Volkswagen Settles Class Action
Volkswagen recently settled a class-action lawsuit brought against them on behalf of customers who purchased their Volkswagen CC. According to the complaint, the tires on the vehicles showed signs of cupping—which happens when the inside treads on the tire wear unevenly. This often happens where there are serious alignment issues with the car. It causes the treads on the tires to wear down faster because there is only one part of the tire that’s handling the brunt of the friction.
The complaint stated that attempting to replace, rotate, or align the tires was a waste of time. However, the details of the settlement seem to indicate eligible customers will receive two free tire rotations and partial reimbursements for specific tires and rotations. Owners are required to provide documentation that the vehicle’s maintenance schedule was followed according to the owner’s manual.
Owners reported paying thousands of dollars to replace tires due to faulty shocks and struts and serious suspension defects. Replaced tires then began to show the same uneven wear and tear that the old tires did. Volkswagen, however, insists that there are no problems with their vehicle and the suspension system isn’t defective.
Alignment Issues Can Lead to Tire Failure
Volkswagen is treading on dangerous territory here. Alignment issues that cause cupping of the tires can lead to treads that wear out twice as fast. When the treads wear out unevenly, it’s largely caused by the inside part of the tire taking the majority of the friction. This can lead to tread separation and tire failure.
In this case, it wouldn’t be the tire company’s fault if the tire failed. It would be Volkswagen’s since they allegedly created a vehicle that caused the tires to wear out quickly. But it also begs the question: If the plaintiff’s allegations are true, are these cars safe to drive?
The answer is yes, but only if the tires are maintenanced properly. The problem, of course, is that they need to be replaced much faster than properly aligned tires and that creates an added expense for the customer. Additionally, tire rotations will also cost more and the plaintiffs are only entitled to two free ones.
Why Such a Small Settlement?
Class-action lawsuits are notoriously great for attorneys and not-so-great for customers impacted by the design defect. In this case, customers are entitled to two tire rotations at specific times and partial reimbursements on tires not exceeding $56. These offers are contingent on the customer performing routine maintenance in accordance with the owner’s manual. Meanwhile, the attorneys representing the class got $7.7 million.
However, if Volkswagen’s alignment problem leads to a catastrophic tire failure in which someone is injured or killed, they would still be on the hook for those damages if the plaintiff’s attorney could prove that the alignment problem contributed to the accident. Now that there’s a legal record of the problem, such a case would be easier to pursue even though Volkswagen admitted no liability.
Talk to a Tire Defect Attorney Today
Not all tire problems are caused by tire manufacturers. Sometimes, it’s the vehicle’s fault. If you’ve experienced tire failure, talk to the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert today to set up a free consultation. We can help.