How The Used Car Lemon Law Works in Virginia

They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Having said that, how can you make lemonade out of a lemon car? If you bought a lemon car, that’s a hard pill to swallow.

Whether you’re buying a brand new car or a used vehicle, you can’t deny the excitement, the giddiness of getting behind the wheel of your new purchase. However, all those feelings go down the drain when you realize that your car is, in fact, a lemon.

Don’t despair. If you bought a used car that turned out to be a lemon, Virginia’s used car lemon law might be able to help you.

What is the Virginia Lemon Law and how does it work? Keep on reading to learn more.

What Is the Lemon Law?

Lemon laws are federal and state laws that were legislated to protect you, the consumer, if you purchased or leased a lemon car. The vehicle must have a major mechanical defect that’s usually covered by a warranty. If the manufacturer or dealership can’t repair the defect after a reasonable number of repair attempts, your car is declared a lemon.

If your motor vehicle qualifies as a lemon, you’re entitled to receive a replacement or refund.

Keep in mind that lemon laws are very state-specific. The differences lie mostly on what’s considered a major defect and what constitutes a “reasonable number” of repair attempts.

How Does the Lemon Law Work in Virginia?

Here are the criteria to be designated as a “lemon” in Virginia. You only need one. The presumption is only valid if the following occurs within eighteen months after the vehicle’s original delivery date.

  1. Your car has a significant problem that’s been worked on three times and the problem still exists after all that.
  2. It suffers from a serious safety defect affecting the driveability or creates a risk for fire or explosion. After one or more repair attempts, the defect persisted.
  3. It’s been in the shop due to repair for a cumulative total of thirty calendar days.

The law requires written notification of the issues to the manufacturer. It’s preferable to send a certified mail to prove that you’ve indeed sent a letter. The manufacturer is also deemed to have been notified if they respond in writing or by sending a factory representative.

Lemon law VA obliges the manufacturer to either replace or repurchase the lemon car. You have the unconditional right to choose a refund instead of a replacement. You also have the right to drive the problematic vehicle until you’re provided with the replacement or repurchase.

Is My Used Car Lemon Law Covered?

The answer is yes. A used car will qualify under the lemon law if you got it with a written warranty. It’s common practice to sell a used car while still under the manufacturer’s warranty and/or a dealer’s warranty.

A leased car is also covered as long as it comes with a warranty when leased.

How to Avoid Lemons

Prevention is still better than a cure. While Virginia’s used car lemon law will protect you if you bought a lemon, it’s more important to avoid lemons in the first place.

Always shop from a trusted dealer.

If you’re looking for a new ride, contact us. We have a great selection of used automobiles in the Lynchburg, VA area. No lemons!