What are the Different Types of Car Defects? | Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.
woman inspecting automobile with car defect

What are the Different Types of Car Defects?

Rachel Olszewski
Rachel Olszewski

Car defects are no small issue. Even when you’re in a metal box moving 20 mph, having something go wrong with your car can lead to significant injuries. It wouldn’t only harm you, but potentially the people you’re on the road with. The worst thing is that it’s incredibly difficult to detect any type of car defect until one causes an accident.

When you buy a car or get it serviced, you expect it to work as advertised, but sometimes that isn’t always the case. Your car could be suffering from a defect that should have been caught on the assembly line and/or during maintenance, but wasn’t. Now you and your passengers are living out the consequences.

Don’t pay for someone else’s mistakes. Let those who left the defect in your vehicle pay for your medical bills and vehicle repairs. The attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. can help you.

Different Types of Car Defects

Any manufacturing error can be a car defect, but some are far more common than others and often lead to accidents, injuries, and death. If your car experienced one of these common defects, you need to contact our personal injury attorneys immediately. Knowing the cause of the accident, we can hold the correct people responsible for your injury and property damage.

#1. Faulty Seat Belts

This simple yet important part of a car is so necessary to car safety that it’s a traffic violation to drive without one. Despite their importance, they can still fail by either allowing drivers and passengers to be injured or even directly injuring drivers and passengers themselves.

A defective seat belt can take multiple forms. They can have a broken latch, causing someone to be stuck in their seat, unable to escape. The latch may also break and fail tohold someone in their seat. This is a malfunction with the tension sensors.

#2. Faulty Airbags

Defective airbags can mean one of a few things. This can mean that they deploy prematurely when they’re not needed, inadvertently causing a car accident. The opposite is also common where someone is in a car accident and the airbags don’t go off, letting someone’s momentum lead to another injury.

There are even unfortunate examples of airbags deploying at the right time but with speed and force beyond what they should have, causing greater injury than the original accident would have. There was a recall on Takata airbags because they were sending out shrapnel when they deployed.

#3. Broken Braking Systems

It would be an understatement to say that a car’s brake system is important. Defective brakes are frighteningly common and deadly to you and everyone else on the road. They can take the form of brakes that don’t lower on your tires making you unable to slow down, or broken brake pads that don’t slow your tires down as fast as they should.

Some causes of defective brakes include:

  • Overheating
  • Cracked calipers
  • ABS system failure
  • Defective parking or emergency brake
  • Leaky hydraulic lines

#4. Faulty Fuel Systems

This type of car defect doesn’t typically cause an accident but makes it much worse. Faulty fuel systems can lead to car fires and explosions after an accident. What happens is that a car lacks a cut-off device that should have been installed when the car was first manufactured. A cut-off device would stop the flow of gas after a crash, but when it’s missing the fuel tank will keep leaking highly flammable car fuel.

#5. Faulty Door Latch

Sometimes the most dangerous thing to happen after a car accident is to be stuck in the car or to have the car door come off. Due to such a large number of faulty door latches, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated the reason and found it so common that anyone with a faulty door latch can file a lawsuit without needing to prove negligence.

#6. Broken Steering Parts

A broken steering wheel can take many forms. It can lock up on a driver, making it impossible to turn. It can be disconnected from the wheels, meaning that turning the steering wheel doesn’t do anything. A broken steering wheel can just rumble or drift against the driver as they are trying to turn. Even something as minor-sounding as a rumble can seriously damage someone’s ability to control their vehicle and cause an accident.

#7. Defective Headlights and Taillights

Drivers can’t see the road without headlights at night, and other cars can’t see your car if your car doesn’t have taillights. While light bulbs do go out after a certain amount of time, if they never worked to begin with, or quickly break after coming off the lot, your car likely has faulty headlights or taillights.

#8. Damaged Tires

A tire itself can be defective if it can’t maintain consistent and normal tire pressure, though a damaged tire is more often a sign of another type of car defect. They can signal misaligned suspensions or worn brake pads. Either would start to smooth out a tire and eventually lead to a tire blowing out, potentially causing a car accident.

#9. Compromised Car Windshields

Did you know that in most cars, windshields account for about 45% of the structural integrity of a car’s cabin? If a car rolls over, it can even account for up to 60%. If your windshield easily cracks or has visual distortions, it’s likely made of weak glass and will crumble under any serious weight.

Broken windshield wipers can be a problem too. While they need to be replaced after extended use, if they begin to scratch your windshield after you only just purchased the car, you have a defective windshield wiper and a damaged windshield.

What Should You Do If a Car Defect Causes an Accident?

If you’re in a car accident caused by a car defect, you likely won’t know immediately, depending on what kind of car defect your vehicle has. Even if it comes out of nowhere, your priority should be to make sure that you and your passengers are safe. You likely won’t know what caused the accident until a mechanic or junkyard inspects your car and files a report to the police.

That’s when you’ll know if a car defect caused your accident, and if it did, then a business’s negligence nearly cost you and your loved ones your lives. Don’t bear the weight of medical bills and car repairs on your own. Hold those who sold you a defective vehicle responsible. With the attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., you can get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.

Rachel Olszewski
Rachel Olszewski

Rachel D. Olszewski, an attorney at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., is a dedicated advocate for clients who have suffered unjust harm. Following the legacy of her esteemed family members, Rachel specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, and criminal defense. She is actively involved in professional associations and serves on the board of the Luzerne County Bar Association Charitable Foundation. Rachel is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania state courts and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
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