The New Mexico Lemon Law

The New Mexico lemon law covers all vehicle owners in the state if their problem meets certain criteria.

Which Vehicles Are Covered By the NM Lemon Law?

The lemon law in New Mexico covers all new vehicles for one year from the original date of delivery. This includes cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, vans and motorcycles, and any other motor vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds, sold and registered in New Mexico. If you bought the vehicle from someone else, and the warranty was transferred to you, you are eligible for the remainder of the one year protection period.

The vehicle can be for personal, household or family use only, not for business use.

The defect must substantially impair your use of the vehicle and substantially reduce its value. (This is different from most other states, which require only that the defect impair or reduce, not both.)

The manufacturer must have made four repair attempts, with the defect still recurring. Or the vehicle must have been out of service due to defects for a total of 30 or more business days. This does not include time out of service for routine maintenance.

The defect cannot be due to abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications to the vehicle.

I Have a New Mexico Lemon. What Can I Do?

If your vehicle meets the criteria above, you have a lemon. It's time to start your claim.

Write to the manufacturer, outlining your case and demanding a replacement or refund for your lemon. Include photocopies of your notes, all repair orders and work invoices, and any other supporting documentation you have. Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. Remember to photocopy your letter and keep the copy for your records.

Arbitration or Law Suit?

The New Mexico lemon law requires that you use the manufacturer's or a third-party's informal dispute resolution process before you can use the law. Most arbitration decisions are binding on the manufacturer, but not on you.

If you disagree with the decision, you are free to file a law suit against the manufacturer. If you decide to do that, I recommend that you consult a lemon law attorney, a lawyer who is experienced with the New Mexico lemon law.

If you win, you could receive court costs and reasonable attorney's fees. However, if you don't win in court, the manufacturer is eligible for costs and attorney's fees, which you'll have to pay. Your lemon law lawyer should be able to tell you if you have a winnable case.

Replacement or Refund?

You're eligible for a refund or a replacement under the New Mexico lemon law. A replacement must be a vehicle of identical value, including any dealer-installed options. If one is not available, the vehicle must be of comparable value.

The other option is a refund of the full purchase price, including all collateral charges (sales tax, license and registration fees, and any other government charges. Payment will be made to you and any lien holder based on each party's interests.

In either replacement or refund, the manufacturer can deduct a reasonable use fee based on the number of miles you drove the lemon before returning it to the manufacturer.

New Mexico Lemon Law Summary

The lemon law in New Mexico protects owners of small passenger vehicles for one year from the date of delivery, if the defect substantially impairs use of the vehicle and its market value.

After four repair attempts or 30 business days total out of service for repairs, you're eligible for a refund or replacement. You must use an informal dispute resolution process before you can use the NM lemon law in court.

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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