Illinois Lemon Law

Like other states across the country, Illinois is putting its consumers first by providing them protection against defective new vehicles. The statute that establishes this protection is called the Illinois Lemon Law. This comprehensive statue provides protection against lemon new vehicles. For those who aren’t familiar, a lemon is a car that has a series of recurring issues or one major issue that can’t be repaired. Rather than consumers dealing with these issues, the IL Lemon Law provides them with legal power and protection to seek remedies or repairs for their lemon.  

Despite the immense protection and power the IL Lemon Law affords consumers, many don’t truly realize that they can do something about their lemon vehicle. Under the IL Lemon Laws, consumers may be entitled to a full refund or replacement vehicle if the law finds that their new car truly is a lemon. Additionally, the consumer must allow the dealer or manufacturer a number of reasonable attempts to repair the lemon before a consumer can seek remedies.  

This article provides all the background information a consumer needs to know about the Lemon Law in IL. It doesn’t provide any legal advice, and the information detailed in this article shouldn’t be construed  as legal advice. However, for those who are looking to find out the legal definition of a lemon in IL, the requirements to qualify under the IL Lemon Law, the reasonable repair requirements and potential remedies, this article is able to provide all of that information. For assistance with preparing your lemon law claim, please reach out to a legal professional.

Illinois Lemon Law Definition of a Lemon

The Lemon Laws in Illinois define a lemon as a new car that has serious problems the render it inoperable. A lemon can also be a new car that’s value has been greatly diminished as the result or a serious problem, which the dealer or manufacturer is unable to fix within the designated timeframe.

Requirements to Qualify under the IL Lemon Law

Unlike other states’ lemon laws, the IL Lemon Laws are unique in that they are only applicable to new vehicles. The IL Lemon Law covers drivers whose new vehicles suffer a nonconformity or substantial defect within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first, that can’t be repaired after repeated attempts (at least four) by the manufacturer or an authorized dealership. The IL Lemon Laws also cover light trucks and vans under 8,000 pounds, vehicles purchased in IL and recreational vehicles (excluding trailers). The IL Lemon Law doesn’t cover used cars, modified or altered vehicles, motorcycles or boats. 

What is considered to be a substantial defect?

It’s important to note that not all defects or problems with a car will qualify under the IL Lemon Law. To be covered, a defect must be substantial. In other words, it must be a warranty-covered problem that affects the car’s use, value or safety. For example, a substantial defect could include faulty brakes or steering. A substantial defect would not include a loose radio knob or loose carpet mat. A substantial defect is not to be caused by abuse or any alteration you’ve made yourself to the car. Sometimes, the line between what is considered a minor defect and what is considered a substantial defect can be very fine, which is why it’s always a good idea to consult a legal professional to assist you with your case.

What are the reasonable repair requirements?

Under the IL Lemon Laws, your dealer or vehicle manufacturer must be allowed reasonable repair attempts on the lemon. The law allows the manufacturer four repair attempts to fix the problem. If these attempts are unsuccessful, you may demand a replacement vehicle or a full refund. Additionally, if your car is at the dealership for any repairs for a cumulative total of 30 days or more during the first year or 12,000 miles, you may demand a replacement or a full refund.

Remedies Under IL Lemon Laws

Provided that you notify your car’s manufacturer or the authorized dealer from which you purchased the car within the designated timeframe, the IL Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to repair any defect or problem covered under the vehicle’s warranty. The manufacturer is allowed to receive a reasonable offset for your use of the vehicle that you are having problems with.

What should you do if you become aware of a problem with your car?

If you become aware of a problem or defect with your vehicle, you should complete the following steps:

  1. Immediately report any defect or “condition” either directly to the manufacturer or to its authorized dealer. If the consumer reports the problem to the dealer, the law requires the dealer to forward written notice to the manufacturer within seven days.
  2. Keep careful records of all complaints and copies of all work orders, repair bills and correspondence.
  3. Follow the proper protocols for filing a lemon law claim in Illinois. It is recommended to hire a lawyer to fight your case for you. The statute allows a consumer to recover all attorney fees with their claim. Dealing with the lemon law yourself can be time consuming.

How to File an IL Lemon Law Claim

To initiate a lemon law claim you must contact the manufacturer, not the vehicle dealer. Due to the fact that the statute of limitations is one year, complaints should be filed as soon as possible. If your vehicle meets the requirements you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle from the manufacturer.

Other options include laws dealing with contracts and warranties for new products. However, before you decide on a particular course of action, speaking with an experienced attorney can help you determine what your legal rights are.

While it is possible to file an application yourself, most people are better off hiring a lawyer. A qualified attorney will handle all paperwork for you and cost you nothing. Additionally, a good law firm will handle all expenses for the case and receive compensation for them at the completion of the case.