Breach of Express Warranty
The lemon law applies to almost anything that comes with an express warranty. By “express warranty”, I mean the warranties the manufacturers included with the vehicle or product, not “extended warranties” offered separately by dealerships. Express warranties are listed in your owner’s manual or warranty book.
For example, most new vehicles come with at least a 3 year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty.
Many additionally have other warranties, such as a 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty covering defective powertrain components.
An express warranty is NOT a guarantee that your consumer good will be problem-free. Rather, it's only a guarantee the manufacturer will make all necessary repairs when problems occur. If the defects are covered by a warranty, most typically a dealership, on the manufacturer's behalf, will make the repairs. They get a reasonable number of attempts, or a reasonable period of time, to fix the defects. When they fail, the good should be branded a “lemon.” At that point, you can legally demand for your money back or a replacement. When manufacturers fail to promptly honor this simple principle, legal action becomes necessary.
Breach of Implied Warranty
Additionally, consumer goods also come with implied warranties—most commonly, the implied warranty that the goods are merchantable. Although related to breach of express warranty claims, a claim for breach of implied warranty (of merchantability) is separate. Both claims fall under the lemon law, but breach of implied warranty works a little differently. One significant difference is that proving the manufacturer had multiple repair opportunities isn't required. Let’s say, for example, your brand new vehicle spontaneously combusted into flames and was destroyed. Here, there were no repairs to be done. With no repair attempts, does that mean you don't have a lemon law claim? Of course not; that would be ridiculous. Here, you would have a very strong lemon law case under a breach of implied warranty theory.