A 65-year old Michigan man died after being pinned by an SUV on September 10, 2017. Dennis Peters, of Mayfield Township, Michigan, was struck by a car he was attempting to repair according to the Detroit Free Press. Peters was attempting to fix the brakes on a friend’s car. Someone moved the car, but the brakes were not functioning properly, so the kept going and hit Peters, pinning him against the garage. Mr. Peters' death is being investigated as an accident.
This story may sound somewhat familiar to readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog. Last summer, we wrote about the death of actor Anton Yelchin. Yelchin was also killed after being pinned by his own SUV. Even though Yelchin placed his Jeep Cherokee in park and exited the vehicle, the car started rolling down the steep driveway it was parked in and pinned Yelchin against a brick pillar. This accident, however, was caused due to a faulty gear shift problem which was under recall from Chrysler Fiat.
Thankfully, deaths due to faulty brakes are relatively uncommon. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey in 2015, in which they looked at the critical causes of car accidents. It was discovered that out of the approximately 2,200,000 accidents that took place between 2005 and 2007, 44,000 were due to an issue with the vehicle. Of this 44,000, faulty brakes attributed to 10,000 accidents. While this number may seem relatively small, it is certainly not the same as 0 deaths.
Fixing faulty brakes is a job that people often try to undertake themselves, rather than taking the car to a professional mechanic. Many think fixing malfunctioning brakes is one of the easier repair jobs on a car, but it is more difficult than people realize, and it is critical to get it right. When not done properly, the consequences can be deadly, as unfortunately seen in Mayfield Township. Fixing brakes doesn’t just involve repairing the brake pads, but also the calipers, rotors, wheel bearings, and brake fluid. Not properly repairing any one of these items can lead to a car malfunctioning, which could potentially lead to a car crash.
According to Auto Notebook, there are a few reasons why drivers decide to undertake car repair projects on their own, rather than going to a mechanic. Saving money is the most commonly cited reason. On top of that, video tutorials, detailed instructions, make and model information, and high quality pictures can now all be found online, making drivers much more confident in their abilities to fix their own car.
However despite popular belief, at home car repairs are not always going to be cheaper, especially in the long run. It's understandable that buying a $10 can of do-it-yourself (DIY) crack filler to fix a cracked windshield sounds a lot better than paying someone to fix it for $75, but when the DIY fix doesn’t work and the window shatters, it can cost $500 to replace it. More so, engines and transmissions are the most complicated parts of a car, and when the average Joe tries and fails to fix these parts himself, it can cost up to $7,000 each to replace them. On top of the monetary cost, any job that involves jacking up a car and crawling underneath, such as replacing shock absorbers, can be extremely dangerous, and is best left to a professional. From an expensive ER bill for a crushed hand, to causing a car crash on the highway due to a bad brake repair job, the risks of DIY car maintenance greatly outweigh any potential benefit.
Fixing your car yourself may sound very appealing - you can potentially save money, save time, and claim bragging rights to your friends and family about how smoothly you got your car running. However, without the proper training or experience, fixing your own car has the potential to be deadly or at the very least, costly. Changing a tire on the side of the road is one thing, trying to untangle the maze of wires in your very expensive transmission is quite another. Therefore, taking your car to a professional mechanic is the easiest and safest way to ensure that your car is maintained properly and safely.
Accidents can still happen, regardless of how well taken care of your car is. If you have been involved in a automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys are experienced in handling all types of car accident law suits, including those caused by recall defects or faulty car parts.