2019 Dodge Challengers and Chargers recalled for brake issues

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 12, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. recently issued a recall for well over 100 of its model year 2019 Dodge Challengers and Chargers, due to concerns over front and rear brake packages.

Specifically, the recall involves 173 vehicles, including:

  • 111 four-door 2019 Dodge Chargers
  • 62 two-door 2019 Dodge Challengers

All are believed to have the defect described below, which can lead to an increased risk of crashing.

The Defect

In both cases, the vehicles in question may have been built with front and rear brake packages that are incompatible with each other, and may not leave enough space between the tires’ inner sidewalls and the suspension steering knuckle. In these cases, there may be contact between the components, which could result in damage to the tires that would lead to a sudden loss of air pressure.

That, in turn, would potentially result in drivers losing control of the vehicle without warning, increasing the risk of an accident.

All Challengers in the recall were produced from May 28 to Sept. 20, 2019, and affected Chargers were made between May 29 and Sept. 25. FCA used vehicle production records to determine which cars were made with these incompatible wheel and brake packages. Other Chargers and Challengers produced in the 2019 model year do not have this issue.

Timeline of Events

On Sept. 13, 2019, FCA’s assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, alerted its parent company of a possible issue related to how close tires in some vehicles might be to the steering knuckles that are part of the brake packages.

Five days later, the company’s Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance organization launched an investigation into the issue after completing an engineering evaluation of one potentially affected vehicle. Between Sept. 18 and 27, 2019, all involved – including FCA U.S. Engineering – held meetings to look at the problem, its potential consequences and the scope of the issue.

As of Oct. 14, the company had not received any field reports of accidents related to the defect, nor had any warranty claims been filed. Furthermore, it was not aware of any accidents or injuries that might have been related to this problem.

Nonetheless, the company decided through its VSRC that it would conduct a voluntary recall beginning on Oct. 17, 2019.

The Solution

Drivers will be asked to bring their affected vehicles to an auto technician that can install the proper brake packages, as well as inspect the front tires on that car to determine whether they need to be replaced. They will also replace the rear tires to ensure they match the front replacements. If necessary, these mechanics might also need to adjust the wheel alignment. The company will provide reimbursement for any such repairs already undertaken, as long as owners have the original receipt or other proof of the transaction.

Both dealers and owners will receive notification of the recall on Dec. 13, 2019.

For additional details about this recall, consumers can contact Fiat Chrysler by phone at 1-800-853-1403, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean Reyes2019 Dodge Challengers and Chargers recalled for brake issues

Nearly 108,000 Dodge pickups recalled due to fire risk

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 11, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. recently issued a recall for more than 107,000 Ram pickup trucks produced between 2013 and 2019 for concerns that their exhaust gas recirculation coolers could pose a fire risk.

Specifically, the 107,979 vehicles in the recall could see their EGR coolers experience thermal fatigue, which would cause that component to crack internally over time.

The vehicles are in the 2014 through 2019 model years, and many are either Ram 1500 or 1500 Classic pickups with 3.0-liter Eco Diesel engines. Some of these trucks do not have the Eco Diesel engines but were built in the same production periods for these vehicles – ranging from June 12, 2013, to Oct. 23, 2019.

The Defect

If the EGR coolers in these trucks experience long-term thermal fatigue, they can crack internally, which would potentially introduced heated, vaporized coolant into its system while the engine is running. That mixture could interact with other hydrocarbons and air in the coolers and combust in the intake manifold, which in turn could result in an engine fire that could injure people in or near the vehicle, and otherwise damage the vehicle and property around it.

Drivers in affected vehicles may be able to identify such a defect if they find they are unexpectedly running low on coolant, their in-vehicle heater isn’t working or if a warning light on the dashboard becomes illuminated.

Timeline of Events

Fiat Chrysler first opened an investigation into this issue on May 22, 2019, after receiving multiple reports of fires in affected vehicles. In all cases, it was found that these originated in the general vicinity of the engine. Throughout July, the company met with engineers to understand what could possibly be happening under the hood of these vehicles to start the fires, and in the following two months held weekly meetings to review more information, including failed parts collected from the field.

Throughout the remainder of September, multiple vehicles were inspected, along with warranty reports. Then on Oct. 11, the company found that more than 8,900 EGR cooler replacements had been ordered, with dozens more field reports related to failure of that component. While no accidents had happened, these fires resulted in four minor injuries.

The company decided to initiate the recall Oct. 17.

The Solution

While the company does not yet have an official remedy for this issue, FCA plans to reimburse owners for the cost of repairing or replacing the components in such cases. Affected owners who already paid for repairs will be asked to keep the original receipt for these repairs or otherwise provide proof of payment so they can be properly reimbursed.

Affected owners and dealers will be receive full notification of the recall on or around Dec. 13.

For additional details about this recall, consumers can contact FCA U.S. by phone at 1-800-853-1403, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesNearly 108,000 Dodge pickups recalled due to fire risk

BMW recalls SUVs for faulty steering pinion

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 8, 2019 – BMW of North America recently determined that it will need to recall 20 of its 2020 light SUV models due to concerns over a defect in the production process for a steering pinion gear, which could lead to increased crash risk.

Of the vehicles in the recall, all but one are 2020 BMW X3 M40i crossover SUVs, and the other is a 2020 BMW X3 M40i. All those light SUVs are expected to have this issue.

The Defect

The affected X3 and X4 SUVs likely contain a steering pinion gear that is suspected to have been produced outside specification, and were made within a two-day span – Sept. 27 and 28, 2019. During the manufacturing process for these components, a supplier likely did not produce the gears with a proper mixing ratio in the quenching bath. As a consequence, the teeth of the pinion gears would not be hard enough to withstand certain driving conditions, and have the potential to break under pressure. That would likely lead to a loss of steering and, consequently, control of the vehicle.

These conditions, in turn, greatly increase the risk of a crash. The recall population was determined based on supplier production data that was then checked against vehicle assembly information on BMW’s end.

Timeline of Events

On Oct. 1, just a few days after these vehicles were produced, BMW of North America received word from the components’ supplier – based in Greenville, South Carolina – that a specific production lot may have contained the steering pinion gears that were not hard enough to meet specification. The auto maker then issued a hold on vehicles that may have been affected, and conducted a review to see if these gears may have been delivered and used in the assembly of any vehicles.

Within a few days, the company found that some vehicles likely had been affected, and identified which ones fell into this population. A little more than a week after receiving the report from the supplier, BMW issued the voluntary recall on Oct. 9, but had not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem in question.

The company notified dealers of the recall Oct. 16, and notified one likely affected owner Oct. 9.

The Solution

To date, only one of the vehicles in the recall had an owner. That person was reached by phone and told not to drive the vehicle until it could be repaired by having the steering pinion gear replaced. The vehicle was transported to a nearby dealership for the remedy shortly thereafter.

Because this was essentially a single-vehicle recall at that point, BMW did not anticipate having to notify any other drivers via first class mail as it normally would in a recall situation. However, if any more of these issues come to light, the repairs would fall under the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty, as the affected light SUVs are all from the 2020 model year. Reimbursement would, therefore, not be necessary.

For additional details about this recall, consumers can contact BMW of North America by phone at 1-800-525-7417, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesBMW recalls SUVs for faulty steering pinion

Porsche issues recall on Cayennes and Panameras

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 11, 2019 – Porsche Cars North America recently revealed that it will have to recall tens of thousands of its Panamera hatchbacks and Cayenne light SUVs in the near future, due to an issue with their brake warning indicators.

Specifically, the recall involves 44,128 vehicles – 100% of which are expected to have the issue in question – including those that have been recalled previously, such as:

  • Porsche Panamera hatchback variants from the 2017 and 2018 model years.
  • Porsche Cayenee light SUV variants from the 2019 and 2020 model years.

In both cases, it seems a faulty software update is to blame for the issues that led to the recall.

The Defect

All vehicles in this Porsche recall were originally subject to a recall in February 2019, as well as vehicles that were found to potentially have this problem but which had not been identified during the first recall. All were identified using data regarding production dates, and every vehicle in the recall is expected to carry a software defect.

The defect in the vehicles’ software will make it so that, if the brake pad’s are worn down to dangerous levels and need to be replaced, the red dashboard warning light meant to indicate a potential problem will not illuminate. This could be particular problematic for drivers who look at these displays in the “map” or “night vision” submenus on the dashboard screen.

The only way drivers would be able to tell there was an issue with their brake pads at all would be a yellow warning message in the vehicles’ multi-functional displays, though those could easily be dismissed by the operator until they turn the vehicles on again. In certain traffic conditions, driving on worn-out brake pads could increase the risk of a crash.

Affected Panameras were produced from Sept. 23, 2016 to Dec. 21, 2018. Affected Cayennes were manufactured between April 4, 2018, and Aug. 2, 2019. However, the identification numbers on the vehicles in the recall were non-sequential.

Timeline of Events

The original recall mentioned above was initiated Feb. 20, 2019, and was meant to address this software problem. Porsche attempted at the time to develop and implement a software patch that would create a brake-wear warning light that remained continuously illuminated, given the gravity of such a problem.

However, after installing that software patch on affected vehicles, the company learned that this solution was also faulty – specifically, it would not show up as continuously lit in the display’s map and night vision modes. Posche identified this issue later on, which prompted an additional investigation to determine how many more vehicles may have been affected by the problem. Based on those findings, the auto manufacturer issued a secondary recall on Oct. 9, 2019 to supersede the first action.

The company noted that Panameras manufactured on or after June 19, 2019, and Cayennes produced on or after July 29, 2019, will not have this software problem.

The Solution

Drivers of affected vehicles should take their Posches to a dealership, where the new software will be added to those vehicles’ systems. This includes both owners of vehicles that had not previously been involved in the recall – who will soon receive notification from the manufacturer about this problem – and those who already received a remedy.

Dealers received notification of the recall on Oct. 16, 2019, and owners can expect to receive notifications of their own around Dec. 16.

For additional information about this recall, consumers can contact Porsche Cars North America by phone at 1-800-767-7243, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesPorsche issues recall on Cayennes and Panameras

Two BMW models recalled for faulty components

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 6, 2019 – BMW of North America recently announced that it will recall two different models – both sedans – due to potentially faulty engine components.

In all, 217 vehicles – 100% of which are expected to contain the defect – are involved in the recall, including:

  • 205 BMW 330i and 330i xDrive four-door sedans from the 2019 and 2020 model years
  • 12 BMW Z4 two-door sedan from the 2020 model year

It is expected that all of the recalled components may not have been produced within specifications.

The Defect

All 217 vehicles in the recall were made with an engine that contains needle roller bearings for counterbalance shafts that may not have been properly installed initially. Specifically, this started during the production process, which may have been out of specification, during set production periods that vary by model. For the 330i and 330i xDrive models in the recall, this lasted from Nov. 22, 2018 to Aug. 26, 2019. For the Z4s, it stretched from May 24, 2018, to April 3, 2019.

Due to the potentially improper installation process, affected needle roller bearings could lead to the counterbalance shaft loosening, causing severe engine damage. That, in turn, could lead to the engines in recalled vehicles shutting down, increasing the risk of a crash. Drivers would be able to notice if this happened to their vehicles because there would be a loud noise emanating from the engine compartment.

Timeline of Events

In May 2019, BMW was made aware of two separate instances in which drivers of affected vehicles heard the aforementioned noises, right before their vehicles broke down. The first of these involved a 2019 3 Series sedan that had been made in February, and the second, involving a vehicle outside the U.S., was made in April. Both vehicles had low mileages, and the engines were flagged for return, tear down and analysis. 

In June, BMW of North America conducted an engineering review  of both engines and initially found that the counterbalance shaft’s needle roller bearings may have been to blame for the breakdowns. Further analysis included looking into the production process while the company continued to monitor other vehicles in the field.

During that analysis period, another similar breakdown, this time including a 5 Series sedan that was made in May, occurred in September.

The engineering review eventually found that the press-in force for some needle roller bearings of the counterbalance shafts was smaller than specified, and engine production records indicated which of these components were affected by the defect based on production dates. That, in turn, allowed BMW to determine which vehicles to recall, and the voluntary order itself was made on Oct. 8.

To date, the company has not gotten any reports of accidents or injuries related to the defect.

The Solution

Owners of affected vehicles will be asked to bring their vehicles to authorized BMW dealers to have the engines replaced free of charge. These changes will be covered by the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty program and therefore will not require reimbursement.

Dealers received notification of the recall on Oct. 15, and owners should get letters via First Class mail on or around Dec. 6.

For additional information about this recall, consumers can contact BMW of North America by phone at 1-800-525-7417, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesTwo BMW models recalled for faulty components

Cadillac luxury sedan recalled over sensor issue

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 5, 2019 – General Motors recently notified dealers that it would have to recall a small population of its Cadillac CT6 luxury sedans due to a problem with with their tire pressure sensors.

In all, just 81 CT6 sedans from the 2020 model year will be recalled – 100% of which were identified as having this issue. The company noted that similar vehicles that did not have the accessory wheels installed at their dealers are not included in this recall.

The Defect

Specifically, these vehicles – all produced between Aug. 1 and Sept. 9, 2019 – came equipped with specific accessory wheels that had been installed by dealers, but which do no meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard rules related to tire pressure monitoring systems. This is because their sensors do not use the proper wireless radio frequency to communicate with the vehicle’s computer, and as a consequence, the system may not be able to properly alert drivers – via a warning light on the dashboard – that tire pressure has dropped to potentially dangerous low levels.

The problem at the heart of the issue is that incorrect part numbers for the tire pressure sensors were put into GM’s ordering system. Ideally, the automatic system would turn on the warning light after 18 minutes of driving at least 28 miles per hour on tires with low pressure, but because of the mismatched radio frequency, this would not occur.

As a result, drivers may not know of the risks they face unless they manually check their tire pressure before or after a trip. Low pressure can have a detrimental effect on vehicle handling or lead to tire failure, both of which would increase the risk of an accident.

Timeline of Events

In September, General Motors received a report about through its Speak Up for Safety program that the wrong tire pressure sensors had been installed on the affected CT6 sedans with specific accessory wheels. On Sept. 24, the company opened an investigation into the issue, consulting with subject-matter experts and the company’s regulatory engineers. The GM Open Investigation Review board looked at the findings of this examination on Oct. 7 and recommended that the company issue a recall.

Two days later, the GM Safety Field Action Decision Authority followed through on that recommendation.

The Solution

Upon receiving their recall notices, owners should take their affected CT6 sedans to a certified GM dealer, where all four tire pressure sensors will be replaced with proper parts that use the right wireless frequency to communicate with the vehicle. Given that these are all 2020 model year vehicles, the repairs are covered by warranty and no reimbursement will be offered.

The investigation also found that the incorrect part number that led to the wrong sensors being installed was corrected within GM’s ordering system on Sept. 11. This means that all accessory kits shipped to dealers after that date had the correct sensors.

Dealers were notified of the recall on Oct. 15, and owner notification dates are yet to be decided.

For additional information about this recall, consumers can contact General Motors by phone at 1-586-596-1733, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesCadillac luxury sedan recalled over sensor issue

Mercedes-Benz faces recall over window trim

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 4, 2019 – Mercedes-Benz USA recently had to issue a recall for a number of light sport utility vehicles in its 2020 model year for issues related to mounted rear window trim bars that were installed outside of company specifications.

Altogether, nearly 13,800 vehicles were involved in the recall, all of which are believed to carry this defect. This includes the following light SUVs, all in the 2020 line:

  • 10,068 GLE350 4MATICs
  • 2,290 GLE450 4MATICs
  • 1,148 GLS450 4MATICs
  • 22 GLS580 4MATICs
  • 1 GLE350

It is believed 100% of the specific vehicles in the recall carry the defect in question. Those light SUVs were identified via production records, and many have non-sequential vehicle identification numbers. However, many other vehicles sharing the same model year but which outside the recall group have trim bars that were installed properly.

The Defect

Specifically, all those vehicles – each one a GLE-Class or GLS-Class light SUVs produced between Aug. 23, 2018, and Sept. 27, 2019 – have a trim bar fastening on the rear door windows that could, under certain driving conditions, separate from the vehicle entirely. While this would not pose a likely risk to the drivers of these vehicles themselves, others around them on the road could be injured or become more likely to crash as a result of such a detachment.

The issue arises due to a tolerance deviation at the supplier, and unfortunately drivers of these vehicles will not be able to detect whether their fastenings are at risk for failure.

Timeline of Events

Around mid-August of this year, Daimler Auto Group – which controls Mercedes-Benz USA – received a report of a situation in which one such rear door window fastening failure occurred on a GLE-Class light SUV. The company then began an investigation into the issue, to better understand how it began and what could happen in the event of a failure. Over the course of about six weeks, the investigation determined that the issue came at the supplier level, and it would need to be addressed in short order.

On Sept. 27, the company determined that it could not rule out this issue becoming a safety problem for the other affected vehicles, and ordered the voluntary recall at that time.

The Solution

Drivers who receive the recall notice should return to an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer. There, technicians will check the fastening on the rear door windows and, if necessary, rework them so that they once again fall within specification at no cost.

However, the company does not plan to provide any notice about pre-notice reimbursements for owners of these vehicles, as all the affected models are within warranty, given that they are in the 2020 model year. The company also noted that as of Sept. 27, the design tolerances of the parts DAG receives from the Kentucky-based supplier has changed, so no further issues of this type will occur.

Mercedes-Benz dealers were first notified of the voluntary recall on Oct. 11, and owners of these vehicles will receive their own notifications around the first week of December.

For additional information about this recall, consumers can contact Mercedes-Benz USA via phone at 1-877-496-3691, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesMercedes-Benz faces recall over window trim

Chrysler Announces Recall on Certain Ram 1500 Trucks

Laguna Hills, CA – Oct. 31, 2019 – The recall of certain 2014-2019 Ram 1500 trucks, including some 1500 Classic Pickup vehicles, was announced by Chrysler earlier this month. All trucks involved with the recall are equipped with 3.0L Eco Diesel engines that have been outfitted with a faulty exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler.

The Defect

The safety recall report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains that the issue involves the EGR coolers on vehicles listed for the recall. The defect leaves the coolers susceptible to thermal fatigue.

“Thermal fatigue may cause the cooler to crack internally over time,” stated Chrysler’s own description of the defect within the safety recall report. “An EGR cooler with an internal crack will introduce pre-heated, vaporized coolant to the EGR system while the engine is running … potentially resulting in combustion within the intake manifold, which may lead to a vehicle fire.” 

More than 100,000 vehicles are involved in the recall, all of which are expected to contain the defect. Chrysler utilized engine assembly plant records and other information to determine which vehicles were built with the “suspect” EGR coolers.

Timeline of Events

The first signs of the defect came in May 2019, when an investigation was opened into engine compartment fires in Ram 1500 3.0L Eco Diesel trucks, according to the chronology report provided by Chrysler. An inquiry running through October revealed numerous instances of warranty reports and associated repair orders that were related to the defect. Meetings with diesel engineers and vehicles inspected from other countries allowed the manufacturer to “better understand the fire dynamics involved, and to rule out climate as a potential exacerbating factor.”

The decision to conduct a vehicle recall was made on Oct. 17, after Chrysler had identified more than 60 field reports potentially related to EGR cooler failure. 

The Solution

According to paperwork Chrysler has filed with the NHTSA, the recall itself is expected to begin sometime in December 2019, although the remedy itself remains under development at the current time. Those with further questions should contact the manufacturer’s customer service line at (800) 853-1403, or the NHTSA hotline at 1 (888) 327-4236.

For more information on recent vehicle recalls, be sure to visit MotorSafety.org

Sean ReyesChrysler Announces Recall on Certain Ram 1500 Trucks

GM Recalls Numerous Vehicles Due to Electronic Stability Control Malfunction

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 1, 2019 – General Motors recently informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of a recall involving five different vehicle models, all of which share the same defect. The field action includes certain 2015-2020 Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon vehicles, as well as certain 2014-2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 vehicles equipped with a 5.3-liter engine, a 3.08-ratio rear axle and four-wheel drive.

The Defect

According to the official report regarding this issue filed by GM with the NHTSA, the vehicles involved in the recall contain a defect caused by incorrect axle-ratio calibrations in the vehicles’ electronic-brake control module (EBCM). The flaw can cause the module to incorrectly calculate the speed of a wheel that has a faulted wheel-speed sensor. In specific operating conditions and vehicles, this can trigger the vehicle’s driveline protection system at an inopportune time.

“If a wheel-speed sensor fails in these vehicles, a software error in the vehicle’s EBCM can cause the vehicle’s driveline protection system to activate when (i) the vehicle’s electronic transfer case is set to four-wheel drive or automatic mode, and (ii) the vehicle is driven between the speeds of 41 and 60 MPH,” stated GM’s report on the matter. “If the [system] activates, the driver will experience unintended braking on the wheel on the opposite side of the failed sensor … increasing the risk of a crash.”

Timeline of Events

The first report involving the recall arrived May 21, when a GM dealer submitted a warranty report to the manufacturer involving a 2018 GMC Yukon whose owner reported that, while driving between 40 and 45 MPH, the brakes were involuntarily applied and caused the vehicle to pull leftward. A test of the vehicle confirmed the report, and further investigations revealed all the vehicles which might contain the defect.

“GM and ZF (the EBCM supplier) isolated the condition to certain K2 platform vehicles equipped with 5.3 liter engines, four-wheel drive, and 3.08-ratio rear axles, and to specific operating conditions,”
the chronology report provided by GM explained.

The decision to conduct the recall was made official Oct. 17. 

The Solution

Owners of vehicles involved in the recall will be notified sometime in the near future, although the exact schedule has yet to be set. Authorized dealers will reprogram the EBCM for affected automobiles on behalf of GM, free of charge. Those with further questions may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1 (800) 630-2438, GMC customer service at 1 (800) 462-8782, or the NHTSA hotline at 1 (888) 327-4236.

For more information on additional GM recalls, and other news from the automotive industry, be sure to read MotorSafety.org regularly. 

Sean ReyesGM Recalls Numerous Vehicles Due to Electronic Stability Control Malfunction