While the Consumer Protection Division generally oversees
manufacturer compliance with the Lemon Law, the Division does
not handle individual Lemon Law complaints. However, we hope
this informational packet will answer your questions regarding
Iowa's Lemon Law. For independent legal advice, you should consider
contacting a private attorney. Click
here for the Iowa Lemon Law, Iowa Code Chapter 322G.
Your vehicle may qualify under the Lemon Law if one or more
of the following conditions have been met:
1. The vehicle has been in the shop 3 or more times for the
same problem, and the problem still exists;
2. The vehicle has been in the shop one time by reason of
a defect likely to cause death or substantial bodily injury,
and the problem still exists; or
3. The vehicle has been out of service for any number of problems
20 or more days, and the defect(s) still exists. The days out
of service do not need to be consecutive.
To qualify under the Lemon Law, the problem or defect has
to render the vehicle unfit, unreliable, or unsafe for ordinary
use or significantly diminish the value of the vehicle, and
has to have occurred during the Lemon Law rights period.
The Lemon Law rights period is defined by
the Lemon Law as the term of the manufacturer's written warranty,
the period ending two years after the date of the original delivery
of a motor vehicle to the consumer, or the first 24,000 miles
of operation attributed to a consumer, whichever expires first.
If you meet the qualifications above, then you must notify
the manufacturer by certified, registered, or overnight mail
and give the manufacturer one more chance to fix the problem.
Your notice must go directly to the manufacturer. Contact the
manufacturer if you are unsure of the correct address. Click
here for a "Motor
Vehicle Defect Notification" form that can be downloaded
and used as your notification to the manufacturer. Keep a copy
of the completed form and any other materials mailed to the
In order to support your allegations, keep copies of all repair
orders for each time the vehicle has been in the repair facility
for repair or diagnosis. For warranty repairs, repair facilities
are required to provide you with a fully itemized, legible statement
or repair order indicating any diagnosis made, and all work
performed on the motor vehicle, including a general description
of the problem reported by the consumer, the date and the odometer
reading when the motor vehicle was submitted for examination
or repair, and the date when the repair or examination was completed.
You should include copies of these documents with your letter
to the manufacturer, and a statement of what you want done to
resolve your complaint. Tell the manufacturer you want a reply
within ten days of receipt of your letter. The manufacturer
should then contact you with the name and address of a repair
facility that is accessible to you where a final attempt will
be made to repair your vehicle. If the repair facility does
not contact you within 10 days, you are not required to give
the manufacturer another chance to fix the vehicle.
If the manufacturer fails to respond within 10 days, or the
repair facility chosen by the manufacturer is unable to fix
the problem during the final repair attempt, you can request
that the manufacturer replace the vehicle or refund the purchase
price, less a reasonable offset for your use of the vehicle.
If after taking these steps your complaint remains unsatisfied,
you may file a lawsuit against the manufacturer under the Lemon
Law. However, if the manufacturer has a certified dispute program,
you must proceed through the program before filing suit. If
the manufacturer's program is not certified, you may still choose
to submit your claim to the program and, possibly, avoid costly
litigation. Click on the "Manufacturers'
National Offices and Dispute Resolution Programs" listing
for the addresses and telephone numbers of these offices and
programs and a statement of whether the programs are currently
You must file a lawsuit under the Lemon Law within one year
following the expiration of the manufacturer's express warranty,
or one year following the first 24,000 miles attributed to a
consumer, or one year following the first 24 months of ownership,
whichever occurs first. To file a Lemon Law lawsuit, contact
a private attorney.
You may have other legal recourse against the manufacturer,
even if your vehicle does not qualify under the Lemon Law. Contact
a private attorney for further information.
You may wish to contact the National Auto Safety Hotline at
1-800-424-9393, or www.nhtsa.dot.gov
or contact the Center For Auto Safety at 202-328-7700 or www.autosafety.org
to inquire if they have information about your particular type
We hope this information is helpful.