New Mexico’s used car Lemon Law provides consumers in the state of New Mexico some protection when they are purchasing a used car
It’s happened to almost all of us: you drive by a used car lot and spot a car you think you just can’t live without. But it is used, after all, and you’re concerned that it’s been through more than just the car wash. How can you tell whether it’s a “peach” of a deal, or a “lemon?”
New Mexicans now have more protection than ever when buying a used car from a dealer in the State of New Mexico. In 2003, the state Legislature amended The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act to include the sale of used motor vehicles. These new amendments went into effect on January 1, 2004 and created what is now referred to as the “Used Car Lemon Law.”
Here are a few of the relatively new law’s highlights:
- Used cars can’t be sold “AS IS.”
- A minimum 15-day/500-mile warranty is required by law, from dealers, on all used cars sold to consumers in New Mexico.
- If you experience a problem with the vehicle that severely limits it use during the 15-day/500-mile warranty period, this problem must be reported to the dealer within 30 days of occurring.
- Once the problem as occurred, you must sent it back to the same dealer who sold it to you for repair, if not, the dealership is released from their obligation to you under the “Used Car Lemon Law” for that particular problem.
- Review your dealer contract – if it doesn’t have the required written disclosure covering the “Used Car Lemon Law”, the contract can be cancelled and your new “used” car can be returned for a full refund. If you had a trade in, that car returns to you as well.
- If, during the course of the 15-day/500-mile warranty period, a problem occurs and the dealer refuses to honor the warranty as provided by the law, the contract can be cancelled and your new “used” car can be returned for a full refund. If you had a trade in, that car returns to you as well.
- If the dealer isn’t able to repair the car within a reasonable amount of time, the contract can be cancelled and your new “used” car can be returned for a full refund. If you had a trade in, that car returns to you as well.
- The “Used Car Lemon Law” covers only cars, pickup trucks, vans, or motorcycles, with a gross weight under 10,000 pounds and were sold to a consumer for personal use by a dealer.
- Not covered under the “Used Car Lemon Law” is damage caused by the consumer to the vehicle, if the damage can be proved as a result of:
- off-road use;
- failure to perform routine maintenance; or
- failure to maintain adequate oil, coolant or other required fluids or lubricants.
There are circumstances where a dealer can sell you a used car that has specific defects or mechanical problems. However, very detailed and exact criteria must be met in order for the “Used Car Lemon Law” to be exempt.
To help ensure protection under the “Used Car Lemon Law,” we recommend keeping a log of your mileage along with the dates when problems occurred and the dates you contacted the dealer regarding the problem(s).