Unreliable vehicles create sour consumers. When the repairs can't be made, and the bills begin to surpass the worth of the car, it's time to check whether your state can protect you with its used car lemon laws. Lemons laws protect car owners in all 50 states. But, only these 6 states have laws on the books that can help you turn your used lemon into some sweet-tasting lemonade.


  • The amount of lemon law coverage is based upon your mileage when you buy your vehicle--and covers only certain parts of your vehicle, like the drive train. The coverage ranges from 30 days or 1000 miles to 90 days or 5000 miles--whichever comes first.
  • Always get a written warranty. Written warranties elicit special buyer rights for those purchasing used vehicles in Hawaii.


  • You have to buy your used car from a Massachusetts' car dealer for at least $700; and, the odometer has to have less than 125,000 miles on it.
  • Or, your used car must have been sold by a private citizen living in Massachusetts.


  • When you purchase a vehicle from a used car dealer only, you must be provided with basic warranty coverage. Your warranty is dependent on the amount of mileage, and the length of time since you drove it off the lot. It covers all major car car repairs unless you fall under a 30 day, 1000 mile warranty.

New Jersey

  • Used car dealers must provide warranties for vehicles that are less than 7 years old; and, that were sold for more than $3,000. Additionally, odometer readings cannot exceed 100,000 miles. No insurance company can have ever declared the vehicle a total loss.

New York

  • You must have bought your used car from a New York dealer for at least $1500.
  • There can be no more than 100,000 miles clocked on the odometer.

Rhode Island  

  • Used cars must be replaced or refunded by the seller if 4 attempts have been made to repair a single defect within 1 year after you purchased it--or, if that defect cannot be repaired after 3 tries, and the warranty has not expired.

How To Keep From Being Stuck With A Lemon

You can circumvent a lot of misery by getting a copy of the used car's history before you buy it. You can order a free Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) history report from a company like Instavin that will tell you about the car's repair history. You can also order a National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) history report that checks title history and liens against the vehicle you intend to purchase. A little due diligence goes a long way to keeping you on the road. After all, it's easier to get your lemonade from a roadside lemonade stand instead of doing all the hard work of fresh squeezing it yourself.