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Which Cars Are Covered by Lemon Laws?


Lemon laws are frequently misunderstood, although they do offer a significant form of protection for car buyers. The Illinois Lemon Law is designed to protect you when you buy or lease a car against being stuck with a lemon, or a car with significant manufacturing defects that affect the function, value or safety of the car. Not sure if your car qualifies for the Lemon Law protection? Here’s what you should know.

Illinois Lemon Law Applies to New Cars
One of the most common misconceptions about lemon laws is they apply to used cars. The truth is the Lemon Law only applies to new cars, RVs, and light trucks and vans. The law also applies to vehicles that are up to 12 months old or within the first 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Once a car has more than 12,000 miles or reaches 1 year old, it is no longer covered. The Illinois Lemon Law only applies to vehicles purchased or leased in Illinois.

You will not receive protection from this law if you buy a used car, motorcycle, trailer, boat, or car that has been modified.

Can Used Cars Be Covered?
While the Illinois Lemon Law does not protect you when buying a used car, you do still have protection under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. This law supplements the state Lemon Law when you lease or buy a new or used car that is defective and cannot be repaired, even after you give the manufacturer a reasonable chance to fix the car.

If your car has a defect covered under the Lemon Law and the manufacturer does not or cannot fix the defect, you have two primary options: arbitration with the manufacturer or a court action. You must begin by using the dispute resolution process offered by the manufacturer. The decision of this program will be binding on the manufacturer but not the consumer. If you are unsatisfied, you can bring your case to court.

The Illinois Lemon Law is very specific in terms of which vehicles and defects are covered and your options under the law. If you believe you have a case under lemon laws, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss your options. Contact Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law CenterĀ® to review your case.

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