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We handle cases across the United States. Allen Stewart is licensed to practice law in Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Arizona.

When does a vehicle qualify under the Texas Lemon Law? 

When does a vehicle qualify under the Texas Lemon Law? 

It is important to recognize your rights regarding defective vehicles and what options your state has for you to pursue reimbursement or a replacement vehicle. A lawsuit through the court systems can be lengthy and may not end up in your favor.

In Texas, the first and most important option (because it reduces the potential time involvement and increases likelihood of success) is the Texas Lemon Law.

As with any other legal means of addressing a problem, the Texas Lemon Law has specific criteria for a vehicle to qualify as a “Lemon.”

The vehicle must be newly purchased from a dealership or, a used vehicle must be purchased with the original warranty still in effect.

Vehicles must be covered under warranties and have issues arise during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles they are driven. The mile window does not apply to any vehicles that do not have an odometer.

The following vehicles are covered by the Texas Lemon Law: cars, trucks, vans, All-Terrain Vehicles, motor homes, Towable Recreation Vehicles (TRVs), motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles.

Repossessed vehicles, farm equipment, boats and non-travel trailers are NOT covered under this particular law.

Next, if these criteria have been met, it is time to determine if the vehicle’s defect is sufficient to put it firmly in the lemon category.

There are tests that the vehicle is required to pass in order to receive the lemon designation.

The first is whether the defect is a hazard that endangers the driver and passengers while the vehicle is moving. The next factor is whether the hazard is an issue that detracts from the value of the vehicle.It is important to recognize your rights regarding defective vehicles and what options your state has for you to pursue reimbursement or a replacement vehicle. A lawsuit through the court systems can be lengthy and may not end up in your favor.

In Texas, the first and most important option (because it reduces the potential time involvement and increases likelihood of success) is the Texas Lemon Law.

As with any other legal means of addressing a problem, the Texas Lemon Law has specific criteria for a vehicle to qualify as a “Lemon.”

The vehicle must be newly purchased from a dealership or, a used vehicle must be purchased with the original warranty still in effect.

Vehicles must be covered under warranties and have issues arise during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles they are driven. The mile window does not apply to any vehicles that do not have an odometer.

The following vehicles are covered by the Texas Lemon Law: cars, trucks, vans, All-Terrain Vehicles, motor homes, Towable Recreation Vehicles (TRVs), motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles.

Repossessed vehicles, farm equipment, boats and non-travel trailers are NOT covered under this particular law.

Next, if these criteria have been met, it is time to determine if the vehicle’s defect is sufficient to put it firmly in the lemon category.

There are tests that the vehicle is required to pass in order to receive the lemon designation.

The first is whether the defect is a hazard that endangers the driver and passengers while the vehicle is moving. The next factor is whether the hazard is an issue that detracts from the value of the vehicle.

When does a vehicle qualify under the Texas Lemon Law?

Cosmetic issues and issues with aftermarket additions obviously do not make the vehicle eligible for lemon categorization. Likewise, the discovery of a problem with a luxury system, such as GPS, entertainment or A/C, will not make the vehicle fit the lemon category, even if it has been taken to the mechanic and several attempts have been made to resolve the issue.

That is the next category, by the way. Has the vehicle been taken to a dealership or reputable mechanic four or more times in an attempt to have the issue fixed, with unsatisfactory results? If so, this is a qualification to be considered a lemon in Texas.

It is best to keep track of dates and times, any receipts for payments made and any written communications regarding the attempted repairs. This documentation is helpful when attending a hearing with the state’s Transportation Board in the hopes of having a vehicle labeled as a lemon.

Another test is whether the vehicle has been out of commission for 30 days or more during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles driven. These days do not have to be consecutive. However, the owner should record days that the vehicle cannot be driven to work or for daily tasks due to the defect in question. These days do not count if the vehicle is at a mechanic and a loaner vehicle has been provided.

The warranty coverage is a key element to the vehicle being designated a lemon. It must be a new purchase and this defect, which has persisted despite multiple repair attempts, must have come to light within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles driven windows (whichever is the first to occur). This vehicle must show the defect and impede its regular use, putting the driver at risk, during this time frame.

The owner is then responsible to make the dealership/manufacturer aware of the defect and the unsuccessful repair attempts. It is necessary to notify them within six months of the end of the 24 month, 24,000 mile window. Therefore, as soon as you are aware your new vehicle has a defect that is seemingly impossible to repair, it is wise to start the process of notifying the dealer and/or manufacturer.

This should be done in a way that can be traced and verified. A written notice, sent by certified mail, is a good way to ensure this step is followed properly and the manufacturer or dealer cannot deny they have been notified.

The dealer/manufacturer should be given the chance to attempt to repair the issue in a satisfactory way after notification is made. If a reasonable amount of time has passed and little to no effort to repair the issue is made on the part of the dealer or manufacturer, the next logical step is to contact the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

There is an online system for this process. A $35 filing fee is required.

The process will continue with mediation to attempt to resolve the issue for both parties in a satisfactory manner. If that does not occur, a hearing will be held. At that hearing, both parties are free to present their side of the case. The hearing examiner then issues a written notice of the decision based on that hearing. The final order can be challenged, and that will be heard by the Texas DMV and could proceed beyond that to the state district court if necessary.

There are specific requirements for the filing of the lemon law complaint. Therefore, it is wise to read up on the requirements and expectations in order to fully comply with the requirements and help the process move forward smoothly.

In the event the vehicle is found to be a lemon, there are three possible outcomes the manufacturer or dealer is given to resolve the issue. The option that fits the situation is the one the examiner sets as the outcome, there is not a choice for either the vehicle owner or the manufacturer or dealer who sold the defective vehicle.

The vehicle can be repaired, replaced by a vehicle of comparable value or repurchased by the manufacturer, leaving the owner with the funds to purchase a more reliable vehicle. The number of miles driven are factored into both replacement and repurchase. Repair is the chosen route if the attempts to repair prior to this were unsatisfactory or insufficient. Also, the money spent by the vehicle owner on previous repair attempts may be reimbursed as a part of the hearing outcome.

Vehicle owners will be adequately compensated for the vehicle, with certain considerations taken into account. The need for a reliable vehicle is well-understood in Texas, and the Texas Lemon Law ensures that vehicle owners who rely heavily on a vehicle and have recently purchased one with a defect that puts them in danger are provided some resolution to the issue.

Make sure, as a vehicle owner, you are aware of rights and regulations as related to a potential lemon vehicle. Also, it is important to keep track of recalls related to the make and model of the vehicle you own. Your specific year may or may not be included, depending on the issues that leads to the recall. Recall issues are typically not considered covered by a lemon law case, as they are recognized by the manufacturer and efforts are made to fix the issue and ensure the safety of the vehicle owner. Lemon law coverage is focused on a single incident of an issue, which has seen repair attempts and continues despite those efforts.

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