Warranty Icon on a Touch ScreenWhen you purchase a new car from a dealer, the car will come with a warranty. A warranty is a promise from the seller or manufacturer to stand behind the quality of their product. If anything goes wrong with a part of the car that is covered under the warranty during the specified timeframe, the manufacturer is obligated to fix the problem. In Virginia, the Lemon Law applies to any part or function of the car that is covered under the warranty, but only for the first eighteen months—not for the length of the warranty.

Typical New Car Warranty Terms

Different auto manufacturers offer different terms in their warranties, so it is important to understand exactly what your new car’s warranty covers. Most vehicles come with a 3-year, 36,000-mile basic bumper-to-bumper warranty. Some makes and models come with a 4-year, 50,000-mile basic warranty, while other brands even offer a 5-year, 60,000-mile basic warranty. Basic warranties generally cover everything in the car including the following:

  • Air-conditioning

  • Audio system

  • Electrical components

  • Vehicle sensors

  • Fuel systems

New cars also come with a powertrain warranty that is usually longer than the bumper-to-bumper warranty, with many manufacturers offering 5 years and 100,000 miles of coverage on the engine, transmission, driveshaft, constant velocity (CV) joints, and other moving parts. While the manufacturer will fix any problem with the vehicle that is covered under the warranty for the duration of the warranty, consumers can only make a Lemon Law claim for problems covered under the warranty that occur within the first 18 months of delivery, that cannot be fixed after multiple attempts, or with later model used cars, within the first 18 months from delivery to the first owner.  

What Is NOT Covered by Warranties or the Lemon Law

If you are having a recurring problem with a part of your car that is not covered under warranty, then the Lemon Law will not apply. Some issues that are not generally covered by warranties include:

  • Normal wear and tear

  • Normal maintenance and service

  • Problems due to lack of maintenance

  • Problems due to neglect or misuse of the vehicle

  • Damage due to accidents

  • Problems due to major post sale changes made to the vehicle, such as putting in a sunroof

  • Problems due to repairs by someone other than the dealer, manufacturer, or agent

Call a Lemon Law Attorney If You Cannot Settle Your Claim

Most Lemon Law claims can be settled by working directly with the dealer or manufacturer, but when this doesn’t work for you, you may need the help of an experienced Lemon Law attorney. John Gayle helped write Virginia’s Lemon Law and he can make sure you get the replacement car or all your money back. Contact us through the link on this page for more information.