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A Beginner’s Guide to Texas Lemon Law Part 2

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You’ve discovered your car is lemon — now what?


What to Do If Your New Car is a Lemon in Texas Explained

In our last post, we touched on an introduction to Lemon Law in Texas, where we explained:

  • What Lemon Law is — a law that protects consumers from dangerously defective vehicles covered under written warranties,
  • How to tell if your car is a Lemon — the qualifications that determine if a defect is serious enough to be considered a Lemon,
  • And how long a dealer has to fix the problem — using the 4-Times Test, 30-Day Test, and the Serious Safety-Hazard Test.

Now that you know how to identify a Lemon, let’s touch on what you’re supposed to do if you discover your new car is a Lemon.

First Steps

You need to send a formal notification to the manufacturer informing them of the defect to give them an opportunity to correct the problem.

This notification should be in the form of a letter sent by certified mail to the address found in your owner’s manual or warranty booklet. The letter should include:

  • The vehicle’s condition,
  • The dealership where you purchased the vehicle,
  • The repair attempts and dates,
  • And if the problem creates a serious safety hazard or seriously impairs the use or value of the vehicle.

A sample letter is provided on the TxDMV website that you can use as a template so you can be sure to include all the formal aspects of the notice.

Filing a Complaint

If you are not satisfied with the manufacturer’s response or if they are disputing your claim, you can file a complaint with the TxDMV. The specific deadlines for filing a complaint are as follows.

Within 6 months of whichever of these scenarios happens first:

  1. Your express warranty term expires,
  2. 24,000 miles after the date you received the vehicle,
  3. Or 24 months after the purchase date.

To be safe, file your complaint as soon as you realize your dealer is struggling to repair the vehicle. If you want the manufacturer to refund or replace the vehicle, you will need to send a $35 filing fee with your complaint. If you are only seeking repairs covered by the warranty, then there is no filing fee.


The TxDMV will talk to the manufacturer about the complaint. If the manufacturer fixes the vehicle, the terms are satisfied, and the matter is resolved.

If the manufacturer can’t fix the vehicle, a representative may be sent from the TxDMV to help settle the dispute. The resolution could include:

  • Refund — The manufacturer must buy back the vehicle, including tax, title, and license fee. The amount deducted from the original price will be for vehicle use, determined by a formula provided by the TxDMV. This does not include interest paid on the vehicle.
  • Replacement — The manufacturer must replace the vehicle with a vehicle that is acceptable to the consumer and comparable to the original. Vehicle upgrades made by the consumer are not included.

Complaints are usually settled at this point, but if a settlement can’t be reached, a hearing will be necessary.

Facing a Lemon Law Hearing? Call Carabin Shaw.

Legal hearings can be scary, especially when you’re going up against a big company. Fortunately, you have the right to hire legal counsel to represent you.

Carabin Shaw has expert legal counsel specializing in Lemon Law in San Antonio that can help you. Call our team at 800-862-1260 to schedule your free case evaluation, where you’ll find out the best legal option available to you and decide if you want to work with the firm. We look forward to serving you.

Contacting a Carabin Shaw attorney is free and does not require you to work with the firm.

  1. Texas Lemon Law TxDMV
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