Wisconsin Lemon Laws

Defining a Wisconsin Lemon

Definitions for a lemon vary from state to state. In order for a lemon to be legal in Wisconsin a new motor vehicle must currently be under warranty and be less than a year old. These minimum requirements must accompany one of two situations. The first situation is where the dealership cannot fix a problem or defect after four attempts. The second situation is where one or more defects require the motor vehicle not to be used for at least thirty days. These thirty days do not need to be in a row but can be added up over several months.


Wisconsin law also states that a defect must be severe enough to alter the safety, use, or value of the motor vehicle under warranty in order to be classified as a lemon. Unlike other states Wisconsin does not classify rattling as a severe enough defect to be classified as a lemon, where abrupt stalling is a defect.

Vehicle Coverage

Wisconsin lemon laws only covers certain motor vehicles. These include motorcycles, trucks, motor homes, and automobiles. Laws do not include semi-trailers, trailers, mopeds, and non-motorized RVs. The new motor vehicles covered can be either leased or bought and do not need to be registered in the state of Wisconsin. All executive vehicles and demonstrator vehicles are also covered. Lemon laws in this state currently do not have deadlines for suit filing, though a court may determine the case to be too old to proceed.

Determining Lemons

Wisconsin has five requirements for a motor vehicle to be classified as a lemon. All requirements must be met or the case will be dismissed. The first requirement states that the motor vehicle must be new and either leased or bought. The motor vehicle also must be a motor home, motorcycle, truck, or automobile. The third requirement states that the motor vehicle must have developed the defect before the warranty expires and within the first year.

The safety, use, or value of the care must be compromised by the defect or defects. And finally while still under warranty and in the first year after purchasing or leasing, the dealer must not have fixed a recurring problem after four attempts or the vehicle could not be in service for at least thirty days. A motor vehicle may have multiple defects and may still not be classified as a lemon if not all the criteria are met.

Legal Action

When an owner has a lemon vehicle he or she must gather the proper information prior to filing. This information will include the repair orders for the repair visits, purchasing contracts, and warranties. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation can provide the proper forms for contacting the manufacturer in order to obtain a replacement or a refund.

If a motor vehicle is to be refunded it cannot have unrepaired damage or missing parts. If damages, outside of the lemon defects, are not repaired prior to replacement, an individual may be required to pay a fee of deduction. Some cases may require the assistance of a licensed attorney.

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