Purchasing a new vehicle and attempting to be responsible and eco-friendly can be a real confidence booster. Unfortunately, purchasing an electric vehicle is no guarantee that you won’t end up with a lemon.
There are some significant risks with new technology like an electric vehicle.
The first issue, and a quite common one, that can pop up is a problem with the battery. Large batteries can be the source of a significant amount of heat, which in turn increases the potential for a fire. The issue is enough of a concern that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recently decided to open an investigation into battery fires in electric vehicles.
With this in mind, now is the time to note that regular coolant service is essential to try to prevent batteries reaching a temperature that can lead to fire. As an owner of an electric vehicle, it is your responsibility to make sure the battery is not completely drained or charged too often and is not left in severe weather at one end of the spectrum or the other for extended periods. Check the owner’s manual for the best way to properly maintain your vehicle’s battery.
Quality control is a certain level of unknown with an electric vehicle as well. The variety of challenges with components in an as yet new vehicle construction can make it tough to predict issues that can arise.
This means you might be a regular visitor to the service department once you drive off the lot with a new electric vehicle and find out it isn’t living up to your expectations.
Regenerative braking is also an element of electric vehicle ownership you may not have researched before signing on the dotted line. Regenerative braking is used to charge the batteries. During this process, the brake discs and pads are pressed together with hydraulic fluid, which tends to absorb water from the air and then corrode the brake system. This can be avoided by flushing it regularly, but that means another trip to the service department or your trusted mechanic for brake service.
Control panel defects and electrical system malfunctions are also common issues that electric vehicle owners run into, and in the event the vehicle is new off the dealership lot and you have not had it 24 months or driven it 24,000 miles, those warranties still may cover the vehicle. That means the Texas Lemon law may be helpful in getting your vehicle repaired or replaced – or getting your money back from the manufacturer.
Before purchasing an electric vehicle, it is important to make sure you have adequate voltage and the appropriate plug-ins for such a mode of transportation. If you have double-checked and these are in order and you have attempted to charge your vehicle at a public charging station with no success, do not allow the dealership to say it is something wrong on your end.
Likewise, if your vehicle needs a replacement part, do not allow the dealership to keep it hostage for months. Electric vehicles may need specialized parts, but they are still readily available in a reasonable amount of time.
It is important to know electric vehicles are covered under the Texas Lemon law. They are specifically mentioned.
That being said, there is a lot of evidence needed to have a lemon law claim found in your favor. First, it is key to keep track of whether the vehicle has been taken in for repairs four or more times. If that is the case, it fits the lemon law criteria.
It is also important to know how many days the vehicle has not been drivable because of the defect. If the vehicle sits idle for 30 or more days (during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles but not necessarily consecutively) then it fits the criteria to be considered a lemon under the Texas Lemon law.
Next, it is important to note that each time the vehicle goes in for repairs, it must show an attempt to fix the same issue. Therefore, it is important to describe the issue the same way every time and keep service reports and notes on all attempts to get the issue fixed. Likewise, it is important to reach out to the manufacturer and let them know there is a defect that isn’t fixable, especially if you have been in for repairs four times with no success.
It is a good idea to contact the manufacturer via certified mail so that the contact is documented through the postal service.
This saves time later and avoids potential denial of awareness of the situation, which is easier to perpetrate when the contact is made via phone call.
With all of these criteria met, the seemingly most important detail should be addressed: the issue must cause a depreciation in the vehicle’s value and be dangerous for the driver and any passengers that travel in the vehicle. A minor inconvenience or issue with the accessory systems of the vehicle does not constitute a situation serious enough to be covered under the Texas Lemon law.
A Texas Lemon law complaint is filed through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. This can be done online. A $35 fee is required. Once the complaint is filed, a staff member is assigned to go over evidence and determine the best next step for the case. Mediation is usually that step, as it provides the two sides to negotiate with a mediator from the Texas DMV staff. If this does not resolve the situation, a hearing is scheduled.
At the hearing, an examiner hears the case for each side and then has 60 days to provide a written decision. If either side is unsatisfied with the decision, they can opt to appeal.
If the case is found in the favor of the auto owner, the options are repair, replacement and repurchase. The manufacturer is required to foot the bill for the repair – and it must be done satisfactorily to completely resolve the issue at hand.
Meanwhile, the options for both replacement and repurchase consider the number of miles the vehicle has been driven and its current value. A comparable vehicle is chosen for replacement and a suitable amount is provided for repurchase. Both take the vehicle off the auto owner’s hands and allow them to enjoy either a chance to buy a reliable vehicle or the delivery of a reliable vehicle that is of comparable value.
The Texas Lemon law protects vehicle owners from being stuck with a lawn ornament rather than a reliable vehicle. It ensures that those who need the vehicle for transportation to work or school or to handle regular errands have what they need to be successful in life.
An electric vehicle can be a lemon. That does not mean it cannot be addressed and the auto owner has no recourse. Instead, the electric vehicle is one covered under the Texas Lemon law and one that provides satisfactory results when a complaint is filed about a vehicle that cannot be fixed, despite repetitive efforts to do so.