More than 4,900 Cadillacs recalled for brake hose corrosion risk

Detroit, MI — April 30, 2015 — A recall notice from General Motors posted on GM Authority announced an action that will affect 4,907 Cadillac CTS-V vehicles. According to this statement, models produced between September 2003 and June 2007 may have a defect that could hurt the brake system. The recall notes that only cars registered or originally sold in a selection of 21 states across New England and the Midwest are subject to this action.

Although there is currently no recall notification schedule in place, the statement encourages owners to contact GM, Cadillac customer service and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for more information, as well as the dealer to have the fault fixed.

As it elaborates, the problem is exacerbated by the presence of road salt, still a possible concern as snow melts.

“In the affected vehicles, snow or water containing road salt or other contaminants may corrode the front brake hose fitting at the caliper,” the statement reads. “Corrosion may cause the brake system to leak, which could lengthen the distance needed to stop the vehicle and increase the risk of a crash.” Both brake hose assemblies will be replaced by dealers to prevent leakage.

Cars.com, which also featured this recall information, said that the latest effort is an expansion of a similar recall originally announced in 2010. In that case, the NHTSA identified more than 139,000 “potential units affected” on its website and addressed the same 21 states as possible sources of affected vehicles.

When recalls are issued, the amount of information they contain should be easy to read through, even when a long list of states are involved. Arranging the data in a readable way will give owners a greater chance of identifying whether or not they should be concerned.

Recall MastersMore than 4,900 Cadillacs recalled for brake hose corrosion risk

NHTSA Administrator takes stand to improve recall times

Detroit, MI — April 29, 2015 — The New York Times recently reported on the efforts of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to encourage faster and more effective vehicle recalls. Recent years have seen recalls that affect large amounts of cars and consumers, such as the faults with Takata airbag systems and GM’s ignition switches. Mark Rosekind, administrator of the NHTSA, announced a commitment to faster recall resolution during a recent speech at the “Retooling Recalls” workshop in Washington, D.C.

Because last year saw a record-setting amount of recalls involving almost 64 million vehicles, Rosekind asserted the need for greater enforcement. While he acknowledged that GM has made progress and at least changed their practices, he also said “they’re not done yet.” In regards to Takata, he said that the airbags have to be addressed for consumer safety to be restored.
Fiat Chrysler’s SUV recalls are also a concern for this agency, seeing as fewer than half of the affected vehicles have been fixed since it was announced.

A press release from the NHTSA featured further comments on the state of recalls by Anthony Foxx, the United States Secretary of Transportation. He specifically spoke on the need to improve repair rates for the sake of owners and operators.

“Recalls are only successful and can only save lives if they end up getting the cars fixed, but we know that 20 percent of vehicles that are recalled – and possibly more than that – go unrepaired,” he said. “This is a safety risk to the drivers of those vehicles and all the people they share they share the road with, too.”

With the government prioritizing these changes, both owners and dealerships could look forward to a renewed interest in proper recall actions, as long as the best tools are used to communicate them.

Recall MastersNHTSA Administrator takes stand to improve recall times

Four new recalls from Ford tackle lamp, motor, heat shield issues

Detroit, MI — April 28, 2015 — The Washington Post reported on a series of new recalls released by Ford this week, concerning a range of cars in the United States, Canada and Mexico. As the source describes, some of these recalls relate to previous ones, but they tackle different issues focused on various auto parts and systems.

All together, these recalls concern around 600,000 vehicles: the smallest of these affects just 92 Ford F-150 models produced this year in the U.S. and Canada, and has to do with the vehicles’ heat shields, which may be badly attached or missing. While not as widespread a recall, it does leave these trucks at possible risk of fire.

A Lincoln MKZ recall pertains to overly bright park lamps, and another one affects multiple cars that may be subject to a nickel plating-related problem with their fuel pumps. The most significant recall, though, involves more than 500,000 Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and Ford Edge autos that have loose bolts around the steering gear motor.

In the press release from the company covering all four recalls, posted to Autoblog, Ford explained the possible consequences of this last defect.

“If the steering gear motor bolts fracture, the steering system may default to manual steering mode, making the vehicle more difficult to steer, especially at lower speeds,” the source said. “This would not result in a loss of steering, but could result in an increased risk of a crash.” None of these recalls have led to any injuries, the release said, though the nickel plating recall has led to “allegation of an accident.”

One release can accommodate many recalls like this, but each one has to be issued at the proper time and through the correct channels to have the desired effect.

Recall MastersFour new recalls from Ford tackle lamp, motor, heat shield issues

Two Harley-Davidson recalls concern motorcycle clutches, reflectors

Detroit, MI — April 27, 2015 — The Associated Press recently reported that a clutch issue with Harley-Davidson motorcycles triggered a recall that began last Thursday. Six different types of motorcycle models, including Electra Glide, Ultra Limited and Police Electra Glide, were targeted, having been linked to 27 crashes.

In total, the recall will affect around 46,000 different cycles. The specific defect involves the master cylinder in the clutch: Riders using these bikes will not be able to take them out of gear, leading to possible control issues. Dealers are reportedly going to address this problem by rebuilding the cylinder.

Harley-Davidson has issued multiple recalls recently for motorcycle faults. Earlier this month, the company also thousands of 2015 bikes that were manufactured without rear reflectors. While the remedy is simply to install a new one, the official recall document released through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the reflector-less vehicles would violate the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.

“If the motorcycle is missing the rear reflector it can reduce the vehicle’s visibility to other drivers, increasing the risk of a crash,” the statement said. Like the clutch-related recall, this reflector one also began this month and concerned motorcycles produced between 2014 and 2015. The company also recalled motorcycles last December for brake cylinder issues, although the vehicles concerned in that case were from older manufacture years.

All recall notices need to follow the same consistent format to give consumers important details about the defect, consequences and remedy. Once they know this, they should turn to the well-informed dealers, who will make replacing the faulty parts and restoring the vehicle to its proper working state. Vehicles operated during the recall period without being fixed are possible hazards to owners and the people around them.

Recall MastersTwo Harley-Davidson recalls concern motorcycle clutches, reflectors

Hundreds of thousands of Ford cars recalled for loose door latches

Detroit, MI — April 26, 2015 — Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started investigating a fault in Ford Fiesta car door latches, according to USA Today. That initial concern has turned into a full recall for Ford, which has now taken action to fix the affected vehicles. The specific problem lies with door latches that feature a broken part which could lead to doors opening while the car is being driven.

The source says that a total of 389,585 Ford vehicles are being recalled across all of North America, most of which are in the United States. The models include Fiestas and Lincoln MKZ’s built at the company’s Cuautitlán and Hermosillo plants in Mexico, between 2012 and 2013. According to a report the from the NHTSA referenced in the article, Ford has received more than 1,000 warranty claims because of this defect.

In a statement on its website, Ford addressed the physical dangers from loose doors, as well as the current incidents that have been recorded. The door could open even if the driver had previously latched it successfully.

“Ford is aware of two allegations of soreness resulting from an unlatched door bouncing back when the customer attempted to close it, and one accident allegation when an unlatched door swung open and struck an adjacent vehicle as the driver was pulling into a parking space,” the statement said. To solve the problem, dealers are replacing all of the door latches in affected cars, not just the specific ones with bad pawl spring tabs.

An effective recall notice will cover the severity of a situation as well as the specific parts that are the cause. Just because the difficulty can be traced back to one piece in the car doesn’t mean that response actions will be limited to that part alone.

Recall MastersHundreds of thousands of Ford cars recalled for loose door latches

Ignition hazards prompt Suzuki recall

Detroit, MI — April 24, 2015 — General Motors has taken part in a longstanding recall due to faulty ignition switches and the fire hazard they pose to vehicles, but another manufacturer is facing a similar problem. Reuters reports that the Japanese manufacturer Suzuki Motor Corporation is updating a recall that it released last month to apply to 2 million of its cars around the world, in addition to more than 1.8 million in its home country. The production years of the Suzuki vehicles the brand is recalling range over an 11-year period between 1998 and 2009.

While there have been no notices of smoking or symptoms of ignition fires in Suzuki cars outside of Japan, there are reportedly 67 reports of smoking switches to date. More than 130,000 of the globally recalled vehicles are from overseas markets. The specific Suzuki models affected by this most recent action include the Alto, WagonR and Swift.

When the original recall was released for Japan at the end of March, it was in response to 30 reports of ignition switch-related fires or smoke, more than half of which were in police vehicles in that country, the source said.

Lessening the damage of existing ignition switch problems requires efficient recall notices and direct instructions for a complete fix. The recall doesn’t appear to have any immediate affect for American customers, but because it comes at a time when the GM recalls are also in the news, it raises the issue of distinctiveness.

Dealers have to be sure they follow the specific rules of each individual recall and not assume that similar problems will always come with the same cure. Efficient recall systems that communicate the message to a wide audience will be vehicle and brand-specific to avoid future confusion.

Recall MastersIgnition hazards prompt Suzuki recall

More recalls issued in response to faulty Takata air bags

Tokyo, Japan — April 23, 2015 — The consequences of recalls from the Takata Corporation related to faulty airbags continue. Previously, concerns over the overly aggressive inflation mechanisms used in Takata airbags led to industry concern and recall action from different manufacturers.

According to Reuters, Nissan is now including Sentras produced between 2004 and 2006 to the list of recalled vehicles, and late last month Honda announced more than 104,000 vehicles to its own list of affected cars. While the Honda statement pertained solely to driver-side airbags, the more recent Nissan announcement includes airbags on the passenger side, which Takata previously overlooked in its own recalls. Reuters adds that the total number of vehicles recalled because of the dangerous Takata systems is now around 25 million.

Major recalls like this, in which new information spurs on more and more industry action, need to be enforced with consistent messages that reach professional car dealers as well and consumers, and make the right corrective options easier to find. A Consumer Reports piece featured in the Boston Globe explains some of the issues that make attempted recalls less effective.

“In some cases, owners don’t know there’s a problem because they bought their cars used and the previous owners didn’t get the work done,” the article reads. “Other times, automakers lose track of who owns the car because it has been sold and resold a few times.”

If recalls are to be taken seriously, they need to be promoted through the right channels and targeted to their respective audiences. As the source says, every safety issue needs to be taken seriously, and when many different cases stem from the same problem, specific recall notices should be sent to make sure the proper course of action doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Recall MastersMore recalls issued in response to faulty Takata air bags

New data concerning GM ignition switch claims released

Detroit, MI — April 22, 2015 — MLive recently reported on the General Motors ignition switch recall, which first began more than a year ago but only recently resulted in a final tally of claims at the end of this January. As the source states, 2.6 million vehicles have been recalled in total due to the fault, and according to recently released data, more than 4,340 claims have been received.

These claims pertain to various negative effects related to the initial ignition fault, including pervasive burns, injuries that required hospitalization and deaths, of which there were 475 claims. Of the total, 537 claims were submitted to the automaker without documentation. So far, 244 claims have been deemed “eligible,” and 1,335 “ineligible.”

This month, the Associated Press reported that GM had made progress in addressing the problem by repairing 70 percent of the affected vehicles that were still being used. It is currently slightly below the average completion rate for a recall after a year and a half, and has fixed more than half of the American vehicles that have been recalled.

Although the company has been fined $35 million for problems in the way it reported the ignition fault, Mark Rosekind of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently praised the corporation for taking the steps that it has.

“All other manufacturers and dealers should embrace the proactive approach that GM is taking,” he said.

As manufacturers improve their initial response to a vehicle fault and give dealers and consumers more information to act off of, maintaining a consistent system for recalls impacts preparedness that owners will be able to exercise. In addition, identifying the problems quickly and keeping everyone updates sets the tone for a faster-acting recall with connected actions occurring soon after.

Recall MastersNew data concerning GM ignition switch claims released

Efforts continue to address Jeep fire safety after recall

Detroit, MI — April 15, 2015 — According to the Associated Press, the aftermath of a recall from 2013 still leaves room for further improvement and perhaps further awareness from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator. Just over 30 percent of the Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles found to be at risk of combustion have been repaired since the initial recall notice was issued.

The original concern centered around the way gas tanks were placed on affected Chrysler vehicles: because they were located behind the rear example, a collision with the bumper could result in fire spreading.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has seen multiple cases where Jeep fires led to deaths, and the NHTSA is reportedly considering taking action to prompt further response. The near 1.56 million suspected SUV’s recalled were produced in different ranges of years, from 1993 to 2007. The roots of the recall go as far back as 2010, when regulators first started investigating Jeep susceptibility to fire.

The source quotes from a letter from the manufacturer which addresses the flaws and directs dealers to take action to avoid further incidents. To fix the fault, the company is installing protective trailer hitches on the back of the vehicles.

“If there are barriers that are preventing your dealership from completing these important repairs, please contact your factory representative for assistance,” the manufacturer said. “FCA wants to know and will make every effort to eliminate any barriers.”

The dealership and the vehicle owner will have needs in the wake of a recall that both need to be addressed, even if that recall began years in the past. Outstanding recalls have to be responded to in a professional manner, not to mention fast and accurate.

Recall MastersEfforts continue to address Jeep fire safety after recall

Fiat ‘limp home’ problem could lead to stalling

Detroit, MI — April 15, 2015 — Electric cars are attractive to some consumers because they are energy efficient, but owners need to be on the lookout for important messages about possible flaws. One recent recall from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles attempts to respond to a software-related issue in thousands of its Fiat 500 electric vehicles that concerns the associated “limp home mode.”

For those that don’t use an electric car, limp mode is a special setting designed to give a car with low energy enough power to get to a safe place where the battery can be recharged. The problem addressed in this recall arises in certain models that can’t process the limp mode command due to software compatibility issues.

Instead of switching modes, the afflicted cars, manufactured between 2012 and 2014 could suddenly shut down, leaving drivers vulnerable to an accident if they are on the road at the time. The Car Connection reports that this fault doesn’t affect other important vehicle systems, like steering and brakes, and that cycling through the ignition multiple times should reset the system to normal.

A total of 5,600 vehicles were addressed in this recall, and dealers will fix the chance of a sudden shutdown by updating the relevant software. Although the recall has been announced, it won’t officially take place until halfway through next month, which is when owners can expect to stop receiving notices from the manufacturer.

On the surface, a software problem could sound relatively innocuous, but in the wrong circumstances they may be far more dangerous to the consumer. Recall notices that are effectively distributed give every link in the chain, from dealer to owner, some idea of what the effects of an untended flaw will be and why immediate service is necessary.

Recall MastersFiat ‘limp home’ problem could lead to stalling