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Massachusetts Lemon Law

I bought a 2005 Volvo V70 with 75,500 miles on Nov. 13. On Nov. 15, the check engine light went on, and I returned to the dealership for a solenoid replacement. The check engine light went on again on Nov. 17, oil pan replaced. On Nov. 19, the light went on again, timing belt replaced. On Nov. 22, the light went on again. Each time the code was the same–sometimes in conjunction with other codes–but one code was consistent. We returned the car on Nov. 22 and asked for a refund in keeping with the Massachusetts lemon law (an attempt at repair 3+ times). The dealer refused, saying the check engine light and computer code were not the same as an attempted repair. He took the car and said he was going to call Volvo Tech in. However, he says the light “went off” and never came back on even though his staff has test driven it 170 miles in the past three days. He’s “releasing our car” to us, even though he has made no repair. Tell me–is trying to address the same computer code considered a “repair”?

Lemon laws typically apply to new cars.

Mass does have a Used Vehicle Lemon Law and it looks like your vehicle purchase falls under the criteria of that law.

However, it looks like your dealership is actively trying to fix the problem. Many people would die for a shop who attempts to make good on a vehicle purchase like that.
If I were you, I’d let them keep trying to fix it.

A quick look at the MA warranty law on used car sales shows that a dealer has to provide a short term warranty based on time and miles. In your case, several weeks and 2500 miles from purchase.
The catch is that it applies to use and safety and that could be debated and if the Volvo has ever been registered to a business then any warranty is null and void.

About the only advice I could offer is to make sure things are documented and contact the consumer protection people at the AG’s office.
The car sounds like a real problem to me and maybe a call from the AG would get them to buy it back rather than argue the issue.

A lemon law that would apply to a used, almost 9 year old vehicle? Is this for real? Why would or should there be any kind of warranty on a car like that?

Assuming the dealer isn’t just driving the car in the front and out the back, it appears that they are attempting in good faith to correct the cause of the engine light. And if they are indeed bound by some sort of lemon law they are well aware that it behooves them to get the car fixed.

If you are able tell us what fault codes the car has and let’s see if you’re headed in the right direction.

The Lemon Law does not really apply. I referenced the used car warranty because several have posted in the past asking questions about warranties on MA used cars.
Apparently the state statutes there require a dealer to issue a warranty based on mileage, time since purchase, and several other hoops that must be jumped through.

The used dealers there must be walking on pins and needles with every used car sale.

the same code all 3 times, with possible other codes.
Solenoid was replaced. (Which solenoid?)
Oil pan was replaced. (CEL would not be triggered for this)
Timing belt replaced (this is a maintenance item and would not trigger a CEL)

Honestly, from the way I read it, the dealership is just throwing parts at the car and resetting the light.
If you could give use the codes that have been triggered, we’d be able to give you a better idea of what might actually be happening.

Guys, perhaps this solenoid has something to do with variable valve timing

That is the only way that this mystery solenoid, oil and the timing belt could even be remotely related, in my opinion

I suppose the timing belt might have been replaced because the shop wanted to make sure the valve timing was correct, and make sure the timing belt hadn’t jumped a tooth, etc.

If I’m right about the variable valve timing, it’s quite possible the light keeps coming back because the previous owner didn’t take care of it properly. I’m talking about oil changes. If the car was only used for city stop-and-go driving, if the oil was never allowed to warm up properly, if the oil wasn’t changed on time, if the “wrong” oil was used, etc.

Come to think of it, perhaps the oil pan wasn’t actually replaced with a new one. Perhaps it was a case of “remove the oil pan, inspect it, clean it and replace it” . . . meaning the same oil pan was put back.

Perhaps the oil pan was removed to inspect for sludge . . .

There’s enough red flags with the car that the OP really needs to somehow wash their hands of it.

I think @db4690 is spot on. Probably a valve timing problem, and the gadget which adjusts the valve timing was on the fritz. The oil pan issue — all they did besides inspection of the lower engine innards was replace the gasket. The shop seems to have addressed each problem as it came up, and now I think there is a reasonably good chance the valve timing problem is resolved. My recommendation is probably what the shop says, for the OP to retrieve the car and drive it. The CEL may not come back on for years provided the owner’s manual service recommendations are followed, esp w/regard to oil & filter type and change-out intervals.

We do love our cars to be more and more complex. The variable valve timing function is good for increased power and mpg but it does add a good deal of extra complexity to the engine, and with complexity sometimes comes reduced reliability and increased sensitivity to the routine service recommendations.

The Mass Lemon Aid Law is quite clear in this regard. Did you pass your initial inspection within the 10 day window after purchase? If you know the law, you should also know you have very specific obligations to fulfill in order to avail yourself of it. Have you completed and delivered those required documents with the car?

If you passed the initial inspection, you may still be covered under the Used Car Warranty law. Same thing, read the requirements for documentation, do the work and submit to the dealer. The .gov page even addresses what todo if they refuse to accept delivery when you have fulfilled your obligations.

The code that came up four times was 641 A. Sometimes 641I and 640A have also appeared.
This is the repair procedure:
Car Purchased 11/13–unable to inspect due to a recent reset of computer

11/15check engine light on, return to shop
ECM 641A Camshaft reset valve inop
remove and replace cam shaft valve

11/17 check engine light on
11/18 back to shop
Unable to get inspection due to check engine light
ECM 640A, ECM 641A
Removed oil pan and resealed the pressure tubes in the oil pan.
reinstalled the old pan and test drove 42 miles
Salesperson takes the car for inspection

11/20–engine light back on, return to shop
ECM 640A, ECM 641A, ECM 641I
Tech found that the exhaust VVt hub was not in time
Tech removed and replaced the exhast VVt Hub and the timing belt kit
TEst drove 60 miles
Retested next morning

11/21–engine light back on
We took the car to an independent garage for diagnosis
ECM 641A, ECM 641I
Returned to shop, Asked for refund in accordance with the three-strikes Lemon Law
Owner refused saying there’s no such thing as a Lemon. (This was a Volvo dealership)
Light goes out and shop attempts more repairs, drops car off at our house, afterwards. Offers a 6 month warranty.

We don’t want this car. It doesn’t have the same value now that a carfax will show it was repaired four times in 12 days. We have a lemon and are stuck with it.


It is evident that the shop has not gotten a handle on the situation

Here’s an idea . . . ask the shop to take the car back and give you something else that has an equivalent value

A coworker bought a used Jeep Liberty from Carfax. It turned out to have mechanic engine problems. They took it back, he went to the lot and picked out a different car.

God knows what happened to the Jeep afterwards . . .

“Returned to shop, Asked for refund in accordance with the three-strikes Lemon Law”

  1. Used car sales covered by Lemon AID law. Different than lemon law.

  2. You didn’t follow the correct procedure. Read the law and documentation requirements!! Until you do, you will be stuck with it…It must pass initial inspection so you have a rock solid case but until you do what is required by law, you’re SOL.