State Lemon Laws

Q: What Records Should I Keep if my Car is a Lemon?

A:  The short answer is "everything".  If you think that a document might be useful in proving your car is a lemon, then it probably is.  The actual documentation requirements vary by state and you should consult those laws for exact information, but you generally speaking, you should keep:
  • All original purchase documentation.  Keep all documents that you signed, any advertisements for the vehicle and especially any express written warranty for the vehicle.
  • All original and current registration documentation.  You usually need to prove what state the vehicle was registered in when it was purchased, and what state it was registered in when it began to have problems (different states have laws regarding this).
  • All repair history documentation.  Make sure that your car is repaired by the dealer, and include all of the documentation they provide you.  Also keep your own log of the problems with your own descriptions, as some less scrupulous dealers will often describe a problem in different ways to avoid certain Lemon Laws.  Make sure that the dealer has recorded your complaint in your words on their repair documentation.  If the problem is a recurring problem, make sure that your description is the same every time.  Record the date, time and odometer reading of when you picked up and dropped off the car.
  • All correspondence with the dealer or manufacturer.  Most states require that you notify the manufacturer in writing that the car is a lemon.  Keep a copy of this correspondence and make sure that it was sent by some sort of traceable mail (FedEx, or USPS Registered).

These guidelines should help you in most situations.  However, you should consult your state's specific laws to ensure that you are keeping proper documentation.


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