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The Ledbetter Law Firm, APC

Los Angeles, California, Lemon Law Blog

New Jeep Wrangler has serious defect

From the time they are old enough to imagine getting a driver's license, many in California and across the country envision themselves behind the wheel of a dream car. For some, it is a classic convertible, and for others, it is a sleek luxury sedan. One of the most popular vehicles sold in the United States is the Jeep Wrangler. While the distinct style of the Jeep make it a must-have for thousands of car buyers, some Jeep owners are learning that their dream car has a serious defect.

The Fiat Chrysler company claims no injuries have been reported, but about 18,000 2019 Jeep Wranglers are currently facing recall because of a defect that could cause the vehicle to crash without warning. The front track bar in these Jeeps has a faulty weld that can cause the bar, which stabilizes the axles, to break away from the frame. This may cause the driver to lose the ability to steer the vehicle.

California car enthusiasts may remember these recall scandals

As long as there have been automobiles, there have been mechanical, structural and other problems with them. The difference is that in modern times, automobile manufacturers are supposed to put safety over profits, but in many notable instances, that has not happened. Below are some recall scandals that California car enthusiasts may remember.

The Ford Pinto debuted in 1971 with a major defect that could puncture the fuel tank and cause deadly fires in rear-end collisions. It would have cost Ford a total of $12 dollars to fix the issue, but instead, it chose to hide the problem from the unsuspecting public. In 1973, a memo from within Ford Motor Company revealed that it would be cheaper to pay awards from lawsuits than to fix the problem. By 1978, the company could no longer sustain this strategy as the memo and the problem became public. Only under pressure did the company finally issue a recall.

Test drive warns California consumers of new car issues

Before buying a new car, it is typical for consumers to take a test drive. However, there is often little chance to really get a feel for how the vehicle will perform until the papers are signed. Fortunately, consumer advocates like "Car and Driver" perform long-term test drives and report on the results. Those results were not so encouraging for California consumers in the market for the latest Alfa Romeo.

"Car and Driver" secured a long-term loan of an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and began experiencing trouble within the first 2,000 miles. A warning light indicated a problem with the electronic throttle control. Mechanics could not locate the problem, but the warning light returned at 5,000 miles, diminishing the control of the vehicle. The mechanic replaced the fuel pump.

Car manufacturers may be slow to react to dangerous defects

When consumers deal with defects in their vehicles, it can be frustrating to feel as if no one is listening or taking their complaints seriously. Many California owners of Hyundai and Kia automobiles are currently in such a situation. After appealing to their dealer mechanics, the car manufacturers and even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they have no answers to the reasons why their vehicles are catching fire.

Hyundai Motor Group, maker of both Hyundai and Kia vehicles, recalled over a million cars because of a defect in the engine. According to the recall, no fires were related to the defect. Nevertheless, more than 400 owners of Kias and Hyundais not included in the recall have reported their engines catching fire even when they had not been involved in an accident. Both Hyundai and the NHTSA says they are monitoring the situation, but neither admits the complaints warrant a recall.

California dealers reluctant to repair cars under lemon law

Purchasing a new car is not always the celebration TV commercials make it seem to be. Often, a new car buyer in California feels confused about the options and concerned about the monthly payments. Owning a new vehicle supposedly removes the worry of unforeseen repairs and the likelihood of breaking down at the least convenient moment. Occasionally, however, a new car is a lemon, and many returns to the dealership do not always result in the satisfaction a consumer expects after making such a large purchase.

Some new car owners who make several trips back to the dealer for repairs covered by the manufacturer's warranty soon learn that the dealer is not so eager to handle a car that may be a lemon. The lemon laws in most states require the manufacturer to repurchase or replace a vehicle with a defect that cannot be fixed after a certain number of repair attempts. Nevertheless, dealer mechanics may be quick to pass off consumers who are seeking the satisfaction they paid good money for.

Fire-catching seat belts lead to recall of 2 million F-150 trucks

Two million F-150 trucks were recently recalled by Ford, following 23 reports that the vehicle’s seat belts caused smoke or fire.

Reportedly, 17 accidents in the United States and Canada resulted from issues with the seat belt pretensioners.

California laws designed to protect used car buyers

It is not always easy to know when a major purchase, such as a car, truck or RV, is going to bring trouble. California consumers are fortunate to have laws protecting them when they purchase a new or used vehicle. These protections include the lemon law, which requires a manufacturer or dealer to repurchase or replace a vehicle that has irreparable defects. However, to avoid losing time and money, it is wise to carefully investigate a used vehicle before making a purchase.

A potential buyer can tell a lot about a car with even a cursory look. Mismatched tires, a careless paint job or damaged interior could indicate that the car was in an accident or flood. If the panels of the car do not line up or there are gaps where a door or trunk should align, it is probable that the vehicle sustained damage in an accident. Such a vehicle is likely to have hidden problems a new owner will not want to deal with.

RVs and trailers are not always made with care

As fall approaches, many in California may be deciding they don't want to let go of that carefree summer feeling. This may lead them to considering the purchase of an RV or trailer so they can travel when they want in comfort. However, purchasing a recreational vehicle is not a decision to make lightly since even an affordable RV is a serious investment. The last thing a consumer wants to do is to sink hundreds of thousands into a camper only to find it is a lemon.

Because an RV is a larger, heavier vehicle than the average car or SUV, it suffers wear and tear much faster. Just the vibrations of the road can do damage, and long-term storage can result in harm such as leaks and mold. If the RV is not built well to begin with, those issues can quickly find an owner in a revolving door of expensive repairs. Such a vehicle may look strong and sturdy on the outside, but its materials may be cheap and its assembly shoddy.

Toyota knew about auto defect for decades

A vehicle defect that repeatedly sends a California car owner to the dealer for repairs can be frustrating and annoying. When that auto defect results in injuries, it can be devastating. Recently, Toyota lost a multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed by parents who claim the defective front seats in their vehicle resulted in traumatic brain injuries for both of their children. It is not the only judgment against the carmaker, and now lawmakers are asking for changes.

The front seats in the Lexus sedan apparently meet the standards for safety required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, those standards were established in 1967, and the U.S. Congress wants the NHTSA to make changes. Toyota representatives testified that as early as 1980, the car company knew these standards were not safe. A simulation presented to the jury in the civil trial showed what happens to those front seats when the car is struck from behind by another vehicle.

Can a single issue turn your car into a lemon?

New cars aren't just a purchase, they're an investment. When you buy a vehicle off the lot, you expect to pay for years of trouble-free ownership. New cars are supposed to just work, which is part of justifying the hefty price tag.

When your new car begins to break down, it's an awful feeling. You have a significant amount of money sunk into the automobile, or will in the future. Now there's also the uncertainty of what else might go wrong with your brand-new purchase.

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