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Used Car Lemon Law

The Used Car Lemon Law covers motor vehicles that are the purchased second-hand from a dealer in New Jersey. Eligible motor vehicles include passenger cars, minivans, pick-up trucks and SUVs, but not motorcycles or motor homes. Even if your vehicle has other warranties, such as a service contract or an extended warranty, the dealer must still provide the coverage required under this law. If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, the law allows you to return the vehicle to the dealer and receive a refund. In addition, if the dealer lies about the condition of the vehicle or does not tell you about prior accidents or that the vehicle was previously branded as a lemon, the dealer may have committed Auto Fraud. Furthermore, there are other laws that may give you the right to sue the manufacturer or a warranty provider. If you think your used vehicle is a lemon or if you think the dealer has deceived you, please contact The Law Office of David C. Ricci, LLC, for a free consultation. An experienced attorney will review your claim to determine which laws the dealer may have violated.

Coverages and Limitations

If your vehicle is covered under the Used Car Lemon Law, the dealer has to give you a written warranty, depending on the mileage of the vehicle at the time of sale, as follows:

  1. If your vehicle had 24,000 miles or less at the time of sale, the warranty lasts for at least 90 days or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first;
  2. If your vehicle had more than 24,000 miles but less than 60,000 miles at the time of sale, the warranty lasts for at least 60 days or 2,000 miles, whichever comes first;
  3. If your vehicle had between 60,000 and 100,000 miles at the time of sale, the warranty lasts for at least 30 days or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first, unless you signed a waiver of the warranty.

However, not all used vehicles are covered under the law. If the vehicle had more than 100,000 miles at the time of sale, had a purchase price less than $3,000, or was more than seven model years old, then the vehicle is not covered under the Used Car Lemon Law. Furthermore, the law does not cover all of the vehicle’s parts. Click this link for a list of Covered Items However, if your vehicle is not covered under the Used Car Lemon Law, the dealer may have broken other laws, such as the Consumer Fraud Act. When the firm reviews your claim, a skilled lawyer will look for violations of other laws.

Additionally, the dealer cannot substitute a 50/50 warranty (owner and dealer each pay half of the repair costs) or a service contract/extended warranty unless it provides at least the same coverage as the lemon law warranty. The dealer cannot sell the vehicle “as-is” unless the vehicle has 60,000 to 100,000 miles at the time of sale and you signed a written waiver of the warranty.

Do I have a Claim under the Used Car Lemon Law?

In order to have a claim under the Lemon Law, two things are necessary:

  1. The vehicle must have a “material defect” which substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle. The defect must be one of the parts covered under the Lemon Law. It may be difficult to know whether your vehicle’s problem qualifies as a material defect. During your free consultation, the attorney reviewing your case will evaluate whether your vehicle’s problem qualifies under the lemon law.
  2. You must bring the vehicle to the dealer to give the dealer a “reasonable opportunity” to repair the material defect. The dealer is allowed to charge you $50 for each repair. Generally, you will have given the dealer a reasonable opportunity to repair the defect if either of the following occur:

    1. The dealer (or whoever the dealer chooses to work on the vehicle) has tried to repair the vehicle at least three times during the warranty period, and the problem still exists; or
    2. the vehicle has been out of service a total of 20 or more days during the warranty period because the dealer has yet to begin or complete repair of the material defect.

    The amount of time it takes for the dealer to begin or complete repairs of the defect does not count against your warranty period. For example, if your vehicle has a 60-day warranty and the dealer spends 5 days making repairs for the defect, then your warranty period would run 65 days.

If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon under the law, then the dealer is required to buy the vehicle back from you and refund the full purchase price to you or the lienholder (if applicable), less certain taxes, fees and charges. Whether you bought your used vehicle from a dealer on McCarter Highway in Newark, near Route 1 and 9 in Elizabeth, or anywhere else, The Law Office of David C. Ricci, LLC is here to fight for your rights and get you all the relief you deserve.

Parts Covered Under the Used Car Lemon Law (N.J.A.C. 13:45A-26F.2)

“Covered item” means and includes the following components of a used motor vehicle: Engine—all internal lubricated parts, timing chains, gears and cover, timing belt, pulleys and cover, oil pump and gears, water pump, valve covers, oil pan, manifolds, flywheel, harmonic balancer, engine mounts, seals and gaskets, and turbo-charger housing; however, housing, engine block and cylinder heads are covered items only if damaged by the failure of an internal lubricated part.

Transmission Automatic/Transfer Case—all internal lubricated parts, torque converter, vacuum modulator, transmission mounts, seals and gaskets.

Transmission Manual/Transfer Case—all internal lubricated parts, transmission mounts, seals and gaskets, but excluding a manual clutch, pressure plate, throw-out bearings, clutch master or slave cylinders.

Front-Wheel Drive—all internal lubricated parts, axle shafts, constant velocity joints, front hub bearings, seals and gaskets.

Rear-Wheel Drive—all internal lubricated parts, propeller shafts, supports and U-joints, axle shafts and bearings, seals and gaskets.

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