Fuel tank flange issue could lead to greater recall

 

Auburn Hills, Mich.—July 25, 2017—One recall from earlier this year could be the sign of future Volkswagen recalls, according to an article in Car and Driver. The case involves defective flanges, which could crack, possibly because the material could deteriorate.

Volkswagen is just one of several manufacturers with possible complications from this issue, and all reportedly stem from the part itself, a Continental Automotive Systems product. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the matter.

As the source described, a crack in the flange could also lead to a fuel leak. Major auto companies like Ford and General Motors could have to recall vehicles if they find evidence of the risk. The article quoted a statement from Elizabeth Weigandt, a Ford representative, on the company’s awareness of the issue.

“It’s unclear at this point whether Ford vehicles are affected,” she said. “We are reviewing the matter and will cooperate with NHTSA, as we always do.”

A Part 573 Safety Recall Report submitted to the NHTSA in March said that 20,908 Volkswagen Touareg vehicles were part of that company’s recall, with the model years ranging from 2007 to 2010.  The larger amount of vehicles were produced between 2006 and 2010. This report said that the components could weaken over time due to oxidization and internal pressure. The report said that March was the company’s “date of determination.”

The resolution to this earlier recall involved fitting the affected flanges with a protective cover. The report said that a fuel smell may indicate the issue, and that there were apparent similarities between this recall and another one for Audi vehicles.

A Volkswagen dealership communication said that the resolution could require a full replacement if the flanges are cracked. The fuel leak could present a hazard if fire is present.

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Honda recalls vehicles with fuel hose issues

 

Torrance, Calif. – July 19, 2017 – American Honda Motor Company has recalled dozens of vehicles possibly equipped with defective fuel feed and fuel purge hoses, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid sport utility vehicles manufactured between March 23 and May 8, 2017. The car company is unsure at this time what percentage of the vehicles named in the recall contain the defective components.

The Defect

Affected vehicles may come equipped with misrouted fuel feed and fuel purge hoses. As a result, vibrations from the engine may push the fuel feed hose against the breather pipe. This contact could, over time, damage the fuel feed and fuel purge hoses and lead to leaks. This increases the risk of an engine fire and endangers owners. However, Honda has not received reports of accidents or injuries related to the defect as of June 29.

Timeline of Events

Honda engineers discovered the misrouted fuel feed and fuel purge hoses during a routine quality check conducted June 7, 2017. The automaker immediately launched an internal investigation involving an evaluation of assembly processes and additional vehicle inspections. The inquiry concluded June 16. On June 29, Honda decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall. The car company contacted dealers a day later.

The Solution

Honda has directed dealers to evaluate the fuel feed and fuel purge hoses in affected vehicles and replace and reroute them if necessary, according to the NHTSA. Dealers are to make these repairs free of charge. Honda plans notify owners via first-class mail by July 31. Those who need more immediate assistance can contact Acura Client Relations at (888) 234-2138 or the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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Toyota recall Lexus vehicles after discovering tie rod problems [Video]

Lexus ES 350 drivers may encounter loud noises and steering issues while driving their vehicles. If so, their cars could be one of the one thousand, seven hundred and sixty that are part of a new recall action, according to a statement from Toyota.

The manufacturer said that these vehicles, with the 2017 model year, could have been assembled improperly, with loose lock nuts threatening the steering control of the vehicle. The resolution will go beyond these parts and see dealers replace entire tie rod assemblies where necessary. Though Toyota didn’t give a strict date for this action, it said owner notification was scheduled for mid-July.

Owners will not have to pay for the repairs, and should look for signs that their car might move to either side during a drive.

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BMW recalls vehicles with flawed reflectors [Video]

Woodcliff Lake, N.J.—July 18, 2017—According to one of the latest BMW recalls, some vehicles may have reflector problems that put their occupants at risk. Consumer Affairs reported that several BMW models could have less rear reflection than needed to comply with safety standards. With these inadequate reflectors, vehicles could be harder to see on the road.

The recall includes several xDrive, ActiveHybrid 5 and x series types, with the model years ranging from 2013 to 2014. In total, the source said that this encompasses almost 14,000 vehicles. The fix is scheduled for July 24. BMW will replace the reflectors to increase visibility and comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

BMW Blog said that the manufacturer has had other recalls recently, such as one for ninety-two vehicles with tail light issues.

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Nissan recalls vehicles with defective Takata air bags

 

Franklin, Tenn. – July 17, 2017 – Nissan North America has recalled more than 515,000 vehicles believed to contain defective Takata air bag assemblies, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2007-2011 Nissan Versa sedans manufactured between Nov. 21, 2006 and July 2, 2011, as well as 2007-2012 Versa hatchbacks produced between April 26, 2006 and Dec. 18, 2012. The car company is unsure at this time what percentage of the vehicles contain the defective air bags.

This campaign follows numerous other recalls related to Takata air bag components. Since 2004, dozens of automakers have been forced to conduct safety recalls and orchestrate the removal and replacement of over 100 million Takata air bags, Bloomberg reported. The company finally filed for bankruptcy last month, citing financial damage brought on by multiple multimillion-dollar fines and settlements. Takata will pay $975 million in restitution costs to victims and carmakers and $25 million in fines as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Defect

Affected vehicles could come equipped with air bag assemblies using Takata PSDI-5 inflators. These fixtures, which use calcium sulfate desiccant, emit metal fragments when deployed, putting drivers and passengers in grave danger. The PSDI-5 and other Takata inflators caused hundreds injuries and 17 reported deaths, according to Bloomberg.

Timeline of Events

In March 2016, Nissan, in conjunction with the NHTSA and Takata, initiated an internal review meant to pinpoint and recover air bag assemblies from vehicles with PSDI-5 inflators, according to the NHTSA. Between April 2016 and January 2017, the car company collected the fixtures and performed propellant analysis and ballistics tests to determine their condition. Nissan reviewed the test results for PSDI-5 inflators later that month.

Between March and June, Takata performed independent tests on vehicles from other OEM car makers to determine the operability of PSDI-5 inflators. The parts provider submitted the results to the NHTSA July 7. Nissan reviewed this data, along with its internal findings, and determined that a voluntary safety recall was necessary July 10. Nissan notified dealers July 21.

The Solution

Nissan is still working on a workable solution and plans to work with an alternative parts manufacturer to produce safe air bag inflators for the Versa, according to the NHTSA. When the remedy is available, the automaker plans to instruct dealers to install the replacement parts, free of charge. Nissan will send interim recall notification letters to owners sometime at the end of September. However, owners who need immediate assistance can contact Nissan customer service at (800) 647-7261 or reach out to the NHTSA directly via the organization’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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Mercedes recalls vehicles with defective parking brakes

 

Montvale, N.J. – July 16, 2017 – Mercedes-Benz USA has recalled more than 5,000 vehicles possibly equipped with defective parking brake components, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Association. The campaign affects 2016 Smart Fortwo compact cars manufactured between June 16, 2015 and Aug. 12, 2016. Mercedes estimated that 1 percent of the total number of vehicles named in the recall contain the defective parts.

The Defect

The vehicles referenced in the campaign could contain bowden cables with defective lock nuts, which may loosen over time and result in an increase in parking brake lever travel. The holding force of the parking brake might decrease as a result. This presents a serious safety hazard for owners, especially those who regularly park their vehicles on inclines and engage the parking brake. However, Mercedes-Benz has not received any field reports connecting the defect to accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

Daimler Automotive Group, which owns Mercedes-Benz, received a field report in mid-2016 that summarized an instance in which the parking brake on a customer’s vehicle failed to engage properly. The company immediately initiated a root-cause investigation to understand the cause of this mishap and ascertain whether a more widespread mechanical issue existed. Engineers involved in the inquiry immediately pinpointed a problem with the lock nut on the bowden cable. DAG then contacted its suppliers to identify possible fabrication issues.

In late 2016, the DAG team investigating the defect discovered that installation of the parking brake during the assembly process may have affected the microencapsulation process, resulting in lock nut hardware prone to slippage. During the opening months of 2017, the car company tested the affects of the defective lock nut assembly. In April, engineers performed additional tests, this time assessing how the feature stood up to vehicle vibrations. Two months later, DAG engineers were able to replicate the original customer complaint via multiple parking brake lever application and release. The automaker then reviewed manufacturing records to determine what vehicles might contain the defect.

In July 2017, DAG decided that the defect presented a serious safety risk to owners and launched a recall campaign. The organization notified dealers soon after.

The Solution

DAG has ordered dealers to replace the lock nuts in affected vehicles free of charge, according to additional documentation submitted to the NHTSA. The repairs are covered under existing new car warranties and therefore are not subject to official reimbursement plans. Owners should expect to receive notification in September. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Smart customer service at (877) 496-3691. They can also reach out to the NHTSA directly through its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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Chrysler recalls vehicles with damaged alternator diodes

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – July 14, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled an estimated 442,214 vehicles potentially equipped with damaged alternator diodes, according to a company press release. The campaign affects a variety of models across multiple brands, including:

  • 2011-2014 Chrysler 300 sedans
  • 2011-2014 Two-door Dodge Challenger sports cars
  • 2011-2014 Four-door Dodge Charger sports cars
  • 2011-2014 Dodge Durango sport utility vehicles
  • 2012-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicles

Approximately 318, 781 of the vehicles originated from U.S. dealers, while 37,504 are circulating the Canadian and Mexican markets. The remaining 85, 292 are outside of the North American Free Trade Agreement zone. FCA estimates 100 percent of the vehicles named in the recall contain the defective part, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Administration.

The Defect

Vehicles named in the recall are suspected to contain alternators with diodes susceptible to thermal fatigue failure stemming from overstressed electric hydraulic power steering systems. In the event of a diode failure, the alternator ceases supplying the engine with electricity, leading to the unexpected loss of multiple features, including the antilock braking system, the electronic stability control system and the engine control module. In some cases, the vehicle my cease operation entirely. The diodes can also short circuit and cause fire, heat and smoke to rise from the engine.

FCA has received reports of two accidents related to the faulty diodes. However, the car company has yet to receive notification of any injuries connected to the defect.

Timeline of Events

FCA has not released details into the internal investigation that uncovered the problem. The company is expected to notify dealers on or around Aug. 24.

The Solution

FCA will direct dealers to replace the alternators in affected vehicles, free of charge, according to a recall acknowledgement document filed with the NHTSA. Owners should expect to receive notification via first-class mail on or around Aug. 24. However, those in need of more immediate assistance can contact the FCA U.S. Customer Care Center at (800) 853-1403 or the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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Chrysler recalls vehicles with faulty wiring

 

Auburn Hill, Mich. – July 14, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled approximately 363,480 vehicles thought to contain defective air bag wiring fixtures, according to a press release from FCA. The campaign affects 2011-2015 Dodge Journey crossover models produced between Oct. 14, 2010 and April 20, 2015, as well as 2011-2015 Fiat Freemont crossovers sold outside of the North American Free Trade Agreement zone. FCA estimates that 1 percent of the vehicles named in the recall contain the faulty wiring fixtures, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The Defect

The affected vehicles could come equipped with air bag wiring fixtures that chafe against steering wheel components. In this scenario, short-circuiting is likely. This may lead to unexpected driver-side air bag deployment. FCA has received reports of six injuries connected to the defect. In these cases, the air bag warning light illuminated prior to deployment. Drivers also observed unintended windshield wiper operation.

The car company has yet to receive reports of any accidents related to the defective wiring fixture.

Timeline of Events

In October 2014, FCA investigated an instance of inadvertent air bag deployment involving a Dodge Caravan minivan, according to a chronology document filed with the NHTSA. Engineers reporting to the auto maker’s Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance group analyzed the issue and suggested the steering column clockspring conductor tape was to blame.

FCA continued the investigation and in March 2015 determined the actual root cause of the IAD: shorted wires due to friction between the air bag wiring harness and the metal horn plate located within the steering wheel assembly. In May, FCA engineers successfully tested tape-based wiring harness protection, which was then implemented in production facilities in September. This improvement applied to both Caravan and Journey models.

The car company continued to monitor the issue throughout 2015, while also identifying and quarantining damaged steering wheel assemblies.

In January 2016, FCA confirmed all of the updated wiring protections for Caravan and Journey vehicles were successfully installed in September 2015. One month later, the company requested a series of vehicle inspections to assess the efficacy of these production improvements.

In March, engineers conducted 26 corporate vehicle inspections and discovered that three models showed signs of contact between air bag wiring fixtures and steering wheel components. The FCA Quality Engineering Center obtained the inspection results the following month. After an initial review, QEC sent the results to the engineering laboratory, which conducted vehicle vibration tests and found that steering wheel components penetrated the air bag wiring protection. FCA continued to investigate and monitor the issue throughout 2016.

In January 2017, the VSRC received reports of IADs linked to other causes not addressed in previous investigations. One month later, FCA engineers opened a new inquiry and reviewed parts from the vehicles named in these reports and discovered a separate production anomaly limited in scope.

FCA closed this new investigation in early February but continued to monitor the issue. Over the course of late February, March and April the auto maker received new IAD reports involving shorted air bag wiring fixtures. It re-opened the brief investigation initiated in January. FCA received additional IAD reports in May.

On June 6, the Vehicle Regulations Committee conducted voluntary recall for Caravan models and requested more information on the Journey crossover. On June 20, engineers determine that shortened clockspring assemblies were the root cause in IAD instances involving Journeys.The VRC extended the campaign on June 30 to apply to Journey models.

The Solution

FCA has directed dealers to inspect the air bag wiring on affected vehicles and replace and reinforce these fixtures, free of charge. Owners are expected to receive notification via first-class mail between Aug. 7 and Aug. 21. Those in need of more immediate help can contact FCA customer service at (800) 853-1403 or call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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Battery risks lead to large Honda recalls

 

Torrance, California—July 14, 2017—In certain Honda vehicles, an issue with the battery sensor could lead to a risk of fire as the result of an electrical short. According to a Part 573 Safety Recall Report from Honda, submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration July 12, more than 1.1 million vehicles are potentially involved.

The Defect

The risk comes from the chance of moisture coming into contact with the affected vehicle batteries. If this happens, the battery could short out and subsequently cause a fire. The moisture could potentially enter the batteries, the report said, because of spaces in the battery sensor casing. All of the vehicles in this recall are Honda Accord types, with the model years ranging from 2013 to 2016.

Timeline of Events

  • March to August, 2015: A chronology document, also filed with the NHTSA, said that the first claim related to this issue (a “thermal event” from under the car hood) surfaced in Canada on March 3, 2015. The following months saw the manufacturer attempt to counter the problem through temporary checks.
  • June to July, 2016: The summer months of this year saw Honda implement a new design while also receiving reports of the defect in the U.S. for the first time, after previously hearing a claim from China.
  • June 2017: The company decided to initiate a recall at this time. Though there have been no injuries or accidents associated with the issue to date, the car company has recorded four “thermal events” in the U.S. alone and several more worldwide.

The Resolution

The original dealer notification date was June 30, and owner notification will begin on July 31, as the report said. Depending on the condition of the battery sensor, the dealer may do a temporary or more final repair.

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Honda recall SUVs with defective fuel feed pipes

 

Torrance, Calif. – July 13, 2017 – American Honda Motor Company has recalled more than 24,000 vehicles possibly equipped with defective fuel feed fixtures, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017 CRV sport utility vehicles produced between Nov. 10, 2016 and April 30, 2017. Honda is unsure what percentage of the models named in the recall actually contain the flawed features.

The Defect

The vehicles referenced in the campaign could contain fuel feed pipes fitted with incorrectly manufactured end-form connectors. These components, which link fuel feed pipes to fuel feed hoses, were fabricated using an incorrect die that compromises their connective capabilities. Consequently, these fixtures are liable to disconnect and cause fuel leaks, which pose a serious hazard to both drivers and passengers. However, Honda has yet to receive field reports connecting the defect to any injuries or accidents.

Timeline of Events

On May 1, 2017, Honda received one field report from the American market detailing an instance of fuel leakage in a 2017 CRV. Soon after reviewing the report, the car company launched an investigation, eventually connecting the leak to the Findlay, Ohio-based parts producer Sanoh America. The third-party manufacturer reviewed its production records and discovered that fuel feed end-form connectors shipped to Honda had been produced using improper die. On July 11, Honda personnel determined that the defective features presented a serious safety hazard to drivers and called for a voluntary recall. The automaker notified dealers three days later.

As of July 11, Honda had received seven warranty claims and four field reports related to the defect.

The Solution

Honda directed dealers to replace the fuel feed pipes and related fixtures in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an internal communication submitted to the NHTSA. The car company is expected to notify owners via first-class mail Aug. 25. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Honda Customer Relations at (800) 999-1009 or the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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