Consumers Take Note: Pay Attention to Your Vehicle’s Technology
Cars are incorporating ever-more advanced technological features. These technologies are sometimes designed to be entertaining or add functionality to a car, such as technologies allowing you to access apps and play music from the Internet or satellite. Other technologies are designed to help people reduce accidents, lower the chance of injury in accidents and increase energy efficiency.
As cars incorporate new technology, however, this just means that there are more potentially complicated and costly features that could malfunction. The effect of the malfunction could range from annoying to potentially deadly, so consumers need to be sure to research new tech features very carefully when deciding which options are best to include (or avoid) in their new vehicles.
If consumers buy a vehicle and face problems with the technology, they may have legal recourse under California’s car lemon law. An experienced attorney can provide help in understanding available legal remedies for vehicle tech issues.
Why it is Important to Pay Attention to Tech in New Cars
Recently, Road and Track published an article explaining why it is so important for car shoppers to pay attention to the technologies that they are getting on their new vehicles. One example centered on complaints about transmissions on several Ford vehicles. The transmissions were a new technology called the Power Shift automatic transmission, which had a dual clutch. The transmissions claimed to shift like an automatic transmission, despite the fact it is a manual transmission.
Unfortunately, drivers indicated they immediately became aware that there was a problem with the transmission control manual in these cars. The cars equipped with the new transmissions were described as slamming into gears sometimes, and other times hesitating as through the vehicle was slipping. The problems could start right after purchase or would develop around 10,000 to 20,000 miles later. Once the problems started, they didn't go away and the faulty shifting would result in the transmission catching or shifting harshly, which made consumers feel unsafe.
Car owners brought their vehicles to the dealer with their transmission issues. The first visit would generally result in reprogramming. A second complaint to the dealer could lead to replacement and a third complaint could sometimes result in some internal transmission part being replaced. However, the fourth visit would usually end with the driver being told there was no problem and that the car was running properly, despite the fact that the problem shifting continued to occur.
It wasn't until multiple lawsuits were filed and complaints made that Ford finally started to react and give consumers benefits like extended warranties. Of course, even consumers with a longer warranty still need to worry about problems with the transmission that could make driving unsafe.
The ongoing problems that the consumers had in this case show that new technologies are sometimes not as good as people expect them to be. Consumers who buy a car with brand new technology could face more trouble because typically, the kinks haven't been worked out.
While the lemon law could sometimes provide redress, taking advantage of consumer protection laws can be complicated. That said, consumers should research vehicle technology carefully to find out if there are known problems and seek legal help if an issue comes up with any in-vehicle features.