Is It A Lemon Car ?

"What has to be wrong with your car to qualify it as a lemon?"

The first thing you need to know in dealing with your new lemon car is whether or not it actually qualifies as a lemon. After all, it does no good to try to exercise your rights under your states automobile lemon law if your car isn't a "true lemon".

So, the question is, do you have a lemon car?

Well, that's what we're going to answer here.

But first, what DOESN'T qualify as a lemon. Now, if the paint is just peeling, or if the light switch came out when you pulled on it, or if the car is starting to make strange noises, but it's safe to drive it doesn't qualify as a lemon.

If you found a bunch of stuff you don't like about your new car but none of them actually makes the car undrivable or dangerous, you don't have a lemon. 
But, if the brakes don't work, or it won't go into reverse, or it won't start on cold mornings or hot afternoons, or the car barely runs at 30 mph when it should easily be going 50 mph, then you may have a lemon. This of course, only applies if you have given the manufacturer an chance to fix it.
In most states, 10 different defects during the warranty period do not automatically make the car a lemon. In some states, a single defect that might cause serious injury makes your car a lemon if the manufacturer cannot fix the problem within 1 attempt.

As a general rule if your car has a serious defect that is unrepairable or is still defective after giving the manufacturer a reasonable chance to fix it AND all this happened during the warranty period, you may well have a lemon on your hands. Of course this is just a generality, every state has it's own automobile lemon laws and you'll have to go by your state's lemon law guidelines to determine if your car qualifies as a lemon.

You may have a lemon, but if you do nothing to protect your rights, like keeping track of all repairs and giving the manufacturer a chance to fix the problem, you could lose all rights under the various state lemon laws.

Ok, so you've checked your state's lemon laws and you are pretty sure you've got a lemon. Now what? Well, it would probably be a good idea to be sure of exactly what your responsibilities are as a lemon car owner as well as the responsibilities of the manufacturer. Right?  So, click ahead and.....

More great lemon law resources.

Find out what everybody's responsibilities are.