Mechanical failures are one of the most common causes of car accidents in the United States. They account for about 13% of all accidents on the road, most of which could have been prevented with regularly scheduled maintenance appointments. In some cases, though, your own car could be to blame for your accident.
When accidents happen, it’s not always the fault of the owner or operator of the car, especially if they’ve been maintaining their vehicle properly. An investigation into the accident’s cause is necessary, but there are cases where a manufacturer, repair shop, or dealership could be liable.
Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm would like to highlight the top five mechanical failures that lead to car accidents and ways in which these problems can be detected early.
Wipers and Defrosters
Being able to see out of your windshield is very important for safe driving. Windshield wipers help clear rain, snow, and debris from the windshield, helping improve visibility so you can see where you’re going a bit better. This can be hard in rainy and snowy conditions, which is what your windshield wipers and defrosters help with. Your defrosters should direct air at the windshield when they’re on. If they don’t, there might be problems with the ductwork, fan, door, or something else that a mechanic needs to look at.
Check your windshield wipers once every month or so, or if you notice that they’re not clearing your windshield effectively. Your windshield wiper blades need to be replaced every six months to a year and should be replaced if they streak, miss large areas, chatter, or are cracked or torn. If the wipers don’t work at all, it could be a problem with the motor. Also, be sure to check your windshield wiper fluid and top it off when necessary, during your next oil change is a good time to check.
Your brakes should be regularly maintained, and the owner is responsible for making sure brake pads and other parts get repaired or replaced when needed. However, there are cases when brake pads can fail without necessarily being worn from daily use. Brake pads could crack, or the asbestos could come unglued from the metal that holds the brake pad in place. In these cases, a product liability attorney would probably tell you that the manufacturer or auto repair shop could be liable.
It’s not just brake pads, either. Other components, whether mechanical or hydraulic, could wear out, break, or rust. Any brake-related warning lights that come on in your vehicle are a sign that a problem needs to be diagnosed and repaired. Brake pads will often let us know when they need replacing by making a distinctive screeching or scraping noise when in use. Other signs of worn brake pads include a pedal that slowly sinks to the floor, a soft or spongy feeling brake pedal, or the vehicle pulling to either side when brakes are being used.
Your tires aren’t just there to get your car to move. They’re also supposed to help your vehicle safely grip the road and give you control in turning, accelerating, and braking. Tires could blow up on the road if not taken care of or properly manufactured, which could lead to rollover accidents or other serious injuries.
It’s recommended to get new tires every six years. Incidents like hitting a curb or pothole can cause a tire to wear faster, creating bulges or bubbles which can lead to blowouts. Tires should be inspected for these kinds of imperfections on a regular basis. Check the pressure in your tires about once per week and before you go on long trips, and be sure that they’re inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Replacing tires before they completely lose their tread and maintaining optimal tire pressure are musts for preventing mechanical failures on the road. Also, regularly check your tire alignment, since bad alignments wear tires out faster.
Lights are another part of the car that helps with visibility, especially at nighttime, on foggy roads, or during storms. Dim or broken lights make it harder for you to see other drivers and for other drivers to see you. All of your vehicle’s lights, the brake lights, turn signals, headlights, and taillights, should be working and should be checked about once per week, ensuring their illumination is at a safe level for maximum visibility.
Vehicle lights are important even on a clear day. Turn signals (a.k.a. blinkers) let other drivers know when you’re preparing to change lanes or slow down for a turn. Without working blinkers, your lane changes are made unannounced. This increases the risk of other drivers not being able to tell where you’re going; which also increases your accident risk during a lane change or turn.
Steering and Suspension
Steering is essential for maintaining control of your vehicle and protecting you from accidents. Steering system faults are generally the responsibility of a car manufacturer. There are many parts to a steering system, all of which can wear out or fail: steering linkages, the suspension, ball joints, tie rods, and power steering fluid lines, all play a part in controlling your vehicle.
Routine vehicle maintenance is the best way to prevent steering and suspension issues that could contribute to a crash. If your vehicle’s due for a full inspection, it’s important to get that inspection done and get a report so you know if there are any issues with your steering, suspension, transmission, or engine. The most common steering complaint is vibrating or locking. In contrast, if it’s your vehicle’s suspension, you’re more likely to experience excessive swaying and bouncing. A mechanic will be able to tell you what’s wrong, depending on the problem/s you’re experiencing. Also be aware of any noises, growling, looseness, or other loss of control while you drive your car.
Mechanical Failure? Call Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm!
The best protection is to regularly check your vehicle’s maintenance and to use caution whenever you’re behind the wheel. However, despite your best efforts, accidents can still happen to the best drivers in the most well-maintained vehicles.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence or a mechanical failure, be sure to hire a warrior personal injury lawyer from Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm as soon as possible. With over 25 years of experience and a bilingual staff, Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm is dedicated to providing you with the aggressive legal representation you need. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, contact Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if we win your case! Contact Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm at 312-377-7000 and learn more about your case today!