New Jersey Lemon Laws

Lemon Law in New Jersey

Show of hands: who loves that new car smell? Admit it; we all do. There is nothing like the simple pleasure of driving a brand new car. Most automakers recommend that we change our oil and do a “check up” every three thousand miles. In fact, they go so far as to provide a handy little guide for us in our owner’s manual to keep track of these things.

For every new car, there is a bit of a “shake-down” period as we become accustomed to how the vehicle handles. The car itself is also getting use to our driving habits. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario? Sadly, in some cases, quite a lot.

New Jersey Lemon laws, or as the lawyers like to call them Title 56:12-29 to 56:12-49, are on the books to protect consumers when that brand new car of theirs turns out to be a dud. The laws have been in effect since 1989. If you find yourself stuck with a lemon in New Jersey, you have the law on your side.

New Jersey Lemon Laws Qualifications

To be defined as a New Jersey lemon, your car needs to have been purchased new in the state. If a defect occurs within the first two years of ownership or the first 18,000 miles that is a manufacturer’s problem you could begin the process for restitution. Note: the New Jersey Lemon Law doesn’t cover commercial vehicles or any kind of motor home or RV.

A defect under this law means any issue with your car that has forced you into a mechanic for at least three separate repair tries for the same issue. It would also apply to a car that you haven’t been able to drive for at least 20 days because of that problem. The problem in question can’t be the result of any accident or neglect. In other words, drive safe and get your oil changed!

New Jersey Lemon Laws Procedures

If you feel your car meets those qualifications, the next step is to inform the car maker with a certified letter detailing the problem and your attempts to fix it. You should have a complete record of all the repair attempts/failures of to this point. Although your own notes are a good start, written reports from the mechanic are probably a better way to go.

After the car maker has been sent a copy of all this information, they have the right to make one last attempt at a repair. At this point you shouldn’t be paying for the repairs.

Once that has come and gone and the car is still a “no go” then the manufacturer has the right to offer you a replacement. You in turn have the right to turn down the replacement and get a full refund for anything you paid on the car so far. Part of that refund can include any money you out of pocket for repairs, towing or even rental car fees. If this lemon was a lease, you will be entitled to a refund of all the payments you made on the lease contract.