Dodge Recalls Dakota Pickups With Faulty Seat Warmers


Auburn Hills, Michigan – Jan. 8, 2018 – Chrysler recently issued a recall of 16,900 Dodge Dakota pickup trucks from the 2005 model year, citing concerns that the driver or passenger seat warmers installed in some trucks may overheat, according to a defect filing made with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Specifically, the overheating issue could present itself in both front seats of the vehicle, in either the seat cushion itself, or the seat back. The risk presents itself because of “fatigue failure” – that is, long-term regular use of the warmers – within the carbon elements of the seat warmers themselves. These can lead to specific spots where the warmers overheat and potentially burn holes in the seat cushions or even result in open flames within the vehicle.

All vehicles in the recall were manufactured between May 17, 2004, and June 24, 2005. Only about 10 percent of the trucks being recalled are expected to carry this defect.

The Defect

If the “hot spots” present themselves in a seat cushion’s heating element, it could lead to a high resistance electrical connection that generates heat beyond what would normally be expected. Unfortunately, the seat cushion control system in the Dakota pickups would not be able to detect the hot spots and therefore cannot automatically shut down the heating component.

Because of the risk of burning through the seats and starting fires, owners will likely notice extreme heat or burning smells as a result of the defect, as well as potential holes in the seat cushions or seat backs themselves. This risk can result in injury or fire in the vehicles.

Timeline of Events

On Sept. 13, 2017, reports of issues with seat heaters in the 2005 Dakotas led Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to convene its U.S. Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance organization to open an investigation into the problem.

In the week of Sept. 25, the organization reviewed designs with the company’s engineering team. About a month later, the two FCA groups met with the supplier of the heated seat carbon element pad to go over the design parameters of the parts in question.

Then from October to November, FCA conducted a test of the heated seat systems in question, to compare with other such systems, and determined that in the affected Dakotas, the system used to operate the seat heaters was unique from similar systems.

In late November, the VSRC and engineering teams did a more thorough design review of the heating system in affected trucks and found that they do not have automatic-off settings after the seat heaters have been used for a certain amount of time, potentially allowing them to stay on indefinitely. In early December, the teams were able to reproduce failures in laboratory settings.

The voluntary safety recall order was finally made Dec. 18, 2017.

The Solution

Chrysler’s recall plan will ask owners to bring in their 2005 Dakotas for repair, to enhance the seating systems with updated control features.

In addition, the company will also reimburse owners who have paid out of pocket to have these issues addressed on their own, as long as they can provide proof of payment to confirm the amount they paid.

FCA dealers were first notified of the recall Dec. 20, 2017, while owners will receive their notifications beginning on Feb. 8, 2018.

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Honda Recalling Fury Motorcycles For Leaking Fuel Tanks


Torrance, California – Jan. 8, 2018 – The American Honda Motor Co. recently announced a recall of 20 of its 2010, 2016 and 2017 model year Honda Fury motorcycles, due to concerns that some of their fuel tanks could leak, according to a defect report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

These fuel tanks could have come with the motorcycles as manufactured, or have been installed as replacement parts. These fuel tank parts went through “an improper manufacturing process” that could lead to a risk of fuel leakage.

There are only 20 such vehicles in the recall, of which only three are expected to have this defect. However, given the gravity of the risk involved, this could still be a significant issue for vehicle owners.

The Defect

The motorcycles listed in this small recall were determined based on sales records for parts, as the issue revolves around replacement parts for 2010 and 2016 bikes. For the 2017 models, the recall was for motorcycles that had the defective fuel tanks as original equipment.

Specifically, the manufacturing process in question did not provide the necessary welds around a bracket that holds the fuel tanks in place. As a consequence, natural road and engine vibrations could lead the tank to separate from the bracket, and potentially result in a fuel leak.

This increases the risk of fire because any leaked fuel in the presence of an ignition source may be set aflame, increasing risk of injury or damage to the vehicle.

Timeline of Events

On Sept. 22, 2017, Honda learned of the first occurrence of a fuel leak in the market, and another such issue arose slightly more than a month later on Oct. 24.

As a result, Honda launched an investigation into the cause of the leaks, spanning from November into December. That investigation found that a single day of fuel tank production saw a hiccup in the proper manufacturing process that led some tanks made that day to pass the final welding stage for stay brackets on affected tanks. As a result, they have a structural weakness which others do not possess.

The decision to push forward a formal recall was made Dec. 12, 2017, and as of that date, the company had already received two warranty claims for the defect. However, it had not received any field reports of injury or fire related to the issue.

The Solution

Owners of the affected vehicles will be contacted by Honda via both phone and mail and are asked to return their Fury motorcycles to a local authorized Honda Motorcycle dealer. There, the dealers will inspect the welding on the fuel tanks and determine whether the tanks need to be replaced. If so, that change will be conducted free of charge.

Notification of both owners and dealers began Dec. 14, 2017.

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