Credit challenged consumers that qualify for a new car should know what to do if their ride turns out to be a lemon

Approved for a New Car Loan

New Cars and Lemon Laws

At Auto Credit Express we realize that while the majority of people with bad credit will finance a used car, in some cases (depending income, debt and credit history) they'll be offered the option of financing an affordable new car.

Buying new comes with a number of advantages including that "new car smell" as well as a comprehensive manufacturer warranty.

But what happens if that new car turns out to be a lemon?

State Lemon Laws

In fact, every state has some type of "lemon law" on the books, designed to help consumers who have purchased vehicles that exhibit repeated, unfixable problems. But in order to take advantage of these laws, we first need to explore what qualifies a vehicle as a "lemon" and how buyers can go about either getting a refund or a replacement vehicle.

Most state laws specify that to be categorized as a lemon, a vehicle must:

  1. Have a significant defect covered by the manufacturer's warranty that occurred within a specified period of time or number of miles after the vehicle was purchased
  2. The significant defect could not be fixed after a reasonable number of repairs was attempted
  3. The defect must be a problem whose consequences affect the vehicle's value, safety or use
  4. The defect must occur within a specified amount of time following delivery (usually anywhere from 1 to 2 years) or within a certain mileage range (typically 12,000 to 24,000 miles)
  5. The defect must not have been caused by abuse

A "reasonable number of repair attempts" is typically 3 to 4 attempts within 1 to 2 years or, in some cases, if the vehicle has been out of service (due to the repair attempts) for a total of 30 or more days either during the warranty term or within one year of the date of delivery. In some cases, the "days" option does not require the same problem to be the cause of the "out of service" issue.

If a vehicle meets these requirements, in all states the buyer must first notify the manufacturer. If the buyer feels the settlement by the manufacturer isn't satisfactory, most states require the matter to go to arbitration before going to court.

For More Information

For those needing additional information:

  • The Better Business Bureau has a national program to resolve warranty issues
  • State lemon law information can be found at
  • The NHTSA ( investigates consumer complaints about vehicle defects
  • The Center for Auto Safety ( publishes detailed information about various vehicle defects

The Bottom Line

Buying a new car is typically a great experience, but it can quickly sour if the vehicle turns out to be a lemon. If this happens, consumers - especially those with poor credit - should be aware of their rights under their particular state's lemon law.

Another great tip: Auto Credit Express helps consumers with credit issues find dealers that can afford them their best opportunities for car loan approvals.

So if you're ready to reestablish your credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.