I had a Lemon Law case for brake concerns a few years back for a Honda Odyssey not stopping as soon as they should and locking up at other times. I got a call from the customer who had been referred to me by their Lemon Law Attorney here in Los Angeles.
I set a time to inspect the vehicle for the customer and drove out to Redlands, California on a Saturday morning. The weather was clear and the roads were dry. I photoed the Honda Odyssey Van and did a walk around checking for damages as I always do and the van was very well maintained. I checked all fluid levels and inspected under the van for leaks at each wheel and then the ABS Anti-lock Brake System the Hydraulic Control unit and the Brake Master Cylinder. I photo the Van under side and brake parts, the VIM number and odometer before and after the road test, this is normal operation when inspecting a vehicle.
I did observe moisture at the Hydraulic Control Unit which made me to be extra cautious and photographed that moisture at the Hydraulic Control Unit and would be extra cautious during my road test. This brakes system is what the main concerns were when the customer complained about to the dealership for not stopping as it should and locking up the wheels at times.
I road tested the vehicle several miles as I do all vehicles and found the brakes at times in the rear would lock up as well as observed brake fading when holding the brakes down to stop, this is not normal operation. I finished the inspection and advised the customer to return to the dealership and show them the moisture at the Hydraulic Control Unit so she would be able to show the dealership Technician.
I returned to my office an did my research on ALLDATA for Technical Service Bulletins to see if Honda had published any Bulletin for the Technician could apply that to the problems on the vehicle. There were no recalls but there was one Technician Service Bulletin on the brakes for brake leaking at the Hydraulic Control Unit and I was stunned to see what the repair was on this Odyssey Van. The Technician Service Bulletin actually had the Technician apply sealer to the leak at the Hydraulic Control Unit, my thought was this cannot be right because sealer will not hold on a Hydraulic control Leak.
I did my report and used that Technical Service Bulletin to show Honda knew about a brake problem with this New Honda Odyssey but the repair was not what I expected because sealer will not hold pressure or stop a leak in the brake system.
Several months later I was subpoenaed to be on the witness stand to show the Jury my finding as well as Video and Photo’s I had made during my inspection and explained how this brake system works and why sealer was not a good repair for it, it was unsafe and should not have been repaired under this Technician Service Bulletin. After my testimony the Technician for Honda disputed what I said and said the sealer was a good repair for this part. The Jury disagreed with his stamen and took the evidence I had and we won the case all the way across. The customer got a full buyback from Honda and the attorney’s fees and expert witness fees were paid.
The fact is brakes are a safety issue when not working properly which will include brake squealing noise when stopping, grabbing, groaning noise, pulling to one side, fading, vibrating when stopping, not slowing down or pulsating when stopping.
You can win in a lemon law case as long as you have it together, this customer had good records showing she had complained several times for her complaints and the fact is the factory will not make repairs unless it is a proven defect and repair attempts were made several times. When a repair is made under the Factory Defect Warranty it is because it was verified and repair attempts were made. The Lemon Law applies to New and Used or Certified Pre-Owned vehicles.
Thank you and please pass it on if you like,