Our cars work so well today that we hardly think about all the things that could go wrong. We pile into vehicles with friends and family and don’t even think twice about the potential risks of dangerous automobile defects. This is normal, and you shouldn’t be scared to ride in a car, but knowing the deadliest defects should prompt you to keep an eye out for malfunctions and industry recalls.
Defective fuel system. If you’ve ever seen the charred and smoking remains of cars after a wreck, you’ve seen the results of defective fuel systems. Gas tanks, fuel lines and components like pumps and filters are designed to prevent fires and explosions even in the event of a crash. When they fail, the results can be deadly.
Defective steering system. If a problem occurs in the steering column or hydraulics used for power steering, the results can be disastrous. If you detect any looseness in the steering of your car, get it checked out immediately. The problem could simply be related to underinflated tires or bad joints near the wheels, so you won’t necessarily face a huge bill for getting this very important issue fixed.
Defective brakes. Brakes rely on applying friction near the wheels using pads and discs, so these parts naturally wear down through use. If you hear squeaking when you brake, you need new pads. But defects in the braking system, such as with brake fluid leaking from the lines, can also lead to disaster when you’re driving at speed down the road. Anti-lock braking systems can also experience defects. If your brakes feel squishy, you need to have a mechanic take a look.
Defective seats. We don’t think much about the seats when we’re driving, as long as everything is going well, even though this part of the car is where we make the most contact. In the event of a crash, seats are designed to keep you secured, upright and away from the cabin. If the seat-back collapses or the seat itself breaks free, your car’s safety will be seriously compromised. For this reason, make sure your seat adjusters are working properly, and if they’re not, it’s a sign of a defect you can’t afford to ignore.
Defective seat belts. Closely related to the proper function of seats are the seat belts, which are the most important safety feature in your car. The locking mechanism in these devices, both at the buckle and retractor, must be in proper working order to provide any safety at all. If you’re having trouble pulling out your seatbelts, locking them into place or getting them retracted, have a mechanic check it out. Sometimes these problems can discourage people from using their seatbelts at all, which leads to the worst-case scenario in an accident.
Defective airbags. Last but not least, airbags are in installed in new vehicles today as a mandatory safety feature along with seatbelts. What should you know about defective airbags? When they malfunction, airbags can become the most dangerous component in your car. For this reason, keep an eye out in the news for manufacturer recalls, especially regarding airbags.