Auto Defects Defective Products Personal Injury

The Dangers of Aftermarket Vehicles

According to recent reports, the aftermarket vehicle market will be shaken up by automated driving technology. But, what constitutes an aftermarket vehicle? In this post, we explain how to identify aftermarket or altered vehicles and give examples of when the alteration may be the cause of an accident or injury.

What is an After-Market (or Incomplete or Altered) Vehicle?

Most cars and trucks on the road are “original equipment” (OEM) vehicles — meaning they were designed, manufactured, tested and sold by a major automaker (GM, Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, etc.) and unaltered. However, there are thousands of vehicles on the road that have been modified before put into use. Examples of modified vehicles include:

Unlike the OEM manufacturers, aftermarket vehicle manufacturers may not be required to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Langdon & Emison has successfully litigated aftermarket defect claims across the country including recent cases in Florida and Oklahoma. We’ve also lectured and published nationally on the topic of aftermarket vehicle hazards. Often, in dealing with aftermarket vehicles across the country, we’ve seen instances where basic engineering practices were ignored, including:

  • No engineer on modifier’s staff.

  • No engineer was ever consulted in designing the modifications.

  • No design drawings were created for the modifications.

  • No testing was performed by the modifier.

  • No process or quality controls were implemented.

Identifying an Aftermarket Defect

This type of case calls for highly qualified experts to analyze the defects. Our firm has retained former Ford Motor Company design engineers and professors at famed engineering programs to help establish and demonstrate design defects in the aftermarket modifications. Experts are essential to developing and presenting detailed engineering testimony required to prove causation; ; specific defective components; mode of failure; and safer alternative designs.  To learn more, consider reading our in-depth articles on the aftermarket arena:

Emison, Brett. “’Altered Reality’: Hidden Dangers of Modified Products and After-Market Components.” Illinois Trial Journal.

Emison, Brett. “Get Educated: The Dangers of Aftermarket Vehicles.” The Safety Report.

Emison, Brett. “Aftermarket Parts and Their Consequences in Litigation.” American Lawyer Media.

Emison, J. Kent and Brett Emison. “Danger on the Open Road.” Trial. American Association for Justice.