The Pennsylvania Lemon Law

The Pennsylvania lemon law covers passenger vehicles that are registered in the state, including those with a capacity of up to fifteen people. This includes leased and demonstrator vehicles. Covered vehicles can only be used for personal, family or household purposes.

Does Pennsylvania Cover My Lemon?

Motorcycles, motorhomes (RVs), vehicles designed for off-road use, and those for commercial use are not covered by the PA law. However, you can use the federal lemon law for these lemon vehicles.

The Keystone State lemon law provides coverage for the first year of ownership or the first 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. After that, you're covered by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, also known as the federal lemon law.

My Car Is New? Does It Qualify?

Besides the one year/12,000 mile criterion, there are a few other requirements before your lemon qualifies as a lemon in Pennsylvania...

  • The problem or defect must substantially impair your use of the vehicle, or reduce its value or its safety.

  • At least three (3) repair attempts must have been made for the same defect or problem. Or, it must have been out of service for a total of 30 days within the first year, for any number of problems (not just one particular defect).

  • The problem cannot be due to any abuse, alteration or neglect of your lemon vehicle.

I Have a Lemon! What Do I Do Next?

The Pennsylvania lemon law requires that the dealer's repair shop give you an itemized statement of all the repairs they made, including the cost of parts and labor. Keep all of those statements. All keep all routine maintenance service orders, to prove that you did not neglect the vehicle.

Next, contact the dealer or the manufacturer's zone representative (the phone number should be in your owner's manual). The representative will attempt to have the defect fixed. If this last repair attempt does not correct the defect, you can request a replacement vehicle or a refund of your purchase price and associated costs.

Be sure to take notes of any phone calls you make during this process, including dates and times, and to send any notification letters by registered mail, and request a return receipt as proof that the manufacturer received your correspondence.

Arbitration or a Lawsuit?

Pennsylvania suggests using the manufacturer's informal dispute resolution program, which is binding on the manufacturer, but not on you. If there is none, you can file a lemon law lawsuit in a court of common pleas. If you do, consider hiring a lemon law attorney. These lawyers specialize in cases involving defective motor vehicles and other products. If you do go to court, and win, you are entitled to recover reasonable lawyer's fees and all court costs.

You are entitled to a replacement with a comparable make and model of equal or greater value, or a refund of your purchase price, minus 10% of the price of the vehicle, or $.10 per mile driven before the first repair attempt (another good reason to report problems as soon as possible!).

Reselling Lemons in Pennsylvania

The PA lemon law prohibits the manufacturer from reselling your lemon inside the state unless it comes with a written statement that the vehicle has a defect that could not be fixed within a reasonable amount of time. The manufacturer also must provide an express warranty on this lemon law buyback for 12 months or 12,000 miles from the resale date.

The Lemon Law in Pennsylvania—Summary

If you own a lemon passenger vehicle in Pennsylvania, a little attention to detail will ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve by law. Start the process as soon as you detect the first problem with your vehicle. That will save you time and money in the long run.

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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