Understanding used car warranties – Dealer sales

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Used car lot

A warranty is always good protection when buying a used car from a dealer. Image from Flickr.

When you’re purchasing a used car, it is important to protect your investment – no matter who you buy it from. A warranty on a used car is a best-case scenario, but it is important to know that there are several different types of used car warranties. When you are purchasing a used car from a private party, warranty protections are very different than purchasing from a dealer. When you are buying from a dealer, which kind of warranty should you get, and what are your legal protections?

Buyer’s guide: warranty information

The Federal Trade Commission requires that all dealers that sell more than six cars a year must include a Buyer’s Guide on every car they sell. This Buyer’s Guide should give you basic information on the vehicle, including the warranties on the vehicle. This buyer’s guide is also a part of the sales contract. A buyer’s guide must include if the vehicle is being sold “as is” or under warranty. It also must tell you which percentage of costs of repair the dealer will pay under the warranty.

As-Is – No Warranty

The phrases “as-is, no warranty” and “with all faults” nullify any other warranties that may be implied on a vehicle. The only way a used car with an “as-is” notice might have a warranty is if the Buyer’s Guide indicates that there is one. In general, if there is an “as-is – no warranty” sale, there is no warranty whatsoever on a used vehicle.

Implied warranties

Implied warranties are unwritten, unspoken promises that a used car seller may make to a buyer. These implied warranties mean that a dealer is responsible if the purchased car “does not meet reasonable quality standards.” However, the words “as-is” or “with all faults” on contracts or the buyer’s guide nullify implied warranties. If you do get a warranty on your used car, then implied warranties – for a particular purpose or in general – are included. If they are specifically excluded, then the implied warranty is also null and void.

Manufacturer Warranty

On some used vehicles, the warranty the manufacturer provides may still be in effect. If this is the case, you should call the manufacturer’s regional office with the VIN number. The office should be able to tell you what is still included on the warranty. The car dealer should provide you a copy of all the car’s warranty documents.

Written warranties

A used car salesperson may offer you a warranty with your vehicle. If this is the case, you should get the warranty in writing. Be sure that the written warranty includes a time frame, what repairs the dealer will or will not pay for, and if there is a preferred mechanic that the dealership warranty might cover. There are 14 major systems in a vehicle – you should make sure the warranty outlines exactly which of these systems are or are not covered.

When you are purchasing a used car from a dealer, it is important to know exactly what warranty you are getting. Get everything in writing, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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