Laws have been enacted to protect car buyers because cars are complex machines and the average buyer cannot be expected to know as much as the seller. There are two laws in Illinois, one involving new cars and one involving used cars.
Illinois New Vehicle Buyer Protection Act. Known more popularly as the Illinois Lemon Law, the Illinois New Vehicle Buyer Protection Act applies to new cars, pickup trucks, and vans purchased (or leased for at least four months) in Illinois that are used at least 40% of the time for personal, family, or household reasons. In effect, it enforces warranties that manufacturers and sellers provide to car buyers and gives buyers remedies if the manufacturer or dealer is unable to fix the problem.
The law applies for the first year or the first 12,000 miles, whichever happens first. Thus, if the car is 16 months old, but only has 6,000 miles on it, the law won't apply because the car is more than a year old. In addition, the law applies only as long as the warranty is in effect.
As long as the problem is reported within the time limits, the law continues to apply, no matter how long it takes to fix the problem. Thus, if the problem is reported six months after purchase, while the car has only 4,000 miles on it, the law continues to apply, even if the problem isn't fixed until more than a year after purchase.
One important aspect of the law is that it gives the buyer the right to a new car or a full refund after several unsuccessful attempts to fix it. Consult an attorney as to what constitutes enough unsuccessful attempts (four is usually enough) and the proper procedure for getting a new car or a refund.
Illinois Used Car Warranty Law. The Illinois Used Car Warranty Law, which applies to cars less than five years old, requires Illinois automobile dealers to pay a portion of the cost for power train repairs discovered within 30 days from the date of delivery. If the car is less than two years old, the dealer pays 50%. If the car is between two and three years old, the dealer pays 25%. If the car is between three and four years old, the dealer pays 10%. The repairs to the power train cannot be the result of abuse, negligence, or collision.
In the used car arena, there are also federal rules that impose obligations on dealers to represent the car's condition honestly and to set out the terms of any warranty clearly. Dealers must also give the seller the car's history if that history would affect the buyer's purchase decision.