There are many things to consider when buying a car. One of which is whether to buy new or used.
One of the advantages of buying a used car is that they are often significantly cheaper than new cars, which is great if you’re then going to be spending money modifying it with the help of somewhere like RaceMe to get it ready for racing. However, new vehicles also have their perks. For instance, they will typically last longer and be equipped with the latest technology.
Yet, perhaps the most crucial (and commonly overlooked) factor to consider is whether your vehicle will be covered under your state’s lemon law if it turns out to be defective. These laws (also known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) are designed to protect consumers who purchase defective vehicles. If your car turns out to be a lemon under this law, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle.
Here’s what you need to know about how lemon law applies to new and used cars – so you can make an informed purchase decision.
Determine Which Types of Vehicles Are Covered by Your State’s Lemon Law
In general, to qualify as a lemon, your car must have a defect that substantially affects its functionality, value, or safety.
That being said, most states only have new car lemon laws. However, some states (like California) do offer protection for both new and used vehicles that are still under warranty.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that your state’s lemon law may not cover certain vehicles. For example, only passenger cars are protected in some states, while trucks and motorcycles are not.
To learn more about what’s covered under your state’s lemon law, it’s a good idea to consult a local lemon law lawyer. A skilled lawyer in your state can help advise you on your rights and what to expect from the claim process.
Beware of Buying a Used Vehicle “As Is”
As mentioned, the states that offer used car lemon laws typically only apply to vehicles still under warranty. So, if you are buying from a private seller, it’s important to be aware of the implications of purchasing an “as is” vehicle.
When you purchase a vehicle “as is,” you’re essentially buying it without any warranty. As a result, the seller does not have to repair or replace any defects that may arise after the sale. In other words, if your car turns out to be a lemon, you’re out of luck.
For this reason, you should always be wary of used cars sold “as is.” Unless you’re comfortable with the risks, it’s generally best to avoid these types of sales altogether.
Understand the Difference Between a Dealer’s and Manufacturer’s Warranty
If you purchase a used vehicle from a dealership, it will likely come with a “dealer’s warranty.”
In states that have used car lemon law, dealer warranties are usually good for 30 days or 1,000 miles. Manufacturer’s warranties for new cars typically last for three years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first).
So, if you purchase a faulty used vehicle that’s covered by a dealer’s warranty, the window to earn compensation under lemon law is short. On the other hand, if you buy a new car, you will have a more extended period to build your lemon law case.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all dealerships offer warranties on their used cars. So, before you purchase a used vehicle from a dealership, read the warranty terms in the buyer’s guide.
Get a Vehicle History Report Before You Buy
Another thing you should consider doing before buying a used car is getting a vehicle history report (VHR). A VHR will give you valuable information about the car’s past, such as whether it was ever in an accident or if it has any outstanding recalls.
This information can help decide whether or not to purchase a particular used car. For example, if the VHR shows that the car was in a serious accident, you may want to think twice before buying it. Conversely, if the VHR is clean, it’s a good sign that the car has been well-maintained and is less likely to be a lemon.
New cars will not have a VHR, since they have never been owned before. However, you can still find important information about the car’s history by checking for any outstanding recalls. You can do this by searching the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.
When deciding whether to buy a new or used car, it’s important to consider how each option might affect your lemon law rights. For example, while used vehicles are generally cheaper, some states do not offer the same protections for used cars as they do for new cars.
If you have concerns about a particular vehicle, it’s always good to consult with a lemon law attorney in your state. They will be able to walk you through the lemon law process and help you understand your rights as a consumer.
Author Bio: Brian K. Cline‘s Lemon Law Legal Group provides premier legal services. Our California lemon law lawyers aggressively and ethically force vehicle manufacturers to buy back defective and dangerous vehicles. Our team includes experienced trial lawyers with over 40 years of combined trial experience.