Automotive Defect Investigation

The NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (NHTSA) has opened two separate investigations related to unexpected breaking in certain Honda and Tesla vehicles. These vehicles are equipped with collision mitigation braking systems (CMBS) or advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which visually and audibly alert the drivers of a potential collision. Under certain circumstances, the system will automatically apply the brakes to help reduce the force of an unavoidable collision.

The problem of unexpected braking has been called “Phantom Braking”. Phantom braking is when a vehicle’s brakes activate unexpectedly even when traffic is flowing normally or there is no obstacle to avoid.

Inadvertent Automatic Emergency Braking
2017-2019 Honda CR-V and 2018-2019 Honda Accord
NHTSA Investigation Number: PE22003

The NHTSA has received a total of 278 complaints and several Early Warning Reports alleging unexpected activation of the collision mitigation braking system (CMBS) in some 2017-2019 Honda CR-V and 2018-2019 Honda Accord vehicles. Driver complaints include high-speed braking incidents occurring with nothing obstructing the vehicle’s path of travel. Of the 278 complaints, 6 allege a collision with minor injuries.

Inadvertent or unexpected braking activation while driving can cause unexpected speed reductions that can lead to increased vulnerability to rear-end impact collisions. The complaints allege that the inadvertent braking events occur without warning and randomly.

Unexpected Brake Activation
2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 and 2021-2022 Tesla Model Y
NHTSA Investigation Number: PE22002

The NHTSA has also received 354 complaints alleging unexpected brake activation in 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 and 2021-2022 Tesla Model Y vehicles.

Driver reports have been characterized as “phantom braking”. Tesla describes the subject vehicles as equipped with a suite of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features referred to as Autopilot which Tesla states will allow the vehicle to brake and steer automatically within its lanes.

The complaints allege that while utilizing the ADAS features including adaptive cruise control, the vehicle unexpectedly applies its brakes while driving at highway speeds. Complainants report that the rapid deceleration can occur without warning, at random, and often repeated in a single drive cycle.

These investigations are a Preliminary Evaluation (PE) to determine the scope and severity of the potential problem and to fully assess the potential of these safety-related issues. If a defect is found, the NHTSA will issue a recall.

A small number of 2020-2021 Kia Rio vehicles may have been built with brake master cylinders that are not designed to manufacturer specifications. Kia will be contacting the owners of the affected vehicles starting January 11, 2022. The letter will have information describing the problem and how owners can get repairs done.

Kia first became aware of the defect in October 2021 when the supplier of the brake master cylinder notified them of a brake-related complaint in a Hyundai vehicle. Because this vehicle uses the same brake master cylinder as certain Kia Rio vehicles an investigation into the problem was opened for both Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent vehicles.

Based on a review of supplier quality control records and Kia’s vehicle production records, vehicles produced before 7/2/2021 could be equipped with improperly machined brake master cylinder bodies.

According to the defect report, the master cylinder body may have been machined with a sharp edge that could contact and damage the oil seal in the master cylinder. A damaged oil seal can impair vehicle braking functions, such that the driver may experience a hard or spongy brake feel, longer brake pedal travel, and extended stopping distances.

All owners of the affected vehicles will be notified by first class mail with instructions to bring their vehicles to a Kia dealer. Dealers will replace the brake master cylinder with a new one. Kia’s number for this recall SC223 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-936.

This problem also affects certain 2021 Hyundai Accent vehicles. The brake master cylinder may have been manufactured with sharp edges that can damage the inner oil seal and result in reduced braking performance. Hyundai’s recall number is 213 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-937.

Don’t live with a Lemon. If you are having problems with your vehicle and have questions about your rights and the California Lemon Law, please call our office at 888-395-3666.

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Bronco Sport and 2021-2022 Escape vehicles because they fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 135, “Light Vehicle Brake Systems.”

In October 2021, Ford was contacted by the NHTSA’s Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance regarding the results of a compliance audit on the 2021 Bronco Sport vehicle equipped with a brake vacuum booster. According to the defect report, the stopping distance test results for “Brake Power Assist Unit Inoperative” exceeded the federal regulation stopping distance of 168 m. Ford compared data from the NHTSA test vehicle to data from the Ford certification test vehicle and could not identify the difference in performance between the two test vehicles.

In November, Ford conducted further testing which included the “Brake Power Assist Unit Inoperative” portion, on a 2021 Bronco Sport equipped with a brake vacuum booster without a vacuum sensor, to replicate NHTSA’s test vehicle. The test vehicle was fitted with a new current batch of brake linings from the assembly plant and the stopping distance test results exceeded the federal requirements.

Analysis of the brake system identified that the friction coefficient of the rear brake caliper linings was below manufacturer specifications. Vehicles equipped with rear brake linings that have a friction coefficient that is outside of the specified tolerances would experience longer stopping distances if the vacuum sensor is not there to compensate for variations in brake pad friction performance.

The 2021-2022 Ford Escape shares the same brake system as the Bronco Sport and the same certification test applies to both vehicles. Some Bronco Sport and Escape vehicles are equipped with a brake vacuum booster and some are equipped with an Electronic Brake Booster (EBB). Vehicles with an EBB are not affected by this issue because they have higher system pressures if the booster malfunctions.

The remedy is currently under development. Ford’s number for this recall is 21C31 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-922.

Our client was very excited when they purchased their new 2017 Cadillac Escalade.

His first visit to the Cadillac dealership was on January 22, 2018 because the passenger running boards were sticking at times.

He was back at the dealership on June 20th to have the running boards looked at again.

The next visit was on November 20th for numerous items which included the passenger side step not always operating, the driver’s side step not working at times, at idle gear there was a roughness to the vehicle like the engine was stumbling and there was a pinging coming from the engine. Other problems were when at a stop the transmission would suddenly lunge forward, when accelerating at lower gears the transmission would lunge into gear, the front brakes were making noise and the USB was not working.

The last visit to the dealership was on January 22, 2019. The complaints were that the brakes were making noise, driver’s side running board would not always work, the passenger side door panel was not secured at the top, the vehicle exhibited a rough idle in gear and you could feel the Escalade shake and the transmission, on acceleration, was jerking and jolting at low gears.

At this point our client called our office to find out if his vehicle might be a lemon. He spoke with California Lemon Law Attorney, Barry L. Edzant. Barry requested he send some documents for review. Soon there after our office was retained and a demand letter was sent to General Motors Corporation to buy back our client’s 2017 Cadillac Escalade under the California Lemon Law.

GMC agreed to repurchase the vehicle which included reimbursing our client for his down payment, all payments made, his registration, pay off the balance minus a mileage fee allowed under the California Lemon Law. They also paid attorney fees.

Our client was very happy with the buyback of his vehicle. If you think your vehicle might be a lemon because of repeat problems that the dealership is unable to fix or the vehicle has been out of service in the hands of an authorized dealership for 30 days or more (the 30 days do not have to be consecutive or for the same problem) please call our office at 888-395-3666 for a free consultation.

Our client bought a 2016 Cadillac Escalade and was excited to have their dream vehicle.

The first repair, November 21, 2016, was for a recall on the front airbag.

The next visit was on February 28, 2017. The reason for the visit was because the driver assist message kept coming on.

The Escalade was back at the Cadillac dealership a week later as the driver assist message was still coming on.

It was back the following week on March 16th for the same problem.

On October 2nd at 19,410 miles it was back at the dealership because of poor braking.

On February 9, 2018 our client brought the Escalade in due to the fact that the brakes were making noise.

About 6 months later on August 6th they had to bring the vehicle in because the A/C was not cooling.

The vehicle was towed to the dealer on September 20th because it would not start.

The next day it was back at the dealer because the vehicle was pulling to the right. Also the right side of the Escalade seemed to be sagging.

The vehicle was back at the Cadillac dealership on February 21, 2019 as the brakes were making noise, the cruise control was not working and the Park assist was showing on the DIC.

It was brought back in a few days later because the brakes were making noise.

On April 11th the vehicle was back because the Cruise control was not working again and the Service driver’s system was displaying on the DIC. There was also a problem with the brakes slamming when they would back up the vehicle. The Driver assist was coming up on the DIC. The rear A/C was not blowing cold air. The transmission was jerking when the client would slow down. The TPM light kept coming on and the brakes were making noise again .

At this point the client was frustrated after having given the Cadillac 12 times to try and fix the vehicle. They contacted our office to find out about the California Lemon Law and if their vehicle qualified. They sent some documents for the attorney to review and soon after they signed up with the firm. A demand letter was sent to GMC on their behalf.

Our firm successfully won a full repurchase for our client for their defective vehicle. The manufacturer reimbursed our client for all payments made to date, the down payment, paid off the loan, paid for the registration, less a mileage deduction allowed under the California Lemon Law. GMC also paid all the attorney fees.

If you are having problems with your vehicle, please contact our office, the Law Office of Barry L. Edzant at 888-395-3666. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about your rights under the California Lemon Law.

After trying unsuccessfully 3 times to have her defective 2019 Cadillac Escalade repaired, our client called our office for advice as she was concerned for her safety and the safety of her family.

On November 12, 2019 she complained to her service representative at her Cadillac dealership that her brake pedal had gone stiff on 3 different occasions She also was having problems with excessive engine cranking before her vehicle would start.

On Dec 10th she brought her vehicle in as her brake pedal was still getting stiff and would go to the floor when stopping and then slowly would come back up. She also was having a tire pressure concern.

On January 10, 2020 she brought her Cadillac in again because the brake pedal would get stiff when attempting to stop her car and would not stop. There also was a message displaying regarding the service tire monitor system.

We analyzed our client’s potential lemon law case by reviewing all the repair orders and determined that she had a valid claim to have the vehicle repurchased.

We filed a demand letter with GMC to repurchase the defective vehicle under the California Lemon Law. Thereafter General Motors Corporation agreed to repurchase the 2019 Cadillac Escalade, pay off the balance of the lease and reimburse our client for the down payment, monthly payments, less the mileage fee allowed under the CA lemon law. In addition they paid all the attorney fees. Furthermore we received additional compensation for our client above the actual lease price.

Our client was ecstatic with the buyback of her vehicle. If you are having problems with your vehicle that the dealership has not been able to fix and think you may have a lemon, please call The Law Office of Barry L. Edzant at 888-395-3666. We will be happy to talk with you and give you a free consultation.

A small number of 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV owners will be returning to their dealerships to repair a problem affecting the brakes in their vehicles. General Motors has decided that this defect can affect vehicle safety.

According to the defect report, certain 2020 Chevy Bolt EVs may have improperly cast front left brake calipers. (Iron used to manufacture the caliper was not properly treated by the supplier prior to casting.) During a high pressure braking event, the caliper could fracture and brake fluid would be lost to half of the vehicle’s braking system. The problem could result in an unexpected reduction in brake performance and an increased chance of an accident.

Owners receiving notices will be asked to return to their dealerships to have the casting lot number of the front left brake caliper inspected and replace as necessary. GM’s number for this recall is N202321400 and the NHTSA campaign number is 20V-808.

Harley Davidson (HD) will be contacting the owners of certain 2019-2020 FL trike model motorcycles because of a problem affecting the traction control system software. The software used on these motorcycles may react incorrectly to a faulty rear wheel speed signal by activating one of the rear brakes. If this happens, the driver will experience an unexpected change in direction, increasing the risk of an accident. Drivers will be alerted of a problem through a continuously illuminated traction control indicator in conjunction with the fault indicator lamp.

Motorcycles Affected
2019-2020 Harley Davidson FLHTCUTG
2020 Harley Davidson FLHTCUTGSE
2019-2020 Harley Davidson FLRT

Owners receiving notices will be asked to visit their HD dealer to confirm their motorcycle is covered by the recall. If covered, the dealer will install a new software.