Vehicle Defect

A vehicle defect can contribute to the cause of an accident and the magnitude of the injuries resulting from a car accident. 

Some defects that have occurred in vehicles are defective tires, seat belts, and airbags. Vehicles that are designed with a high center of gravity are susceptible to rollovers.

We usually isolated a vehicle defect to a single part of the vehicle.

Advances in safety equipment and manufacturing processes have resulted in motor vehicles being much safer today than in the past. However, design and manufacturing errors still occur. As reconstruction engineers, we examine the failed part and determine the reason for the failure.

Some of the many cases that we have assisted our clients with are defective tires, brakes, air bags, seat belts. Many times we find the owner did not pro0perly maintain the brakes and the tires.


Vehicle defects such as tire defects,  can contribute to the cause of an accident

Tires play a critical role in operating a safe vehicle. A properly maintained tire is needed to allow the driver to have full control of his vehicle. When a tire is defective or not properly maintained, it may cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and have an accident that could cause bodily injury.

For example, an under inflated tire allows the rims to ride down on the tread and sidewalls. Each time the tire rotates, the sidewalls bend and weaken the tire. The life of the tire shorten. Unfortunately, drivers may not be aware of an under inflated tire. 

Defects in tires can result from errors in design or in the manufacturing process. Be aware of tire recalls and know your tire manufacturer and type of tire you have on your vehicle.

Maintenance involves the age, tire pressure, wear, and repair of tires.

Check your tires regularly for tire pressure and the wear of the tread. Tires with minimum tread are more susceptible to hydroplaning that tires with more tread.


Brakes have an important role in slowing vehicles. Defective brakes can sometimes result from poor design, manufacturing errors, poor calibration and even poor maintenance.

A brake failure can be a significant factor in causing an accident. Unexpected brake failure will leave the driver unable to slow and stop his vehicle. This type of vehicle defect can be avoided by having a routine inspection of your brakes. If your brakes do not feel right, let a qualified brake specialist inspect your brakes.

Air Bags

error in design and manufacturing could result in malfunction of the airbag,

They designed air bags to deploy quickly and prevent drivers and passengers from striking interior objects such as steering wheels, windshields, or other automobile parts.

There are several types of air bags, such as frontal air bags, side curtain airbags, knee air bags, rear curtain air bags, and rear center air bags. The Event Data Recorder (also known as a Black Box) uses microprocessor controllers to determine when the air bag should be deployed in an accident situation.

A defect or error in design and manufacturing could cause malfunction of the airbag, resulting in possibly severe injuries. An air module that does not deploy the air bag at the proper time is defective. Again, watch for recalls of air bag system in your make and model of vehicle.

Seat Belts

They designed seat belts to secure the occupant of the vehicle during a crash event. Always buckle your seat belt even if you are only driving down the street to the corner market.

They are designed with the intent of preventing the occupant from being thrown from the vehicle or sustaining injuries from impact with the interior of the vehicle. Seat belts can come unlatched because of a mechanical defect. 

Mechanical Defects

Some defects may even result in vehicle fires.

Mechanical defects can occur to a wide range of parts on motor vehicles. However, some defects are not the direct result of errors in design or manufacturing processes.

Some defects may result from poor maintenance, modifications to the vehicle and improper repairs. Some defects may even result in vehicle fires. Situations such as these could cause occupants to incur bodily injuries. 

It cannot always detect ahead a vehicle defect of time. Have your vehicle inspected regularly and have your mechanic look for warning signs of mechanical defects.

Related Information about Traffic Accident Reconstruction

Types of traffic accidents

Collision analysis in 10 steps

The accident scene investigation 

Atlanta Engineering Services, Inc. offers scene mapping... read more here

Learn how a vehicle black box and it's downloads can prove up evidence

View a sample engineering report here

Why you need an expert witness

Calculating the stopping distance

Multiple surfaces calculator to determine the stopping distance when there is more to consider.

Vehicle speed calculator

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Accidents involving motorcycles

How a vehicle inspection analysis can help you after an accident

Reconstructing accidents involving Non-Commercial trucks

Read how vehicle defects can be the cause of a traffic accident here. 

It just may be those roadway ruts that caused you to hydroplane, find out more here

Was it poor design or layout that caused the accident?

See real 3D accident simulations with this link

More 3D accident reconstruction videos can be found here

See actual photos of traffic accidents here

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