Before You Buy: There's No Lemon Law For Used Cars!

It's car week on 2 Wants to Know. Of course, we couldn't have a car week without talking about the lemon law. Many viewers call in with car issues. They believe the used car they just bought is a lemon. Unfortunately, this next truth may have you feeling sour: the Call For Action Used Car Buyer's Guide confirms there's NO lemon law for used cars. Not in North Carolina, and not in most states! In fact, only six states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York) have lemon laws for used cars.

The lemon law is for NEW vehicles, and has specific guidelines. It's not simply a car that breaks down. Your car may be covered by the Lemon Law if ALL of the following have happened:

  • The problem occurs in some part of the vehicle that is covered by the manufacturer's warranty and you are within the warranty period.
  • You tell the manufacturer about the problem in writing and give them a reasonable period, but not more than 15 days, to fix it.
  • The manufacturer makes "a reasonable number of attempts" to fix the vehicle for the same problem (that's 4 or 5 times) or a total of 20 or more business days in a 12 month period.
  • The problem with the car has to be the exact same problem.

For example, if you bring in the car for 1) A/C that blows hot air, 2) a vent that doesn't work, 3) power windows that won't go down, and 4) a sticking sunroof, it doesn't qualify as a lemon law. They're not all the same problem.

To be covered by the lemon law, every time you bring in your car, it has to be the exact same problem.

To learn more about the lemon law, visit the North Carolina Department of Justice website.


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