In Indiana, the Motor Vehicle Protection Act is commonly referred to as the "Lemon Law." A lemon is a vehicle that has repeated, unrepairable problems or issues. This law is designed to provide protection to consumers who purchase defective vehicles in the state. Although many state lemon laws cover only new cars, Indiana's law applies to some used vehicles as well.
Eligibility for Protection
Used vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds are covered under Indiana's Lemon Law, but the law does not apply to conversion vans, motor homes, farm tractors, mopeds, snowmobiles or vehicle converters. The vehicle must be purchased from an Indiana dealer and can't have more than 18,000 original miles on the odometer. As long as the vehicle was sold in Indiana, the law applies even if the buyer isn't a resident of the state.
The vehicle must have a serious defect or combination of defects to be classified as a lemon. Under Indiana law, defects or conditions must substantially impair the vehicle's use, value or safety. Examples of major defects include faulty brakes or steering. The problem must be reported to the dealer within 18 months of purchase or before the vehicle reaches 18,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The vehicle must be brought to an authorized dealer for repairs. The law requires consumers to allow a reasonable number of repair attempts before the vehicle can be declared a lemon. In Indiana, there must be at least four repair attempts, or the vehicle must be out of service for at least 30 business days while the car is repaired. After repair attempts are made, the problem must still persist to qualify as a lemon.
Filing a Claim
If the problem persists, the manufacturer must repurchase or replace the vehicle. Depending on the manufacturer's vehicle warranty, you may need to submit written notice of the problems, including copies of unsuccessful repair orders. Some manufacturers may have streamlined claim processes that don't require you to submit written notice. Within 30 days, the manufacturer must either replace your vehicle or issue a refund, whichever option you select. If the claim isn't resolved, you can file a lawsuit within two years of reporting the problem to the dealer. You can recover costs of filing suit and your attorney fees if you win the lawsuit.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.