New Car Lemon Law Fact Sheet

Lemon Law Program

The New York State New Car Lemon Law provides a legal remedy for consumers who are buyers or lessees of new cars and certain "used" cars that turn out to be "lemons." If a car does not conform to the terms of its written warranty and the manufacturer or its authorized agent is unable to repair the car after a reasonable number of attempts, a consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement. 


Cars covered by the law include any car that: 

  • Was covered by a warranty at original delivery; AND
  • Was purchased, leased or transferred within the earlier of 18,000 miles or two years from the date of original delivery; AND 
  • Was either purchased, leased or transferred in New York State or is presently registered in the state; AND 
  • Is used primarily for personal purposes. 


Duty to Repair:

A reasonable chance for a manufacturer or its authorized agent to repair a problem for a new car is considered to be: 

  • Four or more attempts to repair and the problem continues to exist; OR 
  • The car is out of service by reason of repair of one or more problems for a cumulative total of 30 days or more. 


Exceptions when manufacturers may not be required to provide a refund or replacement: 

  • The problem does not substantially impair the value of the car to the consumer; OR 
  • The problem is a result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized alteration of the car.


What consumers should do if they become aware of a problem with the car: 

  • Immediately report any defect or "condition" either directly to the manufacturer or to its authorized dealer. If the consumer reports the problem to the dealer, the law requires the dealer to forward written notice to the manufacturer within seven days.
  • Keep careful records of all complaints and copies of all work orders, repair bills and correspondence. 
  • Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles at 518-474-8943 if there are problems obtaining repair orders. 

Individuals with questions about their rights under the New Car Lemon Law are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755