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A “lemon car” describes a Washington vehicle that you purchased that has a manufacturing defect that cannot be repaired, and which has resulted in reducing the usability, safety, or value of the car. 

Under the Washington lemon law, it is the car manufacturer’s responsibility to make things right if your vehicle qualifies as a lemon. 

This page will provide you with a simple overview of the lemon law requirements, criteria, and process in Washington. 

For more information regarding your own vehicle, be sure to contact legal counsel or your state’s consumer’s affairs office. 

What is the Washington Lemon Law?

The Washington lemon law sets requirements for car manufacturers to refund or replace vehicles that have safety or quality defects that cannot be repaired. 

If your vehicle qualifies, you can typically choose to either:

  • Have the vehicle replaced with a new one. 
  • Be refunded for the purchase of the lemon. 

Lemon Law Criteria in Washington

In order to qualify for Washington’s lemon law, the vehicle must meet one of the following criteria:

  • 4 failed repairs with 1 of the repair attempts must have occurred within the manufacturer’s warranty, the first year, or the first 12,000 miles.  
  • 2 failed repairs of a serious safety hazard with 1 attempt reported during the warranty period, the first 24 months, or the first 24,000 miles. 
  • Out of service for 30 days with at least 15 days during the warranty period.  

Does lemon law apply to used cars in Washington?

No, used cars do not typically qualify. 

What to Do if Your Car is a Lemon in Washington

If you believe you’ve purchased a lemon car in Washington, the process will go something like this:

  1. Make the necessary attempts to have the issue repaired under the manufacturer’s warranty. 
  2. Keep records and documentation of all service, communication, and estimates from the dealer, manufacturer, or other authorized agent. 
  3. If you believe the vehicle meets the criteria of a lemon, notify the manufacturer to begin the lemon-law remedy process. 

You should be able to receive a refund or replacement within 40 days of providing notice after going through the manufacturer’s arbitration program. 

For official information or legal advice pertaining to your specific circumstances, please contact your attorney or the Washington consumer protection agency.