An Overview of Lemon Laws in New York

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Lemon laws protect car buyers from lemons’. These are cars that initially seemed like a sweet deal but turned sour due to serious defects. We’re not talking about fixer-upper cars or ones sold “as-is.. Lemon laws specifically address issues that the car buyer was unaware of or problems that appear soon after you bought it. 

The Limits of Lemon Laws 

Lemon laws are limited to personal vehicles. Commercial vehicle buyers can sue for a defective car under laws regarding fraud, but they can’t take advantage of lemon laws. Lemon laws don’t apply to anything other than personal vehicles. In many states, they don’t apply to RV trailers or motorcycles. In New York, lemon laws will cover the vehicle portion of an RV but not the living area Lemon laws never apply to vehicles that aren’t roadworthy. If it was never street legal, it will never fall under the purview of lemon laws. Lemon laws typically don’t apply when you’re buying a car from a private seller, though you can sue them for failing to disclose serious issues they knew about. This doesn’t preclude the need to get used cars inspected by a mechanic you trust. 

When Do Lemon Laws Apply? 

We’ve made it clear that the lemon law in New York applies to personal vehicles you bought from a dealer. They are generally limited to new cars purchased from a dealer New York state law only applies to vehicles purchased from a dealer in New York. Note that you don’t have to be a New York resident to take advantage of their laws. If you live in Florida half the year but bought the car in New York state, you can sue for repair or replacement of the defective vehicle under the NY lemon laws. However, the car must be registered in the state of New York. Lemon laws only apply to cars that were purchased, transferred or leased within the first two years of original delivery or 18,000 miles of operation, whichever comes first. This protects dealers from liability for cars that sat in storage for years without maintenance or were driven until the wheels fell off. Furthermore, New York limits lemon laws to cars worth at least 1500 dollars. A car that costs less than this is usually barely street legal. When severe issues arise with the car, the lemon law requires the dealer to fix most problems within 3 tries and 30 days in the shop. After that, you should get your money back or a replacement vehicle. Issues that make the car dangerous to drive have to be fixed in one go or you get your money back. 

The Limited Protection for Used Cars Bought in New York 

New York offers limited protection for used cars bought in New York. They require dealers to offer a statutory warranty. The warranty covers the car for the first 90 days if it has less than 36,000 miles on it, 60 days if it has 36-80,000 miles on it and 30 days if the car has 80-100,000 miles on it No car with more than 100,000 miles on it is covered by the statutory warranty, though someone rolling back the odometer has committed a different offense. The warranty protection requires the dealer to provide a warranty for major engine, transmission, drive .1e, brakes and other key components. This includes the radiator and alternator but not the battery When issues with these car parts arise, the dealer has an obligation to repair them. The only exceptions are when the car has after-market parts, when you’ve intentionally damaged it or failed to maintain the vehicle. For example, the dealer has no responsibility to fix it if you altered the car engine and software to get more power out of the engine.


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