An automobile is a significant financial investment. As a consumer, you expect that the vehicle you buy will perform well and keep you safe on the road. Unfortunately, new vehicles sometimes have mechanical problems that cause risks for passengers and drivers. In Ohio, you can take advantage of several legal options before going for your next drive.
What Is a Lemon?
Under Ohio’s “Lemon Law,” you can ask the manufacturer or dealer to fix problems with your new vehicle if they occur within the first 12 months of ownership or the first 18,000 miles. The problems must impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle and be covered by the warranty. Any car with one or more problems in Ohio is called a “lemon.”
How Do I Know if My Car Is a Lemon?
Your car falls under the “Lemon Law” if you discover a problem under the initial protection period: 12 months or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first. Repairs may go on longer than this, but if your car can’t be fixed, you may be able to get your money back. If you or a loved one was in an accident, it’s possible that accident was caused by auto defects you did not know existed.
When Is a Recall Necessary?
Auto recalls don’t happen automatically. Sometimes, it takes a lawsuit for a defect to come to the attention of the car maker, and only then will the company feel pressured to take the vehicle, or the problem part, off the market.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an automobile recall is necessary when part of the car does not comply with safety standards or it has a safety-related defect. The recall may affect an entire vehicle or just one component. For example, there was a recent recall of airbags in many major U.S. car brands due to a faulty inflator.
What Are Some Examples of Safety Defects?
The NHTSA says defects affecting the look or comfort of vehicles are not safety defects. Those kinds of problems include paint, rust, air conditioners, batteries and brake pads. Safety defects, however, include a long list of features that could cause accidents if they malfunction.
Features that cause accidents may include:
- Steering components
- Accelerator controls
- Wiring systems
This list is not exhaustive. There are many other features in your car that, if they are not designed, installed or manufactured correctly, can put you at risk while on the road.