Buying a used car is always a trickier prospect than buying new.
New cars come with more built-in protections (express warranties) and Ohio laws regarding new cars are stricter.
But, while it’s always riskier to buy a used vehicle, Ohio does have some laws protecting used car buyers, including the state’s lemon law, which applies to used vehicles as well as new.
Ohio Used Car Warranty Laws
Ohio does not require used cars to come with warranties.
All used cars in the state may be sold “as-is”.
Some used cars in Ohio may come with warranties as incentives, but these warranties are offered on individual bases by dealerships and are not state-mandated.
However, if your new car is very lightly-used and still within its original express warranty period (typically around 2 years), that warranty still generally remains in effect.
Ohio’s lemon law also applies to used vehicles.
So, as long as a car is still within 12 months of delivery to its original owner and has under 18,000 miles on it, it has some protection from major defects.
Ohio Used Car Return Laws
Since used cars in Ohio are covered by the state’s lemon law, there is some right to return a used car in the state.
If a car has a major defect within the first 12 months (1 year) or 18,000 miles after delivery to its original owner, it may be eligible for return (or replacement) under the lemon law.
Ohio also has fairly comprehensive laws regarding the advertising and sales of motor vehicles, both new and used, in the state.
These laws include the responsibility of a car dealer to disclose any pre-existing damage or defect that would cost 6% or more of the vehicle’s purchase price to repair.
If you purchase a vehicle for $1,000, for instance, and it has a prior defect that would cost $60 or more to repair, the dealer must tell you about it (in writing).
(This formal disclosure does not include any glass, tires, or bumpers, as long as they have been replaced with original manufacturer’s parts.)
So, if you bought a used car in Ohio that has issues and you believe the dealer knew about those issues and failed to disclose them, you can file a Consumer Complaint with the state’s attorney general and have the right to sue under the law.
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-D