Control Arm Issues Initiate GM Recall

Warren, MI — May 31, 2016 — A group of eight vehicle models, including Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC names, are subject to a new overarching recall concerning suspension front control arms. After the manufacturer’s report date of April 27, 4,789 potential units are part of this action and may leave drivers in danger of a sudden loss of control while steering.

This is a relatively recent recall, with the official vehicle chronology only dating back to April 5. According to the Part 573 Safety Recall Report, available through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, the manufacturer noticed a “deformed” upper control arm in a GMC Yukon XL Denali, caused by incomplete welding within the vehicle. The control arm failure can occur no matter which speed the affected cars are driving, and may also be set off by “jarring road inputs.”

The issue traces back further to the component’s supplier, Multimatic Inmetmatic. The planned dealer notification date was listed as April 27, and after this, dealers were instructed to fix the vehicle alignment of these models and replace both the right and left front upper control arms. Since April 8, the supplier has improved its manufacturing process to reduce possible dangers and make these cars more compliant with General Motors regulations.

No specific owner notification date was listed in this report, though it did state that the manufacturer will reveal the official mail date when it becomes available. All of the affected vehicles carry either the 2016 or 2017 model years.

The models themselves include the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Suburban and Tahoe, and the GMC Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL. The manufacturer urges owners to contact the individual companies involved in each of these GM recalls for more information.

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Police Vehicles Part of Joint Ford Recall

Dearborn, MI — May 30, 2016 — Ford finished the month of April with a joint statement addressing several recalls impacting its vehicles in the United States. While the largest of these involved speed sensor issues, another one included Ford Police Interceptor and Explorer vehicles with the 2014 and 2015 model years. Altogether, the recall concerns suspension problems in 81,036 total autos, with 75,364 in the United States.

The affected Interceptors have a different manufacturing history than the Explorers also involved in this recall. Though both sets of vehicles were built at the company’s Chicago Assembly Plant in 2014, the Interceptors were produced between January 17 and May 31 last year.

According to this release, the vehicles are possibly subject to a weak rear suspension toe link, which could leave drivers vulnerable to a loss of control or possibly a crash. This defect has led to one confirmed accident and injury, and the manufacturer attributes the danger to “poor weld quality” in the affected links. Both the left and right links can be affected, requiring dealers to replace each of them for a full remedy. The fix also requires dealers to align the rear suspension.

The Ford recalls aren’t the only recent example of a police vehicle action. In March, Chevrolet recalled 6,280 Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicles for a corrosion problem that could cancel out the vehicle’s power steering.

If this happened suddenly, drivers could be in danger of losing control over the vehicle. A press release on this case from March 18 said that the company had not as of yet planned an official repair date. Chevrolet had, however, developed a basic remedy plan, which involved dealers replacing the entire steering gear assembly in affected units. No injuries were reported as of the statement’s release.

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Ford Recall Will Focus on Shifting Difficulties

Dearborn, MI — May 28, 2016 — Some Ford drivers could experience a jarring gear change, according to a press release from the manufacturer’s official site. That source announced a new recall meant to fix a software issue that may cause unwanted transmission shifts. This was one of a series of five Ford recalls (three for safety and two for safety compliance) that will affect cars across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The shifting issue represents the largest of these recalls, with 201,900 vehicles potentially affected and total model years ranging between 2011 and 2012. The four models in question (the Ford F-150, Expedition and Mustang as well as the Lincoln Navigator) will have a 6R80 transmission.

Because of problems with an included sensor, the press release stated, vehicles could suddenly change speed and possibly lose control. Though there are no injuries or fatalities attributed to this fault, there have been three reports of accidents.

The remedy described in this statement varies slightly depending on whether or not the dealer finds diagnostic trouble codes in the vehicle’s affected control modules. Both cases involve updating the control software as necessary.

This is similar to another major recall related to shifting issues from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In that case, the automaker recalled a total of 811,586 vehicles to address shifting systems that were confusing users.

While the models themselves did not suffer any equipment failure, a statement from that company did mention 41 injuries that may come from the difficult transmission lever. Drivers were at a possible risk if they exited these vehicles before fully parking them.

After the latest FCA enhancements, affected vehicles in this recall will reportedly automatically halt a vehicle to prevent any unintended movements. These vehicles already contain some warning systems, including chimes, to alert the driver when the car is not in park while the doors are open.

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Slow Going on Volkswagen Diesel Recall in Europe

Wolfsberg, Germany — May 26, 2016 — Deliberations over the Volkswagen recalls of diesel vehicles continue both in Europe and the United States. Bloomberg recently reported on the delays impacting Volkswagen’s recent recalls. The manufacturer is still trying to mitigate solutions after the revelations that it installed “cheat” systems on 11 million vehicles that allowed them to exceed legal emissions limits.

According to the source, Volkswagen has the equivalent of $18.2 billion prepared specifically for the costs related to the recall repairs. Even though it has the resources, the company is struggling to get the recall effort moving, with 8.5 million cars in Europe alone slated for repair during this year. One of the hurdles involved in this effort is the halted Passat recall, which leaves around 150,000 vehicles without current action.

Stateside, the company has plans to buy back hundreds of thousands of vehicles, possibly repairing the affected units as part of the effort. This plan would tap from the manufacturer’s compensation fund, as Volkswagen specifically addressed the smaller diesel vehicles, including Golf compacts.

Details in this article were vague about how the buyback would proceed, although it did state that the action would play out over at least two years as owners consider whether or not to sell their affected vehicles to the manufacturer.

Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book spoke to Wired about the potential ways Volkswagen could fix the affected diesel cars. One method involves adding a urea tank to the vehicle, which Brauer called “a necessary part of the process and, as painful as it may be, VW has to address this issue before it can move forward.” He also referred to this as a “very costly solution.” Owners who take part in the buyback procedure would receive reimbursement for its original value.

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Jaguar Recalls Vehicles at Risk of Fire

Mahwah, New Jersey — May 25, 2016 — Fuel tank problems may lead to an enhanced fire risk in several 2010 Jaguar XF vehicles, according to a safety recall report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These affected autos, produced between December 2008 and April 2009, could contain a cracked fuel outlet flange within the tank, leading to a possible fluid leak underneath the vehicle.

Owners will be notified on May 20, according to the report, more than a month after the dealer notification date of April 5. Authorized sources will fix these vehicles by replacing the flange with a new unit that meets safety standards. No reported accidents have been traced to this issue.

Drivers will reportedly have multiple signs that the issue may be present, including fuel odors or a lit Malfunction Indicator Lamp. No description of the cause for this recall was given, and there was no description of how the new component will specifically improve on the faulty one. Just 28 vehicles are part of this action.

A chronology also included by the NHTSA  detailed the steps leading up to this voluntary recall. The first reports of a flange failure in these vehicles date back to 2012, when investigations first began. Jaguar Land Rover launched a previous recall campaign that same year, after a company Field Review Committee decided that the fuel leak constituted a safety hazard.

More recently, the Senior Review Panel decided that newer vehicles included in the recall should follow the previous recall strictures. Liquid is explicitly only stated to appear under affected vehicles when they are “static,” and when they pose the largest risk (if a heat source is present). In a message to dealers, the manufacturer stated that dealers need to hold affected new cars.

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Accurate Takata Recall Tallies Necessary for Proper Action

Washington, D.C. — May 24, 2016 — With so many vehicles involved in the Takata airbag recalls, dealers face pressure to stay up-to-date and address all affected owners. The prolonged time it will take for complete fixes also risks leaving consumers confused about which vehicles are part of the action, and what they have to do to remain safe. By communicating with owners and doing proper research, dealers can be a source of proper information that assures customers that problems will be resolved.

On April 18, the New York Daily News listed all of the manufacturers and models involved in the Takata recalls. As of that writing, fewer than 8 million of the 28 million dangerous inflators had been effectively recalled.

The companies with the largest list of recalled models include BMW, with more than 40, and Mercedes-Benz, with 36. Since the recall represents a major effort, the model years include a wide range, stretching as far back as 2000 and as recent as 2016.

Without a sufficient plan for contacting drivers, consumers may feel like they’ve been left behind and not know how to respond. In an article for the Los Angeles Times, area resident Steve Elster described his frustration with finding a replacement for the affected Honda Fit his family relied on.

“We are entitled to a car without a defective air bag and it’s incumbent upon Honda to fix the problem and make sure that my son has a safe car to drive,” he said.

The article examined some of the issues in satisfying consumers, including meeting their need for an appropriate replacement car when the original is deemed unsafe. In some cases, the owner might deem a “loaner” car an unequal match for their original vehicle.

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Will Cybersecurity Concerns Change Future Updates? [Video]

With more emphasis on vehicle software and intelligence, the auto industry could be moving to a future of cyber updates. Could this mean changes for dealerships?

ABI Research recently reported on a rise in “software over the air” vehicles over the next six years. More than 200 million cars with these capabilities will appear by 2022, the source stated. Eventually, updating software over the air instead of through dealer-applied updates could be the norm.

There are several possible advantages to this method. Manufacturers stand to save billions of dollars, while reducing the security risk of sending thumb drives with software information on them to dealers. Patches and updates could also be more uniform if done within the system.

Visit our site for more information on vehicle cybersecurity issues, like the recent Chrysler recalls.

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BMW Recalls 7 Series Vehicles as Precaution

Westwood,NJ — May 19, 2016 — Due to air bag concerns, BMW has launched a voluntary recall to address issues that may affect deployment. On March 24, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received a report of the company’s recall, which includes 6,110 vehicles. These models are all part of the company’s “7 Series,” which encompasses the BMW 740Li, 750 Li and 750 Lxi.

According to the Part 573 Safety Recall Report for this case, the affected vehicles could malfunction due to a buildup of “metallic stamping particle residue.” This material could potentially short circuit the air bag modules, leaving occupants unprotected during a collision. Though the air bag would only be temporarily disabled during a short, it could theoretically be enough to cause a safety risk.

If the reset does occur, the report stated, the air bag warning lamp might also turn on, although this is not listed as a possible indicator showing a warning. The manufacturer chose to perform this voluntary recall action more than three months after the supplier warned them about possible problems with the module. The particles in the module housing can detach and hit the circuit board, leading to the possible system reset.

May 24 is the planned owner notification date. The report doesn’t go into details on the remedy program, simply saying that dealers will replace the air bag control module. A spokesman confirmed to Reuters that the effort is indeed purely precautionary and not in response to specific claims, as the company has produced 47,000 vehicles for this particular series.

The recall also has international consequences, the article added, with other vehicles recalled in China and Germany. The affected vehicles were produced between July 1, 2015 and December 11, 2015 and are all classified as “light vehicles.”

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Nissan Addressing Actuator Issues in New Recall

Franklin, TN — May 18, 2016 — Brake fluid issues are the source of a new series of Nissan recalls for Murano and Maxima model vehicles, with 2016 or 2017 model years. Only the 12,622 vehicles included in this effort are subject to the recall since they contain a specific type of anti -lock braking system actuator. As with a Toyota recall announced earlier this year, the Nissan action concerns vehicles with weakened O-rings: this condition could lower brake pressure to dangerous levels.

The Part 573 Recall Safety Report stated that the efforts behind the recall go back to January 2016, when a Nissan plant operator discovered a possible issue within a pair of actuators. Nissan officially decided to enact the voluntary recall on March 30, with a plan to notify owners within 60 days, with the recall proper beginning on June 6. Affected vehicles could violate the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Dealers can help owners by replacing any actuators that fall within the range of the recall. Though there is reportedly no field information related to this issue, the company began looking for any relevant field data between February and March. The affected parts come from the supplier ADVICS North America, based in Lebanon, Ohio.

The similar Toyota recalls were announced on April 6, with the company warning of damaged actuator components. This case involved 12,400 ES350 vehicles, among others, and only concerned 2016 model year vehicles.

Dealers were instructed to use the serial number to find whether or not a brake actuator is included in the recall. The actuator in this case doesn’t just control anti -lock braking, but also traction and vehicle stability control, posing possible larger issues for drivers when something goes wrong.

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Shifting Concerns Prompt Worldwide Dodge Charger Recall

Auburn Hills, MI — May 17, 2016 — An issue in many Fiat Chrysler autos has led to a wide-ranging recall concerning vehicle transmission systems. Drivers in these affected vehicles may put themselves at risk if they don’t fully understand what gear is currently engaged

Although there are already alerts in these cars that should signal that a vehicle is parked, the company reports that this isn’t always enough. As a result, at least 41 injuries may be traced to this issue, though a press statement insists that it is not due to any equipment failure.

The source lists three models included in the Chrysler Recalls: Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Model years range from 2012 to 2015, and the majority of the units (811,586) are in the United States. The manufacturer is making efforts to contact affected owners as needed while the recall continues. The new shift strategy will keep the vehicles from moving unexpectedly, further protecting users who don’t understand the initial suggestions.

Currently, these vehicles feature electronic indicators, including lights, to let drivers know if their vehicles are currently in park. To avoid confusion, the adjusted cars will include an automatic stop in case drivers don’t realize their car is able to start rolling away. The gear shift lever is not a reliable signal of which gear the car is using, the source stated.

The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee was also subject to a recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statement from March 22 said that 14,768 units may contain front left brake calipers that might break. This issue was a significant risk because it could prevent drivers from stopping their vehicles early enough and leave them vulnerable to a collision.

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