Common Car Problems That Might Qualify for Lemon Law Protection
Vehicles have multiple working parts, and it stands to reason that issues will arise. However, when you have a significant defect that puts your life at risk to continue sliding behind the wheel, the Texas lemon law may come into play.
The Texas lemon law is helpful to those who are Texas residents and have purchased their vehicle within the state boundaries. There is no reason to be stressed about your vehicle issues if you are informed.
Four examples of significant defects that would qualify your vehicle as a lemon include:
- Malfunctioning brakes
- Faulty transmissions
- Faulty steering
- Bad suspension
It is important to note here that those are far from the only issues that can qualify your vehicle as a lemon. Rather than create a laundry list of defects, we are going to focus on the criteria vehicles must meet to be a lemon under the Texas lemon law.
There are three tests that the Texas lemon law utilizes to determine if a vehicle is a lemon. The first test is the Significant Defect Test, which shows that the vehicle is exhibiting a significant defect like one of those mentioned above (or something else) that:
- Puts the life of the driver and/or passengers at risk while traveling in said vehicle
- Significantly decreases the value of the vehicle more than simple wear and tear does.
The next test is the Four Times Test, which means the vehicle must have been taken to a reputable service department or mechanic for repair – of the SAME defect, mind you – with no success. Documentation of these visits are crucial to proving your case. This is why it’s a good idea to keep all documentation of maintenance and repair visits. This better prepares you in the event your vehicle is deemed a lemon in the future.
The final test is the 30-Day Test, which requires the vehicle to sit idle for 30 days with no loaner vehicle provided. Here it is important to note that the period does not have to be 30 consecutive days but rather 30 days during the first 24 months of ownership or first 24,000 miles driven – whichever occurs first.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here.
It is also important to note that the vehicle must be purchased within the state of Texas (unless you are an active service member) and must be a car, truck, RV, SUV, TRV, or electric vehicle. Boats, trailers, and lawn mowers, for example, are not covered by the Texas lemon law.
The Texas lemon law is overseen by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The Texas DMV receives the complaints (they even take online submissions!) and hands it off to a specific department that first schedules mediation and then, if necessary, handles the hearing to allow both sides to share their side of the issue.
An examiner hears from both parties and has 60 days to return a written decision. That decision can be appealed by either party if they are unsatisfied with the outcome.
In the event that the case is found in favor of the auto owner, three possible outcomes can occur. [Note: The examiner chooses the outcome with no input from the auto owner in the event the case falls in their favor.]
The auto owner can receive:
- Repairs of the original vehicle to the point it is safe to drive (at the expense of the dealer/manufacturer)
- Reimbursement of all payments made, funds used to attempt to repair the vehicle and costs related to the vehicle to date (with considerations made for miles driven)
- Replacement of said vehicle with one of comparable value (again, with considerations made for miles driven)
In the event the case is found in favor of the dealer/manufacturer, the responsibility to resolve the issue with the vehicle falls squarely on the auto owner. This is why it is so important to connect with a legal professional who is well-versed in the proceedings related to Texas lemon law cases.
Your lemon law lawyer can help you with the process of filing a lemon law complaint, as well as gathering all necessary documentation for the process. It is important to let the manufacturer know that there is a defect and give them a reasonable amount of time to help address the issue before you file. Consult a professional to help you do this in a way that can be confirmed during the complaint process.
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Owning a lemon can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle that puts you out of money. Consult a lemon law attorney and get the help you need to get back on track with your vehicle ownership.
If the lemon law complaint is found in your favor, then you have the potential to have the vehicle repaired at someone else’s expense, replaced or at least repurchased to allow you to buy another vehicle – one that runs reliably and does not put your life at risk every time you hop behind the wheel.
There are some common issues to recognize and hopefully avoid when it comes to vehicle ownership. The following are 10 common issues that can occur with your vehicle:
- Dead battery:Avoid this by keeping track of how old your battery is and paying attention to when your vehicle is subject to extreme temps.
- Spark plugs fouling:Regular preventative maintenance can help here.
- Overheating:Extreme temps with low coolant levels can be trouble. Pay attention to your coolant and keep it filled
- Tire blowout:Keep your tires filled to recommended levels (check your driver’s door frame for vehicle-specific info).
- Alternator issues:Power loss and electrical failure are telltale signs your alternator is shot.
- Ignition coil issues:Preventative maintenance is key here as well.
- Transmission concerns:Preventative maintenance keeps your transmission fluid at the proper levels. Otherwise, you can be in hot water.
- Fuel pump failure:Use the right type of fuel and don’t play roulette with your gas gauge.
- Brake issues:Again, preventative maintenance can make all the difference.
- Check engine light:Some of these issues can be ignored temporarily, but you won’t know until you have the codes read. Meanwhile, making sure to take the time to handle preventative maintenance can keep that light turned off.
Vehicle ownership is not a situation where the keys are dropped into your hand and the vehicle magically runs forever. Instead, it is a case of being responsible and proactive to keep yourself and your vehicle traveling reliably. In the event you end up with one of the more than 100,000 vehicles sold each year that qualify as lemons (across the US), then it pays to know what qualifies and what possible recourse you have.
The Texas lemon law is helpful, but so is working with an experience lemon law attorney and cutting down on the stresses and surprises that come with filing a lemon law complaint. Reach out to professionals in your area and ask them about their case history, what their staff can help with during the lemon law complaint process, and what the process will look like based on their past experiences navigating this system. You will receive a better picture of what you’re dealing with and the potential for success.