After months of research and visiting dealerships, you finally purchased the used car you’ve always wanted. You’ve had it for just over a month, and it’s been back to the dealership for the same issue two or three times within that month. You’re getting more and more frustrated by the minute and tired of spending all your time going back and forth to the dealership. Your car appears to be a lemon, so now what? You may have some recourse thanks to the lemon law in New Jersey.
What Is the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law?
The New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law protects your used vehicle purchase when the vehicle is acquired from licensed dealerships in New Jersey. Specifically, it protects consumers who experience repeated issues with their used vehicle purchase. The Used Car Lemon Law (UCLL) requires dealerships to provide a warranty to the purchaser. The length of that warranty depends on the mileage on the vehicle at the time of purchase. The UCLL also requires dealerships to fix any malfunctioning or defective parts covered under the used vehicle’s warranty. The dealership must provide this warranty free of charge to the purchaser of a qualifying used vehicle.
What Vehicles Does the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law Cover?
Vehicles purchased from a licensed dealership that are less than seven model years old, have less than 100,000 miles, and have a minimum purchase price of $3,000 are covered under the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law. The law covers all passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs. The minimum duration of the warranty is based on the mileage on the vehicle’s odometer at the time of purchase. A consumer may waive their right to a warranty to negotiate a better purchase price. That waiver must be in writing to be valid in the state of New Jersey.
Minimum warranty durations are:
- Thirty days or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first, for any vehicle that has between 60,000 and 100,000 miles on its odometer.
- Sixty days or 2,000 miles, whichever comes first, for any vehicle with 24,000 to 60,000 miles on its odometer.
- Ninety days or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first, for a vehicle with 24,000 or fewer miles on its odometer.
This written warranty will require the dealership to fix the defect or malfunction on a used vehicle purchase within that warranty period. The vehicle must be brought to the dealership for repair and is subject to a $50 deductible, which the vehicle owner pays.
Vehicles that are excluded from the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law include those with a salvage title, vehicles purchased from a private seller, motorcycles, motor homes, commercial vehicles, off-road vehicles, leased vehicles, a used vehicle under the original manufacturer’s warranty, and a used car that has been abused, modified, or not maintained by the purchaser.
What Parts Does the Used Car Lemon Law Cover?
The warranty issued by the dealership will only cover specific parts of the used vehicle under the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law. These parts include:
- Front-wheel drive: All seals, gaskets, axle shafts, front hub bearings, internal lubricated parts, and constant velocity joints.
- Rear-wheel drive: All seals, gaskets, axle shafts and bearings, supports and U-joints, propeller shafts, and internal lubricated parts.
- Transmission automatic/transfer case: All seals, gaskets, vacuum modulators, torque converter, transmission mounts, and internal lubricated parts.
- Transmission manual/transfer case: All seals, gaskets, pressure plate, throw-out bearings, clutch master or slave cylinders, transmission mounts, and internal lubricated parts, excluding a manual clutch.
- Engine: All seals, gaskets, turbocharger housing, timing chains, timing belt, oil pump and gears, harmonic balancer, oil pan, engine mounts, manifolds, water pump, pulleys and cover, valve covers, oil pump and gears, gears and cover, flywheel, and internal lubricated parts. The cylinder heads, engine block, and housing are only covered if they are damaged due to an internal lubricated part’s failure.
Is the Dealership Required to Repair the Vehicle?
If your used vehicle purchase is still covered under the dealership’s warranty, then the dealership is required to repair your vehicle. The issue must be one of the parts covered under warranty. The dealership is allowed a reasonable amount of time to attempt to repair the malfunction or defect. In New Jersey, a reasonable amount of time equals a minimum of three attempts to fix it or 20 cumulative days that the vehicle has been out of service due to the malfunction or defect.
It’s essential to communicate any malfunctions or defects to the dealership as soon as possible. You should document any repair attempts and receipts, as well as any communication you’ve had with the dealership in regards to the malfunction or defect. A complete record will help improve the chances of your vehicle qualifying for the New Jersey Lemon Law.
Once a reasonable amount of repair attempts have been made, reach out to the Lemon Law Unit at 973-504-6226 for a Lemon Law application. Complete the application thoroughly and attach any documentation that supports your claim and send it to the Lemon Law Unit for consideration.
Can I Get a Refund or Replacement Under the Lemon Law?
When a car dealership cannot fix the malfunction or defect, they must refund the purchase price or replace the vehicle. The refund would be the price of the car minus title and registration fees, sales tax, and a deduction for the personal use of the vehicle. This deduction is calculated at 51 cents per mile driven. The Internal Revenue Service sets the standard mileage amount. The decision to receive a refund or a replacement vehicle is up to the purchaser, not the dealership.
If a dealership refuses to offer a refund or replacement under warranty, the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law may be applied. Once you have completed a Lemon Law application, you can either request a Lemon Law hearing, file a lawsuit with the New Jersey Superior Court, or attempt to come to an agreement using the dealership’s informal dispute resolution program.
New Jersey State Auto is a used car dealership built on the core values of being honest and providing a straightforward business done with integrity. We believe in providing our customers with the highest quality of service possible. Our highly trained service department works hard to get you back on the road as quickly as possible. Contact us today for vehicle sales and service.