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Hawaii Lemon Laws

We buy new cars for all sorts of reasons: to actually do work or just get us there, or because we want to look good or go fast. The last thing we need from our new cars is old car problems. These cars are referred to as “lemons,” and if you have a new car that you can seem to get fixed, you might be wondering what kind of legal recourse you have against the dealer or the manufacturer.

Lucky for you, the Aloha State has statutes that protect new car buyers if their vehicle spends more time in the shop than out on the open road. This is a quick introduction to “lemon laws” in Hawaii.

State Lemon Laws

While the details of lemon laws may vary, they are intended to offer some financial protections for new car buyers while at the same time encouraging manufacturers and dealers to provide a reliable product. While some state lemon laws cover used vehicles, Hawaii’s statute only applies to new cars or cars transferred to a second purchaser while still under warranty.

Lemon Laws in Hawaii

Hawaii’s lemon law statutes are listed below.

Code Section

Hawaii Revised Statutes 481I-1, et seq.

Title of Act

Motor Vehicle Express Warranty Enforcement (Lemon Law)

Definition of Defects

Nonconformity to all applicable express warranties that substantially impairs the use and market value of vehicle

Time Limit for Manufacturer Repair

Express warranty period, 2 years after original delivery or first 24,000 miles, whichever occurs first


Replace with comparable vehicle or accept return and refund the full purchase price including all collateral charges, excluding interest, and less a reasonable allowance for consumer's use of vehicle

Even under Hawaii’s motor vehicle code, not every new car needing repairs will qualify as a lemon. These are a few general lemon law guidelines that can help determine if your new car is a lemon:

  • The vehicle must have a substantial nonconformity that appears within a certain time after purchase;
  • The nonconformity must be covered by a warranty; and
  • The nonconformity must continue to exist, even after a reasonable number of attempted repairs.

In addition, Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has online lemon law resources for consumers and manufacturers.

Related Resources for Lemon Laws in Hawaii

Car trouble is a pain, and navigating automobile warranties can be worse than rush hour. You can consult with an experienced Hawaii lemon law attorney in your area if you would like legal help with a lemon law matter. And FindLaw's section on Lemon Laws can provide you with further reading and resources on this topic.

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