The Most Insane Car Defects in History (Part 1)

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 19-Jun-2017

Despite all the modern advances in design and technology over the years, automobiles continue to be produced with some of the most unpredictable defects imaginable. While some of these problems amount to little more than inconveniences, other defects prove downright dangerous or deadly, often resulting in massive recalls. Check out this partial list of the most unusual vehicle defects ever documented.

Ford Pinto’s Exploding Gas Tank (1971-1976)
Anyone remember the Ford Pinto? Once considered the defining economy car of the 1970s, the faulty design placed the gas tank in the back, causing it to explode on impact if the car was rear-ended. By the time Ford recalled more than one million cars in 1978, they’d already paid out millions in settlements.

Ford’s Park-to-Reverse Transmission (1980)
The 70s weren’t a good decade for Ford. More than 21 million of their vehicles contained a faulty mechanism that would cause the transmission to shift from “Park” to “Reverse” by itself, causing thousands of vehicles to roll backward spontaneously. Ford dodged a recall by agreement with the Dept. of Transportation to place warning stickers in the vehicles instructing drivers to engage the parking brake. (A recall that massive would likely have ended Ford.)

Toyota Corolla’s Sticky Gas Pedal (2010)
Perhaps one of history’s scariest automobile defects, the Toyota Corolla had a gas pedal that would inadvertently stick open during full acceleration, causing vehicles to speed up uncontrollably, causing 31 deaths and a PR nightmare for a company known for safety that apparently tried to downplay the defect. The recall affected 9 million vehicles.

Volkswagen Jetta’s “Hot Seat” (2002-2004)
Careful—that car seat could literally burn your butt. When heated car seats were still a novelty, the Volkswagen Jetta’s seat heating mechanism experienced a failure that caused it to short-circuit and overheat, causing physical burns on unsuspecting drivers and passengers. The problem wasn’t widespread (only 94,000 vehicles recalled), but definitely unnerving for those who felt the burn.

Wondering if your vehicle is under recall? Check out our recent post here.

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to a vehicle defect, we can help. Call our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys for more information.

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