If you’ve bought a new vehicle only to have it land in the repair shop more often than you’d like, you may have some protection under the Illinois Lemon Law. In order to take advantage of the benefits afforded to you, however, you need to know what the Illinois Lemon Law is and how it pertains to you.
Is Your Vehicle a Lemon or Not?
The first thing to know is whether your vehicle is eligible for protection under the Illinois Lemon Law. To be covered, a vehicle must:
- Have a conformity that both substantially impairs the use, market value or safety of the vehicle and is not repairable by the dealer or the manufacturer in at least four attempts for the same repair, or
- Be out of service for a total of 30 or more business days
The Illinois Lemon Law covers new vehicles, both purchased and leased, light trucks and vans under 8,000 pounds, recreational vehicles (excluding trailers), vehicles purchased in Illinois, vehicles in their first 12 months or 12,000 miles of use, whichever comes first.
What are not covered under the Illinois Lemon Law are used cars, motorcycles and boats, or altered or modified vehicles.
How the Illinois Lemon Law Works
Both the Illinois Lemon Law and the federal lemon law (known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) provide for compensation to consumers in the state of Illinois for the purchase of defective automobiles and trucks, and other vehicles.
The Illinois Lemon Law is also known as the New Vehicle Buyer Protection Act.
You, as the consumer, have to give the manufacturer’s representative, the dealer, a reasonable number of attempts to repair the problems with your vehicle. This is generally considered to be four unsuccessful attempts to repair the same problem.
If your continued attempts to have your vehicle repaired by the dealer to your satisfaction are unsuccessful, As the consumer, you must notify the manufacturer of the continuing problem with your vehicle and detail the number of times it has been in for repair of the condition without success.
Be sure to keep copies of all receipts and repair records concerning your vehicle. Keep logs showing the purpose and date of all your vehicle repairs along with a notation of how long your vehicle was in the shop to be repaired. You will need these records to substantiate your claim.
Manufacturers have an industry-established third party dispute resolution program to evaluate and help resolve your claim. Information about such a program is in your vehicle owner’s manual. If you need to initiate action under the Illinois Lemon Law, contact the manufacturer and request that the appropriate forms are sent to you.
Remember that you must initiate your Illinois Lemon Law action before the end of 12 months or 12,000 miles from the date you first took use of the vehicle. If you wait longer than that, you may not be covered under the Illinois Lemon Law.
If the dispute board rules in your favor, you may receive either a replacement vehicle of a like or similar value, or the manufacturer may buy back your vehicle from you, less depreciation for miles driven.
You may also bring civil suit to enforce your rights under the Illinois Lemon Law. The manufacturer, however, cannot dispute the board’s decision.