All Other Manufacturers

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

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
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”
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


Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director