When you discover your new car is a lemon, the burden will be on you to prove that to the manufacturer or in a legal proceeding later on. You will be required to present evidence of repeated repair attempts with an authorized repair shop. If you have been keeping accurate records since your first problem with the car, this should not be a problem.

Dealer Repair Orders

Each time you take your car into the dealership for a repair under warranty, the dealer is required to give you a receipt for the work performed. You are Automotive Repair Order With a Pen and Set of Keysentitled by law to a copy of all warranty work done on your vehicle, even when no repairs are performed. Even if the vehicle has just been inspected or test-driven, you should ask for a receipt. The dealer should be able to provide you with an itemized, legible statement including all diagnostic and repair work completed. The statement should include the following:

  • A general description of the problem reported by the owner

  • A diagnosis or identification of the defect or condition

  • An itemization of parts replaced

  • A description and accounting of labor

  • Date of repair

  • Odometer reading at time of repair

  • Date vehicle was returned to the owner

Each time your vehicle is looked at by the dealership, you should ask for a copy of the repair order and keep it in a safe place. These orders will serve as your evidence should you need to present a lemon law case.

What You Should Do at the Repair Shop

When you take your vehicle into the dealership with a complaint, be sure to do the following:

  • Give the service writer a clear description of all the warranty problems you are experiencing.

  • If you have a problem that comes and goes, be as detailed as possible in describing the nature and frequency of the problem and the situation when it occurs.

  • Make sure the service writer takes down all of the information you provided.

  • Leave a written summary of this information for the service writer.

  • When picking up your vehicle after repairs are complete, review the repair order to make sure all your complaints were listed, even if the dealer says no problem found.  

When a consumer keeps complete records of repair attempts, making a lemon law claim can be a simple process that is easily resolved to the consumer’s benefit. A lack of records will harm a legitimate claim. It may be up to you to insist on receipts for every repair, but you are within your rights to do so.