Tesla asked to recall Model X and S vehicles over potential loss of essential functions

Palo Alto, CA – January 19, 2021 – A U.S. government agency has asked Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) to recall 158,716 Model S and Model X cars over its faulty main display screens, also known as the media control units (MCU). Software issues may cause the screens to turn off, resulting in the driver losing access to essential safety-related  information.

The ask is not an order and gives Tesla the opportunity to conduct a voluntary recall before the agency pursues further action.

The letter and the loss of essential features

On January 13, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent a letter to Tesla asking it to recall 2012-2018 Tesla Model S sedans and 2016-2018 Tesla Model X SUVs. The move was precipitated by a NHTSA investigation sparked by several thousands of complaints submitted to both the manufacturer and NHTSA directly, alleging issues with the screens.

In conversations with NHTSA the automaker acknowledged that all of the main display screens  were expected to fail eventually because the flash memory devices – that power the screens – wear out after a certain number of on-off cycles.  NHTSA found that their useful life is about five to six years, which is “insufficient” from the safety standpoint.

When the screens crash, they rob the driver of access to vital safety features, like defrosting, defogging and the backup camera. Other essential features, such as “audible chimes” that alert drivers to changes in the vehicle, may also disappear.

‘Huge negligence on the part of Tesla’

A lawsuit alleging that the screens fail  “after only a few years of normal use” was filed in May of last year and included 2014-2016 Model S and 2015-2016 Model X. In response, In November, Tesla expanded warranties to cover this defect and swerve away from a recall.  

A complaint filed in late December by the owner of a 2012 Tesla Model S alleged that the car’s heater and defroster stopped working right after a Tesla service center supposedly resolved the touchscreen issue, resulting in limited visibility while driving in the rain. The driver called the issue “a huge negligence on the part of Tesla.

Safety concerns

NHTSA’s letter highlighted three main safety concerns that arise when the media control units in these Tesla vehicles crash.

Drivers cannot see the backup camera

New laws require cars built starting in May 2018 (and a certain percentage of cars starting in May 2016) must include a functioning backup camera. NHTSA asserts that if no backup camera feed is visible to the driver, the risk of a crash increases, “potentially causing injury or death.”

Drivers cannot control defogging or defrosting systems

These systems are considered essential to driver visibility. According to  NHTSA’s letter to Tesla, “the lack of a functioning windshield defogging and defrosting system may decrease the driver’s visibility in inclement weather, increasing the risk of crash.”

Drivers cannot hear alert chimes, such as turn signal “blinker sounds”

The car may no longer make clicking sounds that audibly remind the driver that the turn signal is engaged. Inability to receive these alerts compromises the safety of the driver and other motorists on the road.

Recent Tesla recalls

In November, Tesla Model X recall was launched for the 2016 model years because of pieces of the roof potentially flying off and striking other drivers.

Is your Model X or S affected?

It is possible that Tesla will recall these cars to resolve the MCU issue. At the moment, however, the number of potentially affected cars and the timeline of any corrective action are unknown. Bookmark MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check if your car is affected when details surrounding this potential recall become available. 

Rebecca RandTesla asked to recall Model X and S vehicles over potential loss of essential functions

Honda CR-V vehicles recalled for window switch issue

Torrance, CA – January 18, 2021 – Honda Motor Company (NYSE:HMC) has recalled 268,655 Honda CR-V vehicles, due to a faulty power window switch. If moisture enters the power window master switch, the switch may fail or melt, increasing the risk of a fire. The recall includes 2002-2006 Honda CR-V vehicles.

Recall summary  

Power windows in these cars are operated by a master switch located in the door panel. Heavy rain may cause water to enter the driver’s side window. If the water reaches these Honda CR-Vs’ power window master switch, it may damage the switch’s circuit board, causing the switch to fail. In some cases, it may also result in a short circuit, which may overheat and melt the switch connectors. This situation can lead to a fire.

Risks 

If the driver’s side power windows do not operate correctly, the issue may distract the driver, increasing the risk of a crash. In addition, the water issue may cause a fire, which can injure the car occupants and greatly up the risk of a crash.

As of November 2020, the manufacturer has been notified of 23 fires related to this recall, as well as 87 “thermal events,” such as melting and smoke.

Second recall

Honda originally recalled the same vehicles for an identical power window switch issue in 2012. However, customers continued to report thermal events. Honda found that the problem actually occurred more often in the vehicles that had had the recall repair. This second recall will replace rather than simply repair the switch.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to replace the power window CR-V master switch. Dealers will also inspect the wiring harness –  which is a set of wires and connectors that power the vehicle – and replace it  if necessary.

The repair is free of charge, and Honda expects the recall to begin January 18, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 250,000 vehicles are included in this Honda CR-V 2006 recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydHonda CR-V vehicles recalled for window switch issue

Mitsubishi recalls Outlander vehicles for parking brake issue

Franklin, TN – January 15, 2021 – Mitsubishi Corporation (NASDAQ:MSBHF) has recalled 21,758 vehicles, due to corrosion in the parking brake system. The parking brakes may not operate correctly, increasing the risk of a crash. The recall includes 2016  Mitsubishi Outlander and 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport vehicles.

Recall summary  

The parking brake system prevents the car from rolling away when parked on a hill by engaging rear brakes, which lock the rear wheels of a car in place. 

Due to a supplier assembly error, the rear brakes of these cars may lack a rust prevention coating. Without that coating, water may penetrate the brake system and corrode it. As a result, the parking brake may fail and not keep the car from rolling away.

Risks 

If the driver believes that the parking brake is set and the brake malfunctions, the vehicle may roll into traffic, hit another parked vehicle or injure a pedestrian. This is particularly dangerous if the vehicle is parked on an incline.

Other Mitsubishi Outlander recalls

Outlander and Outlander Sport cars are subject to several recent recalls.  Both cars, for example, were among the ones recalled back in the summer for improperly designed seat belts. They are also subject to a May recall due to a part of the suspension detaching due to corrosion.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to replace the rear brake caliper assemblies. The repair is free of charge. Mitsubishi expects the recall to begin January 25, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 21,000 vehicles are included in this Mitsubishi Outlander recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydMitsubishi recalls Outlander vehicles for parking brake issue

Honda CR-V, Accord, Insight recalled for battery charging issue

Torrance, CA – January 14, 2021 – Honda Motor Company (NYSE:HMC) has recalled 27,838 vehicles due to an issue that may prevent the 12-volt battery from recharging properly. If the battery does not recharge, the vehicle may  lose power. The recall includes: 

  • 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid SUVs
  • 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid sedans
  • 2020-2021 Honda Insight hybrid sedans

Recall summary  

The 12-volt battery provides backup power for electrically-powered vehicles. If the vehicle’s hybrid battery is depleted, the 12-volt battery serves as an additional power source.

An excess amount of fuel additives and cold temperatures can cause “overvoltage” of a power converter unit (PCU), which powers these cars’ 12-volt battery. This may prevent that battery from recharging and may drain the car battery. Drivers may be alerted to the possibility of that happening when the 12-volt battery warning light is illuminated, and a warning message is displayed.

If both the hybrid battery and the 12-volt battery are depleted, the vehicle may lose all power, which increases the risk of a crash. 

Risks 

While there have been no reports of crashes or injuries related to the issue, there have been 53 warranty claims and 65 field reports as of December 10, 2020. 

The loss of battery power creates a number of risks:

  • Drivers may not be able to accelerate to enter a traffic lane or to avoid other vehicles and prevent an accident.
  • If the vehicle loses power on a highway or at higher speeds, it is at risk of getting hit.
  • The driver and occupants may be stranded in extreme weather in a vehicle with no power.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to update the software in the PCU. The repair is free of charge. Honda expects the recall to begin on February 25, 2021. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 27,800 vehicles are included in this Honda Accord recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydHonda CR-V, Accord, Insight recalled for battery charging issue

General Motors continues recall of heavy duty pickups with faulty seat belts

Warren, MI – January 5, 2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) is continuing  a recall of 38,048 heavy-duty trucks that were built with the driver- and front passenger-side seat belt parts meant for other cars. The recall includes the following pickup trucks:

  • 2017-2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500
  • 2017-2018 GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500

The name of the affected component is Retractor ASM-F/Seat Belt with part numbers 84253641, 84253686, 84234013 and 84234008.

Recall summary  

The recall concerns the seat belt torsion bars, which help the seat belt hold a passenger during a crash and protect him or her from an upper body injury. The bars a supplier of General Motors (GM) installed in these vehicle models in the seat belt retractors were the wrong size and had not gone through crash testing.  These bars are typically used in “other full-size trucks,” according to GM.

Continuation of the 2017 recall

This is a continuation of a recall that was originally announced in September 2017. A month after starting the original recall GM petitioned the auto industry regulator – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – to be released from going through with the recall, based on the belief that the different seat belt part would be “inconsequential” to safety. 

The regulator disagreed and denied GM’s petition in November 2020. Between fall of 2017 and spring of 2019, the automaker recalled and fixed over 10,000 cars.

Other Chevy Silverado recalls

A different model year of Chevy Silverado 2500 is subject to a recent recall launched on the back of faulty airbag end caps that may fly off and injure or distract the car occupants. 2020-2021 Silverado 2500 and 3500, as well as GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 trucks, are involved in another seat belt recall, also as reported. The seat belts on these cars may similarly fail to protect the driver and passengers due to being loose.

Risks

A seat belt meant for another car may not work as expected. This can lead to an injury or death for the car’s  driver and passengers.

Read more about seat belt safety in this Chrysler seat belt recall article.

The repair

GM will replace the seat belt retractor with one with the correct size torsion bar, free of charge. GM began notifying owners on December 28, but the repair will not be available until after March 17. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 38,000 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 continues recall of heavy duty pickups with faulty seat belts

Volkswagen recalls over 100,000 cars equipped with Takata airbag inflators

Auburn Hills, MI – January 4, 2020 – Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY) has recalled 105,652 Beetles and Beetle convertibles whose driver-side Takata airbag inflators could explode, hitting the occupants of the vehicle with its potentially lethal metal fragments.

This is the latest in the series of widespread Takata airbag recalls. General Motors and Nissan recently announced their own recalls associated with these dangerous airbags.

This round of recalls involves the following model years:

  • 2012 Volkswagen Beetle compact cars, as well as the 2013 and 2014 models
  • 2012 Volkswagen Beetle convertibles, as well as the 2013 and 2014 models

Recall summary

Cars involved in this ever-growing Takata airbag recall were made with Takata inflators that may blow up during a crash and hurl metal fragments at the driver and passenger, injuring or killing them. 

The airbags on these Volkswagen Beetle convertible and compact cars are no exception, despite being made with a desiccant, or drying agent, that was designed to prevent moisture – which is one of the factors in the explosion – from getting into the airbags.  However, while the addition of the drying agent does help, it does not fully prevent these inflators from degrading, resulting in a high risk of an explosion. The risk becomes higher as the inflators age, according to a study submitted to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) on behalf of the manufacturers involved in the Takata recall in 2019.

Volkswagen’s internal efforts failed to show that these airbags were dangerous. However, the manufacturer agreed to recall the cars “out of an abundance of caution.”

To read more about the background of the Takata airbag recall, please see the following article about a recent General Motors’ recall due to the same issue.

Risks

Exploding inflators pose a serious threat to the safety of car occupants. More than 25 people have been killed and at least 250 injured so far in the Takata airbag recall, which has turned into the biggest automotive recalls in U.S. history. 

The report provided by NHTSA to the public about the recall does not furnish any information about injuries associated with this particular Volkswagen recall.

Additional recalls

This is only the first round of Volkswagen recalls to replace desiccated Takata airbag inflators. The manufacturer has agreed to issue further recalls as vehicles age. The next recall, which will take place in 2023, will include 2015-2016 Volkswagen Beetles and Beetle convertibles. 2017-2019 Beetles and convertibles will be recalled in 2025, along with 2011-2014 Passats.

Repair

Volkswagen dealers will replace the airbag with one that does not contain ammonium nitrate. The repair is not yet available. Owners will be notified by mail starting February 12, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 100,000 vehicles are included in this Volkswagen recall. Use MotorSafety’s free lookup tool to see if your vehicle is affected. 

Rebecca RandVolkswagen recalls over 100,000 cars equipped with Takata airbag inflators