Can I sell a car that failed emissions?

I have a 1999 Subaru Legacy that recently failed emissions and has been driving on a rejection sticker for about a month now. It need's a new catalytic converter and new o2 sensors. It was estimated about $1,300.00 to fix. I really didn't want to pay 1,300 to fix it because it's an old car with alot of miles.

So I threw the car up on craigslist for alot less than KBB and NADA value. In the listing I stated that the car would not pass emissions and already has a rejection sticker. I also said that the buyer will be responsible to repair the car before it can be driven legally.

I recently got an email from some random person telling me that what I'm doing is illegal and I cannot sell a vehicle that won't emissions for more than $700.00 dollars. I live in MA and this law or whatever does not make any sense to me. What if I had a $30,000 dollar BMW that failed emissions. I could only sell it for $700.00?

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You seem to have a "know it all" on your hands. Such is the nature of Craigslist; it's a great resource, but this is what happens when everyone has free access.

    Whether emissions compliance is a requirement for used vehicle sales is entirely dependent upon the laws of the state (or commonwealth) where the transaction is to take place (as determined by where the buyer will be registering the vehicle).

    In Massachusetts, the law is clear and available in Section 7N of the Registry of Motor Vehicles Regulations. You can view them yourself on the RMV web site at:

    Selling a vehicle that's passed safety or emissions is NOT "illegal". However, it does provide the buyer with the option of rescinding the purchase within 14 days if the vehicle fails inspection for reasons not caused while in the buyer's possession. Even so, there is the opportunity for you to agree to certain terms regarding the failed emissions testing provided they're written into the bill of sale. Whether or not this means you can specify the buyer agrees to assume the specific costs rather than the seller is a question best-asked of the RMV itself to make sure you don't find yourself having to unexpectedly unwind a sale.

    From the RMV web site:

    "In order to void a motor vehicle sale under this section the buyer shall, within fourteen days from the date of sale, notify the seller of his intention to do so, deliver the motor vehicle to the seller, provide the seller with a written statement signed by an authorized agent of such inspection station stating the reasons why the motor vehicle failed to pass the safety or combined safety and emissions inspection and an estimate of the cost of necessary repairs. The buyer shall be entitled to a refund of his purchase price unless the buyer and seller agree in writing that the seller may make the necessary repairs at his own cost and expense within a reasonable period of time thereafter. This section shall apply only to motor vehicles purchased for the immediate personal or family use of the buyer."

    So, it's not necessarily "illegal" to sell the vehicle; but it may render the sale invalid if you fail to make certain agreements and disclosures with the buyer in advance. If you're unable to come to terms with a buyer, and the vehicle isn't worth very much to begin with; you may be better-off donating the vehicle for the charitable tax deduction or just selling it for salvage.

    Best of luck. I hope this helps.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If a $30,000 BMW fails emissions, it better be headed to the salvage yard, because those issues are covered by the federal emissions warranty.

    The your car needs O2s and a cat converter, I can only imagine what else has been neglected to have the engine to have the car run so bad to roast that cat converter.

    Sell it to a scrap yard if you can.

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  • kerri
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    More details needed

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  • 4 years ago

    Private seller? You bought it 'as is'.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In my state, California, you would be responsible for any repairs needed to get the car into compliance unless it was registered as non-operational.

    Why not call your Dept of Motor Vehicles and ask what it requires.

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  • 1 decade ago

    sell it to the illegals,,,they will never know

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