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Can ‘Software Updates’ and Recalls affect vehicle performance?
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Can ‘Software Updates’ and Recalls affect vehicle performance?

Can software updates affect vehicle performance? If so, what can you do about it, and how can we help as expert Car Emissions Lawyers?

Several car manufacturers, including VW, Mercedes and Nissan and Renault, are alleged to be involved in emissions scandals. Allegations are that engines can produce far more NOx emissions than allowed by European regulations as a result of the testing regimes being cheated.

To pass the emissions tests put in place, manufacturers stand accused of using ‘defeat devices’ that can do things such as detect when the cars were being tested, which can alter whether the emissions controls are engaged or not. This can mean that, on the road, the actual emissions could be far higher.

What are Defeat Devices?

A defeat device, in these cases, can be a piece of software or a specific device that can detect when a vehicle is on a test cycle and activate technology that can affect vehicle performance to reduce the emissions released. It can work this way because NOx can be reduced by measures that can, ultimately, affect vehicle performance. This can include the fact that reducing NOx can be achieved by lowering engine temperatures, which can lead to an adverse impact on performance.

In Germany in 2018, the Mercedes parent company Daimler was fined £776 million after 774,000 vehicles were recalled in light of allegations over the use of defeat devices. It is estimated that over half a million cars could be affected by similar issues in the UK, and vehicle owners could be entitled to claim compensation.

Mercedes has previously announced a recall on over 40 models, which may affect some 3 million diesel vehicles. The recall may involve an emissions software update, which could stop any alleged defeat device technology that may be manipulating emissions.

Daimler deny that they have committed any wrongdoing. As part of our action for compensation, we will find out.

How could a defeat device affect vehicle performance?

It is not an exact science in terms of exactly how any software could affect vehicle performance on a case-by-case basis. What we can tell you is feedback from some of our clients in the VW action, as it could be the case that any software update that removes a defeat device may result in the following:

  • A requirement to replenish AdBlue more often. This conforms to the purpose of AdBlue, which is used to negate harmful pollutants, including NOx;
  • Increased fuel consumption that may be caused by the engine operating less efficiently (which is how NOx emissions can be reduced);
  • Decreased acceleration for the same reasons as above;
  • The vehicle feeling slower or more sluggish as a result of the reduced efficiency and performance changes caused as a consequence of reducing dangerous NOx emissions.

What can I do?

If your vehicle has been affected by an emissions scandal, you should be informed and invited for a recall to take place. In the case of Mercedes, their website states:

‘If a vehicle is affected, we will inform our customers as soon as the relevant software updates are available and it is possible to install them in our dealerships.’

Following this, you could be entitled to claim compensation against a manufacturer. Some Claimants may also be able to claim up to 100% of the purchase price of their vehicles and you can read more about this here.

Here is where you need to go to get started with a No Win, No Fee emissions compensation claim now:

Call us now from a landline or mobile free on 0800 634 7575 or contact us online using any of the forms provided within our website.

Start Your Claim Today
First published by Contributor on October 13, 2020 in the following categories: Emissions News, Group Action, Mercedes, Nissan Emissions Scandal, NOx, Renault Emissions Scandal
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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