Who is Eligible to Submit a Claim and Which Vehicles are Eligible?
The Lemon Law covers most classes of new motor vehicles including “demonstrators” originally purchased or leased at retail in Washington.
Note – Armed Forces Provision: If you are a member of the armed forces stationed or residing in Washington, a new vehicle brought with you from another state is also covered by Washington’s Lemon Law if it was purchased or leased with a manufacturer written warranty within the last 30 months and the vehicle otherwise meets the definition of a ‘new motor vehicle’.
You do not have to be the original owner to request arbitration. Later owners of a vehicle may request an arbitration if: the vehicle was purchased within two years of delivery to the original retail consumer and within the first 24,000 miles of operation; the vehicle meets the other eligibility requirements; and the Request For Arbitration is made within 30 months of the original retail delivery date.
Are All Problems With a Vehicle Covered Under the Lemon Law?
The law does not cover problems caused by owner abuse or negligence, or any unauthorized modifications or alterations made to the vehicle.
The law only covers defects which "substantially impair" the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle (see What You Must Prove At The Hearing).
The Following Vehicles are Not Covered by Lemon Law:
- Motorcycles with engine displacements of less than 750 cubic centimeters;
- Trucks with over 19,000 lbs. gross weight rating;
- Portions of a motor home used as dwelling, office, or commercial space;
- Vehicles purchased or leased by a business as part of a fleet of 10 or more.
What is the Eligibility Period (previously called the Warranty Period)?
For a defect to be covered under the Lemon Law it must have had at least one attempt to diagnose or repair under the manufacturer’s warranty and during the Lemon Law’s “eligibility period.” If your Request For Arbitration includes a claim due to ‘days out of service’, the Lemon Law requires that at least 15 or more days must have occurred during the “eligibility period.” See Claim Categories Under The Lemon Law.
The Lemon Law “eligibility period” is not a set time frame. It is often shorter than the manufacturer’s warranty coverage (a manufacturer warranty must cover at least 12 months or 12,000 miles). The “eligibility period” is determined by a mileage limit and a time limit. An ‘attempt to diagnose or repair’ a defect occurred during the “eligibility period” if it was diagnosed or repaired:
- Within 2 years from the original retail delivery date and
- Before the vehicle reached 24,000 miles of operation.