Most states have an automobile lemon law in place to protect car buyers. These also insure that car manufacturers work to help purchasers if certain problems repeatedly occur during the car service contract period.
A lemon law will not guarantee that you will not face the inconvenience of dealing with a lemon. But it does protect your investment if you do purchase a car that is classified by your state’s law as a lemon.
If you are having difficulty with your car while still under guarantee, you should research the law in your particular state. Determine whether the problems that you are having might warrant protection under the state law. The lemon law will both describe the obligations of the car manufacturer and help you decide whether or not your vehicle truly is a lemon.
Again, this varies from state to state. So, it is important to research the information for the applicable state. A law that applies to one state may or may not be similar to the laws of another state.
For example, repeated defects with items covered under the car guarantee may not necessarily constitute that car being a lemon under the your state’s law. While the manufacturer will still be obliged to attempt to fix the items covered under the car service contract, the lemon law of your state that might guarantee you a replacement or refund may not apply.
The law may only apply to certain car guarantee items. In some states, it applies only when a dangerous condition exists. And it only applies then after it cannot be repaired in a reasonable effort. Other states may be more favorable to the buyer. In those states, the law may apply to car service contract items that do not necessarily create a dangerous driving condition.
A lemon’s legal definition varies from state to state depending on the specific law. Many car buyers make the incorrect assumption that just because they are unhappy with their car that they are protected under the lemon law. But this isn’t always true.
The lemon law may require that the manufacturer try unsuccessfully to correct a particular problem multiple times before the car is officially declared a lemon.
Some states require only one failed repair attempt for severe issues, such as a faulty braking system. However, most states require that the manufacturer attempt to repair less grave problems two to four times before the car is declared a lemon under the lemon law.
Also, problems that result from improper maintenance or mistreatment will not be covered under the car service contract or under the automobile lemon law.
You, as the car owner, should take care to uphold your obligations under the guarantee. For instance, the vehicle must be serviced at specified intervals. Failure to do so, or to retain documents proving the service, could result in you being held responsible for the car’s defects. If you are found at fault, it is likely that you will not be protected by either the car guarantee or the lemon law.