Articles Posted in Vehicles

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If you own a Nissan Altima 2013-2016 model, you may have noticed some bad vibrations coming from under the hood. Consumers have complained about problems in the Altima’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), where the car will shudder and jerk, especially at low speeds.  Unlike conventional manual or automatic transmission, CVT does not involving shifting gears when changing speeds.

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CVT vehicles have been touted for improved gas mileage compared to automatic and manual vehicles, as well as its smooth, gearless ride.  But consumers have reported that the car gets loud when reaching highway speeds, and unreliably sputters at low speeds.

Owners have observed that CVT causes jerking in the car, which also causes the car to struggle to reach full speed on highways, and has led to the car stalling.  Consumers have also complained that RPMs will spike while driving at relatively constant speeds. See the screenshots from the video below:

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Does it feel like your Hyundai Elantra engine is a ticking time bomb? If you drive a 2011-2016 Hyundai Elantra you may have noticed that the engine makes a loud ticking noise. Users have observed that the 1.8 L 4-cylinder “Nu” Engine that Hyundai began using in 2011 has regularly failed its owners.

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Vehicle Engine

In addition to the Elantra, the defects plaguing the Hyundai Nu engine affect the following Hyundai and Kia vehicles: 2011–2018 Hyundai Elantra; 2012–2018 Hyundai i30; 2013–2018 Kia Forte; 2014–2018 Hyundai Mistra; 2012–2018 Kia Soul; 2012–2018 Hyundai i40; 2014–2018 Kia Sportage; 2014–2018 Kia Optima; 2015–2018 Hyundai Tucson.

This clicking noise has been observed in some cases as early as when the owner drives the car off the dealer lot.  The clicking noise generally comes from the passenger side of the engine.  The ticking sound in Hyundai and Kia engines gets more prominent as the driver accelerates. One consumer reported that the car “vibrates” so much that a bottle of water will start splashing around in the cup holder, and others have even reported that the steering wheel will vibrate. Consumers have pointed out that the shaking becomes worse when the heater or air conditioning is turned on.  Owners have also noticed hearing clicking sounds after the car is turned off.  Most importantly, Hyundai and Kia owners experiencing engine and transmission issues in Vehicles like the 2013 Elantra have reported the car shutting down when stuck idle in traffic.  Continue reading

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If you own a 2008-2013 Toyota Highlander vehicle, you may have noticed a clunk, pop, or knock-type noise when turning the steering wheel left or right. Don’t worry, it’s not just you! A significant number of consumers have complained that their Highlander vehicles are making these noises—ranging from interior rattles, to a popping noise when turning the steering wheel, to a “distinct clunk” when turning or accelerating the vehicle. As the vehicle gains more miles, consumers have noticed that the “clunk” becomes more and more audible. Below are just a few of the multitude of complaints describing the clunking, popping, and/or rattling noise consumers experience when turning their steering wheel in a Highlander:

 

While turning the steering I feel a klunk this happens always when [I turn] the wheel. Frustrated really need your help.

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This vehicle has a knocking or clunking sound when turning the steering wheel. This is a common complaint on Toyota Highlanders but vehicles when out of warranty. This is a defect in these vehicles and should be fixed by Toyota free of charge.

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The vehicle has around 37K miles and started to get a bump or thud sound when turning to right and turning over all begin to get sluggish. I took it to the [dealership] has in Houston and it was diagnosed with a drive shaft problem and required a expensive repair and front end alignment. I questioned the service rep as it seemed to be very low mileage for a issue researching it seems that this is a Highlander defect and should be covered by a recall. If this car had 80k or more miles I might be of a different opinion but this car is way too new to have an issue like this especially on such an important element like steering. This is an obvious engineering and manufacturing problem and a replacement part that will only have a 1 year warranty is not good enough.

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There is a clunking noise when turning at low speeds. My mechanic says there is a defect in the design of the steering shaft. He said this commonly occurs with this model Highlander, something supported by numerous complaints about the same issue. Toyota denies responsibility and won’t issue a recall, though it is a safety risk. Continue reading

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If you own a GMC or Chevrolet vehicle, you may have noticed that the air conditioning is not…well…working. You are not alone, as a number of consumers have complained that their GMC and Chevrolet vehicles pumped out only hot air. Owners of the following vehicles have all been subject to this hot air problem:

  • 2015 Cadillac Escalade Models
  • 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2015 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2014-2015 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2015 GMC Yukon Models

Owners of GMC, Cadillac and Chevy trucks whose AC systems are no longer cooling and have taken their vehicles to a mechanic or dealership have all been told the same thing—there is a cracked refrigerant hose leaking Freon from the compressor to the condenser. If the A/C line cracks, it could spray oil and refrigerant onto the A/C compressor, making the source of the leak hard to identify.

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Pictured: a crack in the compressor to condenser line

As it turns out, the AC system in Escalade, Silverado, Sierra, Yukon, Suburban, and Tahoe trucks stops working and ceases blowing cold air because of a defective bracket design affecting the A/C compressor and condenser line. The refrigerant hose is the “high pressure side” hose and sees about 350 psi pressure when the A/C is running. If the hose is not properly restrained—as is the case with the affected vehicles—one of the crimped metal fittings on the hose end may eventually start leaking due to the constant flexing of the hose in that location. Continue reading

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Volkswagen has recently come under serious fire for allegedly fraudulently concealing the true emissions of pollutants in certain of its Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi diesel vehicles.  An announcement by Volkswagen this week is even more troubling for the company and also for those who own Volkswagen and Audi vehicles.  On Tuesday, Volkswagen announced that an internal investigation revealed what it titled “inconsistencies” in both carbon dioxide emissions and fuel economy of an additional 800,000 vehicles, most of which were sold in North America.  The Volkswagen internal investigation indicated the “inconsistencies” may lower fuel economy of certain vehicles up to 15 percent.

Details have yet to be revealed to the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates emissions standards and sets the requirements for fuel economy measurements.  Consumers, too, are left in the dark while Volkswagen continues to not fully disclose this important information.

What Do We know and Which Vehicles Are Affected?  Continue reading

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UPDATE

On July 15, 2016, the Firm filed an amended class action complaint concerning the alleged defect in 2010-15 Mazda 3 clutch assemblies.  The case currently is proceeding in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division.  We will update this blog post as the case proceeds.

Zoom-Zoom. If you’re a Mazda owner, you’ve probably seen the commercials. They’re everywhere. They’re filled with lively music and images of drivers coasting along highways in their sporty, fun and fast Mazda cars. Chances are they were on your mind when you purchased your Mazda3. And they definitely were when you guided the vehicle onto the road for your first joy ride.

Then your Mazda3’s clutch starts to experience problems like slipping, requiring a little more effort every time you shifted gears. Finally, your Mazda3’s clutch stops working all together. You head in to the nearest dealership, warranty in hand because your Mazda3 is covered by a three-year/36,000 mile warranty, and confident that your Mazda dealer will replace the clutch. After all – your warranty is still in effect. Then reality sets in. Mazda will not cover clutch replacement. The Mazda dealer tells you that your clutch failed and needs to be replaced BECAUSE OF YOU. You “Zoomed-Zoomed” too much, driver error. “But wait,” you say, “I know how to drive a manual car and have never had problems with any other clutch.” Sorry, you’re told, it’s wear and tear, and it’ll be $1200 to replace the clutch so you can get back to zoom-zooming. The bad news? You probably had to pay it. The good news? You’re not alone.

Second generation (2009-2013) Mazda3 owners need to know that premature clutch failure is a common problem well-known to Mazda, and Mazda should be forced to honor its warranty and replace the clutch at no cost to you. Ever since the second generation Mazda3 debuted during the 2009 model year, owners have complained of premature clutch failure, in some cases in as few as 12,000 miles. And the problem only worsened after the release of the 2010 Mazda3. Continue reading

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In the two months since Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP filed a class action on behalf of consumers who own or lease vehicles with the defective and dangerous exploding Takata airbags, several new and troubling developments have emerged.

The Takata Cover-Up

In early November 2014, two former employees of Takata Corp. subsidiary TK Holdings, Inc. publicly announced in a New York Times exposé that TK Holdings, Inc. tested the defective airbags in 2004 after a Takata airbag exploded and shot shrapnel at a driver in Alabama.  According to those former employees, out of concern that the airbags may be defective, Takata, through subsidiary TK Holdings Inc., (collectively, “Takata”) tested 50 airbags over a period of three months at its Auburn Hills, Michigan facility.  During those tests, conducted on airbags retrieved from junk yards, the airbags’ steel inflater canisters cracked in two of the airbags.  According to the employees, one of whom was a senior lab technician at TK Holdings, Inc. at the time, this cracking could lead to rupture.

Per the statements of the former employees, lab technicians conducting the tests were troubled by the results and immediately began investigating a fix in anticipation of a recall of vehicles containing the defective airbags, and presumably, for airbags manufactured in the future.  However, when the testing results were reported to the decision-makers at the Takata subsidiary, the executives discounted the testing results, ordered the testing laboratory employees to delete all results of the testing from their computers and other files, and instructed them to throw away all of the tested airbags in the trash.  Takata, nor its subsidiaries, took any further action at that time.  The former employees tied this investigation and reported defect to the current recall. Continue reading

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Less than 10 years ago, the subprime mortgage lending crisis sent the economy into a tailspin.  Now, a new predatory lending practice has come to the forefront of financial and consumer concerns and has many of the same issues and risks as the mortgage crisis—used car loans at exorbitant rates to consumers with credit scores of 640 or below, also known as subprime auto loans.

There is a proliferation of used automobile dealerships advertising “No credit? Bad credit? No problem!” in an attempt to entice consumers who may not otherwise qualify for, and may not be able to afford, a used car loan.  These dealerships target potential purchasers with credit scores of 640 and below.  In exchange for offering credit to higher risk consumers, the banks financing these loans charge very high interest rates in comparison to those offered to potential purchasers with more favorable credit scores.  Occasionally, dealerships fabricate work history or income to ensure that a consumer qualifies for a loan.  In other circumstances, the dealerships and banks offer loans to consumers they should know do not have the ability to pay back.  In many cases, providing these high interest loans simply sets up car purchasers for failure with monthly payments they are realistically unable to afford.

Owners of vehicles financed through subprime auto loans do their best to make their payments, but often, unfortunately, the high interest rate combined with the large monthly payments lead to an inability to pay.  In some cases, after missed payments, the bank repossesses the vehicles. In other cases, even if the payment is a mere few days late, the bank utilizes remote starter interrupters that render the vehicles unable to start until the balance owed is paid.  This leaves consumers with no way to transport themselves and their families, even in the event of an emergency, or to travel to and from work.  Unfortunately, this often leads to even greater financial woes.

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