10 Most Common Vehicle Defects
When it comes to the functionality of your vehicle, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You might think that you’re only experiencing a small issue and that it’s okay to wait until the problem gets worse. However, even the smallest components of your car can have serious consequences. When checking to make sure your car is functioning properly, there are a number of things you should look at to make sure your safety is your first priority. Here are the top 10 most common vehicle defects you should check for.
The seatbelt is perhaps the most important innovation in automotive safety over the past 50 years. When you get in a car, the first thing you (hopefully) do is put on your seatbelt. They are the main restraint in a car, which means that there can be serious consequences when they don’t work how they’re supposed to. Defects in seatbelts could mean anything from a broken latch to malfunctioning tension detectors. When any part of the seatbelt fails, it can put the lives of you and those around you at risk. However, these injuries can be easily avoided just by having functioning seatbelts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 3 million people are injured from seatbelt failure every year. Make sure you’re not one of them by staying up to date with current recalls with our free tool.
Defective airbags can mean a variety of things, the most severe of which is an airbag that fails to deploy at all. Airbags are what can prevent you from a life threatening injury in the event that you are in an accident, so it’s crucial that they are working properly. On the other hand, airbags can also deploy when they are not supposed to, which can cause another set of problems. The impact of an airbag deploying can cause unnecessary bruises and burns. It can also distract and blind you while driving, which might cause an actual accident! You would most likely have to replace the airbag after the unnecessary deployment, as well. A third sign of a defect is if your airbags deploy too quickly or with too much force. This could cause separate injuries in addition to the impact of a car accident.
3. Door Latch Mechanisms
In September of 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation into door latch failures. The most common failure is with the pawl spring, a coil-shaped object that brings a door handle back to its closed position. If not looked into, broken pawl springs can have very dangerous consequences. For example, if a person closes the door with too much force, the latch could snap and cause the door to bounce back and hit the person. Or, if a passenger is leaning against a door from the inside while the car is in motion, the door could swing open and launch the passenger from the moving vehicle.
4. Fuel Pump
The fuel pump is crucial to any vehicle, as it is what propels fuel from a vehicle’s tank to its engine. A faulty pump could lead to a non-starting car. If an engine sputters too quickly, it could mean that the fuel pump is defective; the pump could be struggling to give a constant stream of fuel to the engine at a consistent pressure. This would cause the engine to sputter quickly. If your vehicle loses power while you’re accelerating, this could also be a sign of a faulty fuel pump. It will feel as though your car is stalling before it returns to normal while you try to accelerate from a stop. Keeping an eye on your fuel pump and recognizing the above signs could help you prevent having a car that won’t start.
5. Steering Components
Make sure you have your equipment and car components checked before you purchase a vehicle and at regular intervals afterwards, as well. If a steering component goes haywire, it can cause a major accident that no amount of driver experience can control.
6. Braking Systems
This is one of the most common defects in a vehicle, as it can lead to deadly car accidents. Look for dual brake systems supported by modern models, which reduce the risk of brakes failing. With a dual brake system, when one circuit fails, the other is able to take its place and allow the car to brake safely.
Car windows should not have any holes or even hairline cracks. They should be smooth and able to go up and down easily. Windows should also fit snugly against the rubber stoppers on the door.
If you’re buying a used vehicle, make sure to check the tire pressure beforehand; under-inflated or worn out tires are some major causes of car accidents. Defective suspensions and misaligned suspensions can also lead to uneven tires. This can cause uneven wear and an eventual blowout that can then cause an accident.
9. Windshield Wipers
It’s easy to tell when your windshield wipers aren’t working properly – you can usually see that the wiper has not swept completely over where the brush passed. Not having effective wipers can reduce visibility and could cause an accident during rain or snow. If you notice your wiper blades aren’t working to full capacity, swap them out for new ones before they get even worse.
10. Headlights and Taillights
A large percentage of all car accidents happen at night. Low visibility can cause drivers to lose sight of the road and can lead to some serious incidents. Make sure your headlights and taillights are both working correctly and effectively before it’s too late.