If the light is on or flashing, get the vehicle to a certified mechanic to let you know what’s going on with the car. You can also check for the airbag light; if the light is on, this can indicate that the vehicle must have been in an accident.

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