Lemon Law

The Iowa lemon law covers persons who purchase or lease a new or previously untitled motor vehicle for purposes other than resale or sublease. The lemon law also covers any other person entitled by the warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty during the lemon law rights period. The definition of “person” includes any natural person or his/her legal representative, a partnership, corporation, company, trust, business entity or association.


Definition

The Iowa lemon law covers persons who purchase or lease a new or previously untitled motor vehicle for purposes other than resale or sublease. The lemon law also covers any other person entitled by the warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty during the lemon law rights period. The definition of “person” includes any natural person or his/her legal representative, a partnership, corporation, company, trust, business entity or association.


Lemon Law Rights Period

The lemon law provides a Lemon Law Rights Period that ends at the earlier of:
1. The expiration of the manufacturer’s written warranty;
2. 24 months after the date of the initial retail delivery of a motor vehicle to a consumer; or
3. The first 24,000 miles of operation after such delivery.


Problems Covered

The lemon law covers vehicle nonconformities. A nonconformity is defined as a defect, malfunction, or condition in a motor vehicle that renders the motor vehicle nonconforming to the terms of an applicable manufacturer’s warranty. This does not include a defect, malfunction, or condition that results from an accident, abuse, neglect, modification, or alteration of the motor vehicle by persons other than the manufacturer or its authorized service agent.


Manufacturer's Duty to Repair

If a motor vehicle has a nonconformity and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or authorized dealer during the Lemon Law Rights Period (see definition above), the nonconformity must be corrected, even if the repairs are made after the expiration of the Lemon Law Rights Period.


Notice and Opportunity to Repair

After (1) three attempts have been made to repair the same nonconformity that substantially impairs the motor vehicle; (2) one attempt has been made to repair a nonconformity that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury; or (3) 20 or more cumulative days when the motor vehicle has been out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities, a consumer may give written notification, by certified or registered mail or by overnight service, to the manufacturer of the need to repair the nonconformity to allow the manufacturer a final attempt to repair the nonconformity. Within ten days after receiving this notification, the manufacturer must contact the consumer to arrange for repairs at a reasonably accessible repair facility. After the motor vehicle is delivered to the repair facility, the manufacturer has an additional ten days to conform the motor vehicle to the warranty.


Additional Resources

Iowa Department of Justice - Office of the Attorney General

The Consumer Protection Division generally oversees manufacturer compliance with Iowa's Defective Motor Vehicles Law, also known as the Lemon Law. The Lemon Law is designed to allow car owners to pursue complaints on their own. We hope this information will help answer your questions about the Lemon Law. For independent legal advice, you should consider contacting a private attorney.

Please visit the Attorney General Website for more information 

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