Vehicle Defects & California Lemon Law
The average 21st century gas powered car and truck has over 30,000 parts. From nuts and bolts to brake pads to computer motherboards and Wi-Fi routers. There are at least 2,000 moving parts.
Since 2017, the average car/truck has 50 microprocessors that control everything from climate to GPS to keyless locks. Luxury models have over 100 microprocessors. Every car has an Engine Control Module (ECM) that monitors engine emissions, temperatures, and much more.
Motor Vehicles today are better built, safer, and more integrated than ever. In 2020 2.2 million cars were manufactured in the United States alone. It's inevitable that some things will go wrong somewhere along the way. Design flaws, factory mistakes, faulty computers along with everything else that could and did go wrong with cars and trucks since the first Model Ts rolled off the assembly lines still occur.
Over the years The Gayle Law Group, PC has watched as vehicles became ever more sophisticated and complex. With them has come a new generation of defects that ultimately result in Lemon Law claims. We have had experience with all of them.
traditional Vehicle Defects
Common Vehicle Defects in the 2020s (so far)
Here are a few of the issues that have confronted our clients over the last few years:
- Air bag defects.
This includes faulty sensor lights.
- Air conditioning.
Two years into his lease, a client's air conditioning suddenly started blowing only hot air (in the middle of summer). Then, his window stopped working. It was intolerable. After four times in the shop at two different dealerships the car still had a broken window and a useless air conditioner.
- Antilock braking system (ABS).
This includes everything from total brake failure(s) to the ABS repair light constantly going on and off while driving.
- Automatic transmission.
A client brought his new Jeep to the dealership for its six-month oil change and was told it had a transmission problem. They repaired it, he left the dealership and the car "did weird hesitations, then it would slam into gear." He kept bringing it back, until, finally, he picked it up from the service bay and it "just died on me within a few blocks of the dealership."
- Computer defects.
Forty percent of the cost of an average new car is for computer systems. Computers are so integrated into the safe operation of a vehicle that any 'glitch' should be checked out as soon as possible. Even the failure of Bluetooth or navigation screen could be the precursor to serious problems.
- Electrical problems.
There is no such thing as a simple electrical problem. The electrical system in vehicles today runs everything from the navigation system, cruise control, airbags, and headlights to the windows and locks.
- Engine fire.
There are 170,000 vehicle fires a year in the U.S. Two out of three fires are caused by engine or drivetrain defects.
A client was having transmission problems. He promptly took the car to his dealership. There "they replaced the gasket with some horrible toxic glue and from that day forward, it stunk of toxic fumes, gave me headaches and nausea."
Free advice: never pick up your new vehicle after dark.
- Power steering.
Steering wheels randomly seize up; the vehicle pulls suddenly to the right or left; or fails to respond properly. Of course, any problem with steering is a serious safety issue.
- Seat belts.
Seat belts have changed with technology. The technology is great but has led to unexpected issues. Seat belt defects have caused smoke and fires.
Our client purchased her dream car. It soon began stalling at stop signs every few days. The dealership updated some software and gave it back to her. A month later, it stalled again.
- Sudden acceleration and surge.
There are few things more terrifying to a driver than when a vehicle speeds up ‘on its own.’ Or suddenly surges. It can happen on the highway or when you start the vehicle in your driveway. In any event, under any conditions, it is dangerous.
Where gas powered vehicles have over 2,000 moving parts, electric vehicles have less than 20. That, however, does not mean that electric and hybrid vehicles have fewer problems. In fact, because the systems in these vehicles are so integrated, even a ‘minor’ problem can have widespread and lasting implications.
Issues with Electric & Hybrid Vehicles:
Automatic Backup Automation.
We have seen several instances when electric vehicles stopped when backing up when there was no obstacle or oncoming car.
It’s simple, your electric car doesn’t go anywhere when the battery fails – hopefully, it’s not on the highway. When the battery fails on a hybrid it defeats the whole reason you went eco-friendly in the first place.
The braking system in hybrid and fully electric cars serve two purposes: to slow the car and to charge the batteries. Issues with these ‘regenerative braking systems’ are serious for obvious reasons.
All vehicles are reliant on computers but none more so than electric and hybrids. There is no such thing as a ‘simple’ computer problem.
Electrical System Malfunctions.
It takes a vast network of sensitive electronics to keep electric and hybrid vehicles running properly. The system is integrated and a defect in one spot can and probably will affect the vehicles overall performance.
Failure to Hold a Charge.
With gas powered vehicles the failure of a battery to hold a charge almost always pops up when the driver is sitting in their driveway trying to start it. In electric cars, this is far more serious – the failure can occur while driving. Anywhere.
Get 100% Free Legal
If you think you have a lemon, or your vehicle is headed that way, call the Gayle Law Group, PC for a Free Consultation. We are experienced California Lemon Law attorneys who will help you get any compensation you may deserve. You will be treated with respect and your case will be taken seriously, no matter what the issue.