Used Car Lemon Law Explained

February 22, 2012

Many states lack an explicit used car lemon law, but have minimum warranty requirements and other protections. Learn about legal assistance options.

Used Car Lemon

Just as there are lemon laws for new cars, not many people are aware that there is a used car lemon law in some states. Even if your state does not have a lemon law, there may be other legal remedies available to you depending upon the circumstances under which you purchased your used car. Familiarize yourself with some of the issues that surround used car lemon laws and how they affect you as but as a consumer.

State Used Car Lemon Laws
Many states don't actually have a lemon law, per se, for used cars, but they do require that used car dealers offer minimal warranties on most used cars. Therefore, the warranty requirement serves as a de facto lemon law. However unlike new car lemon laws, if something goes wrong with the car, you should seek relief from the car dealer and not the manufacturer. Depending upon the state you live in, used car dealers may be required to warranty your used car or truck for a very short period of time or for several months following the date of purchase.

To get more information about your state's used car lemon laws, or vehicle warranty requirements for used car dealers, visit the Car Lemon website. Car Lemon offers a lot of very useful information regarding new and used car lemon laws and warranty requirements. The site lists federal requirements for car warranties as well as lemon laws and warranty requirements for every state.

How to Seek Assistance with Used Car Lemons
If you have purchased a used car that you feel is a lemon, you should first seek assistance from the dealership where you bought the vehicle. Most states require some sort of minimal time warranty on most used vehicles. If you have major problems immediately following the purchase of a vehicle, your used car dealer will be your best bet for obtaining assistance.

In certain circumstances, the dealership may be required to refund your purchase--but this is never guaranteed. There are loopholes in many state's statutes that give the used car dealer an opportunity to escape from a refund. A common loophole is the fact that most states allow a used car dealer to escape a refund if the defect isn't considered to be a major impairment to the operation of the vehicle. In most circumstances the dealership will simply repair the vehicle.

If you have problems getting the dealership to live up to its obligations under the vehicle warranty, seek assistance from your state Attorney General's Office. Most States Attorney General offices have a staff dedicated to helping consumers with new and used car lemon car problems.