Lemon Laws in Colorado

Colorado’s lemon law covers new, self-propelled cars—including pickups and vans. Any defect must develop during the first year or the length of the warranty.
Written by Hillary Kobayashi
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
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Colorado’s lemon law covers new, self-propelled cars that are for personal or household use, including pickups and vans.
A car can be covered under the lemon law in Colorado if it has a nonconformity, or a defect that impacts the use or market value of the car. This defect must develop within the first year of purchase or the length of the warranty, whichever comes first.
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What is a lemon law?

Lemon laws
are laws that protect consumers who have bought faulty items—especially defective vehicles. There is a federal law, but lemon laws also vary from state to state. They help compensate buyers whose vehicles don’t meet basic quality and performance standards.

Is there a lemon law in Colorado?

Yes, Colorado's lemon law applies to new, self-propelled vehicles that are for personal or household use, including pickups and vans. Motor homes and motorcycles are not covered under the lemon law.
To apply the lemon law, the vehicle must develop a defect within the first year of purchase or the length of the warranty, whichever comes first.
If a car is transferred from one owner to another within the terms of the warranty, the new owner will also be protected by the lemon law.
Key Takeaway Your car will be covered by Colorado’s lemon law if it’s less than one year old and the warranty is still valid.

Is my defect covered under the lemon law?

A vehicle can be covered under the Colorado lemon law if it has a "nonconformity"—a defect that is covered under the warranty and impairs the use or market value of the car.
Defects that arise due to driver neglect or misuse aren’t eligible for a lemon law claim.

Are used cars covered under the lemon law?

No, used cars do not fall under the lemon law in Colorado. Only new, self-propelled vehicles may be deemed lemons and eligible for compensation.

What about new cars?

Yes, Colorado’s lemon law covers new vehicles that are self-propelled, such as passenger cars, pickups, and vans.

How to pursue your lemon law rights in Colorado

If you want to pursue your lemon law rights in Colorado, you’ll need to send a form to the manufacturer, take your car in for repairs, and pursue legal action if necessary.
To apply the lemon law in Colorado, the car must develop a defect within the first year of purchase or the length of the warranty, whichever comes first. During this time, the manufacturer needs an opportunity to repair any defects covered under the warranty that impact the use or market value of the car.
Colorado’s lemon law also protects car buyers if their vehicles are out of service for repairs for a cumulative 30 days within the first year of purchase or terms of the warranty. There are some stipulations, though. If your car cannot be repaired due to war, invasion, strike, fire, flood, or other natural disasters, then the 30 days might (understandably) be extended.

Requests and repairs

If you want to begin the process, you’ll need to notify the manufacturer. Complete the form found in your owner’s manual and send it by certified mail before you take the car for repair.
The manufacturer is permitted a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problem. In Colorado, that means four or more to repair the same problem within the first year—including one final attempt.
Keep all paperwork related to these attempted repairs, as you’ll need them if you decide to take legal action.

Informal dispute resolution

If the manufacturer has been given all the chances required under law to repair the vehicle and it just isn’t happening, you can turn to their informal dispute settlement procedure. Most manufacturers have one.
In Colorado, you must go through arbitration before you can file a lawsuit. There’s no downside, since it’s free and is usually much faster than going to court.
If arbitration doesn’t work, you can file a lawsuit. It’s always best to hire a lawyer if you go this route, since it’s a complex legal process and even one misstep can hurt your case. An experienced attorney can guide you through and give you the best shot at winning—and if you do, the manufacturer will likely have to pay your legal fees.
Keep in mind, though, that even with a solid case and a great attorney it’s possible that you won’t win. Each case is different and there are no guarantees.
Key Takeaway If repair attempts aren’t working and you want to pursue your lemon law rights, you’ll need to start with arbitration before you’re allowed to file a lawsuit.
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Lemon law tips

If you’re dealing with a potential lemon, here are some things to remember:
  • Your car won’t be covered under the lemon law if you’ve made any
    unauthorized modifications
    to it or if it was damaged due to your own neglect, abuse, or misuse
  • Always take your car to an authorized manufacturer or dealership for repairs—and keep copies of all of your receipts and invoices
  • Each time you take your car in, use the same wording to describe the problem—most lemon laws only apply to one problem that needs to be fixed repeatedly, so your words matter
  • If Colorado’s lemon law doesn’t apply to your case, look into the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

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