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Need Legal Support? Contact an experienced Houston Lemon Law Attorney.

Buying or leasing a new car can be an exciting time, but a new vehicle that does not operate in the manner that it is supposed to can add unnecessary stress to the joys of having one’s own vehicle. Under the Texas Lemon Law, you may be able to get a new vehicle repurchased, replaced, or repaired if you experience repeated problems with it.

A Houston lemon law attorney can walk you through each step of the claims process and help you build a strong case, often eliminating the need to go to court. If you would like to learn more about filing a lemon law claim against a dealer or manufacturer in Texas, contact our lemon law lawyers today.

Texas Lemon Law Basics

Administered by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TDMV), the Texas Lemon Law protects consumers who lease or buy new motor vehicles in the event that their vehicle repeatedly causes problems that cannot be satisfactorily remedied under the manufacturer’s warranty.

The Texas Lemon Law covers the following types of vehicles in the event that they develop a defect that is covered by its manufacturer’s written warranty:

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Vans
  • Motorcycles
  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • Motor homes
  • Towable recreational vehicles (TRVs)
  • Neighborhood electric vehicles
  • Demonstrator vehicles that have not been previously titled
  • Used vehicles that are still covered by the manufacturer’s original warranty (excluding extended service contracts)

Houston Lemon Law LawyerHowever, the law does not cover minor vehicle defects that do not substantially impair the vehicle’s market value or use. It also does not extend coverage to repossessed vehicles, non-travel trailers, boats, or farm equipment.

According to the TDMV, all of the following conditions are required to be satisfied in order for an individual to seek relief under the state’s Lemon Law:

  • The vehicle has a substantial defect in manufacturing.
  • The manufacturer’s written warranty explicitly covers the substantial defect.
  • Within the warranty term, the vehicle’s owner reports the defect to the manufacturer or the dealer.
  • The owner provides the dealer with a reasonable number of chances to repair the vehicle’s defect.
  • The owner notifies the manufacturer of the defect in writing, optimally via certified mail, and provides at least one chance for the manufacturer to correct the vehicle’s defect.
  • Despite the previous efforts, the vehicle’s defect persists and substantially impairs its market value or use, or it creates a significant safety hazard.

It can be confusing to tell whether a person has offered the dealer a reasonable number of opportunities to fix a vehicle’s defects. To make this simpler, there are three tests that the TDMV offers that can make it clearer: the four-times test, the serious safety-hazard test, and the 30-day test. If you pass at least one of the following tests, you have likely provided sufficient chances for the dealer to correct the defective condition.

  1. Four-times test: Under the four-times test, you would have offered a dealer a reasonable number of chances to repair a vehicular defect if your vehicle is still not fixed after you have brought your car in four times for the same defect within your first 24 months of ownership or the first 24,000 miles after the date of delivery, whichever comes first.
  2. Serious safety-hazard test: The serious safety-hazard test is satisfied if you have brought your vehicle to the dealer to correct a life-threatening malfunction that substantially impedes your ability to operate or control the vehicle normally or that creates a substantial risk of fire or explosion two times in the first 24 months of ownership or the first 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  3. 30-day test: The 30-day test requires that your vehicle be out of service for repairs as a result of a defect that the original factory warranty covers for at least 30 days during the first 24 months or the first 24,000 miles (need not be consecutive, and the defect persists. However, if the dealer provided a comparable loaner vehicle while your vehicle was undergoing repairs, those days would not count toward the 30-day requirement.

Additionally, an individual has only a limited amount of time in which they may file a complaint under the state’s Lemon Law. The complaint must be filed within six months of whichever of the following events occurs first: expiration of the express warranty term, 24 months after the vehicle’s purchase or lease, or 24,000 miles driven after the vehicle’s delivery date (excluding TRVs or other vehicles that do not have an odometer). 

An experienced Houston lemon law attorney can help you determine which one of these events applies in your situation.

How Can A Houston Lemon Law Attorney Help?

While the Texas Lemon Law provides guidelines on the types of relief to which you may be entitled, it can be valuable to speak with an experienced Houston lemon law attorney to secure the best possible outcome. If you win your claim, the TDMV can order one of the following remedies:

  • Refund: The vehicle’s manufacturer must buy it back for the original purchase price, including taxes, title, and license fees, minus a specified amount for your use of the vehicle that is based on a state-derived formula.
  • Replacement: The vehicle’s manufacturer must replace the defective vehicle with one that is not defective and is usually the same make, model, and trim level, minus the mileage that you had used.
  • Repair: The vehicle’s manufacturer must successfully fix the defects and, in some cases, reimburse out-of-pocket expenses for repairs that should have been covered under the original warranty.

If you need to file a claim under the Texas Lemon Law, lemon law lawyers can help. Our lawyers have successfully represented clients like you in lemon and other defective vehicle cases and offer free consultations on Texas Lemon Law claims.

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