Buying a used car is always a trickier prospect than buying a new car.
New cars come with more built-in protections (express warranties) and Connecticut laws regarding new cars are stricter.
But, while it’s always riskier to buy a used vehicle, Connecticut does have some used car laws that can help.
Connecticut Used Car Warranty Laws
Connecticut law requires authorized car dealers to provide express warranties on all pre-owned vehicles less than seven (7) years old that cost more than $3,000.
These warranties must cover all operational and safety issues that might arise with the vehicle.
Basically, a dealer is required to keep a used car operational for a set period of time or a set amount of miles, dependent on the price of the car.
The time period/mileage for a car that costs $3,000-5,000 is:
- 30 days, or
- 1,500 miles
Whichever comes first.
The time period/mileage for a car that costs over $5,000 is:
- 60 days, or
- 3,000 miles
Whichever comes first.
What’s more, if the car is in a repair facility more than a single day, the warranty extends for every day the car remains in the shop.
What about cars older than 7 years old or that cost under $3,000?
Cars older than 7 years old or that cost under $3,000 are not required to come with warranties in Connecticut.
These cars may be sold “as is” and the dealer has no responsibility if they malfunction.
Connecticut Used Car Return Laws
There is no right to return a used car in Connecticut.
If a dealer cannot fix a problem covered under their warranty, the warranty just extends for each day they fail to repair it.
However, if you believe the dealer failed to disclose an issue with the vehicle, made deceptive statements about the vehicle’s condition, or are dragging their heels fixing the vehicle, you still have rights under the law.
You can file a complaint against the dealer with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Used Car Warranty & Car Return General FAQ
To further your understanding of used car warranties and return rules here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
Do used cars come with warranties?
Many do, but not all.
And in most states, used cars have no requirement to be warrantied.
Used cars may be sold either with a warranty attached or “as is.”
Those with warranties may also have very limited warranties, with either a short time/mileage window or only a few parts of the car that are covered.
All this said, dealerships often offer warranties as incentives to buy their pre-owned vehicles.
And, if they don’t, you can certainly negotiate one into your purchase contract.
Does an express manufacturer’s car warranty transfer to a new owner?
Generally speaking, yes, an express manufacturer’s warranty transfers to a car’s new owner as long as the warranty is still in effect (though, the rules or coverage period of the warranty may change).
But this isn’t always the case.
If a vehicle’s warranty does not transfer, this should be clearly spelled out in the vehicle’s paperwork, and the seller is also required to tell you.
Do extended vehicle service plans count as warranties?
Yes, in most cases, service contracts are considered a form of warranty under the law.
However, they’re unlikely to do you much good if real issues arise.
Service contracts typically don’t provide much more than general maintenance, so if your car breaks down it is unlikely the dealer will have a duty to repair it.
However, if they refuse to do your oil change, rotate your tires, or anything else actually included in your service plan, you can certainly seek justice under warranty laws.
Is there a federal law that deals with used car warranties?
Yes. In a way.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act applies to all warranties, regardless of whether those warranties are attached to new or used products.
The law is not specific to vehicles, but can be used to enforce any warranty on a used vehicle.
What’s in the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (as it applies to vehicles)?
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act includes several key points that pertain to vehicle warranties.
These points are:
- No product is required to have a warranty (and many used cars don’t).
- The terms of a warranty must be fully disclosed in simple, understandable language.
- Any ambiguity in the language of a warranty is held against the warrantor (in this case, the manufacturer or dealer).
- Warrantors cannot require only branded parts be used with their products for a warranty to remain valid (Ford can’t require only Ford parts be used on your vehicle).
- Service contracts must follow these same rules.
Basically, if you feel like you’ve been duped by a warranty, you may have a case under the Magnuson-Moss Act.
And if your used vehicle does come with a warranty, the dealer/manufacturer must repair any defect for free and to satisfactory condition, or you can seek justice under your local (or the federal) warranty law.
What about the Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling-Off rule?
The FTC’s 3-day cooling-off rule or “right to cancel” does not apply to vehicles.
For more on the FTC’s rule and how (and why) it doesn’t apply to vehicle sales, see Does The FTC’s 3-Day Right To Cancel Apply To Car Purchases?