Can a dealer sell a used vehicle “as is,” even if it’s unsafe?

I'm under the impression that it’s not OK for a car dealership to sell a car that has safety issues, even if the sticker says "as is." What can you tell me about this?

Dustin, Portland, Ore.

The window sticker required by the Federal Trade Commission on used cars sold by dealers only explains whether a vehicle is covered by a warranty or service contract or is being sold “as is,” with no warranty. The federal Used Car Rule has no provisions concerning safety, though some states — including Oregon — have safety rules on used vehicles.

Oregon requires that “all safety equipment must work on cars that are being sold by either a car dealer or private party. All lights, brakes, safety belts, windshield wipers, horns and air bags must function properly and all windows must be without cracks.” More information is available here.

Used car lot

You mentioned “safety issues,” a broad term that makes it hard to provide a more specific answer. Doug Greenhaus, a lawyer for the National Automobile Dealers Association, said dealers cannot sell new vehicles that have unrepaired safety recalls, but the federal regulation does not apply to used vehicles. One reason: A dealer can sell any brand of used vehicle and does not have the ability to fix recalls on other brands. Another wrinkle is that while dealers are prohibited from disabling federally required safety equipment, individuals are not. And dealers can still sell altered vehicles as long as they meet state laws, Greenhaus said.

Learn more

Answered by Rick Popely on March 31, 2010 in How Safe is This Car? , I'm Just Wondering | Permalink

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