An automobile warranty is a promise made by an automobile dealer or manufacturer to repair or replace defects in your car within a given period of time. 

What Kinds of Warranties Might My Car Have?

Most cars come with both express and implied warranties.  Express warranties are created through written or spoken communication from the dealer of the manufacturer.  They can also be created by promises or factual statements made in advertisements.  Implied warranties exist automatically when you buy a car.

What Is an Express Automobile Warranty?

An express warranty is a promise to repair certain parts of your car, or a statement of fact regarding the quality of your car.  For example, if an advertisement states that a car is made out of steel, there is an express warranty about the quality of the car.  If the car turns out to be made out of aluminum, this would be a defect according to the warranty and unless it is fixed, you could sue for breach of warranty.  All new cars come with a manufacturer’s express warranty that covers repairs to your car for a certain number of miles or for a certain period of time.

What Is an Implied Automobile Warranty?

There are two types of implied warranties: merchantability and fitness.

  • Implied Warranty of Merchantability : The implied warranty of merchantability guarantees that the car is safe to drive and is in the appropriate condition for the price paid.
  • Implied Warranty of Fitness : The implied warranty of fitness guarantees that the car will function for the purpose you bought it.  In order for the implied warranty of fitness to apply, you must make the seller aware of the plans for your car.  For example, if you tell the seller that you plan to use the car for racing, the implied warranty of fitness guarantees that you will be able to use the car for racing.  In most states, the implied warranty of fitness lasts forever, but some states limit it to the duration of any express warranties your car has.

How Can I Enforce My Warranty Rights?

If the car seller has not met the terms of the warranty, you usually have to notify him as soon as possible.  If you continue to drive the car after you discover the defect, you may forfeit the right to enforce your warranty.  If the seller ignores your complaint or refuses to enforce the warranty, you may be able to sue for a breach of warranty and cancel the sale of the car.

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Automobile Warranty Problem?

Determining whether a dealer or manufacturer has in fact breached a warranty can be complicated.  A products liability lawyer can help you determine if you have a case and can defend your rights accordingly.