The Lemon Law Center’s Car Defect Alert

If you have any of the potential problems listed below, you should contact an attorney. The lawyers from the Hanson Law Firm’s Lemon Law Hotline are available to assist you.

Mitsubishi: Recent models of Mitsubishi vehicles, including the Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder, Galant, and other models have had recalls for various defects. These include the transmission, fuel system, brakes, external lighting, suspension, windshield, electrical system, and others. The 2007 Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder have already had two recalls each for the frame and the transmission.

F Series Super Duty Truck Engine: Ford has had many problems with the F Series Super Duty trucks. This includes the F250, F350, F450, and F550 with the Powerstroke diesel engine. There have been issues with overheating, stalling, loss of power, shaking, coolant leaks, faulty fuel injectors, multiple oil and fuel leaks, as well as turbo failure. Ford has issued several Service Bulletins with mixed results.

Saturn VUE Transmission: Saturn has had numerous problems with the VTI transmissions installed in its VUE. Symptoms include transmission slipping, grinding, smoking, loss of fluid, and total failure of the transmission at freeway speeds. Many customers have had several transmission replacements. In March of 2004 Saturn sent a letter to VUE owners extending the warranty on the transmission to 5 years or 75,000 miles. The extended warranty covers both original and subsequent owners. If you have had multiple repairs, or multiple transmission replacements you may be eligible for a refund.

Acura TL Transmission: Honda has had a number of Acura TL transmission problems. Many customers have had multiple repairs, and even multiple transmission replacements. On some models, in a belated recognition of the problem, Honda has extended the warranty on the transmission for some vehicles to 100,000 miles. This is sometimes called a “secret warranty.

Nissan Titan Rear End Differential: Some 04 and 05 Nissan Titans have had problems with the rear end differential. The symptoms can be whining or howling from the rear at freeway speeds. A vibration or humming sound may be the first symptoms. In some instances the rear end may lock up entirely. There have been a number of reports to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, or NHTSA.

Nissan 350Z 2003-2004 Models with Alignment: Some of these vehicles have suspension and alignment defects that result in premature wear, feathering, and cupping of the front tires, resulting in front end noise sometimes called “tire roar or tire growl”. The noise is usually heard when the vehicle is braking, traveling on a smooth road surfaces or at speeds of 30 mph or less. Some Nissan 350z owners and lessees have been forced to replace their front tires and service their vehicle’s front-end alignment more often than is reasonably expected. Nissan has made several attempts to remedy the front tire problem in the 2003 – 2005 350Z car. These efforts have been unsuccessful. Nissan has issued several Technical Service Bulletins, with various steps to try to correct the front end problem. Nissan issued its Technical Service Bulletin called “2003 350Z Front Wheel Alignment Warranty Extension (NTB04-043) on April 12, 2004.” At the same time Nissan sent all 2003 350Z owners a letter describing a warranty extension and inviting 350Z owners with front tire problems to come to the dealership service department for a free inspection.

Ford Mustang Fuel Tank Problems: On some 2005 and 2006 Mustangs a design flaw prevents the gas tank from being filled fully, or can only be filled with great delay. The problem results in repeated rapid shut-offs of the filling pump. Ford has issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB 05-4-8) for the fueling problem, but the repair does not always work.

Toyota Sulfur Smell: Some manufacturers, Toyota and Nissan among them, have had a persistent problem with sulphur smell in the passenger compartment. Customers often describe it as a “rotten egg” smell.

Engine Sludge Problem: Engine sludge is a recognized concern for several types of automobiles, notably Volkswagen / Audi, Chrysler, Toyota, and Saab. Sludge is caused by oxidation of the oil due to prolonged high temperatures. The oil loses viscosity and becomes like jelly, i.e., sludge. The sludge then obstructs the flow of oil to lubricate the engine. It can result in the total failure of the engine and require engine replacement. The manufacturers have taken a hard line approach to this known engine sludge problem. Some, like Volkswagen, require that you produce records of all oil changes, so keep your receipts. Consumers should consider having oil changes done at the dealer, even though it may cost more. Make sure that the date, time, and mileage is recorded on the receipt. That way there will be a record kept at a source that is easily checked, but keep your own records too.

GM Piston Slap: Some GM vehicles, mostly trucks experience a knock or rattle, particularly when cold. It has been described as making the truck sound like a diesel. It is sometimes accompanied by smoke from the tail pipe. There are various explanations for this. One that the pistons are simply not fitted properly for the cylinder. Repairs can range from minor to complete replacement of the engine, with different degrees of success.

Toyota Tundra, Nissan Armada, and Nissan Titan Brakes: Some owners of Toyota Tundras, Nissan Armadas, and Nissan Titans (2004 – 2005) have had brake problems. The brake problems usually result in warped rotors and drums, with some vehicles needing a brake job every 5 or 10 thousand miles. There are literally dozens of complaints of brake pulsation / vibration for Tundra trucks on the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration website. NHTSA is starting to receive similar complaints on Armadas and Titans. Toyota has issued several Technical Service Bulletins over the years in an attempt to solve the Tundra brake defects problem, with little success.