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Nate is a freelance editor with experience creating content for the automotive, SaaS and accounting industries.

Volkswagen Passat recall for airbag with excessive force

Pleasanton, CA – September 2 2020 – Volkswagen Group of America (NASDAQ:VWAPY) has recalled 1,829 Passat vehicles whose airbags do not deploy correctly in the event of a crash. The recall includes 2020 Volkswagen Passat vehicles.

Recall summary  

The frontal air bag on the passenger side may not have been folded correctly, which may cause it to deploy “too forcefully” in a collision. These airbags are in noncompliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standard number 208 “Occupant crash protection”.

Risks 

Airbags provide cushioning to protect passengers during a crash and keep the occupant from being thrown outside of the car during a collision.

When a crash is severe enough to deploy the air bags, sensors inflate the bags with gas in less than a second. If the airbag deploys with too much force, the passenger may be injured.

According to documents found on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration if a small child is standing on the passenger floor, the child may be injured when the faulty airbag deploys.

The repair

Volkswagen with notify owners and dealers by October 30. To fix the issue, the latter will  replace the airbags free of charge when the repair is available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 1,800 vehicles are included in this Volkswagen Passat recall. Use MotorSafety’s VIN look up tool to discover if your vehicle is affected by this recall.

Nate GouldsbroughVolkswagen Passat recall for airbag with excessive force

Chevrolet Silverado Pickup Trucks Recalled for Faulty ABS Indicator Light

Pleasanton, CA – July 17, 2020 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 12,200 Chevy Silverado trucks that may fail to indicate to the driver that there is a problem with the car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS), increasing the risk of  a crash. The recall includes:

  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet 4500HD Silverado Medium Duty trucks
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet 5500HD Silverado Medium Duty trucks
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet 6500HD Silverado Medium Duty trucks

Recall summary  

On May 29, General Motors decided that certain 2019-2020 Chevrolet   Medium Duty 4500HD/5500HD/6500HD trucks do not comply with a federal regulation requiring the ABS light to illuminate during certain kinds of malfunctions.

Vehicles use several control modules to operate many aspects of the car. GM houses many of these modules together in a grouping called the Body Control Module (BCM), which coordinates many functions in the vehicle, including as the speedometer, the instrumentation panel and the chime warnings.

Another module, called the Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM), reads sensors in the braking system, and uses that information to activate the ABS as needed for sudden braking, stability or traction control. These two systems need to communicate for the safety of the driver.

In the recalled vehicles, the ABS light fails to illuminate when the BCM can’t communicate with the EBCM. This means that the driver will not be notified when there is a problem with the ABS.

Risks 

It is important for drivers to know if there is a problem with the anti-lock brakes. Driving without the ABS, particularly in bad weather, can be dangerous because the vehicle may not handle braking on slippery surfaces the way it is supposed to.

When a vehicle skids, the tires lose traction with the ground and the driver can no longer steer, increasing the risk of a crash.

The repair

The affected trucks need a software update for the BCM. The update itself should take approximately 35 minutes, but GM advises owners in its owner notification letter that it may take longer “because of service scheduling requirements.”

The repair is available now and is free of charge.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 12,000 cars are included in this Chevy recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Nate GouldsbroughChevrolet Silverado Pickup Trucks Recalled for Faulty ABS Indicator Light

Volkswagen recalls nearly 13,000 Audi luxury sedans for engine fire risk

Pleasanton, CA – July 16th, 2020 – Volkswagen (OTCMKTS: VWAGY) is recalling  all 2013-2018 Audi S8 and A8 vehicles that were manufactured between June 2012 and July 2017. The company warns that a faulty part of the engine compartment may increase the risk of a fire.

Recall summary

The recall stems from an issue with the engine compartment seal, a flexible strip that seals the engine compartment against the hood and helps keep the engine cool.

In “rare cases,” after being exposed to large temperature fluctuations near the hot engine, metal inside the rubber seal can warp and deform the seal. As a result, the seal—and possibly components surrounding it—can scorch and cause a fire.

Smells like trouble

The first sign of a problem for one Audi owner in McKinney, Texas, was a “rubber/plastic smell coming from under the hood,” the driver said in a post to an Audi World forum.

“I opened things up and the rubber seal (that seals the engine compartment against the hood when it is closed) had fallen off right above one of the turbo assemblies.”

The poster drives a 2016 Audi S8 and claimed to have looked into the issue back in March, four months before Volkswagen issued their recall.

Volkswagen became aware of incidents of burning and warping  seals in September 2019, but received no reports from North America.

Safety tips

If you smell something burning while driving, stop the car someplace safe. Check the tires first. Wait for the engine to cool down before popping the hood to take  a look– you  do not want to burn your fingers on a hot component. 

If you suspect there is an actual fire under the hood, do not open it. Oxygen will rush in and feed the flames. Instead, get yourself and others away from the vehicle, at least 100 feet. Call the fire department at 911 when you are in a secure location. Do not return to the vehicle for any reason.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), car fires kill over 300 people a year on average. But, the number may be higher because it is often hard to tell whether the person died from the crash or from the fire. Between 2008 and 2017, vehicle fires caused, on average, over a thousand injuries per year. 

The repair

Volkswagen dealers will install a retaining plate that will hold the engine seal in place and keep it from loosening. As of [date of publication] the repair is not yet available. Repairs may be forthcoming by September, when the recall officially begins.

In the meantime, customers can check the condition of their engine compartment seal by looking under the hood to see if the seal is in the correct position. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 13,000 cars are included in this Volkswagen recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check your car for open recalls.

Nate GouldsbroughVolkswagen recalls nearly 13,000 Audi luxury sedans for engine fire risk

Fiat Chrysler’s loose brand emblem may impale drivers, passengers in a collision

Pleasanton, CA – July 7, 2020 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (NYSE:FCAU) is recalling 925,239 vehicles because of a loose or a missing brand emblem that may be flung at the drivers and passengers during a crash, potentially causing serious injury. The recall includes:

  • 2008-2010 Chrysler Town & Country
  • 2008-2010 Dodge Grand Caravan
  • 2007-2011 Dodge Nitro

Recall summary

The plastic brand emblem on the steering wheel, as well as the nuts securing it, form part of the airbag cover. As a result of a design flaw, these components may detach and injure the driver and passengers, especially if the driver airbag deploys  during a crash.

Safety risks

There are 14 known injuries caused by this defect. One report filed in 2013 with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes how one man received a “huge laceration” from a Dodge emblem that was flung into his forearm during a crash. “It could have knocked out his eye, entered his heart or even slashed his throat,” his spouse said in the report. Another near miss was reported in 2011, when an Oregon driver noticed, after a crash, that the emblem on her 2007 Dodge Nitro had shot off the steering wheel when the airbags went off and ended up in the passenger-side door. The driver was concerned with how forcefully the emblem had flown off the wheel.

Airbags deploy at speeds between 100 and 200 miles per hour within 30 to 50 milliseconds. Additionally, “objects in the path of a deploying airbag can become injurious, potentially lethal projectiles.” Even without the boost of an airbag, any loose object in a crashing vehicle can impale an occupant at close to the speed the vehicle was going before it crashed. For example, in 2015, surgeons in Rhode Island found a dime lodged in a crash victim’s leg. It had passed through his femur. The dime was bent.

Repair

FCA intends to replace the driver airbag cover on all affected vehicles. Replacements are set to be available by September. In the meantime, FCA has offered to remove emblems from the airbag cover as an “interim repair.” 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 900,000 cars are included in this Fiat Chrysler recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check your car for open recalls.

Nate GouldsbroughFiat Chrysler’s loose brand emblem may impale drivers, passengers in a collision

GM recalls vehicles with defective air bags

Warren, Mich. – Nov. 9, 2017 – General Motors has recalled more than one-dozen vehicles potentially equipped with defective air bag assemblies, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models across two brands, including:

  • 2015-2016 Chevrolet Colorado pickup tucks produced between Oct. 10, 2014 and Feb. 6, 2016.
  • 2016 Chevrolet Volt electric sedans produced between Oct. 16 and Dec. 14, 2015.
  • 2015-2016 GMC Canyon pickup trucks produced between Oct. 13, 2014 and Aug. 2, 2015.

GM suspects that all of the vehicles referenced in this recall contain the defect components.

The Defect

Affected vehicles include driver-side front air bag assemblies with second-stage inflators that may malfunction upon deployment, thus failing to completely fill the corresponding air bags or do so within the regulated time span. This poses a serious risk to drivers involved in collisions, as they are less protected and therefore more likely to sustain injuries upon impact. However, GM has yet to receive reports connecting the defective air bag assemblies to any injuries or accidents.

Timeline of Events

In March 2016, GM recalled more than 1,500 vehicles after its air bag supplier, Key Safety Systems, discovered that some of its shipped frontal air bag assemblies failed to meet cold-weather fill-time requirements, according to an NHTSA Safety Recall Report. Specifically, these fixtures came equipped with second-stage inflators without the chemical mixture required to effectively facilitate deployment and fill frontal air bags as much or as quickly as required by law.

In the months following the March 2016 recall, KSS evaluated its inflators to determine whether mistakes were made during assembly or problems developed due to long-term vehicle use. During this analysis, the parts provider discovered another batch of defective filters that had been shipped to GM and installed in vehicles not referenced in the March 2016 action. KSS notified GM of the issue May 4, 2017. Approximately six days later, the automaker opened an internal investigation to better understand the problem.

Over the next four months, GM and KSS worked together to analyze the filters received during the March 2016 recall. This data allowed KSS to improve the accuracy of its existing strategy for detecting incorrectly assembled inflators, which involved the evaluation of component weight. The parts provider used this methodology to find defective inflators installed in non-recalled GM vehicles.

With this new information in hand, the GM Safety and Field Action Decision Authority elected to issue a voluntary safety recall Sept. 28. The car manufacturer notified dealers Oct. 5.

The Solution

GM has directed dealers to replace the driver-side frontal air bag assemblies in affected models free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. The automaker plans to notify owners via first-class mail Dec. 4. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Chevrolet customer service at (800) 222-1020 or GMC customer service at (800) 462-8782. Callers should use the internal GM recall identification number 17387. Owners can also reach out the NHTSA directly using its toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Nate GouldsbroughGM recalls vehicles with defective air bags

Maserati recalls vehicles with defective fuel pump resistors

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Oct. 24, 2017 – Maserati North America has recalled more than 430 vehicles possibly produced with defective fuel pump resistors, according to a company defect report. The campaign affects 2015-2017 Maserati Quattroporte luxury sports sedans with eight-valve engines. The Italian automaker suspects 100 percent of the models referenced in this action contain defective parts.

The Defect

The vehicles involved in this recall contain low-pressure fuel pump resistors that could fail unexpectedly due to cycle time and temperature fatigue. In the event that failure occurs, the fuel pump ceases operation and the engine stalls. This poses a serious threat to occupants, as sudden fuel pump failure can increase the likelihood of an accident. That said, Maserati has not received reports linking the defect to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

On July 11, 2017, a Japanese parts provider responsible for supporting Maserati production operations informed the car company that local government officials had conducted a vehicle warranty claims audit and found that 11 Quattroporte had filed reports detailing instances of fuel pump resistor failure. Maserati immediately launched an internal investigation into the claims. Engineers conducted a global claims analysis and found that 119 additional owners had filed similar reports worldwide. Most of the vehicles mentioned in these documents experienced fuel pump resistor failure at the 19,500-mile mark.

In late July, the car company conducted a parts analysis on the defective fuel pump resistors and found that high temperature and current flow were the root causes of failure. The fixtures were designed to handle a maximum current of 15 amps and at a temperature of 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit. Those installed in the vehicles referenced in the reports routinely experienced current flows of 14 amps, combined with temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

After reviewing this and other data, Maserati quality and safety personnel decided to conduct a voluntary recall Sept. 22.

The Solution

The car company will direct dealers to replace the fuel pump resistors in affected models free of charge, according to a recall acknowledgment document from the NHTSA. Maserati plans to notify both dealers and owners of the action Nov. 13, 2017. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Maserati customer service representatives at (201) 510-2369. Callers should use the internal recall identification number 359. Owners can also reach out the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Nate GouldsbroughMaserati recalls vehicles with defective fuel pump resistors