I live in Massachusetts and I’m considering selling my truck myself. How many miles does my truck have to have on it before I’m no longer responsible for it if it blows up after it’s sold and driven off my property?
I don’t know about specific laws in your state, but in general, private sellers of vehicles are not held to the same standard as car dealers are. In other words, you don’t have to give any warranty on the vehicle that you sell, and there may not even be any implied warranties.
The reason that I say “may” in the preceding sentence is that some states require all sellers to be responsible for a vehicle being able to pass a state safety inspection when the buyer takes it for inspection. You should check into this detail in your state.
Then, we have the issue of moral responsibility. If you knowingly sell a vehicle with serious mechanical problems (or, even more importantly, a tendency to ignite or explode), but do not reveal those problems to the buyer, then you will incur bad karma for the rest of your life–according to some Eastern religions. All religions tell their followers not to take advantage of their fellow man.
Do you plan to tell prospective buyers that the truck is in danger of “blowing up” or coming to some other bad fate? Can you live with your conscience if you do not reveal this information?
Where I live, private sellers commonly add the following statement to the bill of sale:
“Vehicle is sold as is.”
I believe in MA if the car/truck does not pass state inspection and the cost of repair to get it to pass is more than 10% of the selling price, the sale can be negated or the seller can pay for the repair. Check the MDMV website for more specific info.
As VDC implies, laws may vary.
But in general, you sell it “as is” and once the money and title have changed hands you are free. The motor could blow on the way out of your driveway and you’re not responsible.
Massachusetts does have specific laws regarding private party vehicle sales.
Here’s a snipit if the wording, but you should read it in full to get the details for what constitutes a private sale, the details of the Lemon Aid Law that you must adhere to, and what your obligations are.
The Used Vehicle Warranty Law requires private party sellers to inform buyers about any and all known defects which impair the safety or substantially impair the use of the vehicle. The law applies to all private party sales regardless of sales price or mileage. If you discover a defect that impairs the vehicle?s safety or substantially impairs the use, and can prove that the seller knew about the defect but failed to disclose it, you may cancel the sale within thirty days of purchase. The seller must refund the amount you paid for the vehicle, less 15 cents per mile of use.
Private parties are also bound by the Lemon Aid Law.
I suppose I should probably clarify a couple things…
My Element is mechanically sound and would pass inspection. I even have all the scheduled maintenance paperwork to prove it. As far as I know, nothing that serious would happen to it. I was thinking more along the lines of a buyer claiming it did that and then demanding their money back.
I’d heard the “magic number” was either over 100,000 miles or over 125,000 miles. Putting a “sold as is” statement in there works for me!
The problem is “AND CAN PROVE THAT THE SELLER KNEW ABOUT THE DEFECT BUT FAILED TO DISCLOSE IT”.
PROVING it is going to be very very difficult.
I believe you are going to find that unless you are intentionally holding back information you are safe. You are likely safe as long as you don’t lie about it. Just make sure you are not saying something is OK when you know it is not. If they don’t ask, it is don’t tell.
“I’d heard the “magic number” was either over 100,000 miles or over 125,000 miles.”
Whoever passed along that chestnut was just telling you a fable, IMHO.
There ain’t no such “magic number” in any statute with which I am familiar.
Make sure you make up a Bill of Sale (2 copies)stating “sold as is” and both sign it.
I thought you were selling an actual truck. But anyway, there is no “magic number” If your Element has been properly maintained, there’s no great risk of it falling apart as soon as the next owner drives it away.
Laws do vary from state to state, but I don’t believe that adding an “as is” line to the bill of sale would give you any more legal protection than if you didn’t include those words.
Regardless of the individual state’s laws, if your vehicle were to ‘blow up’ after you sold it, the buyer would be required to prove that you intentionally defrauded him/her in order to recover costs.
Each case would need be decided individually in a court of law.
Your best protection is to keep all of your maintenance records.