Lemon Law. Does It apply To Motorcycles?

lemomlawformotorcyclesUsually, Lemon Law applies when there is a vehicle defect or condition, which substantially impairs its use, value or safety, and when this condition can’t be repaired after 3 attempts by an authorized manufacturer’s dealership. This nonconformity must first occur within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Last weekend I was very surprised to learn that not all States protect the consumer with a Cars Lemon Law. Then, that the definition of a Lemon is not the same from state to State. Then again that States not having a Lemon Law use its grandfather law called “The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act”. Finally, nobody around me being able to tell me precisely if motorcycles are covered under the Lemon Law, I made an Internet search and was surprised again by the results I got. Follow the following link to find out how your State would treat your defective motorcycle. .

6 Responses to “Lemon Law. Does It apply To Motorcycles?”

  1. 1 Jacob Jun 29th, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    If I live in state A but purchase a motorcycle in state B, by the laws of which state would I be expected to comply? It is amazing how much of a difference a few miles in distance can make when comparing “lemon laws”.


  2. 2 Scary Jun 29th, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    New York State has had a Lemon Law for motorcycles since September, 2006. I have used it to file a complaint and won the Arbitration case. Here is the law:

    New/Leased Cars, Motor Homes and Motorcycles
    A new vehicle that was purchased, leased or registered in New York State for personal use and which shows a serious problem or defect that is not corrected after four or more repair attempts, or is out of service due to repair for at least 30 days, within the first 18,000 miles or two years (whichever comes first), may be eligible for the Lemon Law Arbitration Program. If successful, the consumer will be entitled to either a full refund of the purchase price (less an allowance for mileage over 12,000 miles), or a comparable replacement vehicle. The consumer will also be awarded a return of the $250.00 arbitration filing fee for an arbitrator’s award in his or her favor.

    Used Cars and Motorcycles
    A vehicle purchased or leased from a New York State dealer (one who sold or offered to sell three or more cars within the previous twelve-month period) for personal use with more than 18,000 miles is also subject to Lemon Law coverage depending on the mileage at the time of purchase (as follows):

    18,000-36,000 90 days or 4,000 miles
    36,001-79,999 60 days or 3,000 miles
    80,000-100,000 30 days or 1,000 miles

    If a part covered by the law is the subject of a serious defect that remains uncorrected after three or more repair attempts or the vehicle is out of service for at least 15 days within the applicable statutory period, the consumer may be eligible for Lemon Law relief through the arbitration program. If successful, the consumer will be entitled to a refund of the purchase price as well as the return of the $120.00 arbitration filing fee.

  3. 3 Grayhawk Jun 29th, 2009 at 10:19 pm


    Assuming you are having a problem and also assuming you have taken the bike to a dealer or dealers in the same state, that dealer destination in state of service of problem imo will designate state law governing. Lemon Laws are very tricky on either side of the dealer or consumer fence whether you are consumer or dealer understanding of rights and laws is important.

    OEM’s are very cognizant of the different state laws. Quick read to both consumer and dealer, know the does and don’ts in your state of service as applicable.

    Two quick possible examples with consequences;
    1. Dealer writes down rocker box leak on work order, bike has three or more rocker box leaks within given timeframe presuming you have exceeded state lemon law max , Each time RO is written up it only generalizes a rocker box leak, not front cylinder or back cylinder or location or specific location on either. Possible Result even though you had multiple leaks on same it may not fall under lemon law due to lack of documented specifics in location nor continuation of same specific defined problem.

    1. Service rep does not call owner to pick up his bike as it is fixed and ready for pickup, nor does he record it, the call on the work order as to customer notified on (x) date/time to pick up bike noting problems fixed and ready thus bike stays at dealership over state lemon law duration limit to fix continuing problem, etc.
    Dealer may have unintentially qualified the bike for lemon status based on extended time in shop in a state that has time constraints as lemon law qualifyer.

    Good news most reputable dealers, customers, OEM’s will do their best to take care of the customer or be fair to the dealer, Those dealing with ones who may not then dot your eyes as you go or as a good business practice to protect and support all. Then it only comes down to real issue with bike or not

  4. 4 Bill Siemer Jul 6th, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I am an insurance appraiser and have testified many times as an expert in lemon law cases here in Florida. The mag-moss act is the federal version of the lemon law. It doesn’t exclude motorcycles. If you have a problem with a vehicle that is not covered by your states lemon law, your only recourse is to an attorney. Most state laws are designed so that you can represent yourself. In my experience the dealer and manufacturer almost always use an attorney. To protect your interest you need to do the same. You probably will not be able to find an attorney that will take your case on consignment but if you prevail, you can likely recoup your expenses. Do not over look the value offset for mileage, and finance charges. You can win your case and still owe money. It is very important to document your problems. You will need to show time out of service, time in the shop, cost of repairs, and personal costs for related expenses. It pays to have an expert that is used to testifying on vehicles. Many good mechanics make poor witnesses. Weigh the cost of litigation. You may have to pay defense costs if you are not successful. Make sure your attorney is well versed in consumer law. If he has handled this type of case before, it will save you a lot of money in research time. Hope this all helps.

  5. 5 May 10th, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Now that’s sbulte! Great to hear from you.

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