What Do I Need To Do Before I Can Claim That My Car Is A Lemon?

The vehicle must have been taken in for a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defect(s). The number of repair attempts required to qualify as a reasonable number varies according to the severity of the defect. You will establish that your vehicle has undergone a reasonable number of attempts in the following four situations:
  • For a vehicle with a serious safety defect in the brakes or steering system, if you have taken the vehicle in for one unsuccessful repair attempt, during the earlier of 12 months or 12,000 miles from date of delivery.
  • For a vehicle with another type of serious defect that affects the safety of the vehicle, if you have taken the vehicle in for at least two repair attempts, one of which occurred within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles and the other of which occurred within a 24­month or 24,000­mile period during the warranty.
  • For a vehicle with any other defect that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle, if you have taken the vehicle in for three repair attempts within any 24­month or 24,000­mile period during the warranty.
  • For a vehicle with any other defect that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle, if the car has been out of service for a cumulative total of 30 or more calendar days by reason of repair; 15 of these 30 days must have occurred within the earlier of 12 months or 12,000 miles from the date of delivery, and all 30 days must have occurred within a 24­month or 24,000­mile period before the warranty expires.

If the defect still continues to exist, you must provide written notification to the manufacturer (not your dealer) of the defect and request that a final repair attempt be made to your vehicle. This letter should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.

If you send this notice within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, the manufacturer may not charge you to repair the vehicle.

If you send it after the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, you may be required to pay for repairs if they are not covered under the manufacturer`s warranty.

The manufacturer then has seven days after the receipt of the notice to designate a reasonably accessible repair facility, and then 14 days after you deliver the vehicle to the facility to correct the defect.

If the manufacturer`s final repair attempt is not successful, or if they do not respond to your request within seven days, you must then send a written statement by certified mail, return receipt requested to the manufacturer requesting the repurchase or replacement of the vehicle.

If your vehicle was leased, you must send a similar statement to the manufacturer, and if the manufacturer does not take action to replace or repurchase the vehicle within 30 days, you must then send another similar letter to the manufacturer.

Upon receipt of the written request for repurchase or replacement, the manufacturer has 30 days to honor your request.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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