The Michigan Lemon Law

If you've ever had a car that spent more time in the mechanic's garage than yours, you can appreciate that the Michigan lemon law helps you receive a replacement for your lemon or a refund of your purchase price or lease costs.

The lemon law in Michigan covers defective new passenger vehicles that you use for personal, family or household purposes, such as minivans, sport utility vehicles, cars and pickup trucks. If you have a motorhome, bus, larger truck, off-road vehicle (like an ATV) or motorcycle, the law does not apply to your situation.

How Can I Tell If My Vehicle Is a Lemon?

The Michigan law states that if a single problem (for example, faulty brakes) is not fixed after four (4) repair attempts (within two years of your reporting it), your vehicle can be considered a lemon. Or, if it's been out of service (that is, it's been in for repairs) for a total of 30 days or more for any number of problems, it's a lemon.

You must also be the original purchaser of the vehicle. The vehicle must have been covered by an express warranty at the time you bought it. Unfortunately, the Michigan lemon law does not apply to you if you bought the vehicle used.

And you must have bought the vehicle in Michigan, or bought the vehicle elsewhere but are a Michigan resident.

My Car Is a Lemon. What Now?

There are several steps you have to take when you want to receive compensation for a vehicle that simply doesn't work:

  • You must report the defective vehicle to your manufacturer or one of its authorized dealers either within a year of the date of delivery or within the remaining term of the warranty, whichever is shorter.

    After you give notice within the appropriate period, the manufacturer or dealer must attempt to repair the vehicle.

  • If the vehicle still has the problem after three (3) repair attempts, or if it's been out of service for 25 days, you can send written notice to the manufacturer to give them one last attempt at repair. You must do this, so don't wait until the fourth attempt or until 30 days out of service. Do it when you reach 3 repair attempts or 25 days.

    You must send your notice by return receipt service. That is, you must require a signature from a manufacturer's representative to indicate that they received your notice.

  • After the manufacturer receives your notice, they must respond as soon as possible with a repair location near you. Once the repair shop accepts your lemon, they have five (5) business days to repair it. If your vehicle is not repaired within those five days, you can demand a replacement vehicle or a refund of your purchase price or lease costs.

Refund or Replacement?

The manufacturer cannot force you to accept either a replacement or a refund. It's your choice. You can choose a comparable replacement that's currently in production, or you can choose a refund.

If you choose a refund, it covers the original purchase price, including any options installed before you received the vehicle, minus a reasonable allowance for your use of the vehicle. The refund amount is also reduced by any appraised damage to the vehicle that was not caused by the defect or problem condition.

The manufacturer must also reimburse you for towing costs, if any, and comparable rental vehicle costs incurred due to the defect or problem condition.

Michigan Lemon Law Summary

Under the lemon law in Michigan, you have the right to a replacement vehicle or a refund of your purchase price or lease costs if your vehicle is a lemon. Use the above information to determine if your car or truck is a lemon, and if it is, take action. There's no need to be stuck with a lemon when you have the Michigan lemon law on your side.

NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.


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