The reason I decided to write this blog is because I read a headline today stating that a major auto manufacture is recalling thousands of hybrid vehicles due to the risk of fire. The risk involved the engine catching on fire even when the vehicles were not running. This indicates that such a fire can occur when the vehicle is parked in the garage, and no one is around the vehicle to put the fire out right away.
If you have an electric or hybrid vehicle, be vigilant regarding the possibility of a fire. The last thing you want is for your home to burn down because your vehicle caught on fire in the garage and the fire got out of control. Make sure to have a fire extinguisher near where you park the vehicle.
Be sure to take your vehicle to the dealership if it is not functioning properly, especially if you are noticing any kind of electrical problems, such as lights flickering, the radio cutting out often, the air conditioner not matching the temperature it is set at, power windows going up or down on their own, the vehicle not powering on when it should, and other issues that can be related to the electrical system.
In addition to personal injury, I handle lemon law cases. One of the most important things to do for a lemon law claim is to ensure that the dealership describes the issues you are having with the vehicle correctly. Be sure to review the repair order carefully to make sure the dealership captures the problems you are having with the vehicle correctly. If you’re going to make a lemon law claim or possibly a personal injury claim, if there is a fire and someone is injured, the repair orders can be used to show that you were trying to get the problems with the vehicle fixed and the dealership failed to fix the issue(s).
Get all the recall work done as soon as possible. Usually recall notices are emailed to vehicle owners or sent via mail. It’s best to schedule your appointment with the dealer as soon as you receive the recall notice. Don’t put it off until your next scheduled maintenance visit. You may not have any signs of problems with the vehicle when you are driving it, but you don’t want to take the chance of your vehicle breaking down when you least expect it to or worse, catching on fire and injuring you or your loved ones.
Electric and hybrid vehicles are here to stay, and we will be seeing more manufacturers making more of these types of vehicles in the coming years. Some of these vehicles park themselves and drive without any hands on the steering wheel. Since manufacturers are racing to get the best electric and hybrid vehicles to market, to capture market share, and we’re seeing new auto manufacturers offering these types of vehicles, we can expect to experience lots of failed components in these vehicles. Unfortunately, sometimes we are the auto manufacturers’ guinea pigs. Some auto manufacturers may be aware that their vehicles have certain issues, and they still push them out the door and sell them to consumers.
We, the consumers, must fight against this practice by taking these vehicles in for repairs whenever something goes wrong. And by forcing the manufacturers to repurchase certain vehicles from us when they have had a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle but have failed. We cannot ignore issues and we cannot believe everything a dealership tells us about how a car is operating.
In most of my lemon law cases my clients have complained to dealerships that their vehicles were not operating correctly only to be told by the dealership that the problem the person complained about could not be duplicated. If you continuously are told that the problem cannot be duplicated, you should go to another dealership to have them inspect the vehicle.
If two dealerships cannot duplicate the issue(s) you are experiencing, you should have someone from the dealership go on a ride with you, if you feel safe asking them to do so, so you can show them exactly what the vehicle is doing. If they will not go on a ride with you, you should ask a family member or a friend to drive with you and record, on their phone, if possible, the issue(s) you are having with the vehicle.
In Southern California we use our vehicles almost every day to get to everywhere we need to go. We spend a lot of time in our vehicles. We get to know our vehicles exceptionally well and we can tell when or something is wrong. We may not all be mechanics, but we have a heightened awareness of our vehicles and how they should operate. If you suspect something is wrong with your vehicle, do not hesitate to have a qualified mechanic inspect the vehicle. My practice is to take my vehicle back to the dealership where I purchased it to have any issues addressed, so that all my vehicle records are at one location. It makes it easier to collect all my records, repair and maintenance, for a claim.
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