As you are probably aware, rising fuel costs, environmental concerns, and other issues have led to a significant uptick in the production and marketing of fuel-efficient vehicles such as hybrids and battery-powered engines. While the rising demand for these vehicles certainly comes from a positive place, recent studies suggest that the technology involved in actually making these vehicles may be a step or two ahead of the technology involved in maintaining them — and this could be potentially bad news for the average driver.
A recent Chicago Tribune study suggests that problems are beginning to emerge with many new-model fuel-efficient vehicles.
Certainly, this is to be expected with such a young, burgeoning technology, but what is potentially troubling is the admission that many mechanics and car service professionals candidly admit that there are very few (if any — depending on the type of vehicle) in the industry that are capable of dealing with repairs and other issues with these sorts of vehicles.
This is leading many to wonder who, exactly, will bear the blame when something goes wrong with these sorts of vehicles. At first glance, there is a distinction to be drawn — situations such as those mentioned early in the Tribune’s study, where electric car batteries have malfunctioned tend to fall predominantly on the manufacturers and/or car dealers under a theory of warranty. However, if it is not a blatant defect in the product, then the fault from the lack of individuals with proper training and skill in upkeep may actually fall on the driver.
Many lawsuits following auto accidents come down to the fact that the owner/driver of the car at fault failed to properly maintain their vehicle (i.e. shoddy brakes, bald tires, a poorly working engine) — these are things that are attributed to the driver or owner, since the neglect of their car put everyone in the situation to begin with.
Does this general principle change when poor car maintenance isn’t really the fault of the driver, but stems from the fact that the technology involved may be lagging a few steps behind? Naturally, it is far too soon to have any real answers to this question, but it is certainly something to think about the next time you buy a car.
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