Maserati recall covers 4,300 sports cars

 

Modena, Italy, Jan. 27, 2019 – Manufacturers of high-specification sports cars are susceptible to the same recall cycles that afflict general-audience carmakers, and for the same types of problems. The recent recall of over 4,000 Maserati vehicles for potentially defective fuel lines demonstrates this issue. While the number of vehicles is smaller than in recent recalls by Ford, Toyota and other large automakers, there are still thousands of cars on the roads with this potentially dangerous defect.

According to a wire news report from market regulators in China, the models involved in the recall are the Quattroporte and Ghibli sports cars. The vehicles were manufactured between March 2013 and June 2015. The exact number of vehicles involved in the action comprises 3,282 Quattroporte models and 1,054 of the Ghibli. The cars were manufactured in Italy and imported for sale in China, where the defect was discovered.

The Defect

The potential problem in the recalled Maseratis comes from fuel line installation. Regulators have discovered that when fuel lines are installed incorrectly, as may have happened with the cars in question, there is an increased chance of gas leaking into the vehicle.

Fuel line leaks pose a risk to drivers because they increase the chance of fires catching in the car. While the recall coming from the state administration in China warns of the dangers of incorrectly installed fuel lines, there was no clarification as to whether there have been leaks discovered in real-world situations, or whether the fault was discovered in a laboratory setting.

Timeline of Events

The Maserati vehicles involved in the current recall were manufactured concurrently between 2013 and 2015. The 3282 Quattroporte cars were made between March 22, 2013 and June 17, 2015. The Ghibli models impacted were produced between Sept. 27, 2013 and June 11, 2015. It is unclear from the recall announcement which model years were attached to these cars when they were sold.

On January 27, the recall announcement was made by the State Administration for Market Regulation in China. The organization, part of the Chinese government, targeted only cars imported from Italy to China. It is therefore unknown whether Maserati cars made during the same period and exported elsewhere in the world will be recalled for a similar defect. In a note that may be relevant to this case, the National Highway Traffic Security Administration, the U.S. body that publicizes recalls, was just reopening from a federal government shutdown when China made its announcement.

The Solution

Drivers of the affected vehicles are asked to work with the automaker to have the hoses replaced. Dealerships will replace the affected parts at no cost to drivers. According to the news release, only the fuel lines have to be replaced, as there was no mention of related parts also needing to be switched out. This recall demonstrates that even a niche vehicle, imported into an overseas market, can encounter a recall for thousands of units. Due to the potentially fatal consequences of a vehicle fire, it’s clear that drivers of the affected cars should opt to have their dealers perform the necessary repairs.

Sean ReyesMaserati recall covers 4,300 sports cars

Hyundai and Kia Recall Nearly 168,000 Vehicles for Potential Fuel Leaks and Fire Risk

 

Laguna Hills, Calif. – Jan. 26, 2019 – Hyundai Motor Co and affiliate Kia Motors Corp are recalling close to 168,000 U.S. vehicles at risk of fuel leaks. This recall comes after a previous recall in 2017 for engine fire risks. The companies will also offer software upgrades for 3.7 million vehicles. The new recall covers 68,000 various Kia Optima, Sorento and Sportage vehicles from the 2011 through 2014 model years, and also affects 100,000 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata and 2013-2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport vehicles.

The Defect

According to Reuters, engine replacements during the prior recall could have involved a high-pressure fuel pipe that may have been damaged or improperly installed. The faulty installation could increase the risk of fire. Hyundai and Kia now also state that the high-pressure fuel line may have been damaged, misaligned, or improperly adjusted during the engine replacement procedure. That could allow fuel to leak and increase the risk of fire.

Timeline of Events

According to Reuters, in 2015, Hyundai recalled 470,000 U.S. Sonata sedans. The reason for the recall was given as a possibility of engine failure that could result in a vehicle stall, increasing the risk of a crash. Kia did not recall its vehicles, which share the same “Theta II” engines, at that time.

In 2016, a South Korean whistleblower reported concerns regarding this design flaw to NHTSA. The U.S. agency had been investigating the timeliness of three U.S. recalls, and the number of vehicles recalled.  In March 2017, Hyundai expanded the recall to include an additional 572,000 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles with “Theta II” engines, claiming a small amount of manufacturing debris was responsible for potential engine stall, and Kia recalled 618,000 Optima, Sorento and Sportage vehicles with the same engine at the same time.

According to Consumer Reports, in May 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a formal investigation into the recalls. The Center for Auto Safety (CAS), a consumer watchdog group, filed a formal petition with the NHTSA in June 2018 to investigate multiple fire complaints.

The Solution

Authorized dealers will inspect the connection between the high-pressure fuel pipe and the fuel pump outlet. If leaking fuel is detected, the dealer will replace the fuel pipe and properly install a new one, at no charge to owners.

In addition to the recall, both automakers have announced a software update and warranty extension. This announcement affects approximately 2 million 2011-2018 Hyundai Sonata sedans and 2013-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport SUVs, and about 1.6 million 2011-2018 Kia Optima sedans, 2012-2018 Kia Sorento SUVs, and 2011-2018 Kia Sportage SUVs. The software update is reported to protect the engine from damage that could lead to vibrations or stalling. Kia and Hyundai will also extend engine warranties to 10 years and 120,000 miles for owners of affected vehicles who contact their dealer for a free software update.

Hyundai and Kia will notify owners of the recall details via first-class mail. Owners of affected vehicles may call Hyundai at 800-633-5151 or Kia at 800-333-4542. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Sean ReyesHyundai and Kia Recall Nearly 168,000 Vehicles for Potential Fuel Leaks and Fire Risk

Fiat Chrysler recalls 182,000 2019 Ram 1500 trucks

 

January 25, 2019 – Auburn Hills, Mich. – Fiat Chrysler (FCA) has recalled approximately 182,000 Ram 1500 trucks from the 2019 model year. The problem is due to potential faults in the power steering system, as FCA announced in a bulletin picked up by outlets such as Car Complaints and CBS. Many of the trucks are still on dealers’ lots, limiting the scope of the action.

The large-scale recall involves vehicles that have been produced in recent months. The potential problems won’t completely eliminate a driver’s ability to direct an affected truck, but steering will become much harder, potentially raising the risk of a collision. The recall is one of two issued by Fiat-Chrysler so far this year.

The Defect

In impacted Ram 1500 vehicles, fasteners within the battery circuit may have been secured incorrectly. When the connection loosens, power steering becomes inconsistent and the truck may have problems in over- or under-steer conditions. Due to the danger of driving with compromised steering, the 182,000 vehicles that may have the defect are all included in the recall.

Timeline of Events

The entire recall has occurred on a highly compressed timeline. All the vehicles involved were produced Oct. 25, 2018 or later, according to FCA. The defect was discovered by internal testers rather than inspectors with a regulatory agency. Fortunately, there have been no accidents or injuries reported due to the problem thus far.

Since all the vehicles included in the recall are so new, FCA explained that nearly one-third of the over 182,000 trucks affected have not left dealership lots yet and can simply be repaired before sale. The start date of the recall period has not yet been announced, but it will most likely come within 60 days of its announcement on Jan. 25, 2019.

The Solution

Drivers with one of the over 100,000 affected Ram 1500 trucks should bring their vehicles in to Ram dealerships once the official recall period begins to have the battery fasteners repaired. The process will be provided by the dealerships, with Ram paying the bill. FCA’s phone number for owners of affected vehicles is 800-853-1403 and the automaker is readily available to answer further questions from drivers.

Sean ReyesFiat Chrysler recalls 182,000 2019 Ram 1500 trucks

Ford Recalls Nearly 2,700 2019 Lincoln Vehicles for ADAS Issues

Laguna Hills, Calif. – January 25, 2018 – Ford Motor Company is recalling close to 2,700 2019 Lincoln Nautilus luxury SUVs due to issues with advance driver assist systems that govern the vehicles’ steering control technology. The 2019 Nautilus has been presented by Ford as a refreshed version of the MKX SUV, with a choice between a 2.7-liter V6 turbo or a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine. The 2019 model also replaced the six-speed automatic transmission with an eight-speed one, turning the vehicle into a more powerful choice for drivers.

The Defect

According to CNET, the problem is related to software responsible for regulating the vehicle’s advanced driver assist systems. The vehicle may not detect if the driver is touching the steering wheel during time periods when the lane-centering system is activated. If there is a need for the driver to return their hands to the wheel, the system may fail to notify the driver to do so, which could increase the risk of a crash.

Timeline of Events

All the recalled vehicles were built at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant between Sept. 5 and Nov. 19, 2018. Most of the vehicles affected are located in the U.S., though a few hundred are in Canada. Ford is thus far unaware of any accidents or injuries related to this defect.

This is the second recall to affect the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus. According to Consumer Reports, last December Ford recalled certain 2019 Nautilus vehicles that were not equipped with Adaptive Front Steering due to a plastic cover on the driver frontal air bag module which had the potential to detach during air bag deployment.

The Solution

Fixing the problem will not require any replacement hardware. Owners will be notified and instructed to take their vehicle to an approved dealer, where technicians will reflash the software in the power steering control module. This will reset the ADAS system to provide the correct level of hands-off detection when in use. Owners may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The reference number for this recall is 19S02.

Sean ReyesFord Recalls Nearly 2,700 2019 Lincoln Vehicles for ADAS Issues

Fiat Chrysler recalls 182,000 2019 Ram 1500 trucks

January 25, 2019 – Auburn Hills, Mich. – Fiat Chrysler (FCA) has recalled approximately 182,000 Ram 1500 trucks from the 2019 model year. The problem is due to potential faults in the power steering system, as FCA announced in a bulletin picked up by outlets such as Car Complaints and CBS. Many of the trucks are still on dealers’ lots, limiting the scope of the action.

The large-scale recall involves vehicles that have been produced in recent months. The potential problems won’t completely eliminate a driver’s ability to direct an affected truck, but steering will become much harder, potentially raising the risk of a collision. The recall is one of two issued by Fiat-Chrysler so far this year.

The Defect

In impacted Ram 1500 vehicles, fasteners within the battery circuit may have been secured incorrectly. When the connection loosens, power steering becomes inconsistent and the truck may have problems in over- or under-steer conditions. Due to the danger of driving with compromised steering, the 182,000 vehicles that may have the defect are all included in the recall.

Timeline of Events

The entire recall has occurred on a highly compressed timeline. All the vehicles involved were produced Oct. 25, 2018 or later, according to FCA. The defect was discovered by internal testers rather than inspectors with a regulatory agency. Fortunately, there have been no accidents or injuries reported due to the problem thus far.

Since all the vehicles included in the recall are so new, FCA explained that nearly one-third of the over 182,000 trucks affected have not left dealership lots yet and can simply be repaired before sale. The start date of the recall period has not yet been announced, but it will most likely come within 60 days of its announcement on Jan. 25, 2019.

The Solution

Drivers with one of the over 100,000 affected Ram 1500 trucks should bring their vehicles in to Ram dealerships once the official recall period begins to have the battery fasteners repaired. The process will be provided by the dealerships, with Ram paying the bill. FCA’s phone number for owners of affected vehicles is 800-853-1403 and the automaker is readily available to answer further questions from drivers.

Sean ReyesFiat Chrysler recalls 182,000 2019 Ram 1500 trucks

Infiniti recall update: Some cars with defect not included

 

Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 15, 2019 – Infiniti’s recall of its EX35 sedan affected 200,000 vehicles that may have a faulty passenger-side air bag sensor. According to a recent NBC report, this action did not target every car with the defect, despite its relatively large scale. Owners of vehicles from models outside the year range covered by the recall may find the same issue in their vehicles, but with those cars not covered by the complimentary replacement offer, the drivers have to pay out of pocket to safeguard their air bags.

Looking back at the initial National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall of Infiniti vehicles, reported back in 2008 by U.S. News & World Report, the cars that did receive official notices for faulty passenger-side air bag sensors were the 2007 and 2008 Infiniti G35, Infinit G37, Infiniti EX35, Nissan Altima, Nissan 350Z, Nissan Rogue and Nissan Murano. The vehicle still on the road that may contain the same part is a later model, the 2009 Infiniti G35. In total, more than 200,000 cars and sport utility vehicles were involved across the Infiniti and Nissan nameplates.

The Defect

The cars in question use an occupant classification system to determine whether to deploy an air bag on the passenger side in the case of a collision. The sensor involved in the recall is the part that tells a vehicle if there is someone in the right-side seat. When the component is defective, the air bag system may overlook the presence of a passenger, with the circuit becoming interrupted. In such a case, the airbag may fail to deploy and the occupants of the car would not be adequately protected.

U.S. News noted at the time of the initial recall that many automakers had problems with passenger-side sensors in 2008. BMW and Hyundai recalled an combined 600,000 for similar issues. The newspaper recommended that even cars that haven’t officially been recalled should likely receive inspections. This proved to be relevant, as a similar defect appeared more than 10 years later.

NBC explained the 2009 Infiniti found to have the defect was purchased new, and is now out of warranty. Several owners of vehicles made by Nissan and Infiniti have complained of similar defects to the NHTSA but been unable to receive free-of-charge service because their cars were produced after the 2007-2008 window included in the recall. A Center of Auto Safety representative replied that making complaints is important, as it helps set the recall process in motion.

Timeline of Events

All the cars involved in the recall come from the 2007 and 2008 model years, and they received an “urgent recall alert” in October 2008. The timeline becomes more complicated, however, when considering the possibility that the defect may occur on vehicles that haven’t yet received an official recall notice, more than 10 years after the fact. NBC published its report about this potential scenario in January 2019.

The Solution

Fixing the sensor problem involves using a detector to determine whether the part is defective, then replacing the entire seat cushion if there is a problem with the component. NBC reported that this process, when carried out on a car not covered by the recall, could cost over $4,000. Infiniti did offer to take on the majority of the cost in the case covered by the news organization, bringing the bill to $1,000. For recalled vehicles, the dealer does not charge to make the change.

Sean ReyesInfiniti recall update: Some cars with defect not included

Fiat Chrysler Adds 1.4 Million Vehicles to Takata Airbag Recall

Fiat Chrysler Adds 1.4 Million Vehicles to Takata Airbag Recall

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is adding 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. to its list of those that should have their Takata airbag inflators replaced. The action includes Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram vehicles.

This latest announcement from FCA covers passenger-side front airbag inflators, and is part of the effort by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and automakers to space out the replacement of Takata airbag inflators based on the risk to drivers and passengers.

The goal has been to get replacement inflators to vehicle owners in the highest-risk regions first, and then to the rest of the country later as the supply of replacement inflators grows. The last wave of recalls is scheduled for early in 2020…Read more on ConsumerReports.org

Sean ReyesFiat Chrysler Adds 1.4 Million Vehicles to Takata Airbag Recall

Ford recalls vehicles with defective engine components

 

Dearborn, Mich. – Jan. 10, 2019 – Ford Motor Company has recalled approximately 874,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective engine components, according to a company press release. The campaign affects multiple models, including:

  • 2015-2019 Ford F-150 pickup trucks assembled between March 18, 2014, and Nov. 17, 2018, at manufacturing sites in Kansas City and Dearborn, Missouri.
  • 2017-2019 Ford Super Duty pickup trucks assembled between Oct. 8, 2014, and Nov. 17, 2018, at manufacturing sites in Avon Lake, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky.

More than 410,000 of the recalled vehicles were sold in U.S. dealerships, while the remainder wound up in the Canadian market.

The Defect

The vehicles involved in the action may contain AV outlet-compatible engine block heaters vulnerable to water intrusion. In the event that liquid enters these components, the cables and associated splice connectors within could corrode over time, increasing the likelihood of shorting. Should this occur, the engine block heater may falter or create an electrical current capable of tripping household breakers and ground-fault-circuit-interrupter outlets. That said, the defect does not pose a threat to occupants.

Ford has received just one report detailing an instance of property damage linked to the defective component thus far.

Timeline of Events

The automaker has yet to release information on the investigation that yielded the recall.

The Solution

Ford has directed dealers to inspect and, if necessary, replace the defective engine block heaters installed in recalled vehicles free of charge. However, the company has yet to release an owner notification timeline. Those in need of immediate assistance prior to the start of the campaign can contact Ford customer service personnel by calling (800) 392-3673. Owners can also reach out to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by calling the Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesFord recalls vehicles with defective engine components