Common Four Door Sedan Defects
Although automakers are currently producing a number of high-quality four door sedans, with millions of these vehicles on the road, defects are inevitable. Nonetheless, manufacturers have an obligation to ensure that the cars they provide to consumers are safe and reliable. They also must issue recalls when defects are detected internally or by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
At Timothy Abeel & Associates, we represent consumers who have purchased or leased defective sedans in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We are dedicated to holding automakers and dealers accountable and helping our helping our clients obtain significant compensation.
Common Automobile Defects
Contemporary four door sedans are sophisticated pieces of machinery, but some of the most common defects in these vehicles include:
- Seat Belts
- Door Latch Mechanisms
- Tire Blowouts
- Seat Back Failure
Seat Belt Failure
Seat belts are designed to keep drivers and passengers firmly in place in the event of a sudden stop or collision which reduces the potential for injuries. Seat belts were first introduced in the 1950s, and automakers in the U.S. were required by law to equip all motor vehicles, except buses, with these safety devices in 1968. Today, wearing seat belts is compulsory for drivers and front seat passengers in nearly every state.
The statistics show that seat belts save lives: nearly half of all fatal car accidents involve at least one driver that was not wearing a seat belt at the time of a crash. When seat belts fail to function properly, however, injuries can also occur. The device that causes the belt to tighten and remove any slack in the event of sudden deceleration is called the pretensioner. If this device is defective, the seat belt will not operate as intended and could lead to serious injuries. Seat belt failure can also be caused by broken or defective latches, improperly designed or installed shoulder harnesses, and seat belts that detach from the mount.
Front driver, passenger, and side-door airbags can protect vehicle occupants from injuries in the event of an accident. Common airbag malfunctions include failure to deploy, deploying with too much force, and deploying without impact. In fact, the largest safety recall in U.S. history was related to airbags made by Japanese auto parts producer Takata in 2015.
Vehicles produced by 19 automakers were recalled to replace front driver side or passenger side airbags (or both) which were installed in Model Year 2002-2015 cars. The airbags were at risk of exploding, sending shards of metal into the cabin, resulting in numerous injuries and at least 11 deaths.
The problem was attributed to the airbags’ inflators, a metal cartridge comprised of propellant wafers, that exploded when the airbags deployed. The NHTSA subsequently determined that the defective airbags used a ammonium nitrate-based propellant without a chemical drying agent. The propellant degraded due to a number of factors such as environmental moisture, high temperatures and age, which triggered the explosive forces. Ultimately the inflator recall impacted more than 42 million vehicles in the U.S, and a total of between 65 and 70 million worldwide.
Defective Door Latch Mechanisms
Numerous recalls have been issued because doors did not latch properly when closed, whether they were locked or unlocked. If door latch mechanisms are defective, doors can spring open unexpectedly when a car is in motion or in the event of an accident. Passengers can be ejected from the vehicle and suffer catastrophic injuries. Door latch problems are often attributed to faulty pawl springs, the coiled shaped object that returns the door handle back to its closed position.
According to the NHTSA tire blowouts contribute to approximately 78,000 accidents each year. A blowout occurs when a rapid loss of air pressure causes the tire to flex beyond its limits and separate from the inner lining. Common causes of tire blowouts include underinflation, overloaded vehicles and potholes and other roadway defect. Tires manufactured from substandard materials, however, or that are improperly designed are prone to defects, increasing the risk of blowouts.
Seat Back Failure
Seat back failure occurs when the front seats collapse during an accident, particularly when the vehicle is hit from behind. This can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle, or throw an occupant backwards, resulting in serious injuries. Seat backs are required to be manufactured according to safety standards, however defective products can lead to severe and fatal injuries for drivers and passengers.
Defective Sedan Attorneys
There are many popular four door sedans on the road today in New Jersey and Pennsylvania produced by Dodge, Chevrolet, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Lincoln, Nissan, Volkswagen, Subaru, and Toyota, among others. When these vehicles have defects that go unrepaired, consumers have powerful legal recourse to recover meaningful compensation under applicable state Lemon Laws.
Timothy Abeel & Associates, P.C. has a proven track record of protecting the rights of our clients and holding automakers accountable. Call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.