Your car isn’t working, and you may be wondering, “Is it a lemon?”
If so, you may think there’s no recourse under the law if you bought a used car.
Is there a lemon law for used cars?
You have legal recourse if you live in New Jersey. New Jersey law protects consumers if they buy a defective used car. New Jersey is one of the few states covering used lemon cars.
This article will show you how New Jersey’s lemon law can save you money. Let’s explore.
What Is a Lemon Car?
A lemon car has inherent defects that compromise safety and functionality.
The term lemon started as a British expression that described a substandard object. The term eventually carried over into the United States, where people used the expression to describe a worthless item.
A used car may be a lemon for the following reasons:
- The previous owner maintained the vehicle poorly
- The car underwent a rebuild after a major collision
- Mechanics performed shoddy repairs on the car
In some cases, car owners may not be aware of a major issue until they operate the vehicle.
- Example: Cars usually break down at higher speeds.
Additionally, lemons are very dangerous when improperly repaired or assembled. A car could come apart if mechanics or manufacturers fail to align the parts properly.
New cars are also lemons if they have defects after assembly. Perhaps manufacturers didn’t install a part correctly.
Lemon protection laws also apply to new vehicles. With that, you’re less likely to encounter new car lemons due to higher manufacturing standards and government regulations.
What Are Lemon Laws?
A lemon law compels a manufacturer and/or dealer to replace or repair a vehicle after a series of repairs. The laws also compel manufacturers to honor warranties.
The car must undergo reasonable repairs before the lemon laws apply. Lemon laws are also applicable to anything affecting the value, safety, or use of the vehicle.
All states have some variation of lemon laws. However, only six states have lemon laws for used cars. Besides New Jersey, the following states have used car lemon laws:
- New York
- Rhode Island
Lemon laws for used cars also vary by state
What Are the Lemon Laws for New Jersey?
New Jersey used car lemon laws will cover all passenger cars purchased from a licensed dealer. You can invoke the law if mechanics tried to fix the car at least three times.
Moreover, your car must be out of commission for at least 20 days. Overall, the defect must hamper the use of the vehicle and/or jeopardize the safety of motorists.
You must also buy the car for at least $3,000. The car must be seven model years or less. Finally, the car doesn’t qualify if it has over 100,000 miles at the time of purchase.
The law goes into effect when a component that’s covered under the warranty begins to break down. The law forces dealers to honor the warranty in the event of a complication.
Moreover, New Jersey laws compel dealers to offer a limited warranty based on the car’s mileage. Also, dealers must provide the mileage warranty free of charge.
New Jersey also governs the warranty provisions. A warranty should have minimum stipulations:
- Cars less than 24,000 miles: The dealer will provide a warranty for cars reaching 3,000 miles, or the dealer will provide coverage for 90 days.
- Cars between 24,000 and 60,000 miles: The dealer must provide a warranty for 60 days, or when the car reaches 2,000 miles.
- Cars between 60,000 and 100,000 miles: The dealer will offer a 30-day warranty, or when the car reaches 1,000 miles.
On the consumer’s end, you could pay a $50 deductible for each repair. A warranty can save you money in the event of car trouble.
The average car repair is around $400 and has increased over the years. In severe cases, you could pay thousands of dollars for a single repair.
You’re also free to waive the warranty. A consumer may want to waive a warranty to get a better price on the vehicle. If you choose to waive the warranty, you must sign a waiver.
Do Lemon Laws Exclude Certain Cars?
Not all used vehicles in New Jersey fall under lemon law protections. The following types of cars don’t have protections:
- Leased cars
- Commercial cars
- Flooded cars
- Salvaged cars
You also don’t get coverage if you engage in a private sale because all dealers must be licensed.
How Do I Get a Replacement?
The lemon law can save you money because the dealer can replace your vehicle. However, you don’t have to accept the dealer’s offer to replace the car. Instead, you can request a full refund.
- Note: Your refund excludes such expenses as sales taxes and registration fees.
If you fail to make headway with the dealer, call the Division of Consumer Affairs, and file a complaint. In many cases, Consumer Affairs can settle lingering disputes.
Regardless, you should also contact an attorney. An attorney familiar with New Jersey lemon laws can guide you through the legal process.
Is There a Lemon Law for Used Cars?
If you’re wondering, “Is there a lemon law for used cars?”, the answer is yes. However, used lemon car laws only apply in a few states, including New Jersey.
New Jersey law forces dealers to offer a warranty in case the car malfunctions. You can save thousands of dollars in car repairs under the lemon law. Best of all, you may get a new car if the vehicle is beyond repair.
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