New York Lemon Law Requirements

Requirements under the New York Lemon Law

1. Number of Repairs:  The New York lemon law requires (1) the same nonconformity, or condition has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer or its dealers within the first 18,000 miles of operation or two years following delivery.  These issues arise.

A. Can you bring a claim beyond the mileage limits of the statute?  The lemon law speaks of a presumption; can you file a claim beyond the statutory limits but not use the presumption?  You can file a claim on other grounds – breach of warranty – without meeting the mileage limits.

B. What is the “Same Problem”?  Four repairs of the same problems is required. Clever manufacturers will argue that a condition involves two or three different problems so that the same problems was not repaired four times.

2. Seriousness:  The problem must substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.

3. Damages Permitted:  The statute speaks of a repurchase. The statute is not clear about whether attorney’s fees are recoverable in an attorney general arbitration.  It appears that that other damages are not allowed such as loss of time from work, punitive damages, or mental injury. A consumer may choose to file a claim under other laws to assert those types of claims.

4. Mileage Offset:  An offset for miles over 12,000 is provided in the lemon law.  The formula is “purchase price x mileage over 12,000 divided by 100,000”.  Note that in a settlement, consumers may agree to a different formula to resolve the matter.

5. Presumption:  While the statute talks of a presumption, frequently that means little and the consumer has the burden of proof to show the necessary number of repairs and the seriousness of the problem.

6. Forum: Many consumers utilize the attorney general arbitration forum. A consumer may also file a claim in court.

Typical Manufacturer Defenses Under the New York Lemon Law

Consumers do not win every case and skillful manufacturers may succeed with various defenses.  Manufacturers’ representatives may handle lemon law defenses on an ongoing basis, perhaps dealing with 40 to 50 cases per year, and an experienced representative familiar with the workings and specifications of the vehicle may be quite skillful in minimizing a problem and defeating a claim. Here are some typical defenses.

1. Not the Same Problem:  Manufacturer sometimes presents technical arguments suggesting there are two or more conditions present on a series of repairs, rather than the same problem occurring 4 times.

2. The Problem has been Corrected:  There has been ongoing discussion about whether a claim can be presented if the problem was corrected.  Manufacturer sometimes argue the problem has been or occasionally can be corrected.

3. The Car is Working within Specifications:  Lemon laws are subjective processes; the claim must be objectively shown.  Manufacturers sometimes present detailed specifications, usually unknown to consumers, and explain how the car is working within those, even those a problem is claimed.  Frequently the specifications do not encompass the specific problem.

4. Owner Abuse or Modification:  As soon as it is learned that the owner put in a radio, did an oil change, or changed the vehicle in any way, a manufacturer may attribute subsequent problems to that.

The Law Office of Howard Gutman has been bringing lemon law cases in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years.  If you think your vehicle is a “lemon” or are otherwise having problems with your car, call (973) 598-1980 for a free consultation on your claim.

New York Used Car Lemon Law Procedures

The Used Car Lemon law provides a legal remedy for consumers who are buyers or lessees of used cars that turn out to be lemons.


The law requires dealers to give consumers a written warranty.  This page incorporate a New York State explanatory page with our comments.  Under this warranty, dealers must repair, free of charge, any defect in covered parts. If the dealer is unable to repair the car after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer is entitled to a full refund.

     Unfortunately, there is essentially no penalty for the dealer’s non-compliance so in many cases, they will refuse a refund even if they failed to adequately repair the car.


Frustrating Phone Conversation

For that reason, we sometimes use other laws which do have some teeth or penalties.  

Cars Covered by the Used Car Lemon Law Include any car that:

  • was purchased, leased or transferred after the earlier of 18,000 miles or two years from original delivery; AND
  • was purchased or leased from a New York dealer; AND
  • had a purchase price or lease value of at least $1,500; AND
  • has been driven less than 100,000 miles at the time of purchase/lease; AND
  • is used primarily for personal purposes.

Statutory Warranty Length:

Miles of Operation Duration of Warranty (the earlier of)
18,001-36,000 miles 90 days or 4,000 miles
36,001-79,999 miles 60 days or 3,000 miles
80,000-100,000 miles 30 days or 1,000 miles

    The question of what has been fixed is frequently disputed.  A dealer may suggest it has fixed problem A and another problem B arose outside the New York Lemon Law warranty period.  

Warranty Requirements:

Auto dealers are required by law to provide you a written warranty to covers the following parts:

Engine: lubricated parts, water pump, fuel pump, manifolds, engine block, cylinder head, rotary engine housings and flywheel.
Transmission: the transmission case, internal parts, and the torque converter.
Drive Axle: the front and rear axle housings and internal parts, axle shafts, propeller shafts and universal joints.
Brakes: master cylinder, vacuum assist booster wheel cylinders, hydraulic lines and fittings and disc brake calipers.
Steering: the steering gear housing and all internal parts, power steering pump, valve body, piston and rack
Other Parts: Radiator, Alternator, Generator, Starter, and Ignition System (excluding battery)

A Dealer’s Duty to Repair: A reasonable chance for an auto dealer to repair a problem for a used car is considered to be:

  • three or more repair attempts and the problem continues to exist; OR
  • the car is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of 15 days or more (although unavailability of parts may extend this time).

Exceptions When an Auto Dealer May Not Be Required to Provide a Refund:

  • the problem does not substantially impair the value of the car to the consumer; OR
  • the problem is a result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized alteration of the car.The judge finds the consumer has failed to prove a covered defect.

What consumers should do if they become aware of a problem with the car:

  • immediately report any malfunction or defect of a covered part to the dealer and request the necessary repairs. If the consumer has notified the dealer of a problem within the warranty period, the dealer must make the repair even if the warranty has subsequently expired.
  • keep careful records of all complaints and copies of all work orders, repair bills and correspondence.
  • obtain a report from an independent mechanic that shows a covered part was presented for repair and the problem still exists.  

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CALL (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation to Discuss your Rights r

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