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Minnesota Lemon Law Rights Consumer Guide

Minnesota Lemon Law Rights

This guide contains a good explanation of the Minnesota lemon law statute, including the Minnesota lemon law definition and its presumptions. Read this guide, and if you have more questions about your rights under the Minnesota automobile lemon law or the lemon law process generally, or you if want free help seeking remedies under the Minnesota lemon law on new cars or the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, click to connect with a Minnesota lemon law attorney for a free lemon law case review ! Simply put, whenever you need help with the Minnesota car lemon law, this Website is your one stop lemon law infosource. This Guide was compiled by the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General to explain your Minnesota Lemon law rights and is brought to you here courtesy of CarLemon.com.

Minnesota Lemon Law

Popularly known as the “lemon law”, Minnesota’s motor vehicle warranty statue was created to help protect you when you buy or lease a car, pickup truck, or van, which is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty. The law is not intended to eliminate all problems you will ever encounter with your vehicle. What it does do is require manufacturer’s to honor the time and mileage provisions of their written warranties. And, it provides special arbitration, refund and replacement provisions for vehicles which are considered to be real “lemons”.

Which Motor Vehicles Are Covered?
The Minnesota lemon law covers new motor vehicles purchased or leased in Minnesota. It also covers used vehicles which are still under the original manufacturer’s warranty. These cars must be used at least 40 percent of the time for personal, family, or household purposes. (Leased vehicles are covered by the law if the lease term is longer than four months.)

The first report of a defect must occur within the warranty period, or two years, whichever comes first. If you have continuing problems with the same defect, however, you can still make a claim until the end of the third year.

The Manufacturer’s Duty to Repair
The manufacturer or its authorized dealer must repair a motor in accordance with the terms of the warranty, even after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired, if:

  1. The motor vehicle has a defect or problem which is covered by the warranty; and,
  2. The problem has been reported by the vehicle’s owner within the warranty period, or within two years after after delivery of the vehicle, whichever comes first.

The Manufacturer’s Duty to Refund or Replace
The law has special refund and replacement provisions for cars that have substantial defects or problems, commonly called “lemons”. Under the law, if the manufacturer or the authorized dealer has been unable to repair a car’s problem after a “reasonable number of attempts,” the buyer or lessee may go through a manufacturer’s arbitration program, or to court, to seek a full refund of the car’s purchase price (minus a deduction for the use of the vehicle). The law considers “a reasonable number of attempts” to be any one of the following:

  • Four or more unsuccessful attempts to repair the same defect; or
  • One unsuccessful attempt to repair a defect which has caused the complete failure of the steering or braking system and which is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury; or,
  • A car which has been out of service due to warranty repairs for 30 or more cumulative business days.

In each case the initial defect must occur within the warranty period, or two years, whichever comes first, but the manufacturer’s repair attempts may extend to the end of the third year. Even if you do meet one of the above categories, you may still have a lemon law claim, but it will be harder to prove.

Situations When Refunds or Replacements Are Not Given
Be aware that the manufacturer does not have to make a refund or replace the vehicle if:

  • The problem does not substantially impair the use or market value of the vehicle; or,
  • The problem is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the vehicle.

Refund and Replacement Eligibility Requirements
Just because a repair shop has made a number of unsuccessful attempts to fix your car you are not automatically eligible for a refund or replacement vehicle. You must first:

Write to the manufacturer, zone representative or authorized dealer notifying them of the problem. Specifically state that your car is a lemon and that you want a buy-back under the lemon law. This does two things:

  1. It gives the company an opportunity to fix the defect (the manufacturer gets one more chance to fix the defect after notification); and,
  2. It lets the company know you plan to use Minnesota’s lemon law if the defect is not properly repaired.

Try to resolve the problem through the manufacturer’s automobile dispute arbitration program.

The manufacturer may require you to first go through the arbitration program before filing a lawsuit under the lemon law. Check with the manufacturer or the Minnesota Attorney General’s Consumer Division if you have questions about a manufacturer’s arbitration program.

If You Are Awarded a Refund
If you are awarded a refund under the terms of the lemon law, the manufacturer must refund:

  1. The full purchase price of the vehicle, or the amount you actually paid on your lease. However, for either a purchased or leased vehicle, the manufacturer may deduct a reasonable allowance for the time that you were able to use the vehicle. This deduction cannot exceed 10 cents per mile or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less;
  2. The cost of certain options installed by the manufacturer or dealer;
  3. Sales tax;
  4. License fees;
  5. Registration fees;
  6. Reimbursement for towing; and,
  7. Rental expenses.

Note: If you are awarded a replacement vehicle, you have the option of receiving a refund instead.

Automobile manufacturers doing business in Minnesota must offer consumers an arbitration program which considers consumers’ warranty related disputes.

A manufacturer’s arbitration program provides consumers a fast and simple way to resolve disputes. Arbitrators can consider arguments based on the lemon law. But, an arbitrator is not a judge and is not required to apply the law the way a court would.

If the manufacturer requires it, consumers must first go through the manufacturer’s arbitration program before filing a lawsuit under the lemon law. You may not have to wait until all the lemon law criteria are met before going through arbitration, but you might have a stronger case if all the criteria are met.

In fact, you may not even want to discuss the lemon law in arbitration if your car does not meet the lemon law criteria.

The consumer has certain rights during the arbitration process:

  • Lemon law information. You and the arbitrator(s) must receive a copy of the Lemon Law Brochure from the manufacturer’s arbitration program.
  • Lemon law arguments. You may make any arguments to the arbitrator(s) you think necessary to support your complaint, including those based on the lemon law. The arbitrator(s) cannot be discouraged or prohibited from considering your arguments.
  • Documents. You are entitled to copies of all documents.
  • Oral presentation. You must be given reasonable written notice of the arbitration and an opportunity to make an oral presentation to the arbitrator(s), unless you agree to a telephone conference or to submit the case on the basis of documents alone. If the case is based on documents alone, the manufacturer or dealer representative cannot participate in discussion or resolution of the dispute. You may get better results if you make a personal oral presentation to the arbitrator(s).
  • Independent appraisal. You must be given an adequate opportunity to get an independent appraisal, at your own cost, of any manufacturer claim that your vehicle does not have a problem or that your vehicle is operating within normal specifications.
  • Repair attempts. You must be given a chance to inform the arbitrator(s) about the results of any recent repair attempts by the manufacturer.
  • Service bulletins. You must be provided with, at reasonable cost, any technical service bulletin which the manufacturer knows directly applies to the specific mechanical problem being disputed.
  • Attorney. You have the right to be represented by an attorney in the arbitration process. However, most arbitration participants appear before the arbitrator(s) without an attorney. Attorney’s fees for representation in arbitration are not recoverable under the lemon law.
  • Arbitration decision. You are not bound by the decision of the arbitrator(s), unless you agree to be bound. In the past, manufacturers have agreed to be bound by the arbitration decision. If you are unhappy with an arbitration decision, you may wish to consult an attorney if you wish to file a lawsuit under the lemon law. The arbitration decision is admissible as nonbinding evidence in any subsequent legal action. If you wish to file an appeal of the arbitrator’s ruling in court, you must file in court within 30 days of the decision.
  • Refund amount. If the arbitrator(s) decides you should receive a refund or replacement vehicle under the terms of the lemon law, then you are entitled to the same refunds and reimbursements you would have received had you won in court.
  • Bad faith appeal. If a court determines that you or the manufacturer acted in bad faith when you appealed an arbitration decision, the party that wins in court may be entitled to receive three times the actual damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs.

How to Use the Lemon Law in Arbitration or Court

To prepare for a dispute you should:

  1. Keep copies of all purchase orders, sales receipts, lease agreements, warranties, repair invoices, letters and other documents concerning your vehicle and any of its problems.
  2. If your vehicle is in the shop for repairs for more than one day at a time, make sure that the repair invoice shows the date it was brought in and the date you were notified that it was ready to be returned.
  3. If you think you are eligible for a refund or replacement vehicle, remember the law requires written notice be given to the manufacturer, zone representative or authorized dealer. You should send a letter by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. If you send the letter to the dealer, send a copy to the manufacturer and keep a copy for your records. You should include the following information in your letter:
  • Your name, address and telephone number.
  • The date you purchased or began leasing the automobile.
  • A list of defects and systems affected.
  • The number of times the vehicle has been subject to repairs for the same problem, and the dates of the repairs.
  • A statement that the defect still exists as of the date of the letter.
  • A reference to the lemon law (Minnesota Statutes, section 325F.665) and a statement that you will pursue a replacement or refund claim under this law if the vehicle is not made to conform to the warranty.
  • A request for information about the company’s arbitration program.

Remember, the refund and replacement provisions of the lemon law are intended to provide a replacement or a refund only in the cases of the most serious defects ¾ faults which seriously impair the use or market value of the vehicle, or faults which involve life-threatening failures of the braking and steering systems.

If You Sue
If you feel you must bring a lawsuit under the lemon law for a refund or replacement vehicle, you should consult an attorney (you may be eligible to recover the attorney’s fees if you win). The law allows you to file suit any time within three years of the date of the original delivery of the vehicle, if you first reported the defect within the warranty period, or two years, whichever comes first. As of April 1995, if you go through a manufacturer’s arbitration program, you have six months to appeal in court. The company has only 30 days to appeal in court.

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  1. I got a 2003 chevy impalaand ever since i got it i been paying something to fix it and now my engine light is on and the company trying to mAck me pay for that as well i just got the car in february 2015 and i feel that i paying for the repair that they lack at

  2. Bought a 2001 impala 226xxx miles on it Oct 29 2015 Nov.8 transmission went out dealership hangs up on me and won’t give me there information I just want it fixed or replaced its only fair they sold a broke car to me

  3. I bought a 2007 mini cooper July 2015. The day I drove it off the lot the check engine light came on. I called them, they said to bring it back. So I did. It was a sensor out they said. Took it home, noticed a oil/coolant leak. Told them about it right away, they told me to take it to a shop that is more familiar with a Mini Cooper (I bought it from a big name Chevy Dealer) and found the timing chain had slipped. Said shop fixed this. Took it home and again noticed more leaking. This time the cooling fan needed to be replaced. Saw more leaking after cooling fan was fixed, head gasket. Valve job, Fuel pump came next, and now most recent is the entire timing chain assembly. Did you know a fuel pump for a mini cooper costs almost $400?

    Majority of these repairs the big name Chevy dealer paid for because they all occurred within the first 30 days. The problem is it all seems to be relating back to the timing chain and it slipping causing things to not fire correctly. In fact, there is a class action law suit currently against Mini Cooper for people who have had engines damaged as a result to said chain breaking and getting into the engine. Luckily, this did not happen to me…yet. The head gasket, fuel pump, timing chain assembly and valve job I paid for.

    I bought the car end of July and have put on only 6k since then. The car has spent more than twice as much time sitting than it has being used. I am beyond frustrated that its almost comical at this point. All I can remember is negotiating on price and them refusing to go lower claiming they have “fair price” yada yada rule/standards. Whatever that means. I guess the price of shit is high.

  4. I bought a 2012 ford diesel from a used dealer in Minnesota. After 2nd day of use the truck broke and towed in for repairs. Repairs were all covered under warranty. Had the truck back for one day and something else has broke and needs to be taken to the shop again. I’m just wondering if I got a “lemon” and can I just get my money back. Not to mention I paid for the vehicle, was told told they had to get the title from the bank. 2 weeks later, I haven’t seen a title.
    My money was taken from my account 2 days after purchasing.

  5. We have had nothing but issues with this vehicle since we bought it brand new. From the first oil change up until now we have been told it was normal for some oil consumption with these vehicles. Within the last year alone we have had the oil consumption test done in December 20th 2015 w/52k miles, Then January 3rd 2016 w/53k miles, brought the vehicle back in due to an engine noise at that point. January 13 2016 w/54k miles, engine light came on and had a rough idle when at stop signs or stops, at this time they replaced a solenoid. March 13 2016 w/57k miles, still an awful noise coming from the engine that has been going on at low rpm or idle and didn’t matter if the engine was cold or hot. At that time it was concluded there was excessive oil consumption and they replaced the timing chain, tensioners, and piston rings. We also had to PAY for the oil change at that time due to this issue which is really a shame! March 27 2016 w/58,300 miles, coolant was leaking from the vehicle and had to replace the water pump. Then March 29th 2016 w/58,454 miles, radiator hose clamp broke and had to be replaced. Now we come to July 27 2016 w/66,633 miles, there is another engine noise this time on a cold start up lasting about 20-40 seconds then it goes away. They replaced both solenoids this time thinking that was the fix. Noise is still continuing on so now after the dealership had to diagnosed it with GM techs they have to replace the entire engine!! An engine at 66k miles!!!! We have a lemon! I am so disappointed and upset. I can’t even say one good thing about our Equinox. We have a 2006 Honda Civic that I can count on 1 hand the number of times it has been in the shop over its “lifetime” and that is only due to normal wear and tear on the vehicle. I am really honestly regretting buying a GM product at this point especially this Equinox. How are we to know that this won’t all happen again starting at 50k miles on this “new” engine? How are we supposed to know that it is a new engine and not a rebuilt one the dealership is getting from somewhere. So now I sit on day 7 without my vehicle this time and it will be probably another week from today until its completely done. Where is the compensation for my time away from work, sitting in the shop, without my vehicle for days on end when these fixes were happening?? This vehicle is a lemon. Don’t buy a 2012 Chevy Equinox!!!

  6. Hi
    I bought a 2007 Acura TL almost 3 weeks ago. It’s now starting bubble on the outside of the car door. That will rust eventually. I brought it to a shop and they said the car has been painted before but not done the right way.

  7. Hi I have a 2013 VW passat it’s under warranty plus has a 11 year rust warranty. Surprise I have rust and will be bringing it in for the 3rd time rust. Does Rust count for Lemon Law?

  8. Bought a 2008 Ford escape 2 months ago. The power steering went out. There was a recall on this but I was told the service was already made in 2014 and ford will not honor it again although clearly the problem was not fixed

  9. I just Purchased a 2014 FORD Escape Titanium on Saturday 12/11/16
    I brought it in twice to my Ford Dealership last night, because the vehicle bounces on certain highways and I had a bad headache from this. I was driving on a smooth paved hwy and I do not understand why this is happening – But I do not want to be stuck with a faulty car.

    Please help.
    Rachel Rohling

  10. DisgruntledLoyalCustomer

    I’ve had my vehicle in for the 3rd time now… my vehicle is still under warranty and I had a full transmission replacement on a Mazda 2016 CX-3 Grand Touring AWD @ 26,500 miles. Since the transmission replacement I’ve had and documented via Video of the issues that still remain – when placing the car in park it does not engage “into park” it sits in a weird mode car does not shut off, have to start the car back up put it in drive, then put it back into park and hit the start/stop button sometimes I have to do this a few times for it to finally “engage” into park. I had the car back into the shop about a month later same issue, even after the Transmission computer was reprogrammed, I today now have brought my car in for the 3rd time regarding transmission issues… Same issue, car wont go into park, even though it show’s it in park… the is very frustrating as they keep telling me that “they” have to see it happening – I have VIDEO’s of this issue happening… how much more evidence do they need?

    I have an open ticket with Mazda Corporate which I have been dealing with since September 2016. I have uploaded the video’s, they’ve given me pointless “perks” to get me out of the car, but no “option” to refund me for the vehicle under lemon laws… I even had a corporate Mazda employee drive my car and expedite other parts for other known “service board” issues… I am just utterly annoyed and feel that this is not being dealt with at all in the way it should be…

  11. I bought a 08 chrysler pacifica in January. It’s now may. The 2nd day I had the car the wheel berring’s went. I got them fixed. The day I went to get the car the radiator went and the dealer had it replaced. Its now may and I had a mechanic look at the car cause it’s still making noise. First thing he noticed is the radiator that the dealer fixed is being held on by zip ties. Than the cv axel is shot which is causING my car to kinda jump while driving it. Which it did that before I bought it. The dealer assured me that it was just the transmission needing to be flushed that he would get it flushed that day and he did. The place where my wheel berring were replaced is the dealerships mechanic. When I left the shop after getting the front left wheel berring replaced I steped on the brakes and they were grinding. So I took it back and the mechanic took my tire off and pounder on it he said it was fixed and now my brake and rotor on front left side needs to be replaced.
    I have contacted the dealership since 2 days after I bought it he only called me back once and that was almost 2 weeks ago. He told me before I bought the car and while buying the car that if anything went wrong he would take care of it and the only thing he offered to do when I talked to him was trade in my car for another. In which I would loose money. The car is not brand new it was used when I bought it so I’m pretty sure the lem on law does not apply to me. Is there anything I can do. He sold me a car that has zip ties holding the radiator on to the car.

  12. I bought a used 2005 Ford Expedition and purchased a warranty with but with in 1,000 miles the motor went out and now the warranty will not cover repairs because it was a preexisting problem from January 2017 with the previous owners had a engine light reset I guess I just bought the truck may 2017 and the motor or the timing chain went out before my first payment was due


  14. What effect does it have if the vehicle is titled lemon law vehicle?

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