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My Car Has Been In The Shop For A Month. Do I Have A Lemon?

September 21, 2010 By: LemonLaw Category: Lemon Law, New Jersey Lemon Law, parts on back order, Pennsylvania Lemon Law

We are getting more and more calls on the 1-800 LEMON LAW hotline from distressed drivers who are waiting for parts that are on back order. They can’t understand why it takes so long to get their car fixed, and they are fed up with driving a loaner car for a month or more while they are awaiting the arrival of their part, normally from abroad.

So, why is this occurring and is there anything we can do about it under State Lemon Laws and/or the Federal Magnsuon Moss Warranty Act?

As we have previously reported, when the companies were trying to cut costs in the troubling economy, they closed down many of their factories. The end result is that in many cases, they do not have the materials and manpower to ensure that parts are available in a quick and timely manner. It’s the nature of the beast and no matter how hard they try to fix this situation, there is very little they can do. If you have a problem that is not occurring in many vehicles, they are not prepared because they are not laying out funds to have parts just sit around.If it is regarding a problem that is occurring in a number of cars, they simply cannot fulfill the demand.

So, if your part is on back order and you find yourself without your car for a long period of time, what can be done?

The good news is most State Lemon Laws define a lemon as a car that is in the shop for an extended amount of time within a set period. The Pennsylvania Lemon Law, for instance, defines a lemon as a car that is in the shop 30 or more days within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles. The New Jersey Lemon Law defines a lemon as a car in the shop 20 or more days within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles. To check out your state’s statute, click here. In most cases, these days do NOT have to be consecutive, nor do they have to be for the same issue.Make sure sure that when your car is finally ready that you receive a repair invoice which clearly outlines the amount of time that car was in the shop.

Then contact us or another consumer attorney to look into your rights under the Lemon Law. Under the Law, you may be entitled to a new car or complete repurchase. Even if the car is fixed you could be looking a significant monetary compensation to reflect the diminished value of the car (plus you would get to keep the vehicle.) It’s really important that you know your rights and you fight for what is yours, especially since the the legal representation is free.

So what if you fall outside of the Lemon Law parameters, but your car is still sitting in the shop wasting a month or two away. Please still get in touch with us. We have successfully argued that this is a violation of the manufacturers warranty and we have been able to assist many consumers with monetary damages for breach of warranty as a result.


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59 Responses to “My Car Has Been In The Shop For A Month. Do I Have A Lemon?”


  1. #1 Anthony Brown says:

    dropped car at dealer 09/13.
    they gave me rental 09/14- have not heard a word since
    2009 kia sedona purchased 12/2009 new

    • #2 LemonLaw says:

      Depending on the state, you could certainly have a lemon law claim. Call us at 1-800 LEMON LAW.

      • #3 Mike says:

        Bought a car in MA from Credit Rebuilding company. Because of age of car, warranty was only for 30 days. Car was brought to shop about 3 weeks from date of purchase for bad heater, two leaks and some other electrical issues. I think the inspection was forged as well, because the guy who owns the dealership owns the inspection station as well.

        I saw the car being driven around and immediately questioned the driver. Who had no answers to my questions, other than that he was the mechanic for the dealer. The car had my plates on it, not repair or dealer plates.

        A few days after taking the car from the mechanic, the heater core went, so it was brought back to the same dealer, because I can’t afford to bring it anywhere else. It has been there for one month. Every time I call, I keep getting the run around. For what I paid for this car, there should not be any problems with it.

        What do you guys think?

        • #4 LemonLaw says:

          Contact the MA attorney general’s office and look into the Lemon Aid Law known as 93a.

          • #5 Yesenia Perez says:

            I believe I contacted you previously. The dealer I purchased the truck from still has my car since 6/4/12. Can you tell me if I am able to file a law suit in Special Civil under the lemon law? I feel helpless. I filed a complaint with the NJ DCA and I spoke to the General Manager and nothing. Any information you can give me will be tremendously appreciated. I believe I should not be paying per month for a truck I am not able to use.

            • #6 LemonLaw says:

              Yesenia: You are welcome to fill out our Get Rid of Your Lemon form at http://www.lemonlaw.com/rid.html and we will be glad to review your situation.

              • #7 Benny Munoz says:

                my car has been in the shop for three months they dont know whats wrong.

                • #8 LemonLaw says:

                  Benny: Is the car new? If so, you need to look into your lemon law rights. http://www.lemonlaw.com/state-lemon-laws/

                  • #9 Mark says:

                    I bought a 2006 vehicle with 48k miles on it, back on Monday, Sept, 10th. I found out within the first 12hrs that the ignition switch was faulty. Therefore ,the car would not lock (without using the key to manually lock all four doors)…and the trunk/hatch could not be locked at all (since there is no key hole). I was given a loaner by the dealership on 9/12, and they have had my car ever since (3 weeks now)! I spoke with the GM (after speaking with several sales managers), who told me that the part is now on backorder. NJ Lemon laws say nothing about electrical…only mechanical (ie: engine, transmission). Sure they gave me a loaner vehicle free of charge…but this is extremely frustrating. Why should I make a car payment and pay higher insurance for a vehicle that is STILL not is my posession? Pls advise. Thank you.

                    • #10 LemonLaw says:

                      Mark: The NJ Lemon law does cover electrical issues, but you would not fall under that stature. You are referring to the used car lemon law and for that you will need to reach out to the Attorney General.

                      • #11 Alex says:

                        My car was damaged by sandy and due to backoedered parts is still in the shop – 4 weeks now. 2012 ford explorer. Do I have a case?

                        • #12 LemonLaw says:

                          Sadly, If parts are on back order due to an issue that not a manufacturer defect, there is no case.

                          • #13 edgar says:

                            hi, i live in California and i have a 2008 bmw x5, we got it certified used and ever since we’ve been taking it to the dealers shop to get fixed and we took it recently and they kept the car for over a month is there anything i can do ? the car has a little over 50k miles

                            • #14 LemonLaw says:

                              Edgar: Visit http://www.lemonlaw.com/lemon-law-firm.html to find a lawyer in your state.

                              • #15 Karina says:

                                I have a quick question. If my car is going to be in the shop for more than a month (almost two) and I won’t have my car for the whole month of June. (They said the part won’t be in till July 9th) what rights do I have in regards to having to pay for a month that I won’t have my car? Is there any law that requires the company to pay for the month that I won’t have my car? It’s really frustrating. I love my car and honestly I’d rather pay my car payment then have to drive the dealers complimentary vehicle. But I do find it unfair that ill have to pay my bill and not drive my car.

                                • #16 LemonLaw says:

                                  @Karina: You still have to pay your car note, but if this is a new car, please fill out our form at http://www.lemonlaw.com/rid.html to determine if and how we can help.

                                  • #17 Brent says:

                                    We bought a used 2011 Hyundai Tucson with less than 19,000 in February of 2012. It’s been in the shop for exactly one month as of tomorrow and we’ve had to pay for a rental this whole time (the taxes anyway, which is less than $4 a day.) is there anything we can do? We’re in Arizona.

                                    • #18 LemonLaw says:

                                      Visit http://www.lemonlaw.com/lemon-law-firm.html to find a lemon law lawyer in your neck of the woods.

                                      • #19 Rory Elinkowski says:

                                        2012 f150 has been in shop twice for same problem. They tried changing the battery and computer but did not fix the problem. Now they are waiting for a wiring harness that is on back order and my truck has been at the dealer this time since 8-22-13. I live in Indiana

                                        • #20 Johnny says:

                                          I purchased a 2012 BMW 650i in April. I got into a car accident on June 19th. The car has been in the body shop since June 21st. BMW is saying that the parts to repair the car are on back-order with no expected date of arrival. So far I’ve been waiting three months. I didn’t take the car to BMW directly, I took it to a reputable body shop. The car is still under warranty and I have an extended warranty as well. No loaner vehicle was provided by BMW…

                                          • #21 LemonLaw says:

                                            @Johny: Being that this was the result of an accident, this would not be covered under Lemon Law.

                                            • #22 LemonLaw says:

                                              @Bernadette: I would certainly look into your lemon law rights. Visit http://www.lemonlaw.com/state-lemon-laws/ to find out about the laws in your state.

                                              • #23 alicia says:

                                                I’ve had my truck in the shop for a paint job and part change. It’s been there for almost 3months now. They keep telling me its going to be ready but nothing. What can I do? I paid them the full amount already.

                                                • #24 Brandon says:

                                                  Hello, I reside in Pennsylvania. I purchased my new car a few months ago, and the dealership damaged the paint all over the vehicle. They had the vehicle for about 2 weeks fixing the issue. They said it was fixed, but they just used a filler. Fast forward to a month ago and the dealerships Bodyshop damaged my gauge cluster plastic (large scratch). I took the vehicle in to get that replaced, and a tire mounted. They gouged my wheel. It has now been 30 days since the dealership has had it. Is this considered part of lemon law since the dealership damaged the vehicle, and has had it for 30 days?

                                                  • #25 LemonLaw says:

                                                    @Brandon: Please give us a call at 800 536 6652 to discuss the situation and see if we can help.

                                                    • #26 Oscar c Marshall jr says:

                                                      My Hyundai Touson has been in the shop since December 12, 2015. Hyundai has supplied me with a loaner car that I do not haft to pay for so far. I went to the shop this week to check up on my car and my drive train is still on back order for another month to 2 months. I still owe on my car, what can I do? If they cannot fix the problem would they reimburse me or offer me a deal in another vehicle?

                                                      • #27 Mark says:

                                                        I bought my car used in NY in March 2015, but am the second owner, so the warranty is still in place. Fast forward to Sept 9, 2015, my car starts making a loud knocking noise, find out that Hyundai put out a national recall on 2011-2012 Sonata’s due to a bearing issue. My car dies and has to be towed to the dealer, and they say the engine has to be replaced, which is under warranty, but falls in the guidelines of the recall. It is now Jan 18, 2016, and Hyundai still says the part is on back order and there is no ETA! What options do I have?

                                                        • #28 Tony says:

                                                          I bought a car and 2 weeks later a wheel just broke, it was a brand new altima, the dealer sent it to a shop about 4 months ago, the car has been there and they keep telling that will be ready for next Monday since Christmas, I have been paying for a car I am not driving and my insurance did not covered a rent car, the shop is not taking my calls or they tell me to check with the guy in charge who keeps telling me “it will be ready for tomorrow” I need my car I am in Texas, is there anything I can do about?

                                                          • #29 LemonLaw says:

                                                            @Oscar; You do not mention your state but I would certainly look into your rights. Visit http://www.lemonlaw.com/lemon-law-firms.html to find a lawyer who may be able to help you.

                                                            • #30 Pat says:

                                                              Bought a new 2016 Ford Explorer January 2016. June 21, 2016 11,000 miles later the car broke down. I was told I need a new throttle body. They are on back order – not sure when they will get a replacement. If this is not replaced within 30 days, does this qualify as a lemon under New York State lemon law?

                                                              • #31 LemonLaw says:

                                                                @Pat: We would make that argument.

                                                                • #32 Natalie says:

                                                                  Hello-

                                                                  I bought a brand new 2016 428i BMW Grand Coupe directly from the BMW dealership. My car was hit on the driver side door while parked and my insurance company did an estimate for the repair.

                                                                  I found a body shop to do the repairs; dropped off my car on June 27, 2016.

                                                                  On July 8, 2016, the body shop called me back to pick-up my car, as the repair to the door was completed. When I picked up my car I notice that the repair shop had scratched the door handle inside, so they had to order a new part from BMW.

                                                                  On July 13, 2016, the body shop called me to tell me the door handle has not arrived yet, but I can pick-up my car and they will call me when the part arrives. When I arrived at the repair shop, I notice that my hood was scratched. They kept my BMW to fix the scratch.

                                                                  On July 15, 2016, the body shop called me saying the hood has been repaired as well as the door handle. When I got there, they forgot to fix the 2ns piece of the door handle (there’s 2 pieces), AND I found a scratch on my bumper. They said it will take 3-days to fix the bumper, and they will also fix the 2nd part to my car handle.

                                                                  The body shop has had my BMW since June 27, 2016
                                                                  They fixed the door that was caused when someone hit my parked car
                                                                  BUT 3 other things have appeared on their watch, which they are still working on to fix.

                                                                  Do I have a Lemon?
                                                                  Thx u!
                                                                  Natalie
                                                                  Do I have a lemon?

                                                                  • #33 LemonLaw says:

                                                                    @Natalie: Being the repair is due to an accident, this would not fall under the Lemon Law.

                                                                    • #34 Natalie says:

                                                                      Hi there- thx for the reply to my question above!

                                                                      What about the other 3 repairs that the body shop had to do that was not due to an accident, but rather happened in the watch of the repair shop.
                                                                      1. scratch on door handle
                                                                      2. scratch on hood
                                                                      3. scratch on bumper

                                                                      Does it fall under Lemon Law that the body shop has had my car since June 27 and each time I go to take a look at my car, there’s a new scratch on my car that was caused by someone at the body shop, which makes me wonder what else they might have done to my car (but I just haven’t discovered yet).

                                                                      My car has roughly 5,200 miles on it and I’m concerned that the body shop might have done more damage to my car, since each time I look at the car – I discover a new scratch.

                                                                      Hope my question makes sense.

                                                                      • #35 LemonLaw says:

                                                                        @Natalie: Hard question to answer. I don’t think we could hold the manufacturer responsible for the scratches, but I would certainly bring them to your insurance company’s attention.

                                                                        • #36 alex says:

                                                                          So I have a 2015 mustang gt the clutch went out at 30,000 miles dropped it off at the dealership and after 3 days told me they were going to replace it parts were ordered they gave me a rental for 5 days only, parts took longer and warranty said they will pay for 10 days total and no more so those 10 days went by and parts were still not in, had to give back the rental since they woudnt pay no more, so 4 days later with no car, parts come in 2 days later after parts come in they tell me the clutch is finally installed but that the transmission went bad third gear would grind and that they will have to submit the report to warranty and see what they want to do its been 2 weeks now and they haven’t even touched my car again to let me know what’s gonna happen so I have been car less for about 3 weeks now because warranty does not want to give me a rental is there anything I can do?

                                                                          • #37 LemonLaw says:

                                                                            @Alex: Once the car is fixed, you may be able to appeal to corporate to seek reimbursement, but be weary. That reimbursement may require a release which could void rights under Federal law if problems come back.

                                                                            • #38 Nader Nader says:

                                                                              my car has been in the shop for about 20 days and they said i won’t have it back before the 26th of august. i am in Texas and i have a loaner that sucks and was trying to sell my car too or trade it in. the problem is an AC actuator that is on back order and have no real ETA for it they just keep pushing the date. do i have a a case for a lemon? car was bought new still under warranty

                                                                              • #39 R Janson says:

                                                                                My vehicle’s engine light came on after 20,000 was told by the dealership to wait to have service since they were backed up and it would take over a week to fix it. After 40,000 insisted they fix it. Whatever they did only made it worst and the vehicle could not be driven. It has no been six weeks and the manufacturer can not seem to advise the dealership how to fix it and are claiming they have never had this problem before. I know in Texas the Lemon Law covers the first year or 20,000 but are there any exceptions?

                                                                                • #40 JC says:

                                                                                  I dropped my car off on October 18th, 2016 for an apt with Dodge for a strange sound. They found out it was dealing with the transmission, and specifically a torque converter. They said it was covered under PowerTrain. It is coming close to a month since I have seen the car due to the Torque Converter being on Back order from dodge. They could not give me an ETA at all, so this car could easily be in the service for several months while I’m still paying monthly payments. Is my car considered a lemon? I bought the car used and I’ve only owned it for a month and a half, and the car being out of service for 30 days rule is incoming. Today is November 11th, 2016. In Virginia.

                                                                                  • #41 LemonLaw says:

                                                                                    @JC: Please look into the law and your rights. Visit http://www.lemonlaw.com/lemon-law-firm.html to find a firm in your state.

                                                                                    • #42 LemonLaw says:

                                                                                      @R: Federal law may come into play if Lemon Law does not.

                                                                                      • #43 Brian says:

                                                                                        I live in ny and I brought my car in bought used with extended warranty they said it does need a part and said the ordered it. A week later I gave a call and they told me the part is not available anywhere but may become available. in the mean time I do have a loaner. Are there any laws on how long they’re allowed to wait for a part if you come available or am I supposed to just pay for a car that I don’t even have in my possession it’s been over a month already.

                                                                                        • #44 Brian says:

                                                                                          So I realize I was a little vague at my last post. I bought my car it is a 2012 Subaru Impreza when I bought it it had 48,000 miles on it now has around 65,000 I brought the car in and it actually needs a seat frame which the dealer told me it’s covered under the extended warranty. I bought the car certified used with the extended warranty. I brought the car in and so far it’s been about three weeks. they still have no idea when the part will be in I’m currently in a loaner because it’s driveing my car would cause further damage to the seats. I know I’m technically outside the lemon law but is there another law on how long they can have me waiting for a part ? Or can they keep me waiting months and months for a part that may never come

                                                                                          • #45 tiffany says:

                                                                                            I have a 2013 dodge durango which is still under its original warranty. The water pump went out on it and it has been at the dealership for 9 weeks with the part on back order, and they still have no idea when it will come in. I am in Texas what should I do?

                                                                                            • #46 LemonLaw says:

                                                                                              @Tiffany: I would certainly reach out to a lemon law firm in TX to discuss the situation. I did send your information to one and I am hoping they responded to you.

                                                                                              • #47 LemonLaw says:

                                                                                                @Brian: You do not mention what state you are from. Feel free to call us at 800 536 6652 to discuss the matter.

                                                                                                • #48 Kourtney Zanetti says:

                                                                                                  Hi I bought a 2016 I’ve in mt my car makes this awful whining noise from the power steering pump when I went in for my first oil change I asked about this noise and that told me this was normal (about mid November) then in December I noticed mt mode door actuator was making a noise I stop by the dealership and they couldn’t get it to make the noise. Then in January when I took it in for the second oil change I asked about the whine again and the actuator the services manger stated that maybe snow got in their and he would check it out none of these complaints where put in my records then February 8 my husband was in the car and the whining noise was loud you could here it over the radio and the heater so he called the dealership and they said it was normal we should call corporate office so he did they opened a case and said nope it’s normal. It not normal the make of car I have had tons of post of the noise when the drive a brand new car theirs no noise and their are ppl that worked for Nissan that say the noise isn’t normal and Nissan said it’s a manufacturer defect but the findnit more economical to ignore the problem. So I called bbb and opened a case just before I called February 28 I got my mode door to make the noise I needed and when to the deal and had the tech look at it and he said order the heater box (i.e. They need to take my whole dash out to replace this box) two day later I made the call to bbb and opened the case the next day I got a call from Nissan corp and they said they won’t buy the car back and they will send a tech out in the mean I was at the dealer once a again for the whine noise they tried rubber washers to make it quieter didn’t work they order a power steering pump pump but that’s sitting at the dealer for a week no because they are wait for the tech to come and they said they can’t touch my or listen it to because we stop in their this past Wednesday because the whine was so bad and that’s what they said along with a new problem that has pop up my tach jumps all over the place my concern is that the dealer hasn’t keep my car nor have they even tried to fix any complaints that I had until I call bbb what so I do

                                                                                                  • #49 Matt Windon says:

                                                                                                    My 2016 BMW X1 was taken to the body shop on March 3rd. May 4th the work is not complete due to engine issues and parts. The mechanics are unable to get the vehicle to run properly. This was the result of an accident. 60 days out of service and no end in sight. Is there any consideration for this falling under the Lemon category? Thanks!

                                                                                                    • State: PA
                                                                                                  • #50 LemonLaw says:

                                                                                                    @Matt: I am sorry but if the delay is due to an accident, it would not be covered under the Lemon Law.

                                                                                                    • #51 Jack says:

                                                                                                      I recently bought my car FIAT back into the dealership to fix and it is a transmission problem that is under cover by warranty. It been about a month already all they are telling me is they still waiting for FIAT to get back to them and see if they will approve them to rebuild or replace a transmission. Now I m wondering if I can use Lemon Law in this suitation.

                                                                                                      • State: Ma
                                                                                                    • #52 Monique says:

                                                                                                      I purchased a brand new 2016 Subaru Legacy. The same year a recall came out for steering wheel failure. That was fixed but it took them about 2 weeks since the part was on back order. Back in May I started having issues with the key getting ignition switch. I made an appointment and brought it in on June 6. They later contacted me and advised that there was no problem and I had to pick up the car. I picked it up and as soon as I got home the same issue occurred, so I took the car back to the dealer a few days later and again they called me a week later to tell me they could not find any issues. I spoke to the service manager and explained to him the issue and told him I was not picking up the car until they fixed the issue. They called the following week and still said they were unable to replicate the issue. I went to pick up the car to take it to a different dealer and the manager came out. Luckily this time he was there when the key got stuck, so they took the car in again and til today I have not been able to get my car back. The part is still on back order. The first time took my car in was on June 6 and today is July 11 and my car is still not fixed and the part has not yet arrived to the dealer. What can be done in this case?

                                                                                                      • State: California
                                                                                                    • #53 Francis Leo Malabuyoc says:

                                                                                                      I recently bought a 2016 Chevy Malibu on July 8, used with 27000 miles, on the way home, a block away from my house, which was 2 miles away from the dealership, the check engine light came on, check stabilitrak and the car lost power. It was brought to the dealership back on July 9 but since it was a Sunday, it didn’t get to the service department till the next day. Now it’s July 14, and they are not telling me anything. Is there anything I can do other than wait?

                                                                                                      • State: California
                                                                                                    • #54 LemonLaw says:

                                                                                                      @Francis: I would wait until they have the proper diagnosis but make sure your repair invoice clearly outlines the time out of service.

                                                                                                      • #55 LemonLaw says:

                                                                                                        @Monique: If you would like to submit your information to http://www.lemonlaw.com/rid.html, we will be glad to review your situation and see if we can help.

                                                                                                        • #56 Mike says:

                                                                                                          Purchased my 2017 Colorado in April ’17. Dropped it off at the dealership on 16 Aug 17. Will hit 30 days on 15 Sep 17 at the service center for transmission and A/C problems. Waiting on new transmission after previously failed fix. Called GM to expedite the process and they closed case because they hadn’t had the opportunity to fix it yet with transmission on backorder. Do I have a case once it hits 30 days? ARS 44-1263 outlines lemon law for new vehicles in repair for 30 days or more. Thanks.

                                                                                                          • State: AZ
                                                                                                        • #57 Dennis says:

                                                                                                          I live in Alabama. We have a 2015 Dodge Journey. Less than 30k miles on it still under warranty. The abs sensor went out. Went to dealership they told us the parts are back ordered and don’t know when they’ll be available. They won’t give us a loaner vehicle for safety reasons they just told us don’t drive where you’ll have to slam on your breaks. What can I do? This is not safe for my wife to drive.

                                                                                                          • State: AL
                                                                                                        • #58 Paulina says:

                                                                                                          My car’s fan burned out and it started to over heat. There was a lot of smoke & it look like it was about to catch on fire. I have a 2016 Jeep Renegade bought it new in July 2016. I have had it just a little over a year. Took it to the dealer on 10/2/17 and it’s still sitting there. Two weeks ago they told me it was on first priority and would be ready beginning of this month (November). Today 11/6/17 my husband called them to follow up the service guy is now telling us that they don’t have a date to give us of when it could be ready. They haven’t ordered the part yet because they say it’s on back order and the manufacture doesn’t have the part to fix the problem. They did give us a loaner for the time begin. The dealer keeps advising us to trade the car in because it could be a while and they have two other Jeeps in with the same issue. When we tried that route it was just not worth it due to the dealer offering us way less then what we still owe. Financially we just can’t because we would have to pay double per month for the new car than what we are paying a month for the Jeep. I hear that we have to give the dealer a chance to fix the car before we can apply the Lemon Law. Is this true? If so, do I have other options?

                                                                                                          • State: FL
                                                                                                        • #59 LemonLaw says:

                                                                                                          @Paulina: I think you should look into your rights. Visit http://www.lemonlaw.com/lemon-law-firm.html to find a firm in your state.


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