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Are You Driving Around In a Sick Car?   PDF  Print  E-mail 
Posted by Susan Lillard  
Tuesday, 25 February 2003

Pittsburgh - Toxic mold has forced families from their homes and students from their schools; but if you think you're safe from spores behind the wheel -- think again. What you don't know about your car could actually be hazardous to your health.

Regardless of its make or model, your vehicle could have a problem with mold. Since you can't always see it, though, you might not know you have a problem until you start to feel the effects.

"It's awful, it really is... sneezing, coughing, my nose starts burning severely."

-- Elaine Simpson, Moldy Car Owner Rob Simpson bought his new truck last year for $35,000. Though he says he likes the way it looks and drives, he doesn't like the way it smells -- "a real musty smell."

Simpson says his problem started with a water leak -- and then another. "The first time it leaked... from the bed into the carpeting," Simpson adds, "the carpeting was totally soaked. The second time it leaked, it poured out of this headliner button right... it was literally like a sprinkler system."

The truck has been back to the dealer eight times in six months, leaving Simpson with a pile of repair bills and a car his wife and daughter won't ride in.

Consumer attorney Craig Kimmel says the Simpsons aren't alone. "We see it as a trend," explains Kimmel. "Now with the design of new cars, the air tightness for efficiency and gas mileage and the aerodynamics of vehicles -- it's made them much more tight -- and just like homes, mold problems have arisen as a result."

Kimmel says it's a problem that manufacturers must "absolutely" address.

"The operating conditions of a vehicle under warranty requires the manufacturer to make repairs. A car should not have a moldy condition either through the air conditioning or heating systems for any reason."

-- Craig Kimmel, Consumer Attorney Kimmel says bacteria, fungus, mold and spores can trigger allergy and asthma attacks that can severely affect the use of your car -- and should be treated like any other defect that can't be fixed. "Under warranty it's the manufacturer's responsibility to make sure that the dealer's work actually results in a repair."

"I don't care if you spend $5,000 or $30,000... I think people should be responsible for what they sell."

-- Elaine Simpson The Simpsons have had their carpet replaced three times and the car deodorized, but the moldy smell remains.

Attorney Kimmel says if the problem isn't fixed after three tries, consumers can seek relief under the Lemon Law or under the federal warranty act.

The bottom line is there is protection to help you get a car you can actually use. The best recommended product for a fair value suggested for all cars is the surround air purification system.


Last Updated (Sunday, 03 October 2004)

 
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