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Do used cars qualify for lemon law?

Used cars can look and function like brand new. However, one of the risks of buying one is that it may come with some defects. If you just purchased a used car with a defective or malfunctioning part, you can ask the manufacturer for a refund or replacement. However, the vehicle must still be under the original manufacturer’s warranty for the lemon law to cover it.

Minnesota’s lemon law

The lemon law in Minnesota covers both new and slightly used vehicles, including pickup trucks and vans. This law protects car buyers by making the car dealer responsible for giving them a refund or replacement if the car they bought has a persisting defect that impairs its use. Owners of used cars can also ask for compensation as long as their vehicle is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty. Additionally, the car owner must have used it at least 40% of the time for personal purposes.


If your car has problems, the first thing you must do is check if you bought it with a warranty. Sometimes, car sellers do not include the warranty in the sale, in which case you would not be able to ask for the repairs. However, if it does have it, the manufacturer must fix the problem if you report the defect within your vehicle’s warranty period. If you make a claim after the warranty expires, the manufacturer may deny the repairs. The length of your warranty and the car parts covered under it will depend on the mileage of your car at the time of your purchase:

  • Fewer than 36,000 miles: the warranty applies for 60 days or until the car reaches 2,500 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Between 36,000 and 75,000 miles: the warranty applies for 30 days or until the car reaches 1,000 miles, whichever comes first.

You must have bought the car from a used car dealer to get the repairs. The lemon law will also cover your car if you bought it from an unlicensed dealer that failed to give you written warranty documents.  If you purchased the car from a friend or family member, you won’t be able to ask for the repairs.


If your car’s warranty is still valid, the dealer must repair or replace the defective part without a cost. However, you must remember that the law doesn’t cover some parts for used cars, like the radiators or steering racks for those who bought a car with a mileage between 36,000 and 75,000 miles. If the warranty covers the defective part, the dealer will repair it. If they don’t have a repair facility, they will tell you where to take your car.

The dealer’s duty

The dealer may offer you a refund or replacement of your car if its problem is persisting or impossible to fix. The refund must include all the charges, fees and taxes you paid for the vehicle. The only way a dealer could refuse the refund is if you caused the defect by negligence, such as a lack of maintenance or a collision. Otherwise, it is your right to ask for the repairs, replacement or refund. You can file a lawsuit against the dealer if they fail to comply with their duties. For a lawsuit to be valid, you need to file it within one year after the warranty expires. You deserve to exercise your rights under the lemon law, and the dealer must abide by it.