New-car lemon law: fact sheet

Lemon law program

If you bought or leased a car that turned out to be defective (a "lemon"), the New York State New Car Lemon Law provides a legal remedy for you. The law covers new cars and many used cars. 

Under this law, you may qualify for New York's arbitration program, and may receive a refund or replacement. All of the following must be true:

  • The car does not meet the terms of its written warranty.
  • You are unable to resolve the problem directly with the manufacturer or its authorized agent.
  • The manufacturer or agent is unable to repair the car after a reasonable number of tries. 

To be covered by the law, the car must meet all of the following conditions:

  • At original delivery, the car must have been covered by a warranty.
  • The car must have been bought, leased, or transferred within 18,000 miles or two years from the date of original delivery (whichever came first).
  • It must have been bought, leased, or transferred in New York state, or presently be registered in the state.
  • It must be used primarily for personal purposes.

What is a "reasonable" number of repair attempts by the manufacturer or agent?

We have two definitions for a reasonable chance to fix a problem on a new car. The car must meet either of the following conditions:

  • The problem continues to exist after four or more repair attempts.
  • Because the problem cannot be repaired, the car does not work for a total of 30 or more days. 

Are there exceptions?

A manufacturer or agent may not be required to provide or replacement in either of the following situations:

  • The problem does not substantially lower the car's value to you, the consumer. 
  • The problem is caused by abuse, neglect, or unauthorized alteration of the car. 

If my car has a problem, what should I do?

  • Immediately report any defect or condition directly to the manufacturer or its authorized dealer. If you notify the dealer, the dealer must 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.
  • If you have difficulty obtaining repair orders, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles at 518-474-8943. 

How do I request arbitration?

Complete the form, providing a brief but complete description of your problem. Answer all questions as accurately as you can, especially those about date and mileage. Email the form to or send it by regular mail to:

Office of the New York State Attorney General
Lemon Law Unit
28 Liberty Street
New York NY 10005

If you have questions about your rights under the lemon laws, contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at 1-800-771-7755