The North Carolina Lemon Law

The North Carolina lemon law (known also as the New Motor Vehicles Warranties Act) applies to all new motor vehicles sold in the state that are under 10,000 pounds. The law covers vehicles that are either purchased or leased.

As per the North Carolina lemon law, if a vehicle has a serious defect that prevents it from conforming to its warranty and the consumer reports the problem within the express warranty period, the manufacturer has the obligation to repair the nonconformity. A serious nonconformity is one that substantially affects the vehicle’s use, value, or safety. If the manufacturer is unable to repair the nonconformity after a reasonable number of attempts, the vehicle must be repurchased or replaced at the discretion of the consumer. The manufacturer is presumed to have had a reasonable chance to repair the nonconformity after 4 unsuccessful attempts to repair the same nonconformity, or after 20 business days in which the vehicle was out of commission to repair one or a series of non-conformities.

In order for this presumption to apply, the consumer has to notify the manufacturer in writing of the defect, and give the manufacturer up to 15 days to make repairs. The consumer must also give the manufacturer written notice of intent to file a claim under North Carolina lemon law at least 10 days before submitting the claim.

The manufacturer has no liability if the nonconformity was caused by abuse, odometer tampering, or modification by the consumer. Additionally, the defect must have become apparent within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles.

Before filing a North Carolina lemon law claim with the judiciary system, the consumer must attempt to resolve the problem with the manufacturer’s settlement board, if it has one, and if the board is certified and information about the lemon law process was included with the warranty at the time of sale.

If a vehicle that was purchased by a consumer is repurchased by the manufacturer under North Carolina lemon law, the manufacturer must pay the full purchase price of the vehicle including charges for service contracts and warranty(s), dealer preparation and delivery, installed options, tax, tags, and registration, finance charges incurred after the consumer first reported the nonconformity, and any costs that were a direct consequence of the nonconformity.

The manufacturer is entitled to a reasonable offset for the consumer’s use of the vehicle. The offset is calculated by dividing the number of miles driven by the consumer by 100,000, and multiplying the result by the purchase price.

If a leased vehicle is repurchased under North Carolina lemon law, the lessee (consumer) will receive a sum that includes all payments made on the lease, including tax, tags, registration, and other government fees paid upon obtaining the lease, and any costs that were a direct consequence of the nonconformity. The reasonable offset for usage of the vehicle is subtracted from this total, as calculated above.

If a vehicle is replaced under North Carolina lemon law, the replacement must be a comparable new vehicle that is similar to the original. No usage offset may be applied.

Greg Artim is an Attorney based in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. For more information on Lemon Laws in North Carolina or any other state, please visit . If you are driving a Lemon in Pennsylvania, please visit his website at


One Response

  1. Does lemon law apply on used cars? Anyone?

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