Is There a 30 Day Warranty on Used Cars?

As you look through the used cars available near you, you might be wondering what sort of warranty is available, and what's guaranteed by law.

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As you look through the used cars available near you, you might be wondering what sort of warranty is available, and what's guaranteed by law. We explain it all.

While shopping for a used car you may wonder: is there a 30 day warranty on used cars or can I get an extended warranty on used cars? The market is tight. There is currently a chip shortage and a limited number of new vehicles. Maybe you have some pre-owned favorites that you've seen on the lot, but you also have questions. Let's dig into the details.

Are There 30 Day Warranties on Used Cars?

It depends, but in the United States, generally the answer is no. There are no protections for consumers at the federal level, so it depends on which state you happen to buy the car. Sometimes the answer is yes, but let's clarify.

In the U.S., there are various stages of warranties that will be listed on the vehicle from "as-is", "warranty of merchantability" (meaning it will run like it is supposed to) and "warranty of fitness" (meaning it is safe to sell) to stages of the applicable factory warranty that has continued over to the current buyer. Also in the U.S., there is no warranty guarantee.

Some states have a three-day grace period where you can change your mind and return the vehicle, but it is not required by federal law in the U.S. This means there is a lot of wiggle room — know what and who you are dealing with. Ensure that you have the paper documents that pertain to your individual vehicle. Be certain to check with your dealer for their particular policy on returns and service after the purchase.

Some states, like California, require certain dealerships to warranty their used cars for 30 days or 1,000 miles. In California, only dealers known as "buy-here, pay-here" dealers are covered under that law.

Will an Extended Warranty Fix the Issue of not Having a Warranty?

It could. An extended warranty offers a layer of protection to cover the time beyond when a factory warranty expires. It is an extra cost, but it's a negotiable one and it’s very important to know when an extended warranty is worth it. You can buy one from your dealer, your bank, or an additional third party — the choice is yours — just be aware that the rates vary wildly across the industry. You can negotiate the rate, the term, and the coverage that you will receive. Sometimes called a vehicle service contract, an extended warranty covers repairs to the major mechanical systems of your vehicle. It does not cover your vehicle if you have modified it with certain after-market parts, but it does provide a rental loaner during the term of the repair if the service is covered.

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Teia Collier
Native Texan with a love for people, auto, beautiful design and a grand adventure, Teia Collier is an award-winning writer based in the Dallas area. With a background in education, civic service, and public policy, she loves to discover the why behind a thing and to connect people with the best resources to make their lives better. Collier is also a mom of three, addicted to coffee, and the incoming president of the Texas Auto Writers Association.