What can I do about a used car that broke down during the warranty period if the dealer won’t honor the warranty?

UPDATED: Jun 16, 2011

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What can I do about a used car that broke down during the warranty period if the dealer won’t honor the warranty?

I recently purchased a used vehicle from a used car dealer. The dealer gave me a 30 day, 1000 mile warranty on the vehicle, plus I purchased the 2 year power train warranty. I had the car for about 8 days then it started tapping. I called the dealer and he insisted on me bringing it in. On the way to the dealer it threw a rod, now I’m stuck with a $10,000 car that neither the dealer or warranty company will cover since drove it knowing that something was wrong. What can I do about it?

Asked on June 16, 2011 under General Practice, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can sue. A warranty is a contract; it is enforceable, as per its terms. IF the problem with your car is covered by the warranty (like any other contract, a warranty only covers those things it specifically states it covers) and you're withing the time and mileage period, then you can sue the dealer to force them to honor the warranty (e.g. pay for repairs). You do need to look to the exact language of the warranty--if it specifically says you could not drive it knowing of the need for a repair, you may have trouble, but otherwise, they probably can't disclaim coverage on this grounds--after all, you were told to drive it in; and anyway, how else would you get the car there? It seems as if it would be worthwhile for you to consult with an attorney about your rights and recourse; good luck.

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