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Is your car a lemon?

You bought a new car, but now it frequently needs repairs. The dealership may fix some of these issues, often with little or no cost. Others, however, may not have repair options. The state’s Lemon Law commonly applies in such situations and offers you some protection.

If your car meets the criteria of a lemon, you may have grounds to pursue action.

Ownership

According to the Maryland Attorney General, the Lemon Law applies to cars and light trucks, as well as motorcycles registered in the state. To qualify, however, you cannot have owned the vehicle for more than 24 months. If your vehicle has had a prior owner, but it was purchased new not more than 24 months from the time of your claim, you may still receive relief through the Lemon Law.

Mileage

The state also has mileage limitations for vehicles to qualify as lemons under the law. If you seek relief through this path, you cannot have more than 18,000 miles on your vehicle.

Problems that impair use

Simply requiring repairs from time to time does not itself make even a newer car a lemon. Rather, your vehicle must meet one of the following criteria:

  • A singular problem not fixed in more than four attempts that causes substantial impairment of use and decrease in value
  • A brake or steering failure uncorrected after one attempt, resulting in the vehicle failing the state’s safety inspection
  • Numerous problems causing significant impairment of use, and leading to the vehicle not being out of use for 30 total cumulative days

Before filing a Lemon Law claim for your new vehicle, the dealer or manufacturer should have the opportunity to fix the issue. Should they not repair the problem, however, you may choose to pursue options such as arbitration to see this wrong made right.