Iowa Lemon Law

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    Covered Vehicles

    • Iowa lemon law applies to all new passenger cars, trucks and vans under 10,000 lbs. It does not cover motor homes, motorcycles, mopeds, vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs. or vehicles not designed to travel over public roads.

    Protection Period

    • Iowa lemon law covers applicable vehicles in the first two years after delivery or the first 24,000 miles. If a consumer decides to bring legal action against a manufacturer, she must do so within one year of either reaching two years from the delivery date or one year of reaching the 24,000 mile mark, whichever occurs first.

    Qualifying Factors

    • To qualify under this law, the car must meet at least one of three criteria. A car is considered a lemon if the consumer attempted at least one repair of a defect likely to cause serious injury or death, the vehicle underwent at least three services for nonconformities that substantially affect use, or the vehicle was out of service for at least 20 cumulative days due to repairs.

    Manufacturer Notification

    • Iowa law requires consumers to notify manufacturers in writing by certified, registered or overnight mail once any of the qualifying scenarios have occurred. Upon receipt, the manufacturer has 10 days to respond and offer a final repair attempt, and 10 days from the day it offers to repair the vehicle to do so. If the manufacturer fails to respond to the written notification, it waives its rights to repair under the law. If the manufacturer cannot fix the vehicle, it must offer a replacement or refund to the consumer.

    Dispute Resolution

    • If the manufacturer does not offer compensation and the consumer feels her vehicle meets the requirements of a lemon, she can proceed under the law. If the manufacturer offers an approved third-party dispute resolution program, the consumer must use it before resorting to any other actions. The warranty and owner's manual typically include information about these procedures. Even if the manufacturer does not have a certified program, the consumer can still use it, as internal resolution may help reduce litigation costs, according to the Iowa attorney general.

      Once the consumer requests a resolution and sends in all the necessary information, the program must render a decision within 60 days. If the consumer disagrees with the program's ruling or the manufacturer does not offer a certified program, the consumer can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.

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