Lemon Law Washington State New Cars

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Lemon Law for New Cars in Washington State


Buying a new car is an exciting experience. However, sometimes you may end up with a vehicle that has multiple defects, impairing its safety, value, or use. In such cases, the Lemon Law in Washington State offers protection to consumers who have purchased new cars that turn out to be lemons. This article will provide an overview of the Lemon Law in Washington State specifically for new cars, outlining the key provisions and procedures that consumers need to be aware of.

What is the Lemon Law?

The Lemon Law is a legislation designed to protect consumers from defective products, especially new vehicles with significant defects. Lemon laws differ from state to state, and in Washington, it primarily covers new cars.

Eligibility Criteria

To be covered under the Lemon Law in Washington State, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The vehicle must be a new car, truck, or motorcycle.
  2. The defects must arise within the first two years following the vehicle’s delivery date, or within the manufacturer’s express warranty period, whichever comes first.
  3. The defects must impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.
  4. The vehicle must have undergone multiple repair attempts without success.
  5. The defects must not be a result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications by the consumer.

Manufacturer’s Duty

Once the consumer meets the eligibility criteria, the manufacturer has a duty to either replace the vehicle or refund the purchase price to the consumer. This duty arises if:

  • The defects substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.
  • The manufacturer has been unable to fix the defects, despite a reasonable number of repair attempts.

The Lemon Law Process

1. Document the Defects

The first step in the Lemon Law process is to document the defects. The consumer should keep detailed records of all repairs and attempts made to fix the vehicle. This includes dates, descriptions of the problems, and copies of repair invoices.

2. Notify the Manufacturer

The next step is to notify the manufacturer about the defects. This should be done in writing and should include a concise description of the problems and a request for either a replacement or a refund under the Lemon Law. It is essential to keep a copy of this notification for future reference.

3. Perform a Reasonable Number of Repairs

After notifying the manufacturer, the consumer must allow a reasonable number of repair attempts to fix the defects. What constitutes a reasonable number of repairs may vary depending on the specific circumstances and the nature of the defects. However, three or more unsuccessful repair attempts are generally considered reasonable under the Washington State Lemon Law.

4. Seek Arbitration

If the manufacturer fails to resolve the issue after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the consumer may choose to seek arbitration. Arbitration is an informal, out-of-court process where an independent arbitrator reviews the case and decides on a resolution. This is a cost-effective alternative to going to court, and the decision of the arbitrator is usually binding on the manufacturer.

5. File a Lawsuit

If the consumer is dissatisfied with the arbitration decision or if arbitration is not available, they may consider filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer. In Washington State, the consumer has up to four years from the time the breach of warranty occurred to file a lawsuit.

Remedies Available

Under the Washington State Lemon Law, consumers have several remedies available if their new car is found to be a lemon:


If the consumer chooses a replacement vehicle, the manufacturer must provide a new vehicle with similar features and options. The replacement vehicle must be free from defects that impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.


If the consumer opts for a refund, the manufacturer must refund the full purchase price of the vehicle, including any finance charges, sales tax, registration fees, and reasonable attorney fees incurred as a result of the Lemon Law claim.

Non-Conforming Vehicle

If the consumer purchased a new car that never conformed to the manufacturer’s express warranty, they may be entitled to damages. This includes the full purchase price, finance charges, sales tax, registration fees, and reasonable attorney fees.

Other Monetary Compensation

In addition to a replacement or refund, the consumer may be entitled to other monetary compensation, such as incidental damages, consequential damages, and treble damages under certain circumstances.


The Lemon Law in Washington State provides valuable protection for consumers who find themselves stuck with new cars that have significant defects. By understanding the eligibility criteria, the lemon law process, and the available remedies, consumers can take appropriate action to seek resolution and receive the compensation they deserve. It is important to remember that consulting with an attorney who specializes in Lemon Law cases can provide further guidance and assistance throughout the process.



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