Understanding Used Car Laws – What You Need to Know


Purchasing a used car can be a smart financial decision for many car buyers. However, it’s important to know the laws that come with buying a used car. Every state has its own set of laws regarding used cars, so it’s crucial to know the specific laws of your state. This article will go over the laws behind buying a used car as is, what it means for the buyer, and what legal protections are in place.

What Does “As Is” Really Mean For A Used Car Buyer?

When a used car is sold “as is,” it means that the buyer agrees to purchase the vehicle in its current condition. The law assumes that the buyer has inspected the vehicle and is satisfied with the condition before purchasing it. It also means that the seller is not responsible for any defects, problems, or breakdowns that occur after the sale. This can be a significant risk for buyers, and it’s important to understand the laws and protections in place for “as is” purchases.

The Lemon Law

The Lemon Law is a federal law that protects consumers from buying defective products, including cars. It applies to new and used cars, and it requires dealers to offer a warranty, repair, or money-back guarantee for cars that do not meet the standards of quality and performance. However, it’s important to note that the Lemon Law only applies to cars that have a warranty and it’s up to the buyer to file a claim if they believe that they have purchased a defective vehicle. It’s important to understand the specifics of your state’s Lemon Laws before purchasing a used car.

Implied Warranty

An implied warranty is a legal guarantee that comes with every sale of goods, including used cars. This means that the law assumes that the vehicle is fit for the intended purpose and meets reasonable expectations for performance, reliability, and safety. Even if the vehicle is sold “as is,” the seller must adhere to the implied warranty, and the buyer has legal grounds to sue if the vehicle fails to meet the warranty’s conditions.

Express Warranty

An express warranty is a written or verbal contract that offers specific guarantees for the condition of the vehicle. It’s important to keep in mind that the vehicle’s warranty may not be transferred to a new owner in some cases. If the seller offers an express warranty, it’s critical to read the agreement carefully and understand what is covered and what is not.

The Importance of a Vehicle Inspection

Regardless of the legal protection available, it’s essential to inspect any used car before purchasing. A thorough inspection can reveal any hidden problems, defects, or repairs that need to be addressed before buying. Regular wear-and-tear is to be expected, but serious issues could be costly and may make the car unreliable and unsafe to drive.


Purchasing a used car can be a great option for saving money, as long as the buyer understands the laws, protections, and risks involved. Doing research, reading the laws carefully, and thoroughly inspecting the vehicle are excellent ways to reduce the potential risks of purchasing a used car. With the right preparation and knowledge, used car buyers can find a quality vehicle at an affordable price.

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