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The Consumer Law Group, P.C.

What is a reasonable number of repair attempts before a car manufacturer has to replace my vehicle?

When a consumer purchases a vehicle in Virginia, the purchase may be covered by the lemon law. This law is designed to protect car buyers from the purchase of defective vehicles. Under the law, if the manufacturer is unable to fix a problem with a new vehicle after a “reasonable” number of repair attempts, the manufacturer must replace or repurchase the vehicle. As the car buyer, you are entitled to choose whether you want a refund or a replacement vehicle.

Reasonable Repair Attempts Under the Virginia Lemon Law

What constitutes a reasonable number of repair attempts under the law? The lemon law presumes that a reasonable number of attempts have been made if, within 18 months of when the vehicle was originally delivered, any of the following occurs:

  1. The same problem has been subject to repair three or more times, and the problem still exists.
  2. The problem is a serious safety defect, involving a life-threatening malfunction that impedes the owner’s ability to control or operate the vehicle for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes, or if it creates a risk of fire or explosion, and the problem has been subject to repair one or more times but still persists.
  3. The vehicle has been out of service as a result of the problem for a cumulative total of 30 calendar days. The exception to this requirement is if the repairs could not be performed as a result of conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer, such as war, invasion, strike, fire, flood, or natural disaster.

If you meet any of the above criteria, you may be entitled to the replacement or repurchase of your vehicle. During the time in which you are waiting for the replacement or repurchase to occur, you are also entitled to continue using the defective vehicle.