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Goodyear auto defect under investigation

For many in California, owning a motorhome is like a dream come true. The freedom to travel without worry about finding expensive accommodations is worth the cost of purchasing and maintaining such a vehicle. However, recent reports show that some motor homes may have a deadly auto defect and that consumers are not getting the whole truth about it.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun an investigation into reports that certain Goodyear tires used on motorhomes may have a serious defect. Although the affected tires were manufactured between 1996 and 2003, some are still on the road today. One report under the scrutiny of the NHTSA says that more than 98 people died in accidents attributed to the defective tires, and over 600 crashes resulted in property damage.

What happens if the manufacturer claims “it is all in your head?”

You spend months researching the perfect new vehicle to replace the aging clunker you’ve been driving. Now that you have had kids, you want something safe and reliable that is big enough for family trips.

You spend hours at the dealership test driving and picking paint colors. You and your spouse decide on a cherry red Chrysler Pacifica minivan. One of the features you like is the automatic shutdown feature or Engine STOP/START System (ESS).

Common forms of dealer fraud

Buying a used car is always a risk, and California consumers often feel vulnerable when negotiating with dealers. Often, if a car has a defect, the dealer was unaware, and he or she will do whatever possible to correct the situation. However, when car buyers faces dealer fraud, they may be uncertain where to turn for help or how to seek a satisfactory resolution.

Dealer fraud is different from buying a lemon. When someone purchases a car that's a lemon, the problem is with the vehicle, its design or its parts. Fraud is when a car salesperson intentionally misleads the consumer in order to sell a vehicle or to get a price higher than what the vehicle is worth.

Dealers selling flood damaged cars as though they are good as new

You are looking for a quality used car. You head to the dealer and test drive cars. You find a car that meets all your specifications and appears to have been well cared for. The dealer points out that it doesn’t have too many miles. What a steal!

Months into purchasing the car, however, maintenance issues start to crop-up. The windows won’t roll down. You get it fixed. Then the lights start flickering and the electronics go down. You take it to the shop again. The bad news keeps coming – your mechanic finds corrosion, a sign of water damage.

Lemon law protects new car owners

Car owners typically trust that the purchase of a new car means the end of troubles they may have had with an old car. A new car comes with a high price tag, and someone making monthly payments is not likely to want to deal with regular repair bills. Unfortunately, consumers who purchase defective vehicles often do end up returning to the dealer for frequent repairs. While California's lemon law protect people in these circumstances, one woman is still fighting for her rights.

In another state, a woman who purchased a new Volkswagen vehicle became so attached to it that she gave it a name. However, after she owned the car for only a short time and drove it less than 50,000 miles, the car would not start. The woman had the vehicle towed back to the dealer, but the service technician told her there was nothing to be done to fix the car.

Honda urges recall repair as 20th death reported

Safety is a top priority to car manufacturers. While the designers of modern cars surely do care about their customers, they also certainly want to avoid the costly auto defect class actions that many car companies have faced in recent years. Many times, a company will recall certain vehicle models to intercept the issues before tragedy strikes. Surprisingly, for those California car owners with Takata airbags, this recall has not seemed to be urgent enough to complete the recall repairs.

The recent recall of Takata airbags affected several car manufacturers, including Honda Motor Company. Because of a faulty inflator, the airbags tend to deploy without warning and with great force, sending an explosion of chemicals and metal shards into the faces of drivers and passengers. Although only a relatively small number of injuries and deaths had been reported worldwide, the danger prompted the biggest auto recall event in U.S. history.

3 things to check during a test drive

A test drive doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about how the vehicle runs, but it can be a good indicator of potential problems. For new drivers, however, it’s often hard to know what exactly to look for during this trial. The engine starts and the wheels roll forward. What else can you tell from the next 15-30 minutes?

This is your chance to pick up on the nuances of the vehicle before you buy it. If you’ve owned a car before, you know that any minor flaws can amplify to a huge annoyance over time. Below, we’ve assembled a few things to inspect while you’ve on the road.

Car owners with auto defects smell a rat

Many automobile owners in California are happy to contribute to the efforts to improve the environment. This may mean driving slower, sharing rides and purchasing hybrid vehicles. However, owners of certain hybrid cars are learning that their vehicles may be attracting more than environmentally conscious drivers. In fact, some have filed class action lawsuits against the manufacturers of certain models for not properly correcting a dangerous issue in their hybrid vehicles.

Apparently, some hybrid cars use electrical wiring with soy-based insulation. The soy in these wires has been attracting rats, which chew through the wiring resulting in hundreds of dollars in damage. Some car owners discover the problem when warning lights begin to flash on their dashboards indicated a problem in the car's electrical system. Other owners began to smell a foul odor from the burning wires.

Dealer fraud ends in repossession of man's first car

When purchasing a used car, consumers often feel they have to take special precautions to avoid getting ripped off. There are countless ways in which an unscrupulous car dealer can take advantage of someone who has little knowledge about potential defects in a previously owned vehicle. Perhaps no one is more vulnerable to dealer fraud than a first-time car buyer. California consumers may be able to sympathize with the dilemma of one new owner.

The young man purchased his car from a dealer in another state and made his regular payments each month. To his dismay, when he received a Carfax report some months later, he discovered that the odometer reading on his car was 40,000 miles less than the Carfax report indicated. In fact, the details regarding the exact mileage were vague and confusing.

Protected by lemon law, consumers can be proactive

Purchasing a car is rarely the exciting party that TV commercials make it seem. In fact, many may procrastinate making the decision to trade in or buy because it typically means taking on a loan for something that quickly loses value. What can be even more frustrating is paying the money for a car only to find out it has a defect that costs more and more money when the owner makes repeated visits to the dealer for repairs. While consumers are protected by California's lemon law, it's always best to avoid buying a lemon in the first place.

Before hitting the car lots, consumers can educate themselves about some simple ways to examine vehicles they are considering purchasing. When looking under the hood, a consumer should see a relatively clean engine and battery, free from corrosion. Belts and hoses should not be stiff, worn or frayed, and there should be no evidence of leaking fluids. Consumers should check the oil and transmission fluid and know the proper levels and appearances of healthy fluids.

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