Popularly known as the "lemon law," Minnesota's motor vehicle warranty statute was created to help protect you when you buy or lease a car, pickup truck, or van, that is still under the original manufacturer's warranty. The lemon law is not intended to eliminate all problems you will ever encounter with your vehicle. What it does do is require manufacturers to honor the time and mileage provisions of their written warranties. And, it provides special arbitration, refund and replacement provisions for vehicles which are considered to be real "lemons."
The Minnesota lemon law covers new motor vehicles purchased or leased in Minnesota. It also covers used vehicles that are still under the original manufacturer's warranty. These cars must be used at least 40 percent of the time for personal, family or household purposes. (Leased vehicles are covered by the lemon law if the lease term is longer than four months.)
The first report of a defect must occur within the warranty period, or two years, whichever comes first. If you have continuing problems with the same defect, however, you still can make a claim until the end of the third year.
The manufacturer or its authorized dealer must repair a motor vehicle in accordance with the terms of the warranty, even after the manufacturer's warranty has expired, if:
The Minnesota lemon law has special refund and replacement provisions for cars that have substantial defects or problems, commonly called "lemons." Under the law, if the manufacturer or its authorized dealer has been unable to repair a car's problem after a "reasonable number of attempts," the buyer or lessee may go through a manufacturer's arbitration program, or to court, to seek a full refund of the car's purchase price (minus a deduction for use of the vehicle). The lemon law considers a "reasonable number of attempts" to be any one of the following:
Four or more unsuccessful attempts to repair the same defect; or,
Are you having trouble with a new car you just bought? Is your "new" used car making strange noises? Maybe you had trouble with a repair shop?
This brochure is designed to guide you through Minnesota's Lemon Law, Used Car Warranty Law and Truth In Repairs Law. Buckle your seat belt, this is going to be a quick ride through "Car Law 101."
One unsuccessful attempt to repair a defect which has caused the complete failure of the steering or braking system and which is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury; or,
A car which has been out of service due to warranty repairs for 30 or more cumulative business days.
In each case the initial defect must occur within the warranty period, or two years, whichever comes first, but the manufacturer's repair attempts may extend to the end of the third year. Even if you do not meet one of the above categories, you may still have a lemon law claim, but it will be harder to prove.