New York State Lemon Law for Cars

by Cate Rushton ; Updated July 27, 2017
New York's lemon law covers many new and used cars purchased in the state.

If you purchase and register a car in the state of New York, it may be eligible for protection under New York’s lemon law. According to TheLemonLaws.org, a non-profit, consumer education website, New Yorkers enjoy one of the most thorough, protective lemon laws in the United States. With some slight differences, New York's law covers most new and used cars.

Requirements to Qualify

Owners of new and used cars must meet three qualifications to be protected by New York’s lemon law:

  • The vehicle must have been purchased with a warranty.
  • The vehicle must have been purchased specifically for personal use. Business vehicles or those purchased with the intent of resale do not qualify for protection.
  • The owner must participate in a dealer or manufacturer arbitration program if it’s available, prior to pursuing a lawsuit.

A new car is any vehicle sold with less than 18,000 miles or within two years of original delivery, whichever comes first. All other cars are considered used under the law.

New Car Lemon Law

The manufacturer of a new car sold in New York is required to repair any defect that’s covered by the warranty, as long as the defect occurs -- and is reported by the owner -- within the first 18,000 miles or two years, whichever comes first. Defects include problems such as stalling, trouble starting the car, transmission issues and other conditions that occur due to faulty parts. Owners must report such issues to the dealership immediately. The dealer will contact the manufacturer and make arrangements to fix the problem free of charge.

The dealer must begin repairs within seven days of receiving notice. If, after four attempts to correct the issue, the car is still defective, the dealer must either refund the purchase price, title and registration fees or offer a replacement car. If your car has more than 12,000 miles on the odometer, the dealer may take a deduction from the refund to compensate for mileage.

Used Car Lemon Law

Used cars purchased from private individuals are not protected under New York’s lemon law. But every used car sold by a dealer in New York must include a basic written warranty if it meets the following requirements:

  • It was purchased from a dealership in New York.
  • The purchase price was at least $1,500.
  • It had less than 100,000 miles when purchased.

The warranty is subject to specific time frames, depending on the mileage of the car at the time of purchase:

  • A 90-day warranty is issued for cars with mileage between 18,001 and 36,000.
  • A 60-day warranty is issued for cars with mileage between 36,001 and 79,999.
  • A 30-day warranty is issued for cars with mileage between 80,000 and 100,000.

During the period of the warranty, the dealer is required to make certain repairs free of charge or reimburse you for repair costs. Used car warranties must cover major parts of the engine, transmission, drive axle, brakes, steering, radiator, alternator, generator, starter and ignition. If the dealer is unable to correct the problem within three repair attempts, he must offer you a refund of the purchase price. The dealer cannot deduct an amount for mileage from the refund, but may deduct for modifications made to the car that decrease its value.

Other Protections Under the Law

If the dealer or manufacturer has an arbitration program, you must first attempt to resolve the issue through that means. Otherwise, you may choose to use New York's arbitration program, or file a lawsuit against the dealer. You must enforce the lemon law within four years of your purchase. Keep detailed records regarding the problems with the car, the dealership’s communication with you regarding the matter and all repair attempts. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles requires dealers to provide you with a work order for any repair performed on your vehicle.

Whether the car is sold new or used, if you successfully sue or arbitrate under the New York lemon law, you can also recover the sales tax paid for the vehicle. Submit Form AU-11 Application for Refund of State and Local Sales Tax to the New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance within three years of receipt of your refund.

About the Author

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.

Photo Credits

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