Hyundai recalls over 120,000 cars over faulty engines that may catch fire

Fountain Valley, CA – December 16, 2020 – Hyundai (OTCMKTS: HYMTF) is recalling 128,948 cars because connecting rod bearings inside the engine may wear down and cause engine damage, increasing the risk of stalls or fires. The recall includes:

  • 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs
  • 2011-2013 and 2016 Hyundai Sonata hybrid cars
  • 2015-2016 Hyundai Veloster hatchbacks

Recall summary

The recall concerns the vehicles’ engine rod bearings, which help reduce friction between two moving parts in the engine. These cars’ bearings could become worn, which could damage the engine. The damage may even cause the engine rod to snap and the vehicle to stall.

Separately, engines in these recalled cars can catch fire after being punctured by the rod.

High rates of fires

The recall comes a week after NHTSA issued Hyundai a consent order requiring them to clean up their act in regards to safety, by developing better resources, tools, and practices for catching vehicle safety problems early. The consent order was the result of a three-year probe into Hyundai’s behavior regarding recalls of 2011 model year vehicles.

NHTSA is disciplining Hyundai for moving too slowly to recall vehicles with engine issues and high rates of fires, and for reporting inaccurate information to NHTSA regarding the recalls. According to the consent order, Hyundai must create a US safety office, develop better data analytics programs to detect safety issues, and build a new safety testing facility in the US.

Safety concerns

Stalling and fires are both significant safety issues. Owners of recalled cars should watch out for abnormal knocking noises from the engine, reduced engine power or hesitation, the check engine light, the oil pressure light, a burning smell, a visible oil leak, and smoke, which all may be signs of trouble with the rod bearings.

For tips on what to do if your vehicle catches fire, please see the following page.

Repair

This Hyundai engine recall is set to start in late January of next year. Dealers will inspect the engine  for any damage to the rod bearings. If it is damaged, the whole engine will be replaced. Hyundai will also be installing a software update designed to detect engine issues.

Is your vehicle affected by this recall?

Nearly 130,000 cars are included in this Hyundai motors recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandHyundai recalls over 120,000 cars over faulty engines that may catch fire

Kia Motors recalls nearly 300,000 cars over engine fire risk

Irvine, CA – December 15, 2020 – Kia Motors (KIMTF:OTC US) is recalling 294,756 vehicles whose engines may catch on fire. The recall includes the following: 

  • 2012-2015 Kia Forte compact sedans equipped with 
    • 2.0L Nu Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines  
    • 2.4L Theta II Multi-Port Injection (MPI) engines
  • 2012-2015 Kia Forte Koup cars equipped with 
    • 2.0L Nu GDI engines 
    • 2.4L Theta II MPI engines
  • 2011-2013 Kia Optima Hybrid cars equipped with 
    • 2.4L Theta II MPI engines
  • 2012-2013 Kia Sorento SUVs equipped with 
    • 2.4L Theta II MPI engines
  • 2014-2015 Kia Soul hatchbacks equipped with
    • 2.0L Nu GDI engines
  • 2012 Kia Sportage compact SUVs equipped with
    • 2.4L Theta II MPI engines

Recall summary

The recall stems from a risk that the engines could catch fire while driving.  Neither Kia nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have found a definite cause for the high rates of engine fire in these models. Kia said that the recall was a “preventative measure” that would attempt to address any existing fuel leaks, oil leaks or engine damage to mitigate fire risks.

Background of the recall

This recall was prompted by a June 2018 petition by the Center For Auto Safety, a consumer watchdog group that pushed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate the high rate of engine fires in certain Kia vehicles. While they have not yet determined the cause of the fires, NHTSA has recommended this recall based on the fire complaint data they got from Kia. 

As a result of the same investigation, Hyundai is set to recall close to 130,000 cars, including  2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs, 2011-2013 and 2016 Hyundai Sonata hybrids and 2015-2016 Hyundai Veloster hatchbacks. The recall is being conducted also due to the risk of a fire, as well as that of stalling while driving.

This is the second 2013 Kia Sorento recall related to engine fires. Fires also led to 2011-2012 Kia Sportage and 2013 Kia Optima recalls, according to NHTSA records.

Vehicle fires

Car fires are very dangerous. Please see the following article for tips on what to do if your vehicle catches fire.

Engine noise, the check engine light, the low oil light, fuel smell, burning smell, oil leaking, and smoke may indicate an active or potential fire in the recalled vehicles. 

Repair

This Kia Motors recall is slated to begin January 27, 2021. Kia will notify owners by mail, and dealers will inspect the engine compartment and perform an engine test. If they discover any problems, the dealer will repair them for free. This includes a replacement engine, if necessary. 

Kia is also working on a free software update designed to prevent engine damage, which dealers will install when available.  

Owners who have already repaired this defect on their own dime may be eligible for reimbursement.

Is your vehicle affected by this recall?

Nearly 300,000 cars are included with this Kia motors recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.


Rebecca RandKia Motors recalls nearly 300,000 cars over engine fire risk

Jeep Grand Cherokees recalled for engine cooler issue

Auburn Hills, MI – December 14, 2020 – Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) has recalled 28,884 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles with 3.0L EcoDiesel engines and an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) cooler. The cooler may crack and release coolant that may cause an engine fire. The recall includes 2014-2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.

Recall summary  

The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) cooler is a car part designed to absorb heat to reduce emissions from an engine. Due to a supplier error, the recalled vehicles are prone to “thermal fatigue,” which may cause coolers in them to crack.

Vaporized coolant can then flow through the crack and into the EGR system while the engine is running. There it may interact with hydrocarbons and air in an area called the intake manifold, which forms part of the engine. This may lead to an engine fire.

This is not the first time Chrysler’s cars are having issues with EGR coolers. In 2019, Chrysler recalled a number of Ram 1500 trucks for the same EGR cooler issue. This past August a number of owners filed a class action lawsuit, alleging that the manufacturer “botched” the recall, not making enough parts available for replacement.

Risks 

Vehicle fires are not uncommon. It is estimated that 212,500 vehicle fires occurred in 2018, causing 560 deaths, 1,500 injuries and $1.9 billion in property damage. If the EGR cooler issues cause a fire, the driver will receive very little warning. If you suspect that there is a fire in your engine compartment, pull over, turn off the vehicle, move all occupants out and away from it and call 911.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will replace the EGR cooler. They will also inspect the intake manifold and replace that as well if necessary. The repair is free of charge. This Jeep Grand Cherokee recall is expected to begin on December 31, 2020.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 28,000 vehicles are included in this Jeep Cherokee recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydJeep Grand Cherokees recalled for engine cooler issue

Toyota to recall cars with Denso fuel pumps

Southfield, MI – December 11, 2020 – Japanese manufacturer Toyota (NYSE:TM) is set to recall 1,517,721 cars with faulty fuel pumps manufactured by Denso (OTCMKTS:DNZOY), an auto parts maker that forms part of the Toyota Group. This is the latest installment of recalls conducted by various car manufacturers due to an issue with the pumps that may cause cars to stall, increasing the risk of a crash.

Toyota has yet to announce the details of this recall. The following numbered Toyota parts are affected:

  • 195140201
  • 195140222
  • 195140249
  • 291100043
  • 291200100
  • 291200200
  • 291200202

Recall summary  

The recall concerns the fuel pump, which is responsible for moving gas from a car’s tank to its engine. The fuel pumps in question have a small plastic turbine called an impeller that sucks gas through the pump. These impellers may have been manufactured in a way that causes them to weaken and deform as they soak in fuel. This may cause the whole pump to stop working. 

Series of Denso recalls

This recall is the latest in a series issued by automakers who installed Denso pumps in their vehicles. In the United States, Subaru, Toyota and Honda have issued recalls. According to documents Denso submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ford, Mazda and Mitsubishi also purchased faulty fuel pumps. 

Toyota issued their first Denso fuel pump recall in January for nearly 700,000 vehicles. Less than a month later, a class action lawsuit was proposed in the Eastern District of New York which complained that the initial Toyota recall was too small, and left out cars that were built with the same defective pump. Toyota has since expanded the recall two times, and by the end of October they had recalled nearly 3.35 million vehicles in total. 

Risks

A car that stalls while in motion is at a high risk of getting hit from behind. 

Denso has warned in recall documents that vehicles may stall while driving. Drivers should keep an eye on the check engine light and other warning indicators. If the car is “rough running” or fails to start, these are signs that something may be wrong with the fuel pump.

If your car stalls:

  • Turn on the emergency hazard lights.
  • Try to shift into neutral and maneuver your car to the side of the road. 
  • Call  your roadside assistance provider
  •  Be sure to stay in the car. The shoulder is very  dangerous for pedestrians.

The repair

Denso has notified Toyota of the recall expansion, and it is now Toyota’s responsibility to recall the fuel pumps and provide a fix. If it is anything like the previous Toyota recalls of Denso fuel pumps, Toyota will notify owners and dealers will replace the fuel pump assembly with a nondefective one for free. Toyota owners were only notified of the prior recall on November 23, but the remedy has not yet become available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 1.5 million vehicles have been added to this Denso recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandToyota to recall cars with Denso fuel pumps

General Motors vehicles recalled for potential fuel leaks

Warren, MI– December 10, 2020 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 194,105 vehicles due to missing bolts on the start-stop accumulator end cap. The missing bolts may result in a transmission oil leak, a loss of vehicle power or an engine fire. This General Motors (GM) recall includes:

  • 2018-2019 Chevrolet Cruze sedans
  • 2018-2019 Buick LaCrosse sedans
  • 2018-2020 Chevrolet Equinox SUVs
  • 2018-2020 Chevrolet Traverse SUVs
  • 2018-2020 GMC Terrain SUVs
  • 2018 Chevrolet Malibu sedans
  • 2019-2020 Buick Encore SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Buick Enclave SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Cadillac XT4 SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet Blazer SUVs
  • 2019-2020 GMC Acadia SUVs
  • 2020 Cadillac XT6 sedans

Recall summary  

Your vehicle’s transmission is designed to transfer engine power to the driveshaft. The start-stop accumulator shuts down the engine when it is not in use to achieve better fuel economy and cut down on emissions.

Each start-stop transmission accumulator is attached using four bolts. In the case of the recalled vehicles, due to a supplier software error, two of the required bolts are missing

Risks 

Missing bolts can create a number of issues:

  • Transmission oil leak: A leak may damage other engine parts, and driving the vehicle without the proper amount of oil or transmission fluid may damage the engine.
  • Loss of vehicle power: A loss of power may prevent the driver from accelerating into a busy road or onto a highway, increasing the risk of an accident. A power loss may also reduce the driver’s ability to speed up to avoid an accident. Finally, the vehicle may slow down on its own until it comes to a complete stop, increasing the risk of being struck by another vehicle coming up from behind.
  • Increased risk of fire: A fire can injure the vehicle occupants, or cause the driver to lose control and cause an accident. This article explains what you should do if you believe your vehicle is on fire.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to check the start-stop accumulator end cap and determine if any bolts are missing. If they are, the dealer will replace the end cap at no cost to the owner. GM expects the recall to begin on December 14, 2020.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

This GM oil leak recall includes over 194,000 vehicles. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydGeneral Motors vehicles recalled for potential fuel leaks

Volkswagen 2018 Tiguans recalled for potential seat belt tear

Auburn Hills, MI – December 9, 2020Volkswagen Group (NASDAQ:VWAGY) has recalled 10,835 vehicles, due to an issue with the front seat belts. If a crash occurs, a seat belt’s webbing may tear, and the belt will not properly restrain the occupant.This Volkswagen (VW) recall includes certain 2018 Tiguan LWB SUVs.

Recall summary  

A seat belt tear (referred to by Volkswagen as a rupture) was initially noted during tests performed by the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) in December 2017. 

  • During each test, the vehicle was driven at 35 mph into a full frontal impact, and the front driver side seat belt ruptured. 
  • The seat belt webbing separated completely in the area of the seat belt latch.

In 2020, Volkswagen ran a series of tests but could not determine the root cause of the seat belt issue uncovered by NHTSA. Despite that, VW recalled the vehicles “out of abundance of caution.” Vehicles that are being recalled may have received seat belts from the same production lot used in the NHTSA test.

Risks 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “[m]otor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among those aged 1-54 in the U.S.” More than half of the fatalities in people aged 13-44 years occurred when they were not buckled into a seat belt. 

If a seat belt malfunctions and does not restrain the occupant, the individual may be injured inside of the car or thrown from the vehicle.

The repair

To fix this potential 2018 Tiguan problem, dealers will replace front seat belts with seat belts from a different production lot. The repair is free of charge. Volkswagen expects the recall to begin on January 19, 2021. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 10,800 vehicles are included in this Volkswagen recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydVolkswagen 2018 Tiguans recalled for potential seat belt tear

Tesla recalls 2016 Model X over reports of roof pieces flying off

Pleasanton, CA – December, 8 2020 – Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) has recalled 9,136 2016 Tesla Model X SUVs whose roof panels may detach from the car while it is driving, leaving obstacles in the road and possibly endangering other drivers. This recall was announced alongside a Tesla steering bolt recall of 2020 Model Y.

Recall summary  

The  recall concerns two panels, or “appliques,” on the roof of the Model X—one behind the windshield and the other between the falcon doors—that may fall off while the car is in motion. The panels are attached to the SUV using urethane adhesive. With many strong glues, it is important to use a primer to make sure the glue sticks to the surfaces it’s joining. Tesla believes its applique supplier was inconsistent in how it primed the panels, and that this is why some of them are falling off. 

Tesla said it first became aware of the issue on September 21, 2020, but owners have been posting images of their detached Model X roof panels on Tesla forums since at least June 2019. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received four driver complaints, starting in August 2017, of roof panels detaching from the 2016 Model X.

Risks

In its filing with NHTSA, Tesla admits that “if the applique separates from the vehicle while in drive, it could create a road hazard for following motorists and increase their risk of injury or a crash.” Tesla has received no reports of injuries or accidents caused by fly-away appliques, but the danger was obvious to one driver of a 2016 Model X who reported seeing a “top glass piece” (actually shiny plastic) that flew off the car “at freeway speeds. Not good.” The report, filed with the NHTSA, added that the piece  “could easily have killed someone in another car.” 

The dangers of road debris

Road debris is one of the top causes of injuries and deaths. For our previous reporting on the topic, please check out this page.

The repair

Owners may be able to see these panels separating from the roof, or they may hear a noise as wind causes the panel to vibrate against the car. Even if there are no signs of detachment, owners should take recalled vehicles to a dealer, who will test whether the panels in question are firmly attached. If they fail the test, the dealer will apply primer and attach the panels to the car properly, free of charge. 

Tesla has not yet reported to NHTSA when they expect this recall to begin.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 9,000 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 2016 Model X over reports of roof pieces flying off

Mercedes GLE-class SUVs recalled for faulty seat belt design

Pleasanton, CA – December 4, 2020 – Daimler AG (OTCMKTS:DDAIF) has recalled 55,326 Mercedes vehicles, due to an issue with the middle seat belt buckle. The seat belt buckle may be pushed down below the seat cushion if the buckle is fastened using only one hand. A passenger who cannot access a seatbelt and rides unrestrained is at a greater risk of injury. This Mercedes-Benz recall includes:

  • 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 SUVs
  • 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 SUVs
  • 2020 Mercedes- Benz GLE580 SUVs
  • 2020 – 2021  Mercedes-Benz GLE350 SUVs
  • 2020 – 2021  Mercedes-Benz GLE450 SUVs

Recall summary  

The middle seat in the second row is designed with a double-buckle configuration. The design of the seat belt buckle and the seat cushion may cause the buckle to be pushed down into a gap below the seat cushion. This issue may occur when the seat belt is buckled with one hand or is otherwise pushed firmly down. The driver will not be notified the seat belt is unavailable to  the middle-seat occupant.

In 2019, nine owners brought vehicles to Mercedes dealers to remove the seat belt buckle from underneath the seat cushion. In that same year, the manufacturer conducted a recall for 20 different 2018-2019 models. In that case, the cars’ software failed to recognize that the seat belts were latched, leading to a potential malfunction of other systems.

Risks 

If an occupant is not properly restrained, the individual has a much higher risk of injury if a crash occurs. Seat belts are a major factor in passenger safety. It is estimated that seat belt use saved nearly 15,000 lives in 2017.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to inspect the middle seat belt and “additionally secure” it in place, so that it can no longer be pushed below the seat cushion. The repair is free of charge.  Mercedes expects the recall to begin December 29.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 55,000 vehicles are included in this Mercedes recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydMercedes GLE-class SUVs recalled for faulty seat belt design

Hyundai issues second recall of Veracruz SUVs for oil leak

Pleasanton, CA – December 5, 2020 – Hyundai (OTCMKTS: HYMTF) is recalling 60,097 2007-2012 Veracruz SUVs to repair an oil leak that could cause the car to stall.  This is the second time these cars have been recalled for this issue.

Recall summary

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacted Hyundai in September after receiving multiple complaints about an issue that should have been resolved by a 2014 recall. Engine oil may be leaking through a faulty rubber gasket on the engine cylinder, where it could drip on the car’s alternator, disabling it. Without the alternator, the car cannot charge itself while running, which will eventually result in a stall.

NHTSA determined that 1% of the vehicles repaired during the first recall went on to have oil leaks due to mistakes made by the dealers  during the previous round of repairs.

Safety tips

Even though Hyundai says it knows of no crashes or injuries caused by these failing alternators, stalling does raise the risk of accidents, injuries, and worse. Veracruz drivers should keep an eye on the airbag, battery, and check engine warning lights, which may illuminate if the alternator is in trouble. Even if the vehicle does not stall, drivers may notice their cars surging or hesitating as the charging system dies.  Here are some tips on what to do if your car stalls.

Repair

Hyundai will send updated repair instructions to dealers, who will fix the leaky gasket for free. Hyundai will also reimburse owners of recalled cars who have already paid to have the  gasket fixed. The recall should begin in early January 2021. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 60,000 cars are included in this Hyundai recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check your car for open recalls.

Rebecca RandHyundai issues second recall of Veracruz SUVs for oil leak

General Motors ordered to recall 5.9 million cars equipped with Takata airbags

Pleasanton, CA – December, 3 2020 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered General Motors (NYSE:GM) to recall 5,888,421 pickup trucks and SUVs built with potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators, which could explode and fling deadly shrapnel into vehicle occupants. The infamous airbag inflators have already killed 27 people and injured at least 250 more, and are part of the largest auto recall in history. The latest installment of the recall – which already encompasses 19 car manufacturers and “tens of millions” of cars – includes the following GM models on the GMT900 platform: 

  • 2007-2014 Cadillac Escalade ESV and EXT SUVs
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Avalanche pickups
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2500/3500 pickups
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Suburban SUVs
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs
  • 2007-2014 GMC Sierra 1500 and 2500/3500 pickups
  • 2007-2014 GMC Yukon XL SUVs

Recall summary

The recall concerns the vehicles’ passenger-side airbag inflators. The inflators use ammonium nitrate to generate a small explosion to inflate the airbags. If this volatile chemical is exposed to heat and humidity, it becomes porous. The extra surface area in this microscopic swiss-cheese allows the ammonium nitrate to burn faster, thus causing a much stronger explosion than intended. This explosion can blow up the inflator and send bits of shrapnel flying into vehicle occupants at high speeds, potentially maiming or killing them.

NHTSA first ordered GM to recall the affected cars in 2016. The company had recalled 330,198 vehicles on the GMT900 platform in May 2015, but argued that the rest of vehicles that are now being recalled should be excluded because the airbag defect was “inconsequential.” This argument was rejected by NHTSA on November 23. Despite disagreeing with the decision,  GM said it would not appeal.

‘Almost no data’ to back up claims

NHTSA consulted air-bag chemical expert Harold Blomquist regarding these findings, who rebutted GM’s many claims that unique design features could prevent their inflators from exploding. “GM expended little effort over the last two years to methodically study the claimed features in order to substantiate their effectiveness,” he said in his 75-page review of GM’s petition. As a result, Blomquist said, GM had “almost no data” to back up their claims that their Takata airbags were somehow less dangerous.

Previous Takata airbag recalls

Automakers have been issuing ever-expanding recalls of Takata airbags for seven years, with 100 million inflators recalled worldwide. Volkswagen, BMW and Honda all recalled cars this and past year because of the airbag issue.

Repair

GM will replace the Takata airbags with a different model, free of charge. More information about the recall schedule should be released by December 24. 

What to do if you own a recalled vehicle

NHTSA has issued a few broad recommendations for drivers in the Takata recall population:

  1. Don’t have your dealer disable your airbags. “It is much more likely that your airbag will perform properly and protect you in a crash than cause harm,” NHTSA says.
  2. “If you feel uncomfortable continuing to drive your vehicle before it is repaired, you should contact your dealer to see if they will provide a loaner until the repair is completed,” NHTSA says. Dealers and manufacturers aren’t required to provide loaners, but it can’t hurt to ask. 
  3. If you’re offered an interim repair, take it. Some automakers will offer to replace the old Takatas with newer ones, which are safer. “It is an inconvenience to have your vehicle serviced twice and to wait for a final repair,” NHTSA says, “But rejecting an interim replacement air bag is not worth the continued higher risk of injury or even death to you, your family, and your friends while waiting for the final repair.”

Some automakers have advised riders not to sit in the front passenger seat. 

Here is the list of vehicles that NHTSA says should NOT be driven.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 6 million vehicles are included in this GM Takata Airbag recall. Use MotorSafety’s free lookup tool to see if your vehicle is affected. 

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors ordered to recall 5.9 million cars equipped with Takata airbags