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Valencia Lemon Law Blog

Common ways to void a warranty

A warranty is a contract between the buyer and the manufacturer. They are long and complicated documents, but generally, they promise to take care of all applicable repairs, provided that the owner meets expectations for maintenance and use. Owners who do not meet expectations can have their warranty partially voided or entirely voided.

What is a partially voided warranty?

Fiat Chrysler recalls Ram EcoDiesel pick-ups

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has now recalled 107,898 Ram EcoDiesel pick-up trucks with model years 2014 through 2019. This does not include gasoline-powered trucks or the new EcoDiesel 2020 model year. There will also be additional recalls of 50,000 in Canada and 1,730 located outside North America.

The cause is due to an internal investigation that recognized microscopic cracks in the coolers. In rare circumstances, this could lead to coolant leaking into the engine and causing a fire – there have been some reported in the engine compartment so far with minor injuries to four customers who attempted to extinguish them. There are no records of the flaw causing any accidents.

VW announces another recall

Volkswagen had been a trusted brand for decades. But it is still recovering from its $14.7 billion settlement in 2016 for cheating on its clean air certifications for its diesel engines. The fallout from that settlement will be felt for years as the German manufacturer continues to pay plaintiffs.

Now the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced another recall involving the physical ignition keys in the Beetle (2012-2019 models), Golf (2015-2016 and 2018-2019), Golf SportWagon (2017-2019), GTI (2015-2019) and Jetta (2011-2018). As with the July 2018 recall, which only included 33,168 SportWagon models, the keys can be removed from the ignition without putting the cars' shift in park. This recall impacts a total of 679,027 vehicles.

The truth about Lemon law arbitration

California Lemon laws are designed to protect consumers from buying or leasing a car that does not work correctly or safely. It is enforceable throughout the warranty period as well as six months after the expiration date.

Often, consumers who buy faulty vehicles will be a part of a class action involving hundreds of vehicles or left to seek compensation on their own. But more and more manufacturers are putting a mandatory arbitration clause in their contracts. Handled by a neutral third party, the supposed benefits of this format are that it is a faster and less expensive way to resolve a dispute. Consumers can sign up for arbitration by visiting the state's Department of Consumer Affairs, but many who arbitrate find that they are stuck with unsatisfactory settlements.

What manufacturer has the most vehicles recalled in 2018?

Recalls are a fact of life in the auto industry. While some manufacturers err on the side of caution, others seem to do everything possible to avoid making a public announcement regarding a design flaw or common problem. These flaws are why Lemon Laws were drafted on the state and federal level. The idea was to protect consumers from buying a car, truck, ATV, motorcycle, or leisure vehicle that is unfixable even after the recalls. Regardless of whether the vehicle was purchased new from a dealership, used from a car lot or the previous owner, the consumer has a right to get a vehicle whose quality matches its price.

Biggest recalls of 2018

Common scams that buyers need to be aware of

The internet makes it easy to research the quality and safety of cars. Moreover, buyers can also check to see if the dealer has bad online reviews. Despite all this information available, there are still scammers out there trying to sell a motor vehicle to an unsuspecting buyer fraudulently. Considering the cost of the average car these days, this can mean the loss of tens-of-thousands of dollars.

Most dealers and sales are ethical and responsible, but there are a few bad ones out there. Common ploys used by these fraudsters include:

Defective airbags still pose a threat to California drivers

Airbags are often the inflatable barrier between life and death in a crash. However, with the recent recalls regarding millions of Takata airbags, it has made many question the overall safety of airbags in their own vehicles.

For nearly five years, several models from 19 different automakers have been placed on recall because they contained the Takata airbags, which were known to release shrapnel when deployed. The shrapnel came from a metal cartridge containing propellant wafers in the airbag’s inflator that if met with blunt force and hot temperatures, could explode and release the shrapnel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said these defects occurred because the airbags had an ammonium nitrate-based propellant which didn’t have a chemical drying agent. As a result, 15 people died, and more than 250 others were severely injured due to the airbag’s design defect.

Do ride-hail drivers have an obligation to address recalls?

Ride-hail platforms like Uber and Lyft have changed the game for app-based services, the taxi industry and the rights of contract employees. Now, these issues all come into play as safety advocates call for safer riding experiences as well as expectations on addressing recalls of the driver’s car or SUV.

It seems that we get news of new recalls every week. Some are relatively minor issues regarding a taillight, but the Takata airbag scandal included 21 deaths globally and involve 41.6 million vehicles in the U.S. It is also disheartening to note that the NHTSA reports that only 58% of recall notices are addressed by vehicle owners, which adds up to about 70 million un-repaired vehicles are on the road. This includes those owned by drivers who use the Lyft and Uber platforms.

Ford recalls Fusions and Lincoln MKZs over faulty seat belts

Ford Motor Company recalled more than 100,000 of its 2015 Fusion and Lincoln MKZ models over defective seat belts, which have caused at least one injury. Ford announced that the defect was a cable within the seat belt system that can become overheated during a crash and may not be able to restrain a passenger adequately. The company says dealers will apply a protective coating to keep the cable from overheating.

Recall affects 103,374 vehicles in the U.S.

Which cars have faced recalls most often?

As a consumer, you want to feel confident in the products you purchase and in the companies that you invest in. The car you drive is more than just a vehicle that you use to commute to work and to complete your daily tasks — it's a status symbol and also a reflection of your personality. So the last thing you want is that pesky letter in the mail that reveals a recall that impacts your car.

According to Cheat Sheet, these are the cars in the United States that face the most recalls on an annual basis: