Mercedes recalls vehicles with defective headlamp components

Jacksonville, Fla. – Mercedes-Benz USA has recalled dozens of vehicles potentially equipped with defective headlamp assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models produced between June 1, 2017, and June 20, 2017, including:
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz E43 AMG sedans.
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 and E300 4Matic sedans.
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 wagons.
The British automaker suspects all of the vehicles referenced in the recall contain the defective parts.
The Defect
The models involved in this action could feature horizontal headlamp adjustment mechanisms that are outwardly accessible and therefore movable. In the event that owners purposely or inadvertently manipulate these fixtures, vehicle headlamps could become misaligned, reducing visibility and increasing the likelihood of an accident. However, Mercedes-Benz has yet to receive reports connecting the defect to any accidents or injuries.
In addition to posing a serious safety hazard to occupants, the defect violates Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108, Section 10, which states that “a optically aimable headlamp that has a lower beam must not have a horizontal adjustment mechanism.”
Timeline of Events
Mercedes-Benz on June 1, 2017, reorganized a number of production lines at one of its primary assembly facilities after quality assurance personnel discovered multiple vehicles with adjustable headlamps. During this time, the automaker also reworked all of the vehicles with defective headlamps. Engineers conducting regular quality control evaluations in March 2018 discovered that some of these models had not been addressed during the June 2017 corrective action. This revelation prompted Daimler AG, the automotive conglomerate that oversees the Mercedes-Benz brand, to launch a voluntary safety recall April 27, 2018.
The Solution
Mercedes-Benz will direct dealers to install sealing caps on the headlamps of affected models free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. The automaker plans to notify dealers in May 2018. Mercedes-Benz has yet to release an owner notification timetable. That said, the company does expect the recall to begin June 2018. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can contact Mercedes-Benz customer service at (800) 367-6372. They can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesMercedes recalls vehicles with defective headlamp components

FCA recalls vehicles with defective lower control arms

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled almost 240,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective lower control arms, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2007 Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicles produced between Aug. 29, 2003, and June 29, 2007, at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in Toledo, Ohio. FCA suspects all of the models referenced in the action contain the defective parts.
The Defect
Affected vehicles feature lower control arms that are prone to corrosion damage and could therefore fracture. Such an event would drastically degrade vehicle driveability and increase the likelihood of an accident. FCA has discovered at least one collision linked to the defect, according to an internal chronology document given to the NHTSA. That said, the automaker has yet to receive reports connecting the problematic part to any injuries.
Timeline of Events
FCA on March 12, 2012, recalled numerous 2004-2005 Jeep Liberty SUVs with corrosion-prone lower control arms. Most of these vehicles were sold in so-called “salt-belt states,” or states that experience significant winter precipitation and therefore consistently deploy corrosive road salt. The car manufacturer expanded this recall June 5, 2012, this time including 2006-2007 Jeep Liberty models. On Aug. 16, 2016, the FCA Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance organization launched an investigation following the receipt of customer complaints involving 2004-2007 Jeep Liberty SUVs that were not included in the two earlier safety campaigns. These reports outlined instances of lower control arm corrosion and fracturing. Ultimately, the VSRC decided to initiate field monitoring, which began in September 2016 and came to a close in January 2017.
The FCA VSRC initiated yet another field survey immediately following the initial analysis to determine whether the defect existed outside of the salt-belt states. In March, the survey team returned with results: 2004-2007 Jeep Liberty SUVs in other states were indeed equipped with lower control arms that showed signs of internal and external corrosion. Despite these findings, the VSRC decided to close its investigation April 6, 2017, and switch back to field monitoring, which continued for more than a year. On April 23, 2018, the group took stock of the field monitoring data. More than 157 reports had been filed pertaining to 2004-2007 Jeep Liberty SUVs not included in the original recalls. This finding prompted the VSRC to launch a third voluntary safety campaign April 25, 2018.
The Solution
FCA will direct dealers to replace the rear lower control arms in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. The automaker intends to notify dealers and owners on or around June 20, 2018. Individuals in possession of recalled 2007 Jeep Liberty SUVs who need more immediate assistance can contact FCA customer service personnel by calling (800) 853-1403. Callers should use the internal recall reference code U38. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using the agency’s toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesFCA recalls vehicles with defective lower control arms

Hyundai recalls vehicles with defective clutch components

Fountain Valley, Calif. – May 10, 2018 – Hyundai Motor America has recalled more than 10,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective hydraulic clutch actuator assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017 Hyundai Ioniq hybrid sport utility vehicles produced between Nov. 16, 2016, and Sept. 20, 2017. The South Korean automaker suspects 1 percent of the models involved in the recall contain the defective parts.

The Defect

Affected vehicles have hydraulic clutch actuator housings with abnormally rough edges. These defective features can damage the nearby oil seals, causing oil to leak and pool around the phase cap. This issue can cause electrical shorting and, in instances in which major thermal damage occurs, engine fire. As a result, the defect poses a serious risk to occupants. That said, Hyundai has yet to receive field reports linking the problematic hydraulic clutch actuator assemblies to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

A Hyundai parts provider LuK reached out to the car manufacturer in March 2017 to report that it had received hydraulic clutch actuator assemblies involved in warranty claims that seemed to exhibit signs of thermal damage near their phase caps, according to an internal chronology report given to the NHTSA.
Hyundai reviewed warranty claims filed in the Korean market in response and found no reports of engine fire or thermal events of any kind. The automaker then began shipping parts from applicable warranty claims to LuK for further analysis. Within three months, the parts vendor had collected a large number of hydraulic clutch actuator assemblies whose housings featured jagged metal edges. LuK determined that these features could damage adjacent oil seals and cause leakage. Consequently, the firm implemented new production processes to eliminate the creation of jagged housing edges and installed reinforced oil seals to prevent leakage.
A Hyundai affiliate submitted a quality information report associated with the defect in December 2017. This action prompted the automaker to accelerate and expand its analysis efforts. Between January 2018 and April 2018, Hyundai combed through a significant number of hydraulic clutch actuator assemblies to gain more information on the variables contributing to failure. The car manufacturer was able to replicate an electrochemical reaction caused by oil pooling around the phase cap. It was also able to create a galvanic event that produced sparks and could cause an engine fire.
On April 16, 2018, Hyundai shared its findings with all vendors and affiliates in all markets. Then, on April 20, 2018, the automaker convened its Technical Committee, which called for a voluntary safety recall. Dealers received notification of the campaign May 4, 2018.

The Solution

Hyundai has directed dealers to inspect hydraulic clutch actuators installed in affected vehicles and, if necessary, replace these parts free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. The car manufacturer intends to reach out to owners through first-class mail June 20, 2018. Owners in need of assistance prior to the beginning of the campaign can contact Hyundai customer service personnel at (855) 371-9460. Callers should use the internal recall reference number 176. Owners can, of course, connect with the NHTSA directly via its toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesHyundai recalls vehicles with defective clutch components

Kia recalls vehicles with defective clutch components

Irvine, Calif. – May 10, 2018 – Kia Motors America has recalled more than 27,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective clutch components, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2018 Kia Niro hybrid sport utility vehicles produced between Nov. 1, 2016, and Sept. 11, 2017. The South Korean automaker suspects just 1 percent of the vehicles referenced in the action contain the defective components.

The Defect

Affected vehicles contain defective hydraulic clutch actuator assemblies with rough edges that may damage to the adjacent oil seal and cause oil to leak or accumulate near the phase cap. Should either of these events occur, the likelihood of electrical shorting and engine fire increases. Consequently, this defect poses a serious hazard to occupants. However, Kia has yet to receive reports connecting the defect to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

KMA on Dec. 7, 2017, notified its parent company via a quality information report that some 2018 Kia Niro hybrid SUVs were generating hydraulic clutch actuator trouble codes, according to an internal chronology report submitted to the NHTSA. Almost three weeks later, the Kia Motor Corporation initiated an investigation in response to the QIR. Throughout January and February 2018, KMC worked with suppliers to evaluate hydraulic clutch actuator assemblies installed in 2018 Kia Nitro hybrid SUVs. This collaborative inquiry revealed that oil was leaking within the actuator housing, causing the vehicle to generate an error code. Investigators were able to duplicate electrical shorting associated with the leakage but could not recreate thermal decay or engine fire.
Over the course of February and March 2018, KMC conducted more tests to confirm the root cause of the error codes mentioned in the original QIR. On April 16, 2018, the car manufacturer reviewed all available data related to the defective hydraulic clutch actuator assemblies and decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall.

The Solution

Kia will direct dealers to inspect the hydraulic clutch actuator assemblies installed in affected vehicles and install additional sealant or replace them free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The automaker intends to notify dealers June 8, 2018, and reach out to owners via first-class mail June 15, 2018. Owners in need of assistance prior to the start of the recall can contact Kia customer service personnel at (800) 333-4542. Callers should use the internal recall reference code SC163. Owners can also connect with the NHTSA directly using the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesKia recalls vehicles with defective clutch components

Lamborghini recalls vehicles with defective weight limit labels

Bologna, Italy – May 10, 2018 – Automobile Lamborghini has recalled almost a dozen vehicles potentially equipped with defective weight limit labels, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017 Lamborghini Centenario coupes and roadsters produced between March 13, 2017, and Oct. 27, 2017. The Italian automaker suspects all of the vehicles referenced in the action contain the defective labels.

The Defect

Affected vehicles contain manufacturer certification labels that list incorrect weight limits. This defect violates Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 49, Part 567, which states that all models must come with labeling that displays accurate readings for gross vehicle weight rating and gross axle weight rating, according to the Government Publishing Office. In addition to violating FMVSS 49, Part 567, the defect poses a serious safety hazard to occupants, as the incorrect readings could lead owners to overload their vehicles and reduce maneuverability, increasing the likelihood of an an accident. However, Lamborghini has yet to receive reports connecting the defect to any collisions or injuries.

Timeline of Events

Lamborghini in April 2018 received a customer complaint referencing a 2017 Lamborghini Centenario that appeared to feature incorrect weight limit labels. While the report originated from outside of the U.S. market, the car maker determined that models with potentially incorrect manufacturer certification labels were sold in American dealerships. The Lamborghini Product Safety Committee reviewed the issue April 11, 2018, and determined that labels violated FMVSS 49, Part 567, necessitating a voluntary safety recall. Lamborghini notified dealers of the forthcoming action April 27, 2018.

The Solution

The automaker has directed dealerships in the U.S. to install corrected manufacturer certification labels in affected models free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. Lamborghini began sending out owner notifications via registered mail May 4, 2018, and will continue to reach out through June 4, 2018. Owners in need of further assistance can contact Lamborghini customer service personnel at (866) 681-6276. Callers should use the internal recall reference code L73XR0118. Of course, owners can connect directly with the NHTSA using the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesLamborghini recalls vehicles with defective weight limit labels

Volkswagen recalls vehicles with defective Takata air bags

Auburn Hills, Mich. – May 10, 2018 – Volkswagen Group of America has recalled more than 71,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective Takata air bag assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2006-2007 Volkswagen Passat sedans produced between April 27, 2005, and Nov. 3, 2006, as well as 2006-2007 Volkswagen Passat wagons produced between July 5, 2005, and Nov. 17, 2006. The German automaker suspects all of the models referenced in the recall contain the defective components.
The parts involved in this action are at the center of a multiyear recall campaign encompassing 42 million vehicles across more than one dozen brands, Car and Driver reported. Approximately 15 owners have perished in accidents involving these components, while more than 100 have sustained serious injuries, according to Consumer Reports.
The Defect
Affected vehicles contain Takata air bag assemblies with inflator modules whose propellant wafers are prone to degradation over time. These defective wafers could lead to particularly violent combustion upon air bag deployment. This issue, in turn, may cause the steel air bag inflator housing to explode, spraying metal fragments throughout the vehicle cabin at high speeds. Consequently, the defect poses a mortal threat to occupants. As stated above, Takata air bag assemblies are responsible for multiple driver deaths and injuries.
Timeline of Events
In March 2016, Volkswagen recalled more than 150,000 vehicles, including those involved in this action, in response to a Takata component recall filling, according to documentation from the NHTSA. The automaker oversaw permanent replacement of the air bag assemblies installed in these models, trading the defective inflators for replacements containing desiccated ammonium nitrate propellant. Recently, Volkswagen decided to adopt guanidine nitrate-based inflators. GuNi propellant is more durable and less caustic than ammonium nitrate propellant, The New York Times reported. This switch forced the car manufacturer to launch another recall, which it did April 18, 2018. Volkswagen also informed dealers of the impending action on this date.
The Solution
The automaker will replace the ammonium nitrate-based air bag inflators with GuNi alternatives free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. Volkswagen contacted owners via first-class mail April 30, 2018. Those in need of additional assistance can reach out to Volkswagen customer service personnel by calling (800) 893-5298 and using the internal recall identification code 69Q8. They can also connect with the NHTSA directly through the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesVolkswagen recalls vehicles with defective Takata air bags

Chrysler recalls SUVs with defective frame components

Auburn Hills, Mich. – May 4, 2018 – Chrysler Fiat Automobiles has recalled more than 100 vehicles potentially equipped with defective vehicle frame components, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Administration. The campaign involves 2018 Jeep Wrangler sport utility vehicles produced between Oct. 15, 2017, and Oct. 16, 2017. FCA suspects roughly half of the vehicles referenced in the recall contain the defective parts.
The Defect
The affected vehicles feature frames with rear underbody ladder rails that are prone to premature corrosion and failure. In the event that ladder rail fails, the adjacent left rear seat mount may loosen. Additionally, ladder rail corrosion can weaken the structural integrity of the left rear floor pan. Together, these developments may increase the risk of occupant injury during an accident. However, FCA has yet to receive reports connecting the defective underbody ladder rails to any accidents or injuries.
Timeline of Events
In October 2017, FCA engineers discovered 2018 Jeep Wrangler underbody ladder rails that appeared to differ from other frame components. This finding prompted the FCA Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance group to open official investigation into the matter. Over the course of November 2017 and December 2017, the VSRC organization collaborated with personnel from FCA Materials Engineering to assess the galvanized coating used on the underbody ladder rails, as the varnish seemed to exhibit depleted moisture protection capabilities. During this time, VSRC members also met with the Body Engineering team to better understand the initial design for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.These safety and quality assurance stakeholders reviewed build data and parts receivable timelines, as well, using this information to determine the scope of the problem.
The VSRC group in January 2018 convened with FCA Safety Engineering experts to understand the various hazards created by potentially corroded underbody ladder rails. One month later, VSRC members received confirmation from the engineering group that the parts were indeed at risk of experiencing premature oxidization and could fail as a result. Throughout March 2018, the VSRC organization reviewed production data and determined the number of vehicles potentially affected. On April 5, 2018, the group met with the Vehicle Regulations Committee, and together, these two bodies decided a voluntary safety recall was necessary.
The Solution
FCA has yet to develop a solution to this issue. However, the automaker does intend to reach out to both owners and dealers June 1, 2018, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. Owners in need of assistance prior to the start of the recall can contact FCA customer service at (800) 853-1403. Callers should use the internal recall identification code U27. Owners can also connect with the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesChrysler recalls SUVs with defective frame components

Volkswagen recalls vehicles with defective engine coolant pumps

Auburn Hills, Mich. – May 4, 2018 – Volkswagen Group of America has recalled more than 342,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective engine coolant pumps, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Administration. The campaign affects multiple models across the Audi brand, including:
  • 2013-2016 Audi A4 sedans produced between Feb. 20, 2012, and Dec. 8, 2015.
  • 2013-2016 Audi A4 Allroad sedans produced between March 12, 2012, and April 1, 2016.
  • 2013-2017 Audi A5 Cabriolets produced between March 9, 2012, and Dec. 16, 2016.
  • 2012-2015 Audi A6 sedans produced between April 4, 2011, and Dec. 22, 2014.
  • 2013-2017 Audi Q5 sport utility vehicles produced between July 4, 2012, and Dec. 20, 2016.
Volkswagen suspects all of the vehicles involved in the recall contain the defective parts.

The Defect

The models referenced in this action are likely to include engine coolant pumps prone to overheating and short circuiting due to blocked ventilation components or internal moisture development. Both conditions increase the likelihood of an engine fire. Consequently, the defective pumps pose a serious risk to occupants. However, Volkswagen has yet to receive reports linking the problematic parts to any accidents or injuries.
Owners operating vehicles equipped with the defective features may see an engine warning light prior to overheating or short circuiting, depending on the engine control software present.

Timeline of Events

On Dec. 23, 2016, the Audi Product Safety Committee issued a voluntary safety recall, filed under the NHTSA identification code 17V-002, to address defective engine coolant pumps in more than 342,000 vehicles. Dealers across the U.S. market executed the required remedy in the months following the recall, updating the ECU software installed in affected models with new programming designed to switch off the engine coolant pump power supply in the event of overheating or short circuiting. Between March 2017 and August 2017, Audi received multiple complaints from customers outlining instances of overheating and short circuiting, despite the existence of the updated ECU software. The automaker requested parts review following these reports.
More customers submitted identical complaints throughout September 2017 and October 2017. These instances prompted Audi to launch more exhaustive field tests and laboratory analyses to identify error patterns, significant mechanical variables and ultimately pinpoint the root cause of the issue. These inquiries revealed that moisture, in addition to ventilation blockage, affected engine coolant pump performance.
Members of the Audi Product Safety Committee convened April 4, 2018, to review the results of the field and laboratory tests. These stakeholders decided that the engine coolant pumps in the affected vehicles should be replaced along with the ECU software and chose to call for a voluntary safety recall.

The Solution

As stated above, Audi intends to replace the engine coolant pumps and ECU software in recalled vehicles free of charge. However, replacement parts are not currently available, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The automaker plans to notify both dealers and owners when these components are ready for installation.
That said, Audi does intend to reach out to owners initially via first-class mail June 11, 2018, to prepare them for the forthcoming action.
Vehicle owners can use MotorSafety.org’s free vehicle look up tool to find information on their vehicle
Sean ReyesVolkswagen recalls vehicles with defective engine coolant pumps

Hyundai recalls vehicles with defective safety features

Fountain Valley, Calif. – May 1, 2018 – Hyundai Motor America has recalled more than 580,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective air bag and seat belt assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2011-2013 Hyundai Sonata sedans produced between Dec. 11, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2012, along with 2011-2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sedans produced between Dec. 2, 2010, and Aug. 23, 2012. The South Korean automaker suspects all of the vehicles referenced in the recall contain the defective parts.
The Defect
Affected models contain air bag control units powered by application-specific integrated circuits. These components are designed to trigger advanced air bag systems and seatbelt pretensioners in the event of an accident. However, the ACUs installed in the recalled vehicles feature ASICs that lack circuit-protecting diodes. Without these electrical parts, the ASICs may experience overstress and eventually fail, inhibiting ACU functionality and leaving occupants without crash protection. Consequently, this defect poses a serious hazard to owners. Hyundai has received at least five reports linking the defective part to accidents and injuries.
Timeline of Events
The automaker in February 2012 received a report outlining an instance in which the AAS in a 2011 Hyundai Sonata seemed to fail during an accident, according to an internal chronology document submitted to the NHTSA. Hyundai engineers inspected the vehicle referenced in the report in June 2012 and found that the vehicle had not recorded a crash event. The car company then reached out to the Michigan-based supplier ZF TRW, which had provided the ACU components installed in the vehicle. The vendor discovered signs of electrical overstress within the ACU’s ASIC assembly, a condition it linked to a number of aftermarket accessories that were installed on the model referenced in the report.
Hyundai in May 2015 received a report detailing another instance of AAS non-deployment. In October 2015, engineering teams inspected the vehicle, a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, and determined that the ACU was not functioning. ZF TRW reviewed the component and again found signs of electrical overstress. The vehicle did not contain aftermarket parts, indicating that the condition may not be linked to the installation of such non-standard components. As a result, Hyundai initiated a field review.
The automaker received two additional reports centered on AAS non-deployment between July and November 2016. While one was invalidated by investigators, the second involved a 2011 Hyundai Sonata sedan with potential ASIC damage linked to overstress. Hyundai launched an official investigation in response. Then, in November 2017, OSHA’s Office of Defects Investigation contacted the car company to check on the status of the inquiry. Hyundai submitted data related to the investigation and established a communication channel for updates. One month later, the automaker hired an external engineering firm to look into the ACU issue.
On February 21, 2018, Hyundai and ZF TRW met to discuss the state of the ongoing investigation, with the latter coming to the conclusion that transient charges, originating from adjacent vehicle parts, were causing electrical overstress in the ASIC assemblies and therefore affecting ACU performance. One day later, members of Hyundai’s Technical Committee convened and determined that a voluntary recall involving affected 2011 Hyundai Sonata sedans was necessary. Following this action, the automaker continued its investigation into the problematic ACU components.
ODI officials and Hyundai met in Washington D.C. March 9, 2018, to discuss the inquiry and the initial findings from the third-party engineering firm. It was during this meeting that Hyundai revealed that its external collaborator had determined that the ACU failure was the result of equipment failure – specifically a lack of circuit-protecting diodes. The automaker attested to replicating the equipment-related damage in a series of crash tests. This discovery expanded the pool of potentially affected models to include Hyundai Sonata and Sonata Hybrid sedans produced in 2012 and 2013. On April 3, 2018, the two parties met once more to review the ongoing investigation.
Between April 11, 2018, and April 12, 2018, Hyundai collaborated with ZF TRW to review the ACU damage sustained in the previously conducted crash tests. Both automaker and vendor agreed hat the ASIC assemblies in these components shorted due to lack of diodes. On April 18, 2018, the Hyundai TC decided to expand the existing recall, an action the group communicated to both dealers and owners April 20, 2018.
The Solution
Hyundai has not yet developed a viable remedy, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. Owners in need of assistance can contact Hyundai customer service personnel by calling (855) -371-9460. Callers should use the internal recall identification number 174. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesHyundai recalls vehicles with defective safety features