All Other Manufacturers

Dear Consumer:

Thank you for visiting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS). Each year CAS receives thousands of vehicle complaints which we analyze to discover widespread defects. When we spot a defect, we take action by seeking a recall, warning the public, or organizing class action lawsuits. CAS action led to such recalls as the infamous Pinto gas tank and Firestone 500 steel belted radials.

Although we monitor specific safety and quality problems in all vehicles, we don't yet have specific information on your model available online. However, we have enclosed instructions on how to get information on your vehicle from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's online databases. We’ve also included a complaint form on which you may describe your problem. Your information will help us fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars.

When we take action on the problem you report to us, we'll notify you. Meanwhile, consider these steps:

• Become a Squeaky Wheel: Even if your car isn't recalled, you may be able to get back all or part of the repair cost by complaining to the manufacturer. (Auto companies call such reimbursements "goodwill adjustments" but they are in fact programs to reimburse customers for repairs due to defects.)
• Use Small Claims Court: Available in every state, small claims usually doesn't require an attorney and is an effective way to recover defect repair costs of $1500 or less. Click here for tips on how to use small claims court.
• Arbitrate or File a Lemon Lawsuit: Some car companies' arbitration programs can be used to force the manufacturer to "buy back" your lemon. In many cases you may need to file a "lemon" lawsuit to get back the price of your new car lemon.

The enclosed information tells you how to find out more about small claims court, state lemon laws, arbitration, how to get names of local attorneys who specialize in auto lemon cases and where to report your car problems. You'll also find suggestions on how to support recall efforts and promote safer vehicles and highways.

A good first step is to join CAS and get our quarterly Lemon Times newsletter that keeps you up-to-date on the current lemon crop. Your contribution is tax-deductible. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis. We need your help to fight giant auto companies who spend more for a TV ad talking about quality than we spend for a whole year's budget helping consumers.


Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director