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The New Jersey Used Lemon Car Law

Vehicles covered by the Lemon Law

The law covers only used passenger motor vehicles purchased from a used car dealer and requires the used car dealer to provide the customer with a warranty. The length of the warranty depends on the used vehicle's mileage.

If a vehicle has 24,000 miles or less, the used car dealer must provide the customer with a warranty for 90 days or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.

If a vehicle has more than 24,000 miles, but less than 60,000 miles, the used car dealer must provide the customer with a warranty lasting 60 days or 2,000 miles, whichever comes first.

If a vehicle that has between 60,000 and 100,000 miles, the used car dealer must provide the customer with a warranty for 30 days or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Vehicles not covered by the Lemon Law

1) vehicles sold for less than $3,000.

2) vehicles that are more than seven (7) model years old.

3) vehicles that have been declared a total loss by an insurance company.

4) vehicles that have odometer readings of more than 100,000 miles.

5) vehicles that were not purchased from a dealer.

Note: In negotiating a better price for the vehicle, consumers may waive their right to a warranty. The vehicle must have more than 60,000 miles and the waiver must be in writing.

Covered Parts

The statute requires a used car dealer "to correct a material defect of the used vehicle."

The statute also expressly covers:

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. (other components are covered only if they are damaged by the failure of an internal lubricated part.)

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

Manual Transmission/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.

The statute also says: "It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim that the alleged material defect does not substantially impair the use, value or safety of the used motor vehicle."

In other words, to win your used vehicle lemon law case, you must prove that the vehicle's defect significantly impacts on its use, value, or safety. This is designed to protect the dealer and the court system from frivolous lawsuits.

What the used car dealer must do

The warranty requires the dealer to correct a defective or malfunctioning part of a used motor vehicle which is covered by the warranty if the defect occurred during the applicable warranty period.

The consumer is responsible for bringing the motor vehicle to the dealer and may be entitled to a refund of the used motor vehicle's full purchase price:

If the dealer has been unsuccessful at fixing the same material defect after at least three attempts.

If the vehicle has been out of service for 20 cumulative days while the dealer is attempting to fix it.

The consumer must pay a $50 deductible for each repair of each covered item.

If during the warranty period the used motor vehicle fails to operate properly through no fault of the consumer and the dealer has had a reasonable opportunity to repair the motor vehicle and he refuses to replace or refund the full purchase price of the motor vehicle, then the consumer may then be eligible for assistance under the Used Car Lemon Law.

Note: "A reasonable attempt to repair a used motor vehicle" is defined as: At least three attempts to repair the same material defect and the material defect continues to exist; or the used motor vehicle was out of service by reason of waiting for the dealer to begin or complete repair of the material defect for a cumulative total of 20 days or more during the warranty period. It is important for consumers to contact their dealers as soon as they discover a problem with the vehicle and allow the dealer at least three attempts to fix the vehicle. Keep all documents pertaining to the motor vehicle's defects and repairs handy.

To learn more about the New Jersey Lemon Law please call 1-800-MY-LEMON (1-800-695-3666) or email us.