How It Applies to You and Your New Vehicle
When you purchase a new vehicle, it usually comes with a warranty. Most of these warranties state that the manufacturer will repair or replace defective parts according to the terms of the warranty. This statement does not mean you automatically get another car or a refund if you think you've bought a defective vehicle or a "lemon." The warranty is simply the manufacturer's promise to do certain things. You have to read the warranty to see what is promised. For example, most new car warranties do not provide you with a car to use while yours is being repaired.
If you buy a vehicle with a manufacturer's warranty and it has a defect that cannot be repaired, you may have recourse under Colorado's Lemon Law. The Lemon Law covers only NEW self-propelled vehicles, including pickups and vans. Motor homes and motorcycles are excluded from the Lemon Law.
If you buy a new vehicle that has a defect that substantially impairs its use and market value within one year following purchase, and the defect is not repaired after a "reasonable number of attempts," a court may order the manufacturer to replace the vehicle or refund the purchase price minus a reasonable allowance for your use of the vehicle.
Under the law, a "reasonable number of attempts" to repair applies when the SAME defect remains after being repaired four or more times within the first year after the date of original delivery. It also applies when the vehicle is out of service for repairs for a cumulative total of 30 or more business days during the warranty term or one year after original delivery, whichever comes first.
Defects, such as a rattle or squeak, which do not substantially impair the use and market value of the vehicle are not covered. Neither are defects resulting from abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the vehicle by a consumer.
Prior to suing a manufacturer for a refund of replacement vehicle, you must first send a written notice of defect by certified mail to the manufacturer, give them a chance to repair it and go through the manufacturer's informal dispute settlement procedure, if one exists.
Your owner/warranty manual should contain a form with the manufacturer's name and business address where you can send the notice of defect.
If you are unable to locate this information, contact the local, state or regional office of the manufacturer.
The information in this brochure is based on Sections 42-10-101 through 107 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. For advice and assistance in specific cases, the services of an attorney or other professional advisor should be obtained. The purpose of this publication is to provide information of a general character only and accurate as of the date of publication. This office cannot give legal advice in individual cases.
State of Colorado
Motor Vehicle Dealer Board
1881 Pierce Street, Suite 142
Lakewood, CO 80214
DRP 2280 (05/96)