Making Lemonade: What to do if you were Sold a Lemon Car

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what about when life hands you a lemon car?
If you find that you’re constantly taking your car to the mechanic, then you may have been sold a lemon. The good news is that laws have been enacted over the past several years that require carmakers to replace your vehicle or refund your money if it can’t be fixed in a reasonable amount of time.
If you’re souring over your recently bought car, don’t worry. Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know!

What Is a Lemon Car?

If a car has a substantial defect that the carmaker can’t fix within a reasonable amount of time, then it’s usually considered to be a lemon. There are lemon laws in various states. And these laws state how long a “reasonable amount of time” is and also what constitutes a “substantial defect.”

Federal Lemon Law

There is a federal lemon law that is officially known as the Magnuson Moss Warranty Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act. This law sets regulations for consumer products that are covered under written warranties. It also states that if a car manufacturer can’t make things right in a reasonable amount of time, then they have to give you the choice between a replacement or a refund.
If you’re claiming that you have a lemon car, then you’re basically saying that your car isn’t living up to the warranty. This means that you need to buy a vehicle with a warranty in order to have a good case.
It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t need to buy a new car in order to be protected under the lemon law. Used trucks and cars that are sold with warranties are also covered.

State Lemon Laws

Many states have their own laws in addition to the federal lemon law. These state laws can vary in details. However, they all basically work like the federal ones.
Let’s look at Michigan as an example. Here, you’re allowed to sue for a refund or a replacement if a car manufacturer can’t fix the same problem after four attempts.
You also might have a claim if your vehicle has been kept out of action by repairs for at least one month. Another important aspect has to do with when the problem first started taking place.
The problem has to take place within the coverage period of the warranty or the first year of the original new-vehicle delivery date, whichever comes first.


In general, it’s important that you keep track of the service records of your car. If you plan on showing that you have a lemon on your hands, then it’s crucial.
You should save all correspondence that you have with the carmakers or dealers. Save all of your receipts from repairs too.
You should also go online and see if other drivers with similar cars are also experiencing problems with their vehicles.

Hiring an Attorney

Typically, you need to take your car to the dealer for repairs so that you don’t void your warranty. It also doesn’t make sense to sue the manufacturer right off the bat.
First, you’re going to have to send a formal letter to the manufacturer. You’ll want to outline your claim and ask for the suggested solution.
If your claim is denied, then you’ll have to decide if you want to undergo the arbitration process. Companies are encouraged to set up informal dispute-resolution programs under the Magnuson Moss Act. If the company has this kind of program, then you’ll need to go through the arbitration process before you can take your case to court.
You should only go to court as a last resort or if it seems like the arbitration program isn’t fair. At this point, assuming you win your case, you’ll be able to get a refund or replacement. The same can’t be said for arbitration.
It’s important to consider hiring an attorney who is experienced in auto lemon law. After all, you can be sure that the carmaker will have paid experts helping them out.

How to Avoid Buying a Used Lemon

A vehicle history report can let you know if there are title issues when you’re looking to buy a used car or truck. Unfortunately, most states don’t require any special title branding for lemon vehicles. This means that you’re going to have to pay attention to the part of the vehicle history report that details the ownership of the car and its service records.
If you notice that the manufacturer has owned the vehicle after it was purchased by someone, or if there are multiple repairs for the same problem in a short amount of time, then those are definite red flags and should probably be avoided.

The Importance of Knowing What to Do If You Were Sold a Lemon Car

We rely on our cars and trucks for work and for fun. Because of how expensive and dangerous these vehicles can be, we want to make sure that they’re as efficient and effective as possible. This is why it can be so frustrating when you realize that you were sold a lemon.
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now feel that you have a better understanding of what lemon laws are and what you can do about them.
Are you looking for other helpful articles? Check out the rest of our blog for more!