The Most Insane Car Defects in History (Part 2)

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 20-Jun-2017

When vehicles consist of thousands of moving parts (and more recently, on-board computers), defects become statistically inevitable—although good car companies will proactively test and issue recalls as needed to ensure safety. Continuing our thread from the previous post, let’s look at a few more of history’s craziest automobile defects.

Ford’s Fire-starting Ignition (1988-1993)

Giving fresh meaning to the word “ignite,” the faulty ignition switches on nearly 8 million Ford vehicles would quite literally ignite, frequently causing the cars themselves to catch fire. The most unusual part: The fire could start at any time, even with the car turned off and vacant. (Heaven help the owner if the car was in the garage.) Although Ford didn’t complete the recalls until 1996, remarkably, no one died from the incidents.

Chrysler Voyager’s Burning Radios (2004)

You turn up the radio, and the rear speakers catch fire. No, it’s not a music video—you’re in a 2004 Chrysler Voyager minivan. Thanks to an undetected design flaw, moisture from the air conditioner ducts would condense on the radio system, causing a short circuit when the radio volume was turned up.

Toyota Corolla’s Magic Airbag-Deploying Cup Holders (c. 1995)

In perhaps one of the weirdest cause-and-effect scenarios on record, Toyota Corolla drivers in the mid-1990s started having their airbags deploy randomly, triggered by beverages spilling out of the car’s defective cup holders. Toyota had to recall more than 600,000 vehicles as a result.

Honda’s “Permanent” Seat Belts (1995)

Sometimes even the device intended to protect you can work against you. In the mid-1990s, a design flaw in Honda’s seat belt mechanism would cause the release latch to break while the seatbelt was engaged, making escape nearly impossible. (Imagine the seat belt keeping you safe during an accident, only to trap you in the car after the impact.) The recall affected 3.7 million Hondas as a result.

Obviously, ignoring a vehicle recall can make driving unsafe for you and for others. See our recent post for more details.

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to a defective car part, our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys can help. Call our office to learn more.
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