Lansing, MI asked in Lemon Law for Michigan

Q: I purchased a new car and its had a very high pitched squeak that has persisted since I recieved the car.

It has gotten worse since I have gotten it. I wouldn't be concerned if the dealer could diagnose the issue. I am concerned it may become an issue down the road. Do I have a case under Lemon Law.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Adam Alexander
Adam Alexander
  • Southfield, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: You can begin Michigan's Lemon Law process after 3 repair attempts for the same defect/condition and/or 25 days out of service within the first year from delivery. To set yourself up correctly to get your vehicle repurchased, avoid these 5 errors:

5 critical errors consumers make when they have a Lemon

The Michigan Lemon law is very specific regarding requirements such as number of repair attempts, type of defects, and communication with the manufacturer. The following is a list of errors that I've seen over the years that prevent consumers from having a stronger case:

1. Allowing excessive repair attempts

After the 3rd repair attempt, or if your vehicle has been in the service department 25 days within the first year from delivery, don't give the dealership another shot at repairs. Rather, this is the time to send written notification to the manufacturer and allow them one final repair attempt. (See 4 below).

2. Not taking your vehicle in for service every time it acts up

This is the opposite of #1 above. Many of my clients have avoided getting service because they are too busy or it's just inconvenient. Your goal is to get to 3 repair attempts and/or 25 days out of service. Delay weakens your case.

3. Failing to detail your defects to the service department

The Michigan Lemon Law relies heavily on the vehicle repair history. The most important evidence in your case is the repair invoice that is provided after completion of repairs. The repair invoice is the map to your case. It includes date(s) of the repair attempt, the mileage, and most importantly the complaint, (what's wrong) and the solution, (what they did to fix it). If you forget about a defect, or if you fail to specify to the service department exactly what happened and what you experienced, you will lose crucial evidence. Service writers are not mind-readers and they're certainly not gifted authors. You must spend time and insist that all of your complaints and exactly what you experienced is written down.

And finally, be professional and courteous to all service department staff. They're busy and they absolutely will not enjoy your insistence on detail, but you must aim to be courteous while you are protecting your rights.

4. Not sending the "final repair" letter

The Michigan Lemon Law requires you to notify the manufacturer, in writing, of the need for repair in order to allow them an opportunity to cure the defect(s). This is often called a "last chance" letter. You must send this letter by certified mail.

5. Failing to include the proper information in the "final repair" letter

There are several factual topics that need to be documented in your "final repair" letter. Not just any old letter will do. At the very least you should include:

1. Your name, address, email address and contact number

2. The year/make/model of the vehicle

3. Purchase/Lease date

4. The vehicle identification number

5. A description of the defect(s), including how many prior repair attempts/days out of service

6. A statement that this letter is notice of the need for repair of the defect or condition in order to allow the manufacturer an opportunity to cure the defect or condition.

If you plan on doing it yourself, these are the basics. However, again, your attorney can send this letter, and in my opinion, you should trust a professional to get this accomplished quickly and correctly.

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