Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) and Lemon Law

What are Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) and how do they affect Lemon Law?

Automobile manufacturers and dealerships regularly use computers to diagnose and fix vehicles. A common way they identify issues with a vehicle is to check the vehicle’s internal computer for Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).

DTCs are error codes that are used by technicians to assist in identifying the cause of a particular customer’s concern.

Most vehicles’ internal computers are designed to electronically monitor errors within a certain cycle of diagnostic checks (known as “enabling criteria”).

If the computer finds an error, the DTC is triggered and stored within the vehicle’s computer modules.  A dealership technician may then retrieve these codes to assist in diagnosing the cause of the symptoms experienced by the customer’s vehicle.

So for instance, say a customer brings their vehicle to the dealership complaining of issues with the vehicle’s transmission being jerky and unresponsive. In most cases, a dealership technician will then check the vehicle’s internal computer for any stored DTCs and if they are found it will help the technician diagnose and pinpoint the source(s) of the transmission issue.  

But what happens when a customer complains of an issue and no DTC is found? Many times this is exactly the case. This is problematic because the dealer and manufacturer will use the lack of a DTC as a defense that the vehicle had no issues, when there clearly are issues with the vehicle.

If you would like help figuring out how a DTC may affect your Lemon Law Claim, contact us today for an evaluation.



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