Lemon Law – Folder with Labeling, Gavel and Libra – Law

Manufacturers Most Guilty of Producing a Lemon

Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney April 24, 2023

There's a popular saying that goes, “When life serves you lemons, make lemonade.” But if one of those lemons is a new vehicle you just acquired with a seemingly unfixable defect, you'll want a more fitting remedy than a refreshing summertime beverage. Fortunately, “lemon laws” do exist that can help you recover when you end up with a vehicle that is in and out of the service department and never seems to overcome its defect, or defects. 

All carmakers are capable of producing a lemon or two here or there, but some—for varying reasons—seem to have a more indelible track record. When you’re shopping for a new car, you may want to consider the automaker’s history when it comes to producing lemons. Also, you should be aware of how your state’s lemon law protects you in the event you do end up with one. 

If you want to learn more about your rights under the lemon laws of Michigan and Ohio, which are similar but a bit different, contact Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney. Our lemon law attorney focuses on getting results for clients with faulty new vehicles. While we are located in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, we handle cases throughout both states. 

Lemon Laws: An Overview 

Generally speaking, lemon laws cover new vehicles under warranty and they afford the dealership and manufacturer opportunities to fix a serious defect. If they cannot fix the problem, the legal cure can be a replacement vehicle of equal value or even a refund of any outlay to acquire the vehicle. 

To qualify as a lemon, generally, the car must:   

  • have a defect that is covered by the warranty that occurred within a specific period or after a number of miles traveled; and

  • have a substantial defect that can't be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts; or

  • have spent 30 days or more at the dealership for repairs within the first year of purchase 

If you are in Ohio, additional provisions include: 

  • eight or more repairs in an effort to fix various problems; or 

  • one attempt to repair a defect that was likely to cause death or serious injury. 

Common Defects 

Again, every vehicle manufacturer can produce a lemon, so we’re not singling out any one automaker, but some do have a more visible track record, including: 

CarMax: In January of 2023, CarMax came under scrutiny due to an increasing number of complaints that the dealership was selling cars with major defects without informing the buyers beforehand. The complaints often involved cars with defective airbags, brakes, and fuel pumps, and all were listed as “accident-free,” though customers suspect they were in accidents. CarMax denies any wrongdoing. 

Ford: Ford has sold more cars in the United States than any other brand in history, though General Motors is now topping the list. In fact, the automaker holds the dubious title of the biggest lemon of all time with its 1971 Pinto. More recently, the Ford Escape and Ford Focus have been the subject of consumer complaints for a variety of defects. Even the F-150, the number-one selling vehicle in America, has had its share of reported defects, including engine and transmission problems. 

Mercedes-Benz: Yes, even the luxury brand par excellence has produced lemons, or at least vehicles with a variety of problems, ranging from suspension failures to oil leaks to misfiring engines to faulty brakes and even to transmission defects. 

Nissan: The Japanese automaker is generally viewed as producing reliable vehicles alongside competitors Toyota and Honda, yet its vehicles have also shown a variety of problems recently. Exploding sunroofs are one unique problem, along with other defects, including problems with the autonomous emergency braking system (AEBs), corrosion, brake fluid leakage, oil leaks, and faulty hood latches. 

Chevy and General Motors: General Motors has captured 18 percent of the auto market in the U.S., but that does not mean its vehicles are defect-free. With so many vehicles being produced, defects are certain to appear, and the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra were each recalled four times to fix defects. One defect even earned its own code name “the Chevy Shake,” a defect that causes cars to violently shake while driving above 35 miles per hour. 

Talk to an Attorney and Make the Right Decision 

If you do end up with a new vehicle that is in and out of the dealership with a defect, your state’s lemon law may entitle you to a replacement or a refund. If you’re located anywhere in Michigan or Ohio and suspect you have purchased a lemon, contact Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney. Your initial consultation is free and the manufacturer has to pay attorney fees in successful claims.   

Even though your state’s lemon law protects you, that doesn’t mean the dealership and manufacturer won’t make the process difficult for you. Rely on experienced legal help to get you through the hurdles and resolve the issue in the best way possible.