The Texas lemon law was put into effect by the Texas legislature in 1983.
The Texas Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division and its Motor Vehicle Board administer it. The Texas lemon law is an automobile law that helps customers who buy or lease new vehicles and have frequent problems getting their vehicles properly repaired, repurchased, or replaced.
The lemon law applies to cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, motorcycles, motor homes, all-terrain vehicles and tow-able recreational vehicles. It does not apply to used, program cars, or repossessed vehicles.
The Texas lemon law does not cover any problems caused by the owner’s disregard, abuse or unauthorized changes to the vehicle. The automobile lemon law also does not cover any problems that do not have a considerable effect on the use or market value of the vehicle.
So, how do you know if your car is a lemon? Your vehicle may be a lemon if you purchased or leased a new vehicle from a licensed dealer in Texas. Additionally your car must have a severe defect covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee. You must report the defect within a reasonable timeframe, or before the warranty expires. You must give the dealer or manufacturer a reasonable time to fix the defect (usually four attempts to fix the defect with no result warrants further action). You must send the manufacturer of the vehicle written notification about the defect. The defect must be one that continues to impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety. And, finally, you must make a lemon law complaint and pay any filing fees.
The first thing to do if you believe your vehicle falls under the Texas lemon law is to take it to the distribution outlet where you purchased it. If they cannot repair the defect after a fair amount of time, you should send a letter of notification to the manufacturer.
Simply let the manufacturer know about the defect and offer them a chance to fix your vehicle before filing an automobile lemon law complaint. Make sure you keep a copy of your letter and any response, including fix invoices.
If you decide to file an automobile lemon law complaint, you will need to send all of these documents to your lawyer, or if filing yourself, to the Texas Department of Transportation. If you wish to file a complaint, you must send the written complaint to the Department of Transportation along with a filing fee.
You will be reimbursed for the fee if you win your case at the Texas lemon law hearing. If you only want your vehicle repaired, there is no filing fee involved.
The Texas Department of Transportation then contacts the dealer and manufacturer about your complaint. The manufacturer will then send a qualified individual to your original dealership to see about solving the problem, if possible.
If your vehicle is still not repaired, the Texas Department of Transportation will send an expert to the dealership to try and resolve the problem. If this does not resolve the problem, an automobile lemon law hearing will be necessary.