Are Smart Cars Safe?

The transportation industry is making a transition to smart cars. Smart cars are just like other products in the United States. They come with a lot of praise and a lot of controversies. Smart car owners will brag about the amount of gas they’re saving because of their smart cars.

But smart cars have also been criticized for their safety ratings. So much back and forth makes you wonder whether smart cars are safe. Smart cars can also have mechanical issues that make them lemons.

If you are having a problem with your Smart car, be sure to speak to a lemon law attorney from LemonLaw123 about your case.

Smart car crash ratings

Regarding crash test ratings, smart cars have scored pretty high. The 2018 Smart Fortwo model scored a four-star NHTSA rating in safety ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also issued “good” marks to the model for front and side crash protection.

One of the key safety features that have been added to many smart cars is the Tridion Steel Safety Shell. This is a hemispherical steel cage encompassing a safety wall around the car. This helps protect the car from the additional impact it can absorb from a crash.

Smaller cars are subject to more force in a crash than other cars. The Tridion Steel Safety Shell responded to the concerns of many drivers concerned about the car’s safety standards.

Smart car safety ratings

Smart cars have also tested high in other safety ratings. For adult occupation protection, smart cars have received a 3 out of 5 stars. In the front impact crashes category, smart cars also scored 4 out of 5 stars. They also received a 5-star rating for driver’s side impact crash testing.

The manufacturing process for Smart cars

Still, many drivers have every right to be concerned about the safety of the smart car. Even though the smart car has received high safety ratings from various organizations, smaller cars are always at a disadvantage in car accidents.

The smaller car will take on the brunt of the accident because of its size. It shouldn’t be surprising that a watch company designed the first smart car model. The makers of Swatch decided to design a car with the same personalized features as their watches.

The manufacturers focused on building the most stylish and small car the market had ever seen. The first electric Smart Fortwo model was developed in 2006 and began field testing in 2007.

The company began production of the second generation of electric Smart cars in 2009. This model contained a lithium battery that Tesla Motors provided. The recent models contain lithium batteries that last nearly 17 hours compared to the past models. These models are also predicted to have a range of 99 miles.

Common mechanical problems

While the Smart car has received good reviews on its safety features, there are still some mechanical problems with the models. Some of the most common mechanical problems involve the following:

Electrical failures

The Smart Fortwo model, in particular, has experienced serious electrical system issues. Drivers have experienced issues that range from light malfunctions to failing to start. Some cars have even been set on fire due to battery issues. A lithium battery that has been damaged or poorly manufactured can present a fire risk.

Battery issues

Lithium batteries can present a fire risk anytime because they are combustible. But that risk increases when the battery is very close to a heat source or is charged using poorly insulated chargers. When lithium batteries are damaged, their power cells can short-circuit and cause a fire.

Engine failure

Another common problem with Smart cars is engine failure. The engines are chain-driven, which is why they require less maintenance. But some drivers have reported engine failure issues after the car has traveled 22,000 miles.

Even worse, a Smart car engine is difficult for mechanics to work on. Because it’s so tightly packed, it may cost more labor and repairs. Not every Smart car comes with a warranty. That makes the unpredictable nature of the car’s engine even more difficult to deal with.

Transmission issues

Smart cars also come with several transmission issues. Some Smart car models experience issues with their gears. Some models experience issues where the gears slip out of their place. 

When this happens, it’s an indication that the clutch is faulty. There is a transmission issue with the Smart Fortwo model where drivers can’t shift or skip gears.

This particular issue may happen because of defective parts. The solenoid may be damaged, or the speed sensor is malfunctioning. This is dangerous because the wrong information can be delivered to the gearbox.

The gearbox is another transmission issue associated with Smart cars. When the oil in the gearbox is insufficient, the gearbox can start jerking. The oil seals can also become worn out and start leaking out of the gearbox.

Worn out brakes

Smart cars are also notorious for containing worn-down brake pads. Brake pads can last about 40,000 miles on traditional cars. Smart cars have a typical lifespan between 25,000 and 30,000 miles.

Failing to maintain your brake pads can cause serious issues. Your car can start shaking, and the steering wheel may start vibrating. It can cause additional wear and tear on your tires. Your brakes may even have a slower response time. The more worn down your brakes, the harder it will be for your car to come to a complete stop.

Suspension issues

Some Smart car models have been reported for suspension issues. Drivers have reported problems with delays when they hit the gas pedal. With the Smart Fortwo model, a strut assembly combines a shock absorber and a coil spring into one unit. This helps absorb the bumps in the road and makes driving smoother.

When the struts and shocks wear down over time, you will first notice because of the loose nature of your car. The car will begin to bounce more while you are driving. Another potential sign is hearing a squeaking sound when turning the steering wheel.

How long do Smart cars last?

The lifespan of a Smart car varies. Some drivers have been able to take their cars up to 150,000 miles. Some drivers have been able to keep their cars for up to 450,000 miles. If you maintain your Smart car, you may be able to drive it for up to 20 years. But other factors may prevent you from keeping your Smart car.

Cost of repairs

The main issue is the cost of repairs. The average cost for an oil change may be at least $100 just for parts and labor. According to Smart car owners, it will take $827 a year to maintain a Smart car. This is the typical cost for standard maintenance. In addition to maintenance repairs, you have to factor in charging costs.

Charging issues with Smart cars

When it comes to charging your Smart car, you may encounter several issues. The first issue is the price attached to charging your car. You will have to pay more to charge your Smart car than traditional vehicles.

The prices of charging stations can range from $2,000 to $35,000 in some areas. Even more frustrating, your charging station may not be compatible with your battery. You could spend money thinking that your battery is charging only to learn that it hasn’t charged up.

The time that it will take to charge your battery is also unpredictable. Drivers with diesel and gasoline engines know how long it will take to fill up their tanks. The time that it will take to charge your Smart car’s battery is determined by the charger’s speed and the battery’s capacity.

Is it worth it?

This is the question that many drivers want to know before purchasing Smart cars. It honestly depends on your reasons for buying one. If you want to do your part and save the economy by reducing your costs on fuel, you should consider buying a Smart car.

But some drivers would not take that chance because of the many mechanical issues with Smart cars. Even though Smart cars have received positive ratings on crash safety, the fact still stands.

Smaller cars are known to absorb the majority of the impact in the crash. Concerning car accidents in general, larger cars always have a better advantage. Regarding the mechanical issues, these are issues that still happen with Smart cars today. Make sure you consider the pros and cons of Smart cars before buying.

Exercise your Lemon Law rights

If you think you’ve purchased a lemon, we can help you unravel the lemon laws determining the qualifications for a case. If your vehicle has:

  • The model year of 2017 or newer
  • Had multiple repair attempts
  • Started experiencing problems within the first 60,000 miles

Then you may have a lemon on your hands. Fill out our simple online form to set up a consultation with the Lemon Law Lady at LemonLaw123 in California.

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, known as The Lemon Law Lady, has dedicated her entire legal career to the specialized field of Lemon Law, a journey that began immediately after her
graduation from UCLA School of Law.

With a 99% success rate and a policy of no fees unless you win, her practice stands as a testament to her expertise in California’s Lemon Law, her commitment to her clients, and her unwavering dedication to justice and consumer rights.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, personally handled over 500 lemon law cases and settlements.