The average commute to work in the US is 26.6 minutes one way, or 53.2 minutes round trip. This means that the average person who commutes to work in their own vehicle drives about 11,000 miles per year.
There is always the potential for a breakdown, no matter how new or well-maintained a vehicle is. However, the likelihood of a breakdown is higher for older vehicles and those with a lot of miles on them.
The likelihood of purchasing a lemon vehicle in the US is about 1 in 100. This means that if you buy 100 new cars, one of them is likely to have a major defect that renders it undrivable or unsafe.
If you think you may have purchased a lemon, you should contact the manufacturer and file a complaint. You may also be able to get help from your state’s lemon law.
Here are some lemon laws in 5 different states:
California: The California lemon law is one of the most comprehensive in the country. It covers new and used cars, as well as light-duty trucks and vans. The law requires the manufacturer to repair or replace a lemon, or refund the purchase price.
New York: The New York lemon law is similar to the California law, but it has some key differences. For example, the New York law does not cover used cars that are more than 7 years old or have more than 100,000 miles.
Texas: The Texas lemon law is less comprehensive than the California and New York laws. It only covers new cars, and it does not require the manufacturer to replace the car if the defect can be repaired.
Florida: The Florida lemon law is similar to the Texas law, but it does have some additional protections for consumers. For example, the Florida law requires the manufacturer to provide a loaner car while the defective car is being repaired.
Illinois: The Illinois lemon law is the least comprehensive of the five laws. It only covers new cars, and it does not require the manufacturer to replace the car or provide a loaner car.
It is important to note that lemon laws vary from state to state, so it is important to check the law in your state to see what protections you are entitled to.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here.
Staying up-to-date on lemon laws
With the sheer number of lemon vehicles that are produced in any given year in the US (roughly 100,000 if you’re wondering), it is no surprise that lemon laws are currently changing and being adapted based on new information. This also makes sense considering the fact that electric vehicles have their own concerns, and these vehicles are growing in popularity.
If you would like to keep up with the changes to the lemon law for your state, there are a few ways to go about that:
Check your state’s website or call your state’s consumer protection agency to find out about your state’s lemon law.
Sign up for email alerts from your state’s consumer protection agency.
Follow your state’s consumer protection agency on social media.
Read news articles about lemon laws.
Talk to a lawyer who specializes in lemon laws.
Subscribe to blogs that discuss lemon laws and any new information that occurs relating to those laws.
Texans: Know Your lemon law
The Texas lemon law is a process that is handled through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. This means the complaint can be filed online, and there is a special lemon law department that handles the case file.
The first step for the Texas lemon law is to schedule a mediation. It is common for manufacturers and/or dealers to try to convince you to take a deal that is not going to benefit you. This is a good time to retain legal counsel and have them attend the mediation with you.
The next step, if mediation is unsuccessful, is to schedule a hearing. An examiner hears from both sides and then has 60 days to provide a written decision on the case. The case can be appealed by either party if they are not satisfied with the decision.
If the examiner finds in favor of the auto owner, then you have three possible solutions. It is important to note here that the examiner chooses the solution based on the case and not on any input from the auto owner.
The vehicle may be replaced with one of similar value, it could be repaired with the manufacturer covering the cost, or it could be repurchased by the manufacturer. If the vehicle is replaced or repurchased, any aftermarket additions you made to the vehicle are not considered.
All three options consider the amount of miles on the vehicle at the time of the repair/replacement/repurchase. Also, it may be possible to be reimbursed for unsuccessful repair attempts with any of the three potential outcomes.
Does your car count as a lemon in Texas?
There are three tests your vehicle must pass to be considered a lemon under the Texas lemon law.
The first is the significant defect test. If your vehicle has a defect that 1) puts your life at risk to drive it and 2) significantly decreases the value of your vehicle, it meets the criteria for this test.
The second test is the 30 days test. Your vehicle must sit idle for 30 days or more (not necessarily consecutively) with no loaner vehicle provided to pass this test.
The third test is the four or more repair attempts test. For this test, you must have taken your vehicle to a mechanic for the same issue with no success. For this test, it is necessary to have documentation of these attempts and that the same repair was attempted (instead of various different issues being addressed).
It is important to note that your vehicle must also:
Be covered under an original warranty from the dealer/manufacturer
Be within the first 24,000 miles or 24 months of ownership – whatever milestone was reached first
Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form.
The manufacturer must also be informed that you have made multiple attempts to have it repaired with no success. It is key that you have documentation for these situations – and hopefully contact by mail that can be proven with the manufacturer.
Be informed and prepared
Being an informed vehicle owner means knowing your rights and responsibilities as a car owner. It also means being aware of the potential problems that can occur with your vehicle and how to address them.
One of the most important things to know is your state’s lemon law. Lemon laws are designed to protect consumers from purchasing defective vehicles. If your vehicle meets the criteria for being a lemon, you may be entitled to a refund, replacement, or other compensation.
It is also important to keep good records of all repairs and maintenance on your vehicle. This will be helpful if you ever need to file a claim under your warranty or lemon law.
Finally, be sure to read your owner’s manual carefully. This will help you understand how to properly operate and maintain your vehicle.
If you have any questions about your rights as a vehicle owner, be sure to contact your state’s department of motor vehicles or a local attorney.
Here are some additional tips for being an informed vehicle owner:
Read reviews of vehicles before you buy them.
Get a pre-purchase inspection from a mechanic.
Negotiate the price of your vehicle.
Read your contract carefully before you sign it.
Keep all of your receipts for repairs and maintenance.
Get regular oil changes and tune-ups.
Inspect your vehicle regularly for any signs of problems.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your dealer or a local mechanic.
This information brought to you by Allen Stewart P.C.