May 19, 2020

Of all the potentially scary purchases in the world, few are as frightening as paying out thousands of dollars for a used vehicle. Sometimes it can feel like you’re betting it all on “red” so to speak. Here in Minnesota though, we’re very fortunate to have excellent buyer protections against buying cars that break down on us shortly after purchase. That doesn’t mean that we’re immune from issues though and it pays to know the used car warranty law before you sign on the dotted line. What many buyers don’t know is that with a few tools they can remove the danger and uncertainty that is rife in the used car market. Let’s consider just three important tools like a MN vehicle lookup that are the real bread and butter of a successful used-car search. We’ll also consider a few important details to consider about the type of vehicle you’re buying. 

Eliminating Risk

First and foremost, there are some major exceptions to the used car warranty law here. We’ll cover them all shortly, but buyers can negate those exceptions simply by doing a Minnesota VIN Check. A VIN lookup in MN will provide you invaluable information pertaining to the history of the vehicle in question, any outstanding safety recalls, and title issues. These title issues include if the vehicle has a lien on it. So you wouldn’t need to do a separate Minnesota vehicle lien search. Take for example one 2017 BMW M3 with only 18,000 miles we found. Normally it would be worth $45,000 roughly. However, this one has a branded buyback/lemon title. It also has major structural damage according to the VIN check in MN. That’s going to knock tens of thousands of dollars off the top of that price. Finally, let’s talk about what you’re ultimately looking to find in the MN VIN lookup. When well kept the report can reassure you that a vehicle has been expertly maintained during its life, giving you full confidence in your purchase. No matter if the vehicle ends up having a warranty or not, this is a way for you to know before you buy if the car is likely to keep you on the road and out of the repair shop. After all, having a warranty on a car that’s constantly breaking down is far less desirable compared to one without a warranty that is reliable. 

What Our Warranty Law Covers

Most used cars and small trucks sold by dealers in the state are by law required to be covered by a basic warranty. In fact, it’s one of the strongest used car warranty laws in the nation. Any car sold with fewer than 36,000 miles will be covered no matter who the dealer is for at least 60 days or 2500 miles, whichever comes first. Every major component of the vehicle is covered here including the engine, transmission, axles, brakes, and more. If the vehicle mileage is between 36,000 and 75,000 the warranty will apply for 30 days or 1000 miles. It covers all the same parts except the radiator, steering rack, alternator, and starter. Even unlicensed dealers are required to offer this coverage so know who you’re buying from. 

What It Doesn’t Cover

There are exceptions to the law where the warranty won’t apply to your purchase and that’s why a VIN history report is so vital. For instance, if the car has more than 75,000 miles there is no law requiring a dealer to provide any warranty whatsoever. In addition, should you purchase your vehicle from anyone other than a dealer, they aren’t legally obligated to provide a warranty of any kind either. That includes your employer, your friends, and your family as well as other private individuals. It also includes banks, municipalities, and auctions. Other exclusions include diesel vehicles, any car that’s 8 years old or older, any vehicle sold for $3,000 or less, and any vehicle that has a salvage title. That means that if you buy a salvage titled vehicle from a dealer they aren’t required to provide a warranty. There are a few other rare exceptions that can be found here

Final Considerations

It’s important to distinguish a warranty apart from a service contract. The warranty is a product of the law and shouldn’t cost you anything. A service contract will provide regular services for the vehicle for a mutually agreed-upon amount. These typically extend beyond the law required warranty period and cover such things as oil changes, tire rotations, and alignments. Ultimately, if the vehicle has less than 75,000 miles on it and isn’t a salvage vehicle it should be covered to one degree or another if you’re buying from a dealer. Even with that coverage, it can be of great value to spend just a few dollars on a quality VIN history report. It will save you thousands or it will give you true peace of mind, and sometimes both. 


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