How Does the Lemon Law Actually Work in Arizona?
The Arizona Lemon Law applies to brand-new vehicles that end up having substantial defects that can’t be repaired within a reasonable opportunity. It’s not enough just to have a defect in your vehicle; the substantial impairment requirement of the Arizona Lemon Law means that the defect substantially impairs the use and value of the vehicle to you as the consumer. You also have to provide the manufacturer, through its authorized repairing dealerships, a reasonable amount of time to repair the product or a reasonable number of repair attempts to correct a defect.
If the vehicle is still defective after providing a reasonable repair number of repair attempts to the manufacturer’s repairing dealership(s), and the defect, condition, or non-conformity is substantial, then you are entitled to potential Arizona Lemon Law protection.
Keep in mind that if your vehicle has not been repaired in a reasonable time (which is statutorily presumed to be 30 days under A.R.S. 44-1264(A)(2)) then a continuing defect is not required for Lemon Law coverage. This is the enough is enough portion of the Arizona Lemon Law.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lemon Law Claim in Arizona?
The Lemon Law period in Arizona for new vehicles (or vehicles that are put into service and are still under warranty) is two years or 24,000 miles from when the vehicle is put into service, which means acquired by the first purchaser. When you hit the earlier of the two (whichever comes first), you then have six months to bring an action in court.
How Do I Start the Arizona Lemon Law Claim Process?
There are multiple ways to begin the Arizona Lemon Law claim process. In our view, the best way would be to hire a competent, professional Lemon Law firm. Before you hire a firm, spend some time online researching firms and looking at their reviews. Also, find out a little bit about the Arizona Lemon Law, and if you believe your vehicle qualifies, you can either call, do a chat session, or fill an online form with your vehicle information. You could also attach your repair records to the online form to speed up the evaluation process.
An attorney will discuss the potential case with you, and if the vehicle qualifies, you will be sent a representation agreement, which can be emailed or sent through DocuSign. Then, you discuss the terms of the agreement, and if those terms are acceptable, you will sign the agreement.
A Notice Letter to the vehicle’s manufacturer will be drafted on your behalf and sent to you for your approval. Once you approve the letter, it is sent to the company, and now, the Lemon Law resolution process has begun.
Do Lemon Laws Only Apply to Motor Vehicles in Arizona?
The Lemon Law applies to vehicles designed primarily for transportation on public highways, and there is also a weight limitation of 10,000 pounds. What that means is that motorcycles are covered, as are most cars, trucks, and vans (as long as they’re not over 10,000 pounds). The chassis portion of a motorhome could also be covered.
Vehicles that are not covered include ATVs, other type of off-road vehicles, and travel trailers. Those vehicles are covered by other laws, but they are not covered by the Arizona Lemon Law because they’re not designed primarily for transportation on public highways or because they’re too heavy. A motorhome that has a chassis that weighs over 10,000 pounds would not be subject to Arizona Lemon Law coverage.
To clarify, by 10,000 pounds, I mean actual weight. A lot of vehicles have what’s called GVWR, which means Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, but that just means the total amount of weight that the engine can handle, not what the vehicle actually weighs. The GVWR is higher than the actual weight of the vehicle.
What applies to the Lemon Law is GVW, which means Gross Vehicle Weight, or the actual vehicle weight. If you have a question about whether your vehicle weighs too much for Lemon Law coverage, you should check the owner’s manual or the warranty manual. If you don’t find the weight there, the vehicle can always be weighed at a weigh station.
Will the Arizona Lemon Law Cover Older Vehicles?
If a vehicle is over two years old, then it would not be protected under the Arizona Lemon Law portion that applies to vehicle manufacturers. The Arizona Lemon Law period is within the first two years or 24,000 miles while the vehicle is still covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. Once the vehicle hits two years of age, you have six months to bring an action in court. That means for any vehicle over the age of two and a half, it would be highly unlikely that it would qualify under the Arizona Lemon Law.
The one exception is used vehicles that have defects arise withing the first 15 days or 500 miles of ownership. If that occurs repairs must be done by the selling dealer at no more than a $25 repair charge. This part of the Arizona Lemon Law only applies to dealerships not manufacturers.
When Does a Vehicle Qualify as a Lemon in Arizona?
A vehicle qualifies as a Lemon in Arizona when it has been subject to an unreasonable number of repair attempts or an unreasonable time in the repair shop to repair a defect, nonconformity or condition that substantially impairs the use and market value of the vehicle to the consumer.
While there is no specific figure for what is “unreasonable,” the Arizona Lemon Law does have what’s called a presumption, which has two separate parts. First, there are four or more repairs and the defect continues to exist. Second, the vehicle spends 30 or more cumulative days in the repair shop (it doesn’t have to be the same defect that’s repaired). You only need one or the other presumption, not both.
The presumption is a good guidepost, but it’s not a requirement for a vehicle to qualify as a “Lemon.” It shifts the burden of proof on a claim from the consumer to the manufacturer if it is met. This gives the consumer a procedural advantage and a negotiating advantage because it’s basically presumed that the vehicle is a Lemon unless the manufacturer can somehow overcome that presumption (which, again, is their burden). If there are two sides to the story in a tie situation, the consumer would win, as long as there were four or more repairs or 30 or more days out of service.
With that being said, again, there is no specific number of repair terms or time out of service to qualify under the Arizona Lemon Law. In our view, if you have at least three repairs for a substantial issue, then that would likely qualify. Twenty to 25 days in the repair shop could also qualify, depending on how low the vehicle mileage is. The lower the mileage, the more unreasonable the repair history would be, and so you wouldn’t necessarily need the full 30 days or four or more repairs required by the presumption.
As you can see, vehicles qualify on a case-by-case basis, but overall, if a vehicle has three repairs for a substantial condition or at least 25 days in the repair shop cumulative, that’s likely to qualify under the Arizona Lemon Law.
For more information on Arizona Lemon Law, a Free Lemon Law Evaluation is your next best step. Please call (480) 237-2744 for Free Lemon Law help today.
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