Used Cars for Sale Wood Ridge: What You Need to Know About Lemon Cars

January 8th, 2018 by

You may have noticed your transition shutters or your engine makes a clanking noise. In either case, with repeated visits to the mechanic and the problem not resolving, you may have a lemon on your hands. Lemon cars are the bug in your salad, the cracked egg in your carton, the fuse that refuses to ignite. Call it what you may, lemon cars are cars that no matter how many times you take it to the mechanic and how much money you shell out on part replacements, it will not run efficiently. It simply could be a poorly made car or an entire make and model. Either way, used cars for sale Wood Ridge provides you everything you need to know about lemon cars:

  • What you need to do to determine if the Lemon Law applies to your vehicle
  • What a lemon car is not
  • What you need to do to decrease the chances of getting a lemon car
  • And more…

How You Know If You’re the Owner of a Lemon Car

Lemon cars are newer cars with lower gas mileages that should be functioning like your standard vehicle, except they’re not. Usually, one (or several) part(s) of the car is not working efficiently despite repeated trips to the mechanic to get it fixed. The part (or parts) affects the value, use, or safety of your vehicle.

What Lemon Laws Are Here for

Lemon Laws are there so you are not stuck with a defective car. They also serve as a set of procedures that helps resolve consumer and manufacturer disputes. However, the Lemon Laws vary by state, which is why it is important to research your state’s Lemon Laws if you suspect you have a lemon.

The Lemon Laws in New Jersey

If you have purchased or leased your (lemon) vehicle in the state of New Jersey, here is what you need to know about filing a claim, according to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.[1]

First off, the New Jersey Lemon Laws only pertains to motorcycles or passenger vehicles registered, leased, or purchased in New Jersey. Know that the Lemon Laws apply to used vehicles as well. (Speaking of which, check out our used cars for sale Wood Ridge.)

In order for your claim to be applicable, you must have first noticed and attempted to fix the defect when the car had less than 18,000 miles or 2 years (or less) after purchasing or leasing it.

You then must have taken the defective vehicle to get it examined and/or the defect repaired at least three or more times. That or the car has to have been out of service for 20 or more calendar days.

Send a Letter

If you find yourself in this situation, the State of New Jersey requires you to send a letter to the manufacturer, notifying them of this defect. The notice must be sent via certified mail, and you must provide a return receipt as proof. You can do this after the car has undergone 2 or more repair attempts or has not been drivable for 20 or more calendar days. After sending the letter, the manufacturer has 10 days to come back with a response.

Manufacturer’s Procedures or State Arbitration Program

To work out the dispute between the manufacturer/dealer and the consumer, you can either file a dispute and follow the manufacturer’s procedures or go through the state arbitration program.

Refunds and Replacements

Refunds are normally calculated by dividing the mileage when you first notified the dealer or manufacturer by 100,000. That number is then multiplied by the purchase or lease price.

As for replacements, there is no explicit definition in New Jersey. Basically, if you do receive a replacement vehicle, the manufacturer is responsible for transferring the lien from the lemon car to the newly replaced vehicle.

If You Leased or Purchased the Lemon Car on or Before October 1, 2009

If you leased or purchased your vehicle on or before this date, you may have some leeway. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs specifies that if you leased or purchased your vehicle on or before October 1, 2009, your claim may be approved if the first time you spotted the defect was either 2 years (or less) after purchasing or leasing it, or the vehicle has 24,000 miles or less (unlike the 18,000 miles or less requirement for vehicles purchased or leased after this date). Also, it may be presumed to be a lemon if the vehicle has undergone at least 1 repair attempt or examination that tried to fix a defect, which had serious safety and/or nonconformity issues.

Similar to lemon law claims after October 1, 2009, you still must notify the manufacture via official mail of the defect. However, you can do this if the vehicle has not been drivable for 20 or 45 or more calendar days.  That or 1 (or more) repair(s) has been attempted to fix the defect that poses serious safety or nonconformity issues.

What Lemon Laws Do Not Cover

Overall, the lemon laws (in any state) will not cover a vehicle that has defect(s) caused by an accident, neglect, abuse, or vandalism. Also, your car is not a lemon if it has run for at least 100,000 plus miles only needing the occasional oil change and tire rotation. Know that it is normal for a car to run into more maintenance issues when it gets older.

What the New Jersey Lemon Laws Do Not Cover

Specifically, the New Jersey Lemon Laws do not cover vehicles registered for commercial use (i.e. bus, cargo truck…). In addition, your lemon law claim may not be approved if the car is over 18,000 miles (or 24,000 miles if you purchased or leased it on or before October 1, 2009).

What Do You Do When Your Lemon Car Checks All of the Boxes?

You’ve looked up your state’s lemon laws, and your car applies. What do you do now?

Keep a Detailed Paper Trail

Make sure you save all of your invoices from the mechanic that pertain to the defect. Also, save all emails or letters you have exchanged with the manufacturer and the dealer about the defect. (This includes the required letter to the manufacturer notifying them about your vehicle’s problems).

Double-Check Contracts and Warranties

If you are leasing the car, check your leasing contract to verify who pays for the repairs. If you purchased your new or used car, you’ll want to double-check the warranty to see if it covers the defective part(s).

Fill Out the Lemon Law Complaint Form

You’ll want to go to the BBB Auto Line website to electronically fill out and submit the form. It will ask you for the make of the vehicle and the state you purchased it in, as well as the titled owners information, vehicle information, and complaint history. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) operates this free program to help consumers and car manufacturers reach resolutions regarding vehicle disputes via mediation or arbitration. The BBB has its own trained mediators or arbitrators. Several manufacturers participate in this program.

You will know if your manufacturer does by inserting the state the vehicle was purchased in and the vehicle make on the BBB Auto Line first page. If your manufacturer does not participate in this program, you will get a notice after pressing the submit button. If it does, after submitting that information, you will be taken to the next page of the Lemon Law complaint process.

The Arbitration Process

The process should be fast. Bring all relevant documentation and explain your case to the arbitrator. The manufacturer or dealer representative will explain theirs. If awarded, you may be given the option of a refund or replacement. If you do go through the BBB arbitration process, you have the decision to accept or decline the award. If you do accept the award, the manufacturer must do so as well.

Lemon Law and Private Party Sale

Usually, unless there are specifications in the purchase agreement and/or the manufacturer warranty and service plan covers the defect, most cars purchased via private party are “as is” sales. This means the seller is not responsible if there are any defects with the vehicle. Nonetheless, private party sellers must not keep anything from you about the vehicle.

How to Make Sure You Do Not Have a Lemon Car to Begin With    

While generally the lemon law process is fast, take proactive steps to make it less likely you’ll be in that situation.

Check Reliability Records and Vehicle History Reports

Make sure you choose models that have a solid reliability record. And go through the vehicle history report to see if the vehicle has been in an accident and/or endured fire or flood damage. Also, be wary of multiple owners and multiple trips to the mechanics, especially if it was for the same issue. On top of this, be on the lookout for manufacturer buybacks. This is when the manufacturer buys back the car because there is a significant problem with it. These two markers on the vehicle report are huge red flags that the vehicle you’re looking into probably is a lemon.

Do a Car Inspection and Check for Recalls  

Conduct a personal and professional car inspection to rule out defects and poor repair jobs.[2] Check on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for any recalls.

Go to a Reputable Dealer

Also, make sure you go to a reputable dealer—look at reviews from multiple sites to view other consumer’s car buying experiences. Know that all dealers must provide a Buyer’s Guide for each car. If the dealer does not have one, or claims that you do not need one, if pressed, be wary—this is a red flag.

Know Your Risks When Buying from a Private Party

If you do decide to go with a private party dealer, know the risks that come with it—such as potentially not receiving any compensation should you end up purchasing a lemon.

Observe and Ask Around

Keep your eyes open when you go to the mechanics. If you notice several cars with the same make and model there, you may want to do stay away from that vehicle—or, at the very least, do more research. (Still, it could be a coincidence.)

While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to ask your mechanic for their professional opinion on reliable cars. While you don’t have to take their opinion, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Used Cars for Sale Wood Ridge: Final Thoughts

2016 set a record high for car sales, with 17.6 million trucks and cars sold last year.[3] With this record high, a (small) fraction of owners may have to go through the Lemon Law process. Should you find yourself in this position, know your rights and options available to you so you can receive the best refund or replacement possible. For questions or comments, contact East Coast Toyota. And, be sure to check out our used cars for sale Wood Ridge.


  • If you find yourself taking your car to the mechanic’s multiple times, you may have a lemon on your hands
  • Which is why Used Cars for Sale Wood Ridge provides you with everything you need to know about the Lemon Laws and lemon vehicles
  • Make sure you read through the Lemon Laws in your state, as they will slightly differ state by state
  • As for New Jersey Lemon Laws, if the defect is spotted when the car is under 18,000 miles or less than 2 years old, you may be approved for a refund or replacement
  • If the car was purchased or leased on or before October 1, 2009, you have some leeway; your car can have 24,000 miles (or less) for you to apply
  • Know that for the state of New Jersey, only passenger automobiles and motorcycles are covered under the Lemon Laws
  • Used cars are covered as well though
  • If you want to go through the Lemon Law process, file a complaint via the BBB Auto Line
  • Send out a letter to the manufacturer notifying them of the defect
  • The manufacturer then has 10 days to respond and, for one last time, attempt to correct the defect
  • During the arbitration process, the arbitrator hears both sides of the issue
  • If you are refunded, it will be the mileage when you spotted the defect divided by 100,000, and then multiplied by the purchase or lease price
  • You may be rewarded a replacement, in which the manufacturer is responsible to transfer the lien from the lemon car to the replacement vehicle
  • If you purchase a car via private party, know that in most cases it will be an “as is” sale
  • It is important that before buying a car, you look over its vehicle history report, conduct a car inspection, go to a reputable dealer…
  • Make sure to check out our used cars for sale Wood Ridge

Have you gone through the Lemon Law process? What was your experience like? Leave a comment!

[1] New Jersey Consumer of Affairs: New Jersey Lemon Law Summary

[2] Consumer Reports: How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Car

[3] CNN Money: Car Sales Set Another U.S. Record

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