Is Your Car a Lemon?

Do you think your car is a lemon? With all the recalls hitting the news lately, your state may agree. North Carolina is one of the many states to have a state lemon law in addition to the federal lemon law. Also called the New Motor Vehicle Warranties Act, the act applies to new passenger cars, trucks, motorcycles, and vans. It requires manufacturers to repair defects that affect the use, value, or safety of a new motor vehicle within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles of ownership. Your car may be covered if all the following applies:

  • If you purchased or leased the vehicle for purposes other than resale.
  • The problem occurs in a part that is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and you are within the warranty period.  This problem does not have to be so severe that it keeps you from being able to drive the car.
  • The defect/condition is not a result of abuse, neglect, tampering by the consumer, unauthorized modifications, or alterations by a third party.
  • You alert the manufacturer in writing about the problem and give them a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem.  The reasonable amount of time should not be more than 15 days.
  • If the manufacturer has tried to repair the same issue more than 4 times without success or the vehicle has been out of service a cumulative total of 20 or more business days during a 12 month period of the warranty, the manufacturer/dealer must, at the request of the consumer, either replace or repurchase the vehicle.  The consumer is allowed to decide between a comparable new car and a refund.

Used and leased cars are a bit trickier and whether they are covered under Lemon Laws depends on the state in which the vehicle was purchased.

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