Volvo recalls luxury sedans for Takata-like airbag problems

Pleasanton, CA – November 29, 2020 – Volvo Car USA (OTC:GELYF)  has recalled 54,124 executive cars with airbags whose inflators may burst and injure or kill the driver and passengers with “metal fragments” when deployed. The recall concerns the FG2 Twin Driver Airbag Inflator Module containing 5AT 148 and includes:

  • 2001-2003 Volvo S60
  • 2001-2003 Volvo S80

Recall summary

Airbag inflators perform exactly what you’d expect them to do – inflate a car’s airbag when needed in the event of a crash. In a scenario that’s eerily similar to the infamous Takata airbag recall, metal fragments that form part of the inflator may shatter during the airbag deployment and strike the occupants of the vehicle.

The defect is a result of the propellant in the airbag being exposed to hot temperatures and “elevated moisture levels” present in the areas with such climate. As such, the recall encompasses 22 Southern U.S. states, as well as five U.S. territories,  such as Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. 

History of airbag troubles

Since 2018, ZF TRW – a U.S. subsidiary of German auto parts maker ZF Group that appears to be behind the recall – has been subject to 68 lawsuits, according to the court records. At least one of the ongoing lawsuits allege that ZF-manufactured airbags fail to deploy during a crash because of a “design defect,” according to a transcript from a hearing.

Risks

In the event of a crash, the airbag deploys at a very high speed, in less than a second.  During the deployment, the metal fragments in the inflator can shoot out and injure the driver or the passengers or cause their death.

As of the date of the recall, one fatality was reported.

Repair

Volvo will be replacing the driver side airbag free of charge. The vehicle owners will be notified of the recall on January 4.  It is not clear, however, when the remedy will be available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

More than 54,000 vehicles are a part of this Volvo Car recall. To check whether your car is one of them, you can use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Aleks SnesarevaVolvo recalls luxury sedans for Takata-like airbag problems

Audi recalls Q7 SUVs over higher risk of head injury in event of crash

Pleasanton, CA – November 27, 2020 – Volkswagen AG (NASDAQ:VWAGY) has recalled nearly 10% of its 2018-2020 Audi Q7 luxury SUVs due to inadequate padding on one of the pillars – a structure that supports the roof of the car. This issue may translate into a higher risk of a head injury in the event of a crash. Around 94,000 vehicles are affected by this recall.

Part number for the deformation element is 4M0 880 619.

Recall summary

C-pillar is one of the four or five pillars that support the roof of the car and is located towards the back of the car. Recalled vehicles do not have enough padding on this pillar, due to a production error made by a sub-supplier based in Austria.

Risks

Inadequate padding may result in a head injury if a passenger who is not wearing a seatbelt hits his or her head during an accident. Until your car is repaired, pay special attention to your surroundings to protect your loved ones.

The repair

Dealers will replace the non-conforming element of C-pillar free of charge. It is not clear from the recall documents if that element is padding.

The recall started on November 17 but it is uncertain when the remedy will be available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 94,000 vehicles are included in this recall. To see if your Q7 is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Aleks SnesarevaAudi recalls Q7 SUVs over higher risk of head injury in event of crash

General Motors issues another round of recalls for brake assist system

Pleasanton, CA – November 25, 2020 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 14,620 vehicles that operate with either 5.3L or 6.2L V8 engines. In each case, the  power of the mechanical vacuum pump  – which helps the engine with several key functions, including braking – may decrease. This may negatively affect the brake assist system. The recall includes:

  • 2018  Cadillac Escalade sedans
  • 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 trucks
  • 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs
  • 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks
  • 2018 GMC Yukon SUVs

Recall summary  

Among other functions, the mechanical vacuum pump provides power to the brake assist system. Due to a design error that was not addressed during a previous recall for the same issue last year, “the output” of the pump can drop over time, making the power brake assist system less effective.

There are several factors that alert the driver to the brake assist issue:

  • The brake pedal may vibrate when the driver applies the brakes
  • Braking requires more effort
  • A ticking sound is emitted from the engine compartment when the brakes are applied
  • The driver may see a “Service Brake” message pop up on the dash

Risks 

If the brake assist is not operating correctly, the driver must press on the brake pedal with more effort and depress it further to be able to stop the vehicle.

This change in braking ability increases the risk of a crash. Drivers may not be able to brake quickly enough to slow or stop the vehicle. GM notes that the problem is more apparent at low speeds when a driver applies soft pressure to the brakes.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to inspect the Electronic Brake Control Module and reprogram the system. The recall free of charge and began on November 16.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 14,000 vehicles are included in this General Motors recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydGeneral Motors issues another round of recalls for brake assist system

Ford recalls Explorers for third time due to faulty suspension

Pleasanton, CA – November 24, 2020 – Ford (NYSE:F) has recalled 318,381 SUVs because a part of the suspension  – which connects the vehicle to the wheels – may fracture, seriously impairing a driver’s ability to steer. The recall includes 2013-2017 Ford Explorer SUVs and concerns the rear suspension toe links (#DB5Z-5B758-B and #DB5Z-5B759-B).

Recall summary  

The rear toe links hold the car’s back wheels at the correct angle so that the vehicle actually goes in the direction that the driver is steering. 

For a reason that is not entirely clear, the toe links have been snapping, causing the driver to lose control of the cars’ back wheels and get injured. Ford’s investigation up to date has pointed to salt – that is predominantly used in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest – as the culprit of the problem. Salt can corrode vehicles’ underbellies, where the toe links are located.

As such, the recall encompasses 22 states and six Canadian provinces where salt is used to de-ice roads in the winter. 

Previous recalls

This is the third time the manufacturer recalls Explorers for the same issue that was previously addressed in two separate recalls in 2016 and 2019.  The smaller 2016 recall was deemed necessary because of the toe links “improper weld,” while the 2019 one – that involved 1.2 million vehicles – was allegedly caused by rough roads.

Toe link problems have also forced Ford to recall nearly 230,000 Flex, Taurus, and Lincoln MKT vehicles this past February. Ford Focus cars have been subject to several complaints – one as recently as February – for its tires wearing out early.

Risks

A broken rear toe link will sever a driver’s control over one of their back wheels, allowing it to point in any direction. Under these conditions, the vehicle may start fishtailing (weaving left and right like a fish), which can send the car careening into a ditch or oncoming traffic. This is extremely dangerous. In fact, problems relating to this recall have caused at least 13 accidents and six injuries.

‘Sliding on ice sideways’

After one Explorer owner’s toe links snapped last February, they described the experience in a complaint to the NHTSA. “It’s like sliding on ice sideways. Very scary. Never want to go through this ever again.”  The driver nearly avoided a head-on collision.

Other drivers were similarly shaken by the sudden loss of control. “My daughter and I should have both been killed” said one NHTSA complaint this past August. “…several weeks since the (near) accident and we are still shaken up by it.” Another driver described how their seven-year-old grandson was now afraid to get in the car alone with them after their Explorer’s toe link broke and the car fishtailed across the median, slamming into a reflector post, just barely missing oncoming traffic. 

The repair

Ford will inspect where the toe link attaches to the wheel, and replace it if necessary, for free. The recall is expected to begin November 30, 2020. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 300,000 vehicles are part of this Ford recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandFord recalls Explorers for third time due to faulty suspension

Ford recalls F-250s and F-350s for front axle issues

Pleasanton, CA – November 23, 2020 – Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has recalled 9,628 Ford 4X4 trucks. The front axles may not be properly welded to the trucks, increasing the risk of a crash. Axles are responsible for transmitting the power from the vehicle to the wheels, which is what propels the car forward. Front axles in particular also help with steering and cushioning the blow from driving on uneven roads. As such, having a malfunctioning axis greatly increases the risk of a crash.

The recall includes 2019 Ford F-250 and F-350 super-duty trucks and concerns F250/350 Front Axle Assembly. Part number is JC34-3002-TB/DB/EB/FB.

Recall summary  

A Ford’s supplier used “non-conforming parts” to assemble the front axle and subsequently welded them incorrectly.

This is at least the second recall that Ford issued because of axle problems for this particular model and year. In October 2019, the manufacturer asked nearly 30,000 drivers of the 2019 F-250s and F-350s to take their cars in for repair because the rear axles were prone to fracture.

These same trucks are also subject to a 2019 California class action lawsuit, alleging that their suspension and steering problem make them prone to a “death wobble,”  or “violent shaking” at higher speeds when traveling on uneven surfaces. The lawsuit was partially dismissed in early November.

Warning signs

Here are some signs that your car’s axle may be broken or is not welded properly:

  • An unusual noise when you turn or put the car into gear
  • Wobbling or vibration especially in the wheel area
  • Brake malfunction
  • Car fails to move

It is unsafe to continue driving the car with a broken or misaligned axle and you should take the car to the shop as soon as possible.

Risks 

If the axle is not properly welded to the vehicle, it may break, causing you to lose control of the car and get into an accident. If the axle breaks, you may feel the truck get pulled to the left or the right or find that steering becomes more difficult. The effects can be more  pronounced if the axle failure occurs when you brake hard.  

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to inspect the front axle of the truck and confirm if the welding was performed correctly. If not, the axle assembly will be replaced. The repair is free of charge and the recall was expected to begin on October 15, 2020.

Ford estimates that the repair will be completed in less than two days. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 9,500 vehicles are included in this Ford truck recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydFord recalls F-250s and F-350s for front axle issues

Ford recalls Transit Connect vans due to engine fire risk

Pleasanton, CA – November 20, 2020 – Ford (NYSE:F) is recalling 2,903 Transit Connect vans with incorrect control software settings that may cause the engine to overheat and could lead to a fire. The recall includes 2019-2020 Transit Connect vans with 2.5L engines and concerns the following components:

  • Powertrain Control Module (PCM) Calibration 
    • R07, #KV6A-12A650-PF 
    • R21, #KV6A-12A650-AEC 
    • R25, #KV6A-12A650-APB 
    • R31, #KV6A-12A650-AJ

Recall summary

The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is “the brain” of the car that controls over 100 elements.  Usually, the PCM is programmed to enter a “failsafe” mode that will cool the vehicle down if the engine gets too hot. Due to a software calibration issue, however, the software in the recalled vehicles may not trigger the failsafe mode until temperatures exceed safe limits. Running the van at this high temperature could damage the engine or even cause a fire.

This is the second recall for Ford 2020 Transit vans this fall. In September, over 54,000 vans were recalled because of faulty rearview cameras that displayed a “distorted or blank image.”

Safety concerns

The U.S. Fire Administration 2019 Report on Fire in the United States stated that equipment failures accounted for at least 20% of vehicle fires between 2009 and 2017.  

Vehicle fires are a fairly common occurrence that can pose a great risk to the occupants of the vehicle, as well as passerbys. For tips on what to do if your car catches fire, please visit this page.

Repair

To fix the issue, dealers will reprogram the PCM software. The recall started on October 26 and is free of charge.

Is your vehicle affected by this recall?

Nearly 3,000 vehicles are included in this Ford recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandFord recalls Transit Connect vans due to engine fire risk

Volkswagen Jettas recalled for fuel leak issue

Pleasanton, CA – November 19, 2020 – Volkswagen AG (NASDAQ:VWAGY) has recalled 218,192 Volkswagen Jetta vehicles, due to a manufacturing error that may cause a fuel leak. The recall includes 2016-2018 Volkswagen Jetta sedans.

Recall summary  

A fuel rail is a high-pressure tube that delivers fuel to the vehicle’s fuel injectors. In recalled cars, the bolts that secure the fuel rail are not properly tightened. That can cause them to loosen over time, which can result in a leak.

Risks 

A fuel leak may cause a fire, particularly if it occurs near the sedan’s ignition source. When a leak takes place, drivers may notice fuel leaking from the engine compartment or smell a fuel odor.

A vehicle fire creates a tremendous safety risk for sedan occupants, other drivers and pedestrians. In 2017, for example, vehicle fires were the second most fatal after residential fires, according to a report by the U.S. Fire Administration.

What to do in the event of a vehicle fire

If you suspect that an engine fire is occurring, follow these important steps.

If other people attempt to approach the sedan, warn them to stay away until first responders arrive. Do not attempt to remove any items from the car before exiting. 

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to inspect the fuel rail and the fuel rail bolts. Both of these parts will be replaced, if necessary. The repair is free of charge and Volkswagen expects the recall to begin on December 20, 2020.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 218,000 vehicles are included in this Volkswagen Jetta recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydVolkswagen Jettas recalled for fuel leak issue

Tesla recalls 2020 Model Y SUV for trailer brake lights glitch

Pleasanton, CA – November 18, 2020 – Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) has recalled  2,567 luxury SUVs that may not light up the brake lights on a connected trailer. The recall includes 2020 Tesla Model Y SUVs “with a global rear lamp and tow package,” equipped with the following parts:

  • 1502086-00-A
  • 1502087-00-A
  • 1502088-00-A
  • 1502089-00-A

Recall summary  

This particular configuration of the Model Y – which was released on the heels of customer feedback just seven months ago – allows the driver to tow a boat or a trailer if they so wish. Due to a firmware issue that emerged in August, the brake lights on a connected trailer may not illuminate when the driver hits the brakes. 

Risks

Brake lights serve the important function of letting cars behind you know when you are stopping or slowing down to prevent accidents. The lights help drivers respond faster than if they had to rely only on depth perception. Having non-functional lights may create a higher risk of an accident, especially at high speeds.

The repair

Tesla has developed a software update, which they beamed to cars remotely on September 23. Within a week, 97% of the recalled cars were up-to-date. To ensure updates are installed on your Tesla, make sure your car is connected to your home WiFi network. Those who have issues are encouraged to contact Tesla customer service.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 2,500 vehicles are included in this Tesla recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandTesla recalls 2020 Model Y SUV for trailer brake lights glitch

Chrysler Ram trucks recalled for driver side mirror issue

Pleasanton, CA – November 17, 2020 – Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) has recalled 19,075 Ram trucks, due to an issue with the driver side mirror. The mirror glass may detach from the backing plate such that it may no longer show a reflection of what’s behind. The recall includes 2020 Ram 2500 and Ram 1500 luxury heavy-duty pickup trucks.

Recall summary  

The backing plate holds the mirror glass in place. In recalled trucks, the mirror glass was not adhered to the backing plate properly, due to a manufacturing error. This limits the visibility for the driver and may result in a crash.

Recalled trucks fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 111, “Rear Visibility.” Specifically, the “mirrors must be mounted according to certain specifications, and must provide the driver with a specified minimum field of view.”

Risks 

Side rear view mirrors are critically important for safe driving, particularly if an object is blocking the rear window view. They help drivers enter traffic and safely change lanes. If these mirrors are not functioning properly, the driver may not see other vehicles, pedestrians or physical objects. All of these conditions increase the risk of an accident.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to replace the glass in the driver side mirror. The recall begins on November 27 and the repair is free of charge. The estimated repair time is 30 minutes, but plan for additional time for check in and check out.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?Over 19,000 vehicles are included in this Ram truck recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandChrysler Ram trucks recalled for driver side mirror issue

General Motors recalls SUVs for blocked fuel pump nozzle

Laguna Hills, CA – November 16, 2020 – General Motors (GM) (NYSE: GM) has recalled 2,781 midsize SUVs which may have a blocked fuel pump nozzle that could stall the vehicle. The recall includes:

  • 2020 Buick Enclave
  • 2020 Cadillac XT5 and Cadillac XT6
  • 2020 Chevrolet Traverse
  • 2020 GMC Acadia

and concerns the fuel tank pump module (MODULE – F/TNK F/PMP, #84702674).

Recall summary  

The issue stems from the fuel pump, which supplies the vehicle’s engine with the gasoline it needs to run. A tube inside the fuel pump may be blocked by burrs left over from the manufacturing process. This could keep fuel from getting to the engine, particularly if the gas tank is already running low. If the engine is starved of fuel, the car could unexpectedly stall while driving.

Risks

A car that stalls in moving traffic, especially at high speeds, can get hit from behind as other drivers may not have enough time to react. Even if the driver safely gets to the shoulder, they are still at risk of being hit. This raises the risk of injuries or death for everyone involved.

For information on what to do if your car stalls, please see this article.

The repair

Owners will be notified about the recall by mail starting on November 30. GM will replace the fuel pump module for free, but this service is not yet available. In the meantime, owners who are not comfortable driving their recalled car may be eligible for courtesy transportation through their vehicle’s warranty.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 2,700 vehicles are part of this GM recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors recalls SUVs for blocked fuel pump nozzle