Archive for October, 2008

Halloween Lemon Law Humor

Halloween is right around the corner, so we thought we would share a recent cartoon with our Pennsylvania and New Jersey lemon law clients. Happy Halloween!

Keep Your Car In Shape for 08 – Getting Better Fuel Mileage

Looking to get better gas mileage, here are some helpful hints from our friends at fueleconomy.gov

Keep Your Engine Properly Tuned

Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done.

Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 4%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.12/gallon

Check & Replace Air Filters Regularly

Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Your car’s air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter save gas, it will protect your engine.

Air filter savings based on: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 1981, Automobile Fuel Consumption in Actual Traffic Conditions. Paris, France.
These tests were performed before the introduction of computer-controlled, fuel-injection engines. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is currently studying the fuel economy effects of clogged air filters on more modern engines.

Fuel Economy Benefit: up to 10%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: up to $0.29/gallon

Keep Tires Properly Inflated

You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.

Fuel Economy Benefit: up to 3%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: up to $0.09/gallon

Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil

You can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 percent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1-1.5 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 1-2%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.03-$0.06/gallon

Note: Cost savings are based on an assumed fuel price of $2.91/gallon.

Check List to Avoid Purchasing a Lemon Car


Shopping for a car? 1-800-MY-LEMON, the lemon law attorneys, are posting a checklist which will help you avoid a lemon car. Here is a list of components to check before you buy a new or used car.

___ Frame and body: Is the frame straight and solid?

___ Engine: Is there excessive oil leakage? Are the belts in place? Is the block or head cracked? Is the exhaust normal?

___ Transmission and drive shaft: Is the transmission fluid proper and seepage normal? Is the transmission solid? Is the drive shaft in good shape?

___ Differential: Does the differential operate quietly without excessive seepage?

___ Cooling system: Does the water pump function properly? Is there any leakage, including any from the radiator?

___ Electrical system: Does the battery leak? Do the alternator, generator, battery, and starter work properly?

___ Fuel system: Is there any visible leakage?

___ Accessories: Do gauges and warning devices work? Do the air conditioner, heater, and defroster work?

___ Brake system: Do the warning lights work? Is the brake pedal firm under pressure? Does the vehicle stop in a straight line? Check the hoses, drum and lining for soundness. Are structural and mechanical parts solid?

___ Steering system: Is there too much free play in the steering? Are the front wheels aligned properly? Check the power unit belts for cracks or slippage and the unit fluid levels.

___ Suspension system: Are the ball joint seals intact? Are the structural parts solid and straight? Are springs and shocks properly connected? Check shock absorbers for leakage and loose mountings.

___ Tires: Check the tread for depth of wear, the tire sizes for matching, and for any other obvious damage.

___ Wheels: Look for any visible cracks, damage, or repairs. Check for loose or missing mounting bolts.

___ Exhaust system: Check for leakage and exhaust smoke when the engine is running

The 10 Largest Automotive Recalls of All Time

We Americans have high expectations for the products we buy, especially for our vehicles. We want our cars and trucks to go where we point them, to not burst into flame in our garages, and to keep their various parts attached, even while in motion. But given the number of vehicles recalled over the past decades, we might be better off calling these hopes, rather than expectations…

#10 Ford 1987 (3.6 million vehicles)

Engine-compartment fires caused by faulty fuel-line connectors compelled Ford to issue this recall in 1987. While not the biggest in terms of vehicle numbers, this recall may be the widest: affected vehicles included virtually every model Ford made, including F150-350 trucks, and all Lincoln and Mercury models.

#9 GM 2004 (3.6 million vehicles)

From 1999 to 2004, tailgating took on a new dimension for the 134 customers who suffered minor accidents from collapsing tailgates. Corroded cables were the culprits. In 2004, GM offered to replace the tailgate cables on Silverados, Sierras, Escalades, and Avalanches. In their defense, it should be noted that customers are clearly warned not to stand on open tailgates. At least 134 have not read that part of the owner’s manual.

#8 Volkswagen 1972 (3.7 million vehicles)

Lost visibility can be just as dangerous as fire or a failing seatbelt. Some Volkswagen of America customers found this out the hard way when their windshield wiper arms worked themselves loose and went spinning off into the rain or snow. So in 1972, Volkswagen offered to replace the part in Bugs built between 1949 and 1969.

#7 Honda 1995 (3.7 million vehicles)

In 1995, American Honda Motor Co. dealt with a serious concern in some of its models. Cracked and disintegrating safety-belt release buttons were causing belts to fail or-just as potentially dangerous-trapping passengers in their cars after an accident. The recall included Civic, Prelude, Accord, Acura, Legend, Integra, and NSX models.

#6 GM 1973 (3.7 million vehicles)

The ability to control where your car actually goes is important. GM saw the truth of this in 1973 when they agreed to install engine shields to prevent stones from disabling the steering assembly. 18 models were affected: Centurion, Electra, Estate Wagon, LeSabre, Riviera, Belair, Biscayne, Brookwood, Caprice, Impala, Kingswood, Kingswood Estate, Townsmen, Olds 88 and 98, Bonneville, Grand Ville, and Catalina.

#5. Ford 1971 (4.1 million vehicles)

Seatbelt shoulder harnesses on 1970 and ’71 Ford Rancheros, Lincolns, Mercurys, and Fords (yes, there was at one time a Ford Ford) had an annoying tendency to fray and detach from the metal holding it to the frame. And though few drivers were even wearing seatbelts back then, Ford did the right thing and issued the recall.

#4 GM 1981 (5.8 million vehicles)

Some drivers learned the hard way that suspension bolts in certain GM models had a way of wiggling themselves loose. The result? The loss of ability to steer the car. In 1981, GM offered to replace the dubious bolts in the Century, Regal, El Camino, Malibu, Monte Carlo, Caballero, Cutlass, Grand Prix, and Lemans.

#3. GM 1971 (6.7 million vehicles)

In 1971, some GM customers got the ride of their lives as engine mounts began separating from frames and falling back onto throttles. The models with these rocket-like tendencies included Belair, Brookwood, Camaro, Caprice, Chevrolet, Chevy II, G Series, Impala, Kingswood, Nova, P Series, C Series, and Townsmen.

#2. Ford 1996 (8.6 million vehicles)

In 1996, after customers complained of fires caused by faulty ignition systems, Ford Motor Co. recalled vehicles including 1998-’93 Escorts, Mustangs, Tempos, Thunderbirds, Cougars, Crown Vics, Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Cars, Aerostars, Broncos, and F-series trucks.

#1 Ford 2008 (12 million vehicles)

In February of 2008, Ford issued the industry’s largest-ever recall, affecting Lincoln and Mercury SUVs, pickups, cars, and vans of model years ’93 to ’04. The lowly cruise-control switch was behind this mother-of-all do-overs. It had a nasty habit of catching fire, sometimes hours after the vehicle had been parked and turned off. Owner response, however, has been slow, so in a rare move Ford reissued the recall in September of 2008 for the 5 million vehicles still unrepaired.

Other recalls stand out in our automotive memory-exploding Ford Pintos and GM trucks with side-saddle gas tanks, for example-but these 10, affecting 55.5 million vehicles, represent the biggest so far. But we Americans have high expectations, and records here don’t last long.

Pennsylvania Poised to Pass Law Protecting Againt Home Improvement Fraud

Each year our firm receives many phone calls from Pennsylvania consumers seeking lemon law help for defective home improvement work. Unfortunately Pennsylvania does not have a lemon law for defective home improvements, however Pennsylvania is finally poised to pass a law which would protect consumers from fraudulent and or shoddy home improvement work.

The State House could vote on legislation this week that would require all contractors to register with the state, allowing consumers to verify a contractors reputation. Each contractor would be assigned a registration number which could be accessed by the public by phone or computer. The registration number would be required for all advertisements by contractors. Pennsylvania would join more than 35 states that register or license home improvement contractors.

In addition to the registration, the legislation would also create a new criminal offense for home improvement fraud, which would allow for easier prosecution. Finally the legislation would create a guarantee fund. Contractors would have to pay into the fund, which would be used to reimburse fraud victims.

1-800-MY-LEMON, Pennsylvania Lemon Law Attorneys, urges the house to pass this act and supports this bill which was sponsored by Sen. Robert Tomlinson, a Republican from lower Bucks County. Lehigh Valley Sens. Pat Browne, Lisa Boscola and Rob Wonderling.

Click here to review the legislation.