Texas Lemon Law
If you are having repeated problems getting your new vehicle to operate the way that it should, the Texas Lemon Law may help you get it repurchased, replaced or repaired.
When can I use the Texas Lemon Law?
If you have purchased or leased a new motor vehicle and it develops a defect or condition that substantially impairs the motor vehicle’s use, market value or safety, you may be eligible for relief under the Texas Lemon Law. You are required to allow the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to repair the defect(s) before you may file a complaint for lemon law relief. There is a $35 filing fee required with the submission of the Lemon Law complaint form. The number of reasonable attempts may vary based upon the defect’s effect on the normal operation of the motor vehicle.
How many “reasonable attempts” to repair a defect is the manufacturer allowed?
One way to show the dealer has had a reasonable number of attempts to fix a defect is to pass the following tests. Mileage requirements in the tests do not apply to travel trailers.
The Four Times Test
You pass this test if you have taken your vehicle to the dealership for repair
- twice for the same problem within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first; and
- twice more during the 12 months or 12,000 miles following the first repair attempt, and
- the problem continues to exist.
The Serious Safety Hazard Test
A serious safety hazard is a life-threatening malfunction that substantially impedes your ability to control or operate the vehicle normally, or that creates a substantial risk of fire or explosion. You pass this test if you have taken your vehicle to the dealership two or more times for the repair of a serious safety hazard
- once during first 12 months or 12,000 miles, and
- once more during the 12 months (or 12,000 miles) following the first repair attempt, and
- the problem continues to exist.
The 30 Day Test
If your new vehicle has been out of service for repair due to a defect that substantially impairs the use or market value of the vehicle due to defects covered by the warranty for a total of 30 or more days during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, and there were at least two repair attempts during the first 12 months or 12000 miles, and the problem still exists. If no loaner vehicle was provided to you by the dealer during this time period, you pass the test.
It is advisable to contact the Lemon Law Section of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) for more specific information and assistance at (888) 368-4689.
What motor vehicles are eligible?
Cars, trucks, motorcycles, motor homes and all terrain vehicles are covered, as well as demonstrator vehicles that develop problems covered by a manufacturer's written warranty. Travel trailers must be titled and registered in Texas to be eligible.
Are used motor vehicles covered?
Your used vehicle may be covered under current state laws. Texas laws related to warranty performance may cover your vehicle if your used vehicle is still covered by the manufacturer's original warranty (not an extended service contract), or if the problem started and was reported to the dealer while under warranty and it continues to exist, repair assistance of the warranty-related problem may be available to you.
Relief under the Lemon Law is available to eligible consumers. The process is simple, easy-to-follow and includes the following:
- The consumer files a Lemon Law complaint with the $35 filing fee with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and provides notice of the complaint with a last opportunity to repair defect to the applicable manufacturer.
- For the fastest processing of your complaint, go to the Motor Vehicle Dealer Online Complaint System:
- If you prefer, or if you encounter difficulties with the Motor Vehicle Dealer Online Complaint System, please download and complete the Lemon Law Complaint Form:
- The complaint is reviewed by Lemon Law Section administrative staff and the assigned TxDMV staff case advisor for completeness of the complaint and eligibility for statutory relief, and an attempt to resolve the complaint through mediation between the parties will be made.
- If unresolved, the matter will be referred for a hearing before an assigned hearing examiner in which both parties will be able to present their case. For information about the hearing process see the Office of Administrative Hearings page.
- The hearing examiner will issue a final written decision to the parties on the matter within 60 days after the close of the hearing; and
- Either party may challenge the final order by filing a motion for rehearing with TxDMV. If still dissatisfied, the aggrieved party may file an appeal with a state district court in Travis County, Texas.
Because the filing deadline and other requirements are very specific, call the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Lemon Law Section for more information or assistance concerning warranty repair problems at (888) 368-4689, or promptly consult legal counsel of your choice.
Vehicle Ownership Tips
Taking The First Step (“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”)
- Read your warranty and owner’s manual.
- If you have a problem with your vehicle, inform your dealer about the specific problem(s).
- The problem(s) should be fully described on the repair order.
- Keep all repair orders and records for your vehicle in safe place.
- Maintain good communications with the dealer.
Check manufacturer’s website for any technical service bulletins on your vehicle. Stay aware of any recall information on your vehicle.
If You Need to File a Lemon Law Complaint
- Check the information on the Texas Lemon Law that came with your vehicle. This website will provide you with further information on your rights under the law and the complaint process and eligibility.
- Consult with legal counsel, if necessary.
- TxDMV can help the parties settle lemon law cases, which can save you time and money.
- Keep good records on your vehicle
- Keep lines of communications open between yourself and the manufacturer.
If I Go to Court
- Lemon Law cases are heard by an independent administrative hearing examiner.
- Be prepared.
- Organize the major points.
- Bring witnesses, if any and your vehicle for inspection.
- After the hearing, review the hearing examiner’s written recommendation on your case.
- If you disagree with it, file your objections timely with the hearing examiner.
Final Determination by TxDMV
- The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for issuing a final order. If you disagree with the final order, you may file an appeal with the agency, and if still not satisfied, a Travis County, Texas State District Court.
- Contact a licensed attorney or TxDMV for details.
Vehicle Care Tips
- “Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you.”
- Service and maintain your vehicle according to the owner’s manual.
- Make sure an authorized dealer performs warranty repairs on your vehicle.
Look before you leap! Research the manufacturer of the make and model of the motor vehicle you wish to buy before you buy!!! It could save you future headaches.
Recalls and Safety
VW Emissions Issue
Do you own or lease a diesel 2.0 or 3.0 liter Volkswagen from 2009-2016?
If so, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updates on the alleged problems and violations associated with these vehicles.
VW Notices of Violation
- US Department of Justice: Volkswagen to Spend Up to $14.7 Billion to Settle Allegations of Cheating Emissions Tests and Deceiving Customers on 2.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles / June 30, 2016
- Texas Tribune: Texas Gets $50 Million in Massive Volkswagen Settlement / June 29, 2016
- NPR: Volkswagen Will Pay U.S. Diesel Car Owners Up To $10 Billion / June 28, 2016
- Autoweek: VW diesel deal deadline extended by court / June 21, 2016
- Yahoo: VW's new direction: 2 to 3 million all-electirc cars annually by 2015 / June 17, 2016
- New York Times: Volkswagen Reaches Deal in U.S. Over Emissions Scandal / April 21, 2016
- Wall Street Journal: Volkswagen Reaches Out to U.S. Dealers, Vows to ‘Redefine’ Tarnished Brand / April 2, 2016
- Car and Driver: Everything You Need to Know about the VW Diesel Emissions Scandal / March 3, 2016
Texas motorists who want to see if their vehicle is subject to a manufacturer’s recall can check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website, Safercar.gov.
If Texas consumers seek to file a case under the Texas Lemon Law alleging a substantial defect[s] with his/her motor vehicle, they are required to comply with the statutory provisions under Chapter 2301, Subchapter M of the Texas Occupations Code.
If consumers have further questions on these issues, they may contact the TxDMV at 888-368-4869 or txdmv.gov.