November 2011

People pay tens of thousands of dollars for vehicles and yet car companies are forced to recall hundreds of thousands of vehicles each year.

Sometimes, it’s because of a faulty tire issue, other times there’s a drivetrain problem or steering or electrical shorts. Vehicles are very complex, which is why they’re so expensive. But the fact that they’re so expensive should mean companies create a sound product that doesn’t have ongoing mechanical problems.

As our North Carolina Lemon Law attorneys well know, vehicles can be killing machines. Poor driving habits aside, when a vehicle has a mechanical problem, it can cause accidents, which can lead to injury or death. Sadly, this is how many vehicle defects are discovered. Once a company rolls out its newest line of vehicles, it’s on to the next model. It’s not until problems arise and reports are made that a company looks back and try to fix things. Even then, it can require governmental arm twisting to force a vehicle manufacturer to put consumer rights ahead of corporate profits.

This is where the North Carolina Lemon Law’s protections come in handy –the law offers protection to consumers. Lemon Laws are designed to help people who have bought vehicles that just aren’t up to snuff. When people have to take out a loan to purchase a vehicle, they make a strong commitment to the company and they deserve to have some assurances. Lemon Laws ensure that if there are repeated problems, a vehicle owner can get them fixed within a “reasonable time”.  Owners of defective vehicles can also get protection if they are injured as a result of the company’s negligence or when there are issues with the warranty of the vehicle.

This has come into focus lately with some recent recalls.  

USA Today reports that General Motors recalled vehicles from its 2012 model class even though it’s only 2011. They barely got off the line and already have problems.

The report states that Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs were recalled due to a tire pressure monitoring system that isn’t up to federal standards.

The recall affects nearly 34,000 vehicles built from July to September — meaning they were sold within the last few months. It’s amazing that just months after making these vehicles, notices of defects are hitting the mail. What else have they missed?

The tire pressure system is supposed to tell drivers when the pressure is 25 percent below the recommended cold tire pressure. The recalls indicate that these systems are not functioning properly. Electronic issues can be particularly problematic for a consumer to address, and in this case safety it’s an obvious issue.

The Associated Press reports that GM has issued another recall involving several sedan models; drivers think the car is in park when it’s actually in gear. The problem has led to injuries when the vehicle began rolling and caused injury and/or property damage.

 The recall affects the following models:

-2007 and 2008 Saturn Aura

-2004 to 2008 Chevrolet Malibu

 -2005 to 2008 Pontiac G6

The protective jacket around cables that connect the floor shift lever to the transmission is prone to deterioration. The exposed cables can corrode, which means the lever position doesn’t match what the car is reading. When it looks like it’s in park, it could be in gear.

The problem mainly affects four-speed transmission vehicles, not six-speeds.

It has caused crashes where cars begin moving after the driver gets out, the Associated Press reports. The recall affects more than 1.5 million vehicles

– 815,000 Chevy Malibus, 570,000 Pontiac G6s and 75,000 Saturn Auras.

GM had another shift level problem in 2009 when it recalled 277,000 vehicles, although that was caused by a different problem.  If you believe you have a defective vehicle, or one that cannot be repaired in a “reasonable time”.  Contact us to discuss your options under the North Carolina Lemon Law.

The North Carolina Lemon Law Attorneys at Soboleski Law, P.C. can be reached at 828-285-8888.

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