Lemon Aid

Todd Dills | March 01, 2011

In Texas, for instance, state-mediated hearings are required between the claimant and the manufacturer to settle the dispute, with the ultimate aim being simply repair or replacement of the vehicle. What’s more, the Texas lemon law excludes vehicles with more than 24,000 miles. If other conditions for lemon law application aren’t met within that time, the law doesn’t apply.

The development of state lemon laws followed the federal Magnuson-Moss act, which outlined requirements of manufacturers in writing and honoring express warranties, or written promises as to the quality of the workmanship associated with any product. The law covered only “consumer products,” and as such excluded items like large trucks used commercially.

Most states that followed Connecticut in writing an express warranty law pertaining directly to vehicles followed Magnuson-Moss by excluding vehicles used commercially. Among those that didn’t exclude commercial use, many imposed a 10,000-pound weight limit or slightly higher.

Joe Suchecki of the Truck Manufacturers’ Association notes that TMA monitors legislation introduced in states to include heavy trucks under lemon law protection. Last year, four states including California and New York had such efforts, but none was successful.

States with lemon laws that cover large commercial trucks bought there


30 days out of service or four repair attempts, 2 for safety defect, within one-year period in first two ownership years

Excludes trucks over 19,000 lbs. GVW and 24,000 miles

Excludes trucks in a fleet of 10 or more

Requires application for arbitration through the state Lemon Law Administration

Includes pre-owned vehicles within certain conditions

Visit www.atg.wa.gov, search “lemon law”


30 days out of service or four repair attempts, or two attempts if safety defect involved

Excludes trucks above 24,000 miles

$35 filing fee is assessed with required complaint filing with Texas DMV within six months after 24,000 miles is reached or warranty expires, whichever is first

Includes pre-owned vehicles within certain conditions

State-mediated arbitration process is aimed at replacing/repairing vehicle

Visit www.texaslemonlaw.us


30 days out of service or four repair attempts by originating dealer in first year

Owner must notify manufacturer of claim directly. State DMV “strongly recommends” using Lemon Law Notice form. Visit www.dot.wi.gov, search “motor vehicle lemon law notice.”

Right to sue follows if dispute is not settled in 30 days

Attorney’s fees and automatic double damages, among other compensation, is awarded in successful suit

Visit www.dot.wi.gov, search “lemon law”


40 days out of service or four repair attempts in first year

Owner must notify manufacturer of claim/suit directly

Award in successful suit limited to vehicle buy-back, “reasonable” attorney’s fees, state taxes and other governmental fees

Visit www.dmv.state.ne.us, search “lemon law”

Document your woes

In any lemon law claim, it’s important to provide adequate proof that service attempts were made.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation offers these tips on effective record-keeping for owners who might end up with a lemon law claim:

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