Is My Used Car Covered by Lemon Law?

Is there a lemon law for used cars? That’s a question you need to answer for yourself before you start shopping for used cars.

You may come across a used car salesman that tries to sell you a junk car. That’s a big reason why Americans don’t trust used car salesmen. Too many people have been fleeced by too many bad car salespeople.

It’s important to make sure that your rights are protected and there are steps you can take if you happen to buy a lemon.

Read on to find out if there are lemon laws for used cars and what you can do if you buy a bad car.

What Is the Lemon Law for Used Cars?

The lemon law for used cars can be a bit confusing. That’s because there are two sets of laws that apply to the sale of lemons.

There’s federal law, which applies to the entire nation. Then there are state laws, which are applied to each state. As you can imagine, each state has a different set of laws on the books.

At the national level, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 is for new and used cars. The caveat with this law is that it is only for vehicles that come with a written warranty.

If you buy a car from a used car lot or private seller as-is, the car isn’t covered by the lemon law because it doesn’t have a written warranty.

In the case where you purchase a car that does have warranty coverage, get it in writing so you’re protected.

The Different State Lemon Laws

There are only a handful of states that have lemon laws that apply to used car sales. You’ll find these laws in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and New Mexico.

How these laws work is that there is a definite warranty period for all used car purchases. If issues with the car occur during the warranty period, the dealer can repair the car. You have the right to return the car if there are still issues with the car after repairs.

You’ll want to check the laws in your state to see how they apply specifically to your used car purchase. For information and insights about New Jersey’s lemon laws, follow these tips.

A few states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Maine have laws that set minimum standards for used car dealers. Some of these laws include a minimum warranty that’s required on all used car sales.

Used Cars and Lemons: How They Came to Be

How did cars become lemons? The roots of lemons pertaining to cars go back about a hundred years. The vernacular back in the day called bad experiences lemons. It was a playful way of saying that something was a sour experience, so everything bad was a lemon.

That word was applied to used cars or new cars that didn’t work as they should. Defective cars were referred to as lemons.

Another theory is that lemons are pretty on the outside, like a shiny car, but underneath the beauty lies something really sour when you first experience it. No amount of sugar can sweeten a lemon!

What Can You Do if You Buy a Lemon?

It’s helpful to know what kind of recourse you have if you do have a lemon on your hands. There are some steps that you need to take to protect your rights during the sales process and after the sale.

If you’re having issues with the car after purchase, check the warranty documents to see if the repairs are covered by the warranty.

Your next step is to look up the lemon laws in your state. You may find it useful to speak to an attorney who handles lemon law cases and find out what you can do.

You will need to contact the dealer and manufacturer about the issues with the car. They may try to repair the vehicle. Make sure that you document everything about the calls, the repairs, and anything else related to the purchase.

If there are still issues with the car, you should get an attorney involved. You can also file a complaint with your state and with the U.S. Department of Transportation if there is a safety issue with the car.

Avoid Buying a Lemon

Buying a lemon doesn’t have to be inevitable if you’re buying a used car. There are plenty of outstanding used cars on the market. You just have to know how to shop to avoid buying a used car that’s a lemon.

Used car sales increased by 11% in September 2020. That’s because more people are looking for safe transportation options due to COVID-19.

When you buy a used car, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting. The most common instances of fraudulent sales are a misrepresentation of the car, a false odometer reading, and documentation issues.

You should check the VIN number of the vehicle to make sure the car wasn’t involved in an accident. Look at the service record of the car and make sure that it matches the odometer.

Also, check for the title and up-to-date registration of the car. It’s helpful to check for a current vehicle inspection, too.

Know How to Buy Used Cars

With used car sales increasing as more people need safe ways to get to and from work, you need to know what rights you have if you buy a lemon used car.

What is the lemon law for used cars? It depends. While there is a federal law for used cars with written warranties, state laws vary from one state to the next.

Your best bet is to know your state lemon laws and document every aspect of the purchase. That’s how you’ll protect your rights if you buy a lemon.

For more help with legal issues, head over to the Legal Advice section of this site.

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