Are You Driving a Lemon? Answer These Questions

June 07, 2013
By: Robert Silverman

We invest a significant amount of time and money into finding a car perfect for our needs and our family.  However, no matter how hard we work to prevent it, there is a chance we could end up with a defective vehicle, commonly known as a “lemon.”  A vehicle must meet a few requirements to be considered a lemon – by answering the following questions, you may be able better identify whether or not your car is a lemon and if you are entitled to the free legal help the lemon law provides.

What exactly is a “lemon”?
While lemon laws vary from state to state, the lemon law generally applies to cars, personal trucks and motorcycles, both purchased and leased, which suffer a nonconformity; a defect or condition, which substantially impairs the use, value or safety; that cannot be repaired after repeated attempts  (normally three) by an authorized manufacturer’s dealership. In each state, the lemon law outlines specific mileage and age parameters. For instance, in New Jersey, this nonconformity must first occur within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Oftentimes, the lemon law can also come into play if your vehicle is in the shop for an extended period of time, or with a serious defect which could cause bodily harm or death that is not fixed after one repair attempt. Again, these laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to understand your specific state’s lemon laws.

  • Did you purchase your car new or used?
  • Has your car’s nonconformity attempted to be repaired by an authorized manufacturer’s dealership and has failed to be repaired?
  • Has this nonconformity been repaired repeatedly under a manufacturers warranty?
  • Has your vehicle spent a considerable amount of time in the shop?  20 days or more?
  • Can this defect cause bodily harm or death and was it unable to be fixed after one repair attempt?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, you may have been sold a lemon. If you believe your vehicle to be a lemon, it’s important to contact a lawyer experienced in your state’s lemon law.

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3 Responses to “Are You Driving a Lemon? Answer These Questions”

  1. #1 Bob says:

    I bought a 2008 Saturn Outlook in April. I took it through the car wash this weekend and I had water running into the vehicle from the overhead console and the passenger side A pillar. I have contacted the dealer I bought the vehicle from (a local Hyundai dealer) and I am awaiting a decision from them. Since I bought the vehicle more than 30 days ago, I’m not confident that they will help.

    • #2 Joe Locke says:

      I bought a 2012 ford focus i had aound 18000 miles on it and had transmission problems from the start and noone could figure out what the problem was, i became disgusted with the car and let a salesman at the dealer ship talk me into trading it for another, well it has the same problems they say drive it, it gets worse and not better my wife calls Ford and an engineer says that is how they work. The one we have now has 23000 miles on it and they upgraded the program about 5000 miles ago and it appeared to fix it about 1000 mile later it is back to acting up again, when you take off from a light and it gets ready to shift it boggs down and makes you think it is going to die in the middle of the intersection among other problems that is it in a nutshell, i may have to many miles on it to do any good but being so frustrated with it we just drove it.

      • #3 LemonLaw says:

        @Joe: Sounds to me like you have a claim. Contact a lemon law lawyer. Visit to find one in your state.

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