The cost of new cars is higher than ever and not likely to come down – ever. When spending tens of thousands of dollars on a new car or truck, it’s important for it to be in flawless condition and run reliably well. Most vehicles made these days are among the best ever built, but an occasional lemon still turns up. If you get stuck with a lemon, state law offers you protection beyond what a manufacturer’s warranty provides. Here’s a closer look at how you can make Michigan’s lemon law work when necessary.

Vehicles Protected by the Lemon Law

The lemon law Michigan motorists depend on makes it possible to obtain a full refund or a comparable replacement vehicle when an auto dealer can’t fix a recurring problem with a particular car or light truck. The lemon law also applies to SUVs and vans as well as cars the pickup trucks that are bought or leased in Michigan. Even a recently built used vehicle might be subject to lemon law protection if it was sold to the original buyer within the prior 12 months and the manufacturer’s warranty is still in effect.

Michigan’s motorists have about 7.83 million cars and light trucks registered to drive on the state’s public roads. Many of those are new cars and trucks that are subject to the state’s lemon law, which the Michigan Legislature enacted years ago to protect against defective vehicles that have recurring problems despite being new. The lemon law won’t apply, though, if you don’t give the automaker a chance to fix the problem.

Seeking Fixes for a Recurring Problem

New cars and light trucks generally come with a manufacturer’s warranty that protects the buyers and people who lease them against defective vehicles. The lemon law is in effect for the first 12 months that you own or lease a new car. Any defects must not be related to any modifications that you might have made to the vehicle. You also must properly care for the vehicle and not abuse it or neglect routine maintenance as indicated in the recommended service intervals provided in the owner’s manual. When you do, the lemon law is in effect for the first 12 months that you own or lease a new vehicle.

If a defective condition arises during the 12-month period, you must notify the manufacturer or an authorized auto dealer and seek remedies via the manufacturer’s warranty. Michigan’s lemon law says you must give allow a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problem, which state law says is four times or at least 30 days in the repair shop. The initial notification of the problem must be during the first 12 months that you own or lease it. If mechanical problems persist afterward, it is subject to lemon law protection. The mechanical problems don’t have to be the same ones for the lemon law to apply.

When a Refund or Replacement Is Required

If mechanical problems persist after a reasonable number of attempts to fix them, you can use the lemon law to obtain a full refund or a replacement vehicle that is comparable and currently produced by the automaker. If the automaker’s warranty lists an informal process for warranty disputes, you must complete that process before seeking relief via the lemon law. An experienced lemon law attorney can help determine your rights under Michigan law and enforce them if you bought or leased a lemon.

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