It can be frustrating and expensive when you purchase a vehicle that turns out to be a lemon. A “lemon” is a term that describes a vehicle that has defects that substantially affect its use, value, or safety. If your car fits this definition, you may be eligible for protection under the Lemon Law. Identifying if your car is a lemon under the Lemon Law can help you save time and money. Here are tips to help you determine if your car is a lemon under the Lemon Law.

  • A Significant Defect Affecting the Use, Value, or Safety of the Vehicle

Under the Lemon Law, your car must have a significant defect affecting its use, value, or safety. That means the fault must be substantial enough to impair the vehicle’s function or safety. Such imperfections could include failing brakes, transmission problems, inability to start reliably, excessive engine noise and vibration, and more. To determine if you have a lemon under the lemon law, look out for any recurring issues with your car and take note of them.

Furthermore, if you are experiencing the same problem multiple times after having the same repair performed on your vehicle, this is likely a sign of a more significant underlying issue. A lemon law calculator can help you with repurchase or replacement cost calculations. That will give you an idea of what to expect regarding financial compensation should your case qualify as a lemon law case.

  • The Defect Persists Even After a Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts

Suppose the car has had significant problems, and the manufacturer or dealer has unsuccessfully made several attempts to repair it. In that case, it may be considered a lemon under the lemon law. Typically, the law requires that the problem be fixable within a reasonable number of attempts or a specific amount of time. To determine if this is the case, keep track of how often your vehicle has been in the shop and how long it’s been since you purchased it.

In some states, after three repair attempts or 30 days of repair attempts, the car may be considered a lemon. An experienced lemon law attorney can help you better understand what would constitute a “reasonable” number of repair attempts in your state and other criteria for determining whether or not your car qualifies as a lemon.

  • Defects Noticed within the First 18,000 miles or 18 Months of Ownership.

The timeframe of 18,000 miles or 18 months of ownership is often a vital threshold in lemon law cases related to automobiles. That’s because many states have lemon laws that protect consumers if their vehicle develops a substantial defect within this timeframe.

If the defects are under the lemon law and the consumer has attempted to have the issue repaired multiple times to no avail, they may have grounds for a lemon law claim. The specifics of lemon law claims vary by state, but generally, the consumer must provide documentation of the repair attempts and other relevant information to support their claim.

  • The Car is Out of Service for a Total of 30 Days or More for Repairs

If a consumer’s car is out of service for 30 days or more due to repairs, it may be a qualifying event under the lemon law in some states. The threshold is often helpful in determining whether a vehicle has a substantial defect that remains unsolved within a reasonable time.

If the consumer has made reasonable repair attempts and the vehicle has been out of service for 30 days or more due to repairs, they may have grounds for a lemon law claim. As with any lemon law claim, the specifics of the requirements and the legal process will vary by state.


Lemon laws provide essential protections for consumers who have purchased defective products, particularly automobiles. The specific requirements and legal process for lemon law claims vary by state. Still, primary qualifying events include the car having a substantial defect that cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts or being out of service for a significant amount of time due to repairs. Consumers who believe they have a lemon car should seek the advice of a lemon law attorney if they are considering filing a claim. Also, a lemon law calculator is vital in determining an accurate value for your compensation.