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What kind of warranty does my car have for purposes of the lemon law?

Under Minnesota law, if you buy a lemon (a car that doesn’t conform to express warranties), you can return it for a refund or replacement. If you’ve purchased a car that is having trouble, it’s important for you to know whether your car qualifies as a lemon under Minnesota’s statutes. That will depend in part upon the type of warranty that the dealer gave you when you bought the car.

Minnesota’s lemon laws require that the car be covered by express warranties, and that the condition of the car not conform to those warranties. Thus, the first step in determining whether you have a lemon is to know the difference between express and implied warranties.

Express warranties

An express warranty is any feature of the car that the dealer describes with certainty. These are descriptions of features that become a basis for the bargain – in other words, things that help convince you to purchase the car.

It can be important to distinguish between an express warranty and mere “puffery,” or statements that are the seller’s opinion.

For example, if the dealer tells you that the car will run for 10,000 miles with no problems, that’s likely an express warranty. If they tell you that the car is “the best car in the world,” that’s likely puffery, and won’t create a warranty.

It’s also important to note that express warranties can be both spoken and written. A dealer’s verbal assurance of a feature is just as binding as a description written into the final sales contract, even though it can be harder to prove in court.

Implied warranties

There are a few different kinds of implied warranties. The important thing to note is that there are certain warranties that are implied the sale of the car, even if the dealer doesn’t expressly state them, as long as the seller is a car dealer. These warranties don’t apply to private sales between individuals.

When you purchase a car from a dealer, that car is covered by an implied warranty that it will be fit for a car’s ordinary uses and will conform to regular standards for car sales.

Since these warranties aren’t express warranties, they won’t help you in your application of the Minnesota lemon laws, but they can give you separate claims if your dispute escalates to a full-blown lawsuit.