Massachusetts law about automobiles

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on the law of automobiles in general, including buying, selling, and lemon laws.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 90 Motor vehicles

  • § 7N Lemon aid law (voiding sales contracts)
  • § 7N 1/4 Used car lemon law
  • § 7N 1/2 New car lemon law
  • § 8 Work and family mobility act
    Starting July 1, 2023, eligible residents in Massachusetts can obtain a Standard (Class D or M) driver's license, regardless of immigration status.
  • § 16 Offensive or illegal operation of motor vehicles
    Regulates modifications for sound and lights.

MGL c. 90B, § 26 Minimum age is 14 to ride an ATV

MGL c. 90D Motor vehicle certificates of title

MGL c. 93K Right to repair law

MGL c. 111, § 142M Motor vehicle emissions inspection and repair

MGL c. 266, § 120D Removal of motor vehicles from private ways or property; penalties; liability for removal and storage charges; release of vehicle

MGL c. 266, § 148 Sale of vehicle catalytic converters

St. 2022, c. 179, § 46 Bans the sale of new gas-powered vehicles (effective January 1, 2035)

Massachusetts regulations

201 CMR 11 New and used motor vehicle arbitration

310 CMR 60 Air pollution control for mobile sources

  • 310 CMR 60.02 Vehicle emissions rules and exceptions

540 CMR Registry of Motor Vehicles

940 CMR 5 Motor vehicle consumer regulations

Federal laws and rules

Public Law 117 - 58 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Includes a section titled "Advanced Impaired Driving Technology," which directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to initiate the rulemaking process for setting a new automobile safety standard. This standard mandates that all new cars be equipped with "advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology" within three years of the issuance of the regulations.

Combating Auto Retail Scams (CARS) Rule, effective July 30, 2024.
Issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), this "[r]ule targets bait-and-switch tactics, junk fees; includes clear protections for military members, who are frequent targets for vehicle scams." Visit the FTC page for more information.

Web sources

General information

Auto resources, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Includes Lemon Laws, Buying and Selling, Auto Loans, Auto Repair, Auto Insurance, and more.

Auto warranties & service contracts, Federal Trade Commission.
"Can a dealer refuse to honor the warranty that came with your new car if someone else does the routine maintenance or repairs?" The FTC says no.

Citizen's guide to the removal of motor vehicles from private property, Nantucket Police Department.
Explains the process for private citizens to follow in removing vehicles from their property.

Learn about automated driving systems in Massachusetts, Mass. Dept. of Transportation.
Includes information self-driving vehicles, the Executive order, Testing and Safety.

Massachusetts consumer guide: Mechanics of auto repair, Mass. Division of Standards.

Buying, selling, leasing, and donating

Bill of sale This is a sample bill of sale from a private webpage. The Massachusetts RMV does not have an official form.

Donating a car to charity, Mass. Attorney General.
Provides "tips to consider when deciding whether to donate your car to charity."

Massachusetts new car Lemon Laws, Mass. Legal Help.
Explains how "Lemon Laws" apply to new vehicles and the recourse you have under these laws.

Massachusetts used car Lemon Law, Mass. Legal Help.
Explains your rights under the "Lemon Laws" if you bought your used vehicle from a private seller or from a dealer.

What to know about buying or leasing a car, Mass. Attorney General.
Learn your rights and review important tips and advice such as : You do not have a 3-day right to cancel your purchase of a new or used vehicle.

Equipment and modifications

The guide to legal car modifications in Massachusetts, Your Mechanic, 2016.
"From sounds to classic cars, the following information will make sure you know what to expect from the Massachusetts car modification laws."

Massachusetts lift laws and vehicle equipment laws, Lift
Includes information on lifts, tires, and other vehicle modifications.

Massachusetts Vehicle Check, RMV and DEP.
What vehicles need to be inspected.

Lemon laws

A dealer’s guide to the Massachusetts used vehicle warranty law, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Extensive (over 50 page) guide to "ensure that new dealers coming into the marketplace are aware of their obligations under the law." Information is helpful to consumers as well.

Gliottone v. Ford Motor Company, 95 Mass. App. Ct. 704 (2019)
"Expert testimony is not always required to demonstrate that a vehicle has a nonconformity. In many circumstances ... a rational juror, without an expert, can understand the facts necessary to decide whether a plaintiff has demonstrated an actionable defect or malfunction."

Lemon laws, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Provides basic provisions of the new, leased, used, and failed inspection lemon laws. Information about private party sales, eligibility to receive compensation and applying for arbitration as well as a sample of final opportunity to repair letter.

20-25 mph  Max speed of low speed vehicle

Limited use and low speed vehicles 

MGL, c. 90, §§ 1F-1I Low speed vehicles law

Low speed vehicles, Mass. RMV.
Low speed vehicles have certain requirements and restrictions you have to be aware of in order to drive them in Massachusetts.

Mechanic's garage and stored vehicle (garageman's) liens

MGL c. 255, § 25 Garage keepers lien

MGL c. 255, § 26 Enforcement of lien

Involuntary transfers, Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Provides more information on Mechanic’s garage and stored vehicle liens. "To transfer ownership, a copy of the court order is always required."

Procedural forms annotated, 6th edition (Mass. Practice vol. 10C), sec.114:5. Complaint—Garage keeper's lien for storage and repairs.


Automobile recalls, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Provides recall information, including vehicle and equipment campaigns from 1966 to present.

Print sources

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Last updated: April 4, 2024

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