How Long Do You Have To Return A New Car (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Within a day (depending on the dealership)

The approximate duration within which you will have to return a car is a day. Most cars are not returnable after being titled to a new owner. These requests may be accepted by certain car dealers in case of emergencies or genuine reasons.

The only other time a car can be sent back to the dealership or returned, while it is still considerably new is if the car has some problem from the start, maybe concerning its functioning or the interior or exterior condition.

How Long Do You Have To Return A New Car

How Long Do You Have To Return A New Car?

No law or rule obliges the car dealer to accept the car purchased. Although, some dealers may accept this in case of some financial emergency. This applies to a maximum of a day after the purchase of the new vehicle. Some dealers also accept the car up to 3 days after, but that is a rare occurrence.

The next option one is presented with is an upgrade to any new car upon exchange for the recently purchased car. It is important to keep in mind that while exchanging a car for another car, the value of the car being exchanged is determined by the company.

A safer option in case you are having second thoughts about the car, checking for a return policy in the sale contract or with the dealer will be beneficial. A return or fully exchange value up to a certain amount of days can be negotiated with the seller in such cases.

Time after purchasePossible options
Less than a day to a daymay allow return
More than a dayexchange is likely

Why Do You Have To Return A New Car After That Long?

Once a car is taken out of the showroom, in most cases, the car is rendered as a used car. That implies that even after a day, many dealers will refer to the sale with the term ‘second-hand’.This greatly depreciates the value of the car, even if the car is 1- 3 days old.

The option of exchange also terms a car that is already in someone’s name as a pre-owned car. This further reduces the value of the recently bought car.
The scene where a new car, which is about 3 days old starts having functionality issues, after normal and safe driving, can be brought to the notice of the company or dealership from where it was purchased. They may either offer an exchange of the model or unit or suggest repairs.

The exchange which is not offered by the company or dealership may not be of the full value of the car and may be a loss of money if not calculated appropriately.
It is important to note that these dealing and procedures are only for commercial dealerships of companies and do not apply to private sellers.

Return of a purchased car may be limited to a day, but if intimidated by the company that day itself, the return may be extended to a week.

The reasons for return are primarily issues with the working or previously occurred damages that are not due to driving, that is a manufacturing defect or a defect that was not visible at the time of purchase.
Other reasons for returning a car may be financial or due to an emergency. In case after buying a car, you come to know that your spouse or you have lost your job and are not able to pay the EMI or full amount, calling your loan provider along with the car dealer may be a good course of action.
All these options are dependent on the dealer and are not standard for all.


Return of newly purchased vehicles varies from dealer to dealer and also depends on situations at times. The period during which returns may be accepted is normally a day, beyond which exchange is possible. Checking the return policy is the best way to determine the timeline and conditions for return.

It is essential to check all the formalities well in advance so that no issues arise in the future. The car should have all the required documents.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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