Lemon Laws in Texas

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Texas lemon laws protect drivers from defective or faulty vehicles. The laws cover new cars under manufacturer warranty that were bought and registered in Texas. Used cars that are still under warranty are covered for repair only—not refund or replacement.
Texas lemon laws were designed to offer a faster and easier way to deal with lemon issues, as opposed to filing a lawsuit over a damaged vehicle. Still, the laws can be complicated so it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer before pursuing a claim.
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For everything you need to know about Texas lemon laws, keep reading!
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What is a lemon law?

Lemon laws work to protect consumers from losing money (or worse) due to repeated attempts to repair a defect or flaw with their car.
Under Texas lemon laws, the manufacturer or your dealer is entitled to a reasonable number of chances to fix your car’s nagging problem. How ‘reasonable’ is defined in Texas will be detailed below.
If after multiple attempts the problem isn’t resolved—and depending on whether your car is new or used—you may be in a position to pursue compensation, a replacement vehicle from the manufacturer, or repairs in the case of a used car still under warranty.

Is there a lemon law in Texas?

Yes, Texas does have a lemon law. It was enacted in 1983, but due to a court challenge, enforcement didn’t begin until 1985.

Is my defect covered under the lemon law?

In Texas, a car’s safety, value, and use must be significantly impacted by a manufacturer malfunction in order to be considered a lemon.

Conditions to qualify as a lemon

Your vehicle has to meet certain conditions to be deemed a lemon and for you to qualify for possible compensation. The conditions are as follows:
  • Vehicle has a significant manufacturer’s defect or malfunction
  • Said defect is covered under your warranty
  • Within the warranty term, the defect must be reported to the manufacturer and/or dealer
  • The manufacturer or dealer must be allotted reasonable attempts to fix the problem
  • Car owner must give the manufacturer written notice of the issue (via certified mail) and at least one opportunity to fix it
  • The problem persists and impedes the car’s use or value, or it’s a safety hazard
You can use the following tests to determine whether the manufacturer has been given reasonable attempts to fix the problem:
Four-time test
Your car has been brought in four times for the same issue within the first 24 months of ownership or the first 24,000 miles driven, whichever comes first.
Serious safety-hazard test
This is a serious safety issue that impedes the safe operation of the vehicle and threatens injury or death, or there is a risk of fire or explosion if not repaired. You “pass” this test if you’ve brought the vehicle in twice over the first 24 months of ownership or the first 24,000 miles driven and the issue persists.
30-day test
Your car has been out of service for 30 days (they don’t have to be consecutive) due to the persistent problem during the first 24 months of ownership or the first 24,000 miles driven, whichever comes first. Do note—if you’re using a comparable loaner car at any point during those 30 days, those days do not count.
Key Takeaway Your vehicle must meet the conditions and the manufacturer must be given a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problem before it can be deemed a lemon.
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Are used cars covered under the lemon law?

If your used car is under warranty, you’re entitled to repairs under Texas lemon laws. You are not entitled to a refund or replacement of it, as is the case for new cars.
Repossessed vehicles, non-travel trailers, boats, and farm equipment are not covered.

What about new cars?

New cars bought and registered in Texas, with a written warranty, are covered under Texas lemon laws.
The laws apply to the following new vehicle categories:
  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Vans
  • Motorcycles
  • ATVs
  • Motor homes
  • Towable recreational vehicles (TRVs)
Key Takeaway New cars must be bought and registered in Texas to be covered by Texas lemon laws.

Pursuing lemon law rights in Texas

So long as you qualify, here’s how it goes if you want to pursue relief under Texas lemon laws:
File a lemon law complaint: Pay a $35 fee and file the complaint through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, along with a notice of the complaint and a final opportunity for the manufacturer to repair the defect.
Complaint review and mediation: After a Texas state employee reviews and approves the complaint, mediation will begin between both parties in an attempt to obtain a settlement.
A hearing, if necessary: If mediation fails to resolve the issue, your case goes to a hearing where both sides will present their case.
Decision: After 60 days from the end of the hearing, the examiner will issue a ruling.
Challenge, if necessary: If either party is unsatisfied with the examiner’s decision, a motion can be filed for a rehearing with the Texas DMV. If a party is still unsatisfied after a rehearing, an appeal can be filed with the state district court in Travis County, TX.
Key Takeaway You don’t need a lawyer to file a lemon law complaint in Texas, but if you are uncomfortable with the process or unsure, it is always advisable to consult with an attorney

Lemon law tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about pursuing a lemon law claim in Texas:
Make sure that any and all repairs or attempted repairs are made by dealer-authorized professionals, and ideally done in manufacturer or dealership facilities Maintain all records, invoices, and receipts of attempted repairs to prove a paper trail If your case is successful—whether through your claim or mediation—the manufacturer will either buy back your lemon or you’ll be refunded (so long as the car is new) If your lemon law claim is successful for a used car, Texas lemon laws only provide relief for repairs, not replacement or refund

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