Car Lemon Laws: What to Know by State

Spread the love

 

If you plan to buy a new or used car or lease a vehicle, you may be wondering about your state’s lemon laws. Lemon laws protect consumers when purchasing vehicles at auto dealerships, and car warranties often add a layer of protection for buyers. All 50 states and the District of Columbia put lemon laws on their books, but the specifics of each law vary by state. Some states cover new but not used vehicles, while other states cover new, used, and leased vehicles.

In this article, we will provide a brief overview of lemon law rights in each state so you can learn how to protect yourself after you buy or lease a new or used car.

Lemon Laws in the United States

Alabama Lemon Law  

The lemon law in Alabama applies to new vehicles, but not motorhomes or vehicles over 10,000 pounds. If your car encounters a problem that makes it hard to use, decreases its value, or makes it unsafe within the first year or 12,000 miles, it’s possible you may get a refund or replacement.

Repairs must take place within 24 months of delivery of the vehicle or 24,000 miles.

Alaska Lemon Law

Alaska’s lemon law applies to new vehicles. If your car encounters a problem that makes it hard to use, decreases its value, or makes it unsafe within the first year of ownership, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement.

Arizona Lemon Law

If you live in Arizona and buy a new car, you will be covered under the state’s lemon law. The coverage period lasts 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever happens earlier.

The Arizona lemon law for used vehicles says, “If a major component of your car breaks before the earlier of 15 days or 500 miles after you buy the car,” you will be covered. You’ll be responsible for up to $25 for the first two repairs, but the consumer can recover the purchase amount for the car.

Arkansas Lemon Law

If your new vehicle has a problem in Arkansas that makes it hard to use, decreases its value, or makes it unsafe, the manufacturer must repair it within 24 months of delivery or 24,000 miles.

If the manufacturer can’t or won’t fix the problem, the consumer has several options. These include replacing it with another acceptable car or getting their original car back and being refunded for everything plus taxes, title, and extended warranty, if applicable.

California Lemon Law

California’s lemon law applies to new, used, and leased vehicles. It covers your car if there’s a problem that makes it hard to use, lowers its value, or makes it unsafe and the dealer can not repair the defect after a reasonable number of attempts when a vehicle remains under a new car warranty.

If a car gets deemed a lemon, California consumers have 18,000 miles or 18 months from the date of purchase to return it.

For used vehicles, the state’s lemon law applies when it’s still under a manufacturer’s new car warranty. Any remaining time left on the warranty protects the car’s new owner.

Colorado Lemon Law

The lemon law in Colorado applies to new and leased vehicles and lasts one year from the original delivery date or within a year of the warranty’s start date, whichever comes first. Colorado law excludes motor homes and motorcycles.

Connecticut Lemon Law

In Connecticut, if your new or leased car has a problem that makes it unsafe, hard to use, or decreases its value, the car company will supply a replacement or refund the full contract price within 2 years of delivery or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. The law applies to new and leased passenger and combination vehicles and motorcycles.

Delaware Lemon Law

The lemon law in Delaware applies to new and leased vehicles, but not motor homes. It lasts for one year or the first year after delivery to the consumer, whichever comes first. If the car needs to be replaced, the Delaware consumer has two options. Options include replacement with a comparable and acceptable new automobile or repurchase and refund of the full purchase price, including credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicle.

District of Columbia Lemon Law

The lemon law in the District of Columbia applies to new and leased vehicles, but not used cars. It covers vehicle problems that arise within 18,000 miles or 2 years, whichever comes first after the date of delivery or purchase that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety.

Florida Lemon Law

The lemon law in Florida applies to new and leased vehicles. You may qualify for a refund or replacement vehicle if your car has a problem within 2 years that substantially impairs its use or compromises safety and the dealer can’t repair the defect after a reasonable number of attempts.

Georgia Lemon Law

The lemon law in Georgia applies to new and leased vehicles. It covers your car if there’s a problem that makes it hard to use within 2 years or 24,000 miles and impacts its usability, value, or safety. If the dealer remains unable to repair the issue after a reasonable number of attempts, you may request a refund or replacement.

Hawaii Lemon Law

The lemon law in Hawaii applies to new and leased vehicles. You could get a refund or a replacement if your car experiences an issue that makes it hard to use, decreases its value, or makes it unsafe within the first 2 years or 24,000 miles and the dealer can’t resolve the problem after multiple repair attempts.

Idaho Lemon Law

The lemon law in Idaho applies to new and leased cars, trucks, or vans experiencing issues within 2 years or 24,000 miles. If your car becomes ineffective, significantly decreases in value, or a persistent issue makes it unsafe, the dealer must repair the defect after a reasonable number of attempts.

Illinois Lemon Law

The lemon law in Illinois applies to new and leased vehicles, except any that get modified. If your car has an issue that compromises your safety or makes it difficult to use within 1 year or 12,000 miles, the dealer must repair the defect. If they are unable to resolve the problem, you may pursue a replacement or refund.

Indiana Lemon Law

The lemon law in Indiana applies to new and leased vehicles. The statute covers your car for 18 months or 18,000 miles.

Iowa Lemon Law

Iowa’s lemon law applies to new and leased vehicles within 2 years or 24,000 miles after purchase and must weigh less than 15,000 pounds. To open a dispute, the consumer must file a complaint through their certified informal dispute resolution process in Iowa.

Kansas Lemon Law

The lemon law in Kansas applies to new and leased vehicles. You must inform the manufacturer of the need for repair within a year. If a vehicle needs repairs multiple times and the defect continues to exist, the manufacturer must either repair it or buy it back.

Kentucky Lemon Law

The lemon law in Kentucky applies to new and leased vehicles under 12,000 pounds. If your car has a problem that occurs four or more times in the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, the manufacturer must attempt to fix it multiple times.

If the dealer does not correct the issue, they must replace or repurchase the vehicle.

Louisiana Lemon Law

The lemon law in Louisiana applies to new and leased vehicles. The dealer must repair the defect in a reasonable number of attempts or within one year after purchase, whichever comes earlier.

If the vehicle cannot be repaired and remains out of service for at least 45 days, the dealer must offer a comparable replacement. You could also request a refund for the full purchase price.

Maine Lemon Law

The lemon law in Maine applies to new and leased vehicles. It covers serious defects within 3 years or 18,000 miles, whichever happens first.

If a car gets designated as a lemon, you can argue your case before an arbitrator for free.

Maryland Lemon Law

The lemon law in Maryland applies to new and leased vehicles within 2 years or 18,000 miles.

If your car has a problem that significantly impairs operation or causes it to be unusable for at least 30 days, you may pursue a replacement vehicle or a full refund.

Massachusetts Lemon Law

The lemon law in Massachusetts applies to new and leased cars. It also applies to used vehicles with fewer than 125,000 miles on the odometer on the date of purchase. You are entitled to a refund or replacement if there’s a substantial defect that inhibits your ability to drive the vehicle or negatively impacts your safety.

Used cars with more than 125,000 miles on the odometer on the date of purchase are also covered if they fail inspection within a week after purchase.

Michigan Lemon Law

The lemon law in Michigan covers new and leased vehicles. This applies if your car has a condition that impairs its use within a year of delivery or during the term of the manufacturer’s warranty, whichever happens first.

The law may also cover your used car, though only if it’s still under warranty and if it’s still within the 1-year timeframe of the original purchaser.

Minnesota Lemon Law

The lemon law in Minnesota applies to new, leased, and lightly used vehicles. The issue must be reported within 2 years or before the warranty period ends, whichever comes first.

If the manufacturer or dealer is unable to repair the defect within a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer may seek a replacement vehicle or a refund of the car’s purchase price, less a deduction for use of the vehicle.

Mississippi Lemon Law

The lemon law in Mississippi applies to new and leased vehicles within one year of delivery or the duration of the manufacturer warranty, whichever comes first.

If your car experiences a problem that makes it difficult to use, decreases its value, or makes it unsafe, repairs must be completed within the first year of delivery or before the manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Missouri Lemon Law

The lemon law in Missouri applies to new and leased vehicles. This covers your car for one year or through the term of the manufacturer warranty, whichever comes first.

If the car cannot be repaired in four attempts, if it’s out of service for at least 30 days, or if it has a problem that hinders use, the consumer must open a dispute through the manufacturer’s resolution program.

Montana Lemon Law

The lemon law in Montana applies to new and leased vehicles. This covers your car if it has a problem that makes it hard to use, negatively affects its value, or poses a safety concern within 2 years or 18,000 miles of delivery.

Nebraska Lemon Law

The lemon law in Nebraska applies to new and leased vehicles. A vehicle can be declared a lemon if it needs a repair four or more times within a year of delivery, or if the car gets deemed unusable for a cumulative total of at least 40 days.

Nevada Lemon Law

The lemon law in Nevada applies to new and used vehicles, but not leased vehicles. Persistent issues that occur before the expiration of any manufacturer’s warranties or one year after delivery are eligible for a refund or replacement.

New Hampshire Lemon Law

The lemon law in New Hampshire applies to new and leased vehicles still under warranty. If your car gets declared defective after at least three repair attempts or goes out of service for at least 30 days, you have a right to arbitration.

New Jersey Lemon Law

The New Jersey lemon law applies to new and leased vehicles during the first 2 years or 24,000 miles.

The law may also apply to used cars in the same time frame if the vehicle is a maximum of 7 years old (in model years) with less than 100,000 miles on the odometer, and you paid at least $3,000.

A used car may qualify for protection under the state’s lemon law if purchased from a licensed dealership. A used lemon is defined as a vehicle with substantial safety issues, three or more repair attempts, or one that has been out of service for 20 cumulative days with the same issue.

New Mexico Lemon Law

The lemon law in New Mexico applies to new vehicles or vehicles transferred to a used buyer while still under warranty. It appears to not cover leased vehicles. It covers your car if a persistent issue impairs the use or substantially lowers the market value within one year after delivery or during the manufacturer warranty term, whichever comes first.

New York Lemon Law

The New York lemon law applies to new and leased vehicles or those transferred within 18,000 miles or 2 years of delivery. For used cars, a written warranty is required at the time of purchase. Consumers are entitled to reimbursement for the cost of repairing a covered failure.

North Carolina Lemon Law

The lemon law in North Carolina covers new and leased vehicles within 2 years or 24,000 miles. Consumers must notify the manufacturer in writing if there is a defect, and the problem must be resolved within a reasonable period.

If the vehicle is out of service for a cumulative total of 20 business days, the manufacturer is required to replace the car or buy it back at the purchase price.

North Dakota Lemon Law

The lemon law in North Dakota applies to new and leased vehicles. If your car has a problem that makes it hard to use, decreases its value, or makes it unsafe within 12,000 miles or one year of delivery and the dealer is unable to repair the defect after a reasonable number of attempts, you may petition for a refund or replacement.

Ohio Lemon Law

The lemon law in Ohio applies to new and leased vehicles within one year or 18,000 miles of delivery. If you have problems during this protection period, the manufacturer must have a “reasonable opportunity” to perform the repair. Consumers are eligible for a refund or replacement if the issue cannot be fixed.

Oklahoma Lemon Law

The lemon law in Oklahoma applies to new and leased vehicles within 12,000 miles or one year of delivery. Before the lemon law applies, the consumer must pursue a resolution directly with the manufacturer.

Oregon Lemon Law

The lemon law in Oregon applies to new and leased vehicles. Coverage extends for 2 years or 24,000 miles after delivery.

To qualify for protection, the defect must be reported to the manufacturer and given a reasonable number of attempts to perform the repair. If the vehicle is out of service for 30 calendar days or more, you may pursue a replacement or refund.

Pennsylvania Lemon Law

The lemon law in Pennsylvania applies to new and leased vehicles within one year or 12,000 miles. Manufacturers are allowed three repair attempts to resolve the problem. You may petition for a refund if your car is out of service for a cumulative total of 30 days with a persistent issue.

Rhode Island Lemon Law

The lemon law in Rhode Island applies to new and leased vehicles within one year of 15,000 miles. Consumers must file a formal complaint with the Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board to dispute an issue with the manufacturer.

The law also covers used vehicles if the car got serviced three times for the same defect within its dealer warranty period or if its owner could not drive the vehicle for 15 days within the warranty period.

South Carolina Lemon Law

The lemon law in South Carolina applies to new and leased vehicles under manufacturer warranty within one year or 12,000 miles. The manufacturer must offer a refund or replacement if they are unable to resolve the problem after a reasonable number of attempts.

South Dakota Lemon Law

The lemon law in South Dakota applies to new and leased vehicles. The state’s law protects consumers if their vehicle encounters a single problem or a series of problems that arise within one year or 12,000 miles of delivery. The manufacturer has four attempts or 30 cumulative calendar days to repair the issue.

Tennessee Lemon Law

The lemon law in Tennessee applies to new and leased vehicles and any other person entitled to the warranty. If your car has a problem that substantially impairs its use within one year, the manufacturer must offer a refund or replacement.

Texas Lemon Law

The lemon law in Texas applies to new and leased vehicles within 2 years of 24,000 miles. It may cover a used vehicle if it’s still eligible under warranty. If you have persistent issues getting your new car to run as expected, the law outlines you are entitled to a repair, replacement, or refund.

Utah Lemon Law

Utah’s law covering lemons applies to new and leased vehicles. If your car has a substantial defect within 2 years, the manufacturer must complete the repair within a reasonable number of attempts.

Vermont Lemon Law

The lemon law in Vermont applies to new and leased vehicles. For new vehicles, a formal demand for arbitration must be filed within one year after the manufacturer warranty expires by time or mileage. For leased vehicles, drivers could elect replacement vehicles or obtain a lease refund if possible.

Vermont’s lemon law applies to used vehicles if the first repair occurred within the manufacturer’s warranty and if it meets other eligibility requirements.

Virginia Lemon Law

The lemon law in Virginia applies to new and leased vehicles. If your car experiences a persistent problem that makes it hard to use, decreases its value, or makes it unsafe within the manufacturer’s warranty period or 18 months of delivery, the manufacturer must offer a return or replacement.

For used vehicles, the law states that it may cover “certain conditions.”

Washington Lemon Law

The lemon law in Washington applies to new and leased vehicles. If your car experiences a serious defect or a problem that makes it unreliable or unsafe within 2 years or 24,000 miles of delivery, you may send a written request asking for a replacement vehicle.

West Virginia Lemon Law

The lemon law in West Virginia applies to new and leased vehicles. If your car experiences a defect that makes it hard to use, decreases its value, or makes it unsafe within the term of express manufacturer’s warranties or one year of delivery, the manufacturer has a duty to repair it. They must replace the vehicle if the issue does not get fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts.

Wisconsin Lemon Law

The lemon law in Wisconsin applies to new and leased vehicles. If your car experiences issues that make it hard to use, decrease its value, or make it unsafe within the term of the warranty or one year of delivery, you may request a replacement vehicle. Also, you can get applicable collateral costs, or ask for a full refund.

Wyoming Lemon Law

Wyoming‘s statute protecting consumers applies to new and leased vehicles under warranty. If your car spent 30 days in the repair shop within one year, or if you attempted three unsuccessful repairs, the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or offer a refund.

What to Know About Protecting Yourself

Every state creates its own laws for vehicles experiencing issues. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your state’s lemon law before making any decisions about whether you should pursue legal action.

If you think your vehicle may be a lemon, contact the manufacturer or dealer and attempt to resolve the issue directly. If nothing gets resolved, check with your state’s office of attorney general or consumer protection agency for recourse and actions, or hire an attorney.

Related Car Buying Stories:

How to Avoid EV Charging Cable Theft
Car Leasing Online: What You Should Know
Warranty Coverage for Hybrid and EV Batteries

Leave a Comment