What Vehicles Are Covered Under Michigan’s Lemon Law?
Do you have a defective boat? What about a defective motor home or recreational vehicle? Motorcycle? Are these vehicles covered by Michigan's Lemon Law?
"Motor Vehicle" definedA lot of folks ask me whether their motorcycle, ATV or motor home/recreational vehicle qualifies under Michigan's Lemon law. Unfortunately for Michiganders, only certain types of vehicles qualify. "Motor Vehicle" is strictly defined under the Michigan statute at MCL 257.1401(f), as:
"Motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle as defined in section 33 of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.33, that is designed as a passenger vehicle, or sport utility vehicle, but does not include a motor home, bus, truck other than a pickup truck or van, or a vehicle designed to travel on less than 4 wheels.
Under MCL 257.33 we find:
"Motor vehicle" means every vehicle that is self-propelled, but for purposes of chapter 4 of this act motor vehicle does not include industrial equipment such as a forklift, a front-end loader, or other construction equipment that is not subject to registration under this act. Motor vehicle does not include an electric patrol vehicle being operated in compliance with the electric patrol vehicle act, 1997 PA 55, MCL 257.1571 to 257.1577. Motor vehicle does not include an electric personal assistive mobility device. Motor vehicle does not include an electric carriage. Motor vehicle does not include a commercial quadricycle.
In sum, the Michigan Lemon Law does not cover motorcycles, ATV's, motor homes, recreational vehicles and any other type of vehicle not defined as a "motor vehicle" above. Fortunately for Michigan residents there are other laws that provide a legal remedy if you purchased any of the above. The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, as well as "common law" claims such as breach of warranty and breach of contract, may be useful when the Lemon Law doesn't fit.
Purchased in the State of MichiganNotably, if you purchased your vehicle outside of Michigan or you are not a Michigan resident, the Michigan Lemon Law may not cover you. MCL 257.1401(g) defines "new motor vehicle" as follows:
"New motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle that is purchased or leased in this state or purchased or leased by a resident of this state and is covered by a manufacturer's express warranty at the time of purchase or lease.
Please keep these rules in mind when determining whether you have purchased a "Lemon." While all 50 States have Lemon Laws, Michigan's is among the least friendly for consumers. For example, the Connecticut Lemon Law covers all "passenger and commercial motor vehicles." Ohio includes any: "Passenger car, light truck (no more than one-ton load capacity and not used in business), or motorcycle. Also, includes chassis portion of motor homes."
Unlike Michigan, many other States also cover motor homes/recreational vehicles, (at least the chassis), and many even cover commercial vehicles.