If you know me, you know that my middle name is DO NOT BUY AS-IS UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. But, there are ways to beat an as-is car purchase. It ain’t easy but knowing this will help you.

I have written about as-is purchases many times, primarily because I am convinced that most people don’t know what it means. (You are buying something with no Implied Warranty of Merchantability.) Couple that with the usual disclaimers used car sellers use (“Nothing the salesman says to you is enforceable unless contained in writing on this purchase agreement”) and most buyers roll off the lot with no recourse if the car explodes anon.

And, cars bought from private sellers are automatically as-is in many states.

You need to be aware that, notwithstanding everything above, the as-is disclaimer is not the double-secret get-out-of-jail-free card many people think it is for the dealer. It does not protect the seller from violations of statutes nor from claims of fraud or misrepresentation. Not even breach of express warranties or warranty of title.

So, in this week’s Lehto’s Law, I explain that in a little more detail and tell the story of my favorite example of this. Where my client bought a used car as-is and the engine exploded forthwith. Her mechanic noted how the crankcase had been filled with something heavy (gear lube?) to likely mask a rod knock. The same rod which threw itself as the engine died by the side of the road.


After a 3-day trial, the jury agreed and the as-is didn’t help this seller AT ALL.

The Podcast is here:


And the video is here:

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Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 23 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation.


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