Car AccidentsWheels of Misfortune: When Maintenance Lapses Cause Wrecks

June 6, 20240

Proper maintenance is absolutely essential for keeping vehicles safe and operable on the roadways. When drivers neglect critical maintenance tasks and repairs, it can lead to catastrophic and avoidable accidents. Personal injury attorneys regularly see cases where a lack of proper maintenance played a major role in leading to serious and damaging collisions. Taking care of your vehicle protects you and everyone else traveling on the roads.

Falling behind on maintenance makes once reliable cars, trucks and motorcycles unsafe at any speed. Ignoring recommended upkeep drastically increases the chances of being involved in a collision. The consequences of deferred maintenance are often severe injuries or wrongful death. It is extremely important to follow the manufacturer’s servicing schedule and address any potential problems promptly before they become major safety hazards.

Failing to Change Oil and Filters

One of the most basic maintenance tasks for any vehicle is regular oil and filter changes. As engines run, metal shavings and dirt build up in the oil. The oil filter helps remove contaminants to keep the oil clean. Over time, the oil breaks down and loses its lubricating properties. Dirty, degraded oil can’t properly lubricate engine components, leading to increased wear and potential failure. Skipping oil changes allows metal-on-metal contact in the engine, which can lead to seizing and breakdown. This type of engine failure can easily cause drivers to lose control and crash.

Ignoring Worn Tires

Tires are a vehicle’s only contact with the road. Worn-out tires pose a major hazard. As tread depth decreases, tires lose traction. Bald tires skid easily, increasing stopping distances and the chance of spin outs. Unbalanced, misaligned tires also affect vehicle handling and control. Punctured or damaged tires can suffer catastrophic failure at highway speeds. Checking tire inflation and rotating tires helps maximize their life. But eventually, tires must be replaced. Driving on worn, damaged tires dramatically raises the chances of an accident.

Neglecting Brake Maintenance

Brakes are one of the most important safety systems on vehicles. But brakes wear out over time and lose effectiveness. Pads and rotors must be replaced regularly. Issues like brake fluid leaks or air in brake lines make the brakes unsafe and increase stopping distance. Drivers in vehicles with poor brakes can’t react in emergencies. They rear-end other cars or crash trying to avoid collisions. Routine brake inspections and immediate repairs help keep this key system in proper working order.

Disregarding Other Fluid Services

In addition to oil and brakes, several other vehicle systems need periodic fluid service. Power steering fluid lubricates the steering pump and rack. Low fluid causes loss of assist which can lead to accidents. Transmission fluid keeps the gears shifting properly. Burned fluid causes slipping and harsh shifts. Coolant maintains the proper engine temperature. Lack of coolant causes overheating and engine damage. Fuel system cleaners remove deposits from injectors. Clogged injectors hurt performance. Ignoring fluid services causes breakdowns and vehicle control problems.

Skipping Scheduled Maintenance

Vehicle mechanics recommend periodic maintenance based on mileage. This includes tune-ups, hose and belt replacement, new spark plugs and wires, air filter changes, etc. While each item alone may not cause an immediate breakdown, collectively they keep all systems running correctly. Skipping scheduled maintenance allows multiple issues to build up and compound one another. This greatly increases the chances of being in an accident due to part failure.

Driving with Recalled Parts

When safety defects are found in vehicles, manufacturers issue recalls and notify owners to schedule free repairs. Ignoring recall notices leaves drivers at risk. Recalled parts like faulty Takata airbags have been linked to injuries and deaths. Unrepaired defects in things like ignition switches, seat belts and axles turn minor incidents into major crashes. Drivers should promptly address any recall notices to fix potentially hazardous conditions.

Lack of maintenance causes thousands of wrecks every year. It endangers not only negligent drivers but everyone sharing the road. Personal injury victims suffer greatly in these preventable crashes. Following manufacturer maintenance schedules and making timely repairs helps avoid accidents and injuries caused by unsafe, neglected vehicles.

If you are the victim of an accident caused by poor maintenance, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you seek compensation for your losses. We will investigate the cause, build a strong case demonstrating negligence, and fight to recover damages for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering.

Visit our office at the following address: 700 Bishop St, Ste 2100, Honolulu, HI, 96813

You can also call us today for a free consultation on (808) 745-1592.

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