Washington State Lemon Law – Fact Sheet

CALL

Statewide

Toll-free 1-800-541-8898

Local King County

206-587-4240

Local Spokane County

509-456-3124

WRITE

Lemon Law Administration

Attorney General’s Office

800 Fifth Avenue,

Suite 2000

Seattle, WA 98104

FAX

206-464-6451

E-MAIL

lemon@atg.wa.gov

Washington State Lemon Law – Fact Sheet

Find out what vehicle’s are covered by Washington State’s lemon law and which are not on our Washington State Lemon Law Fact Sheet.

The Washington State Attorney General’s website has all information you would want to know about the Lemon Law in Washington State. Their site is complete and easy to use. We’ve taken what we believe are the “highlights” of Washington State Lemon Law and compiled them below for your convenience. All the information below was taken from the Washington State Attorney General’s website.

Please note, the information provided is not meant to take the place of an experienced warranty law attorney. For specific warranty law needs, please contact your local bar association for a recommended lawyer near you.

What’s Covered?

  • Most classes of motor vehicle including “demonstrators”
  • An original retail purchase or lease in Washington State
  • Registered originally in Washington State

What’s NOT Covered?

  • Motorcycles with engine displacements of less than 750 cubic centimeters;
  • Trucks over 19,000 lbs. gross weight rating; and
  • Vehicles purchased or leased by a business as part of a fleet of 10 or more;

For motor homes, please visit our Washington State Motor Home Lemon Law webpage.

What is a Lemon?

To qualify as a “lemon”, the car must have one or more significant defects that have been the focus of a “reasonable number of attempts” to diagnose and/or repair the problem(s) under the manufacturer’s warranty.

Significant defects are those which are life threatening, create a risk of fire or explosion or which substantially impairs the vehicle’s reliability, resale value or safe use.

Owner abuse or negligence, or any unauthorized modification or alterations made to the car are not covered by Washington State’s Lemon Law.

“Reasonable number of attempts” definition:

  1. Diagnosis or repair of the same “serious safety defect*” has been attempted two or more times (with at least one during the “warranty period”), and the defect still exists; OR
  2. Diagnosis or repair of the same “nonconformity*” has been attempted four or more times (with at least one during the “warranty period”), and the defect still exists; OR
  3. A vehicle has been out-of-service for diagnosis or repair of one or more “nonconformities” or “serious safety defects” (whether or not repaired) for a cumulative total of 30 calendar days, with at least 15 of those days occurring during the “warranty period*”.

* “serious safety defect”: a life-threatening malfunction that impairs the driver’s ability to control or operate the vehicle, or creates a risk of fire or explosion.

* “nonconformity”: a defect that “substantially impairs” the use, value or safety of the motor vehicle so as to make the vehicle unreliable, unsafe or diminished in resale value for comparable vehicles.

* “Warranty period”: covers a diagnosis or repair occurring within 2 years from the original delivery date AND 24,000 miles of operation of the vehicle.

What Is The Warranty Period?

At least one try to diagnose or fix each defect under the manufacturer’s warranty within the Washington State Lemon Law “warranty period” will help to determine whether or not you can file a claim under the Washington State Lemon Law.

In Washington State, arbitration is used when a Lemon Law claim is filed. During arbitration the term “warranty period” may not be the same as the warranty from the manufacturer. Under the law, manufacturer’s warranties must cover the car for at least 1 year or 12,000, whichever comes first. Extended service contracts are not the same as express manufacturer’s warranties.

When trying to figure out if a try to diagnose or repair a car’s defect meets the requirements of eligibility under the law, “warranty period” covers within 2 years from the original delivery date and 24,000 miles on the odometer.

Here are two examples of how one can verify whether or not a diagnosis or repair occurred within the warranty period:

  1. The manufacturer’s warranty is one year or 12,000 miles (whichever occurs first), an eligible defect must have been:
    • Diagnosed or repaired at least once under the manufacturer’s warranty within 12 months and 12,000 miles; or
    • Out-of -service for a total of 30 or more cumulative calendar days due to diagnosis or repair of one or more defects that are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty; at least 15 calendar days must have occurred during the manufacturer’s warranty coverage of 12 months and 12,000 miles.
  2. The manufacturer’s warranty is longer than one year or 12,000 miles (e.g. five years or 50,000 miles) an eligible defect must have been:
    • Diagnosed or repaired at least once under the manufacturer’s warranty and within two years and 24,000 miles; or
    • Out-of -service for a total of 30 or more cumulative calendar days due to diagnosis or repair of one or more defects that are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty; at least 15 calendar days must have occurred within two years and 24,000 miles.

You Have a “Lemon”? What Should You Do?

  • Contact the Washington State Lemon Law Administration for more information and detailed instructions
  • Ask for the Lemon Law Booklet and the Request for Arbitration Form
  • Read through the information listed below about the Arbitration Process

CALL

Statewide

Toll-free 1-(800) 541-8898

Local King County

(206) 587-4240

Local Spokane County

(509) 456-3124

WRITE

Lemon Law Administration

Attorney General’s Office

800 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2000

Seattle, WA 98104

FAX

(206) 464-6451

E-MAIL

lemon@atg.wa.gov


The following links provide more information about Washington State’s Lemon Laws. We recommend visiting the Washington State Attorney General’s website for more information, including links to their Lemon Law Fact Sheets and Arbitration Program.

Washington State Lemon Law Links

Washington State General Lemon Law Fact Sheet

Washington State Motor Home Lemon Law

Washington State Lemon Law Statutes

1 Response

  1. Kathy Howell says:

    Bought a new 2012 ford fusion two plus years ago June 2012 and this car has stopped on the street and freeway three times while driving the power was lost the light panel lights out. I feel unsafe in my car, each time it stopped there has been a car behind me almost hitting me. I pushed the emergency lights on then put the car in park turn the key off then back on praying it will start, while waving the drivers behind me to go around.
    This is not acceptable and need to rid myself of this problem.

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