rebecca

Rebecca Rand is a freelance science and technology writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She drives a 2010 Toyota Yaris.

Toyota recalls Yaris cars for risk of stalling

Plano, TX – September 18, 2021 – Toyota (NYSE:TM) is recalling 31,307 cars with defective fuel pumps built by Denso (OTCMKTS:DNZOY), which is partially owned by Toyota. This issue may cause cars to stall, increasing the risk of a crash. The faulty pumps have been subject to ongoing recalls that has affected millions of cars. The latest installment includes:

  • 2019 Toyota Yaris
  • 2020 Toyota Yaris

Recall summary  

The recall centers around the car’s fuel pump, which moves gas from the tank to the engine, as reported. The defective Denso fuel pumps use a plastic disk called an impeller to move gas to the pump from the tank. These impellers can weaken and deform as they soak in fuel, which may cause the pump to fail.

Risks

Vehicles with broken fuel pumps are starved of gasoline and will stall. Stalling while driving may result in the car getting hit from behind, injuring the drivers and the passengers of both vehicles.  

Warning signs

Drivers should keep an eye on the check engine light, and know that “rough running” or failure to start are signs that something may be wrong with the fuel pump.

Safety tips

If your car stalls out on the road:

  • Turn on your hazard lights.
  • Shift into neutral and steer your car to the shoulder. 
  • Call for help.
  • Stay in the car. The shoulder can be dangerous for pedestrians.

Other Toyota recalls

​​The 2020 Toyota Yaris has not been subject to any other recalls, while the 2019 model-year was recalled for incorrect and faulty labels in May and June 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) records. 

This is at least a third recall for Toyota caused by the faulty Denso pumps. Close to five million Toyota vehicles have been affected so far. Subaru and Honda have also been forced to recall cars made with these pumps, as reported.

The repair

Toyota dealers will replace the defective fuel pump with a new one. Owners who repaired their fuel pumps before receiving the recall notification may be eligible for reimbursement.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 31,000 cars are part of this Denso fuel pump Toyota recall. Check for Toyota recalls with MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandToyota recalls Yaris cars for risk of stalling

Stellantis recalls Ram trucks with faulty airbag inflators

Auburn Hills, MI – September 17, 2021 – Fiat Chrysler, owned by Stellantis (NYSE:STLA), has recalled 212,373 Ram pickup trucks with potentially faulty side-curtain airbag inflators that may rupture and injure vehicle occupants. The recall includes:

  • 2015 -2020 Ram 1500 trucks
  • 2015-2016 Ram 2500 trucks
  • 2015-2016 Ram 3500 trucks

The affected component is the Side Airbag Inflatable Curtain with multiple part numbers, including 68161578AJ.  The airbags were made by Takata’s successor, Joyson Safety Systems.

Recall summary  

As reported, the side-curtain airbags – also known as roof rail airbags – deploy over the windows to drivers’ and passengers’ heads during a crash. The inflators inside them release gas to inflate the airbags quickly.

Due to a manufacturing mistake, moisture got inside some airbag inflators, which could corrode the casing from the inside. The casing could rupture, releasing compressed gas and inflator pieces into the vehicle at high speeds.

Fiat Chrysler is aware of one report of inflator rupture in a 2015 Ram 1500. The automaker expects that 22 percent of trucks in this recall have defective inflators. 

Risks

Read more about the risks of corroded inflator rupture in this recent article about a recall of 2015-2016 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks with corroded Joyson inflators.

Takata airbag recalls

Millions of older cars have been recalled because of faulty airbag inflators that may explode when the airbag is being inflated and hurl sharp metal components at the driver or the passengers. You can read more about these ongoing recalls here.

This recall is not part of the Takata airbag recall, however, because it involves a different type of inflators, according to recall documents.

The repair

Ram dealers will inspect and replace one or both side curtain airbags  as needed. Owner notifications will be sent out starting October 1, 2021. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 212,000 vehicles are included in this Fiat Chrysler airbag recall. To see if your Ram truck is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandStellantis recalls Ram trucks with faulty airbag inflators

Nissan recalls Rogue crossovers over unsecured child car seats

Franklin, TN – September 13, 2021 – Nissan (OTCMKTS:NSANY) has recalled 47,098 compact SUVs with faulty back seat tether wires, which help anchor children’s car seats. The wires may fail to hold the seat during a crash or a sudden stop, increasing the risk of injury for the child in the seat.

The recall includes 2021 Nissan Rogue SUVs and concerns seat backs with multiple part numbers, including 88650 6RC1A/B and 88650 6RD1A/B.

Recall summary  

There are two ways to secure a child seat: with seat belts or with the so-called lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) system. 

The recalled 2021 Nissan Rogues may have some loose car seat anchor points, referred to as “upper tether wires,” that were not welded correctly at the factory. These anchor points are used in car seats with a top tether strap, and may not hold the seat in the event of a crash.

Risks

Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shown that car seats reduce fatalities by 71% for children under one year old, and by 54% for toddlers between one and four years old. In 2017 alone, car seats saved an estimated 312 lives among children under the age of five. 

If car seats are not properly secured to the car, they will not offer this level of protection. A weak anchor point might fail to hold the car seat during a crash or a sudden stop, increasing the risk of injury to the child sitting in it.

Other Nissan recalls

Over 13,000 2021 Nissan Rogues were recalled earlier this year out of concern that their trunk lids  – called liftgates in auto speak – were to separate in the event of a crash, as reported. In May, the same model year was recalled because of a potential brake fluid leak, also as reported.

Repair

Dealers will replace the seat back if necessary.  For further information about when and how to find out about the repairs, see this copy of Nissan’s owner notification letter. 

Nissan recall check

Over 47,000 vehicles are included in this Nissan Rogue recall. Use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to do a Nissan recall VIN check.

Rebecca RandNissan recalls Rogue crossovers over unsecured child car seats

GM recalls Cadillacs for twisted airbags

Warren, MI – September 10, 2021 – General Motors  (NYSE:GM) has recalled 34,157 Cadillac CT sedans that whose roof rail airbags (also called side-curtain airbags) may fail to deploy during a crash, increasing the risk of injury. The recall includes:

  • 2020 – 2022 Cadillac CT4 sedans
  • 2020 – 2022 Cadillac CT5 sedans

Recall summary  

These Cadillacs are built with roof rail airbags, which  deploy like “curtains” over the windows to protect vehicle occupants’ heads during a crash. The airbags are stored compactly folded along the sides of the car’s roof. However, the recalled vehicles’ airbags may actually be twisted, meaning that they may not deploy properly in a crash.

The problem was first discovered over a year ago when a roof rail airbag failed to properly deploy during crash testing conducted by a government safety agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The affected part is the roof rail side airbag with multiple part numbers, including 84929315 and 84929316.

Risks

Side and curtain airbags reduce side-impact crash fatalities by an estimated 31.3%, according to NHTSA. If these airbags do not properly deploy in a crash, this safety benefit is stripped away.

Cadillac recalls

Over the summer, GM recalled close to 400,000 Cadillac and Saab vehicles due to faulty suspension. Rear toe links – which is what keeps tires on the ground and the car stable – on these vehicles were misadjusted leading to some of the recalled vehicles veering uncontrollably off the road. 

The repair

Dealers will inspect both left- and right-side roof rail airbags to see if they are twisted and will untwist them if necessary. This service will be free of charge. Courtesy transportation is available for Cadillac CT owners. Customers will be notified about the recall starting September 20, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 34,000 vehicles are included in this GM airbag recall. To see if your Cadillac is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGM recalls Cadillacs for twisted airbags

General Motors issues third Chevrolet Bolt recall following car fires

Warren, MI – September 9, 2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 52,403 2020 – 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and 2022 Bolt EUV cars whose batteries may catch fire, increasing the risk of death or injury for the car occupants and people around them.

This recall is a result of an ongoing U.S. government investigation, which so far has resulted in three recalls, including this one, and is an expansion of a previous recall conducted in July. There have been multiple fires and at least one injury associated with this recall.

The recall concerns the “High Voltage Battery Pack” with multiple part numbers, including 24042761, 24044172 and  24044527.

Recall summary  

These Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles contain defective high-voltage LG batteries that may catch fire when they are charged to “charged to full, or very close to full, capacity.” In fact, the recall is being conducted on the back of a recent car fire in the recalled population.

The cause of the fire  is the presence of “two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell” but it is not clear what these defects are. 

Previous recalls and an investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which regulates vehicle safety in the U.S., opened an investigation in October after receiving two owner complaints alleging that their vehicles “caught fire under the rear seat while parked and unattended.” The investigation resulted in the first recall which was conducted in November 2020 and included over 50,000 2019, 2018 and 2017 Chevrolet Volt EVs. The cars were outfitted with “diagnostic software” and also received new battery modules. The repair, however, may have been insufficient as the same vehicles were again recalled in July of this year.

Risks

Battery fires are serious: One of the Chevrolet Bolt fires reported to NHTSA took three hours for the fire department to put out, and reportedly caused owners smoke inhalation injuries from the “thick and noxious” fumes it produced. Car battery fires pose a number of risks to vehicle occupants and people nearby, and require specialized firefighting techniques to extinguish. For tips on what to do in the event of a fire, please visit this article about battery fires in BMW hybrids.

Warning signs

Before the Chevy Bolt fire, owners may notice that the battery emits “smoke or heat” or see the battery or “ other vehicle components” melt or become damaged.

The repair

Dealers will eventually replace defective battery modules for free, but this repair is not yet available. 

Safety tips

You can do the following while waiting for the final repair: 

  • Activate the Target Charge Level (referred to as the Hilltop Reserve mode on the 2017-2018 Bolts) feature to limit the battery charge level to 90% full. If you are unable to adjust these settings yourself, visit your dealer for help.
  • Charge the vehicle after each use.
  • Do NOT deplete the battery further than 70 miles of range remaining.
  • Park the vehicle outside and away from structures after charging.
  • Do NOT charge the vehicle overnight.
  • If you own a 2017, 2018 or 2019 model-year,  visit your nearest Chevrolet dealer to get an important software update, which includes a diagnostic check on the health of the Bolt’s battery system. This service is provided free of charge.

Letters with these instructions will be sent out to owners on October 4, 2021. Owners will receive a second letter when the final repair is available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 50,000 vehicles are included in GM’s Chevrolet recall. To do a Chevrolet recall check, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors issues third Chevrolet Bolt recall following car fires

BMW recalls Toyota Supra and 27,000 BMW cars for brake assist problem

Westwood, NJ – September 4, 2021 – BMW (OTCMKTS:BMWYY) has recalled 50,024 vehicles that may lose the brake assist function due to a software issue. The recall includes 2020 – 2021 Toyota Supra sports cars made with BMW engines and the following BMW models:

  • 2020 BMW 540i sedans
  • 2020 BMW M340i sports sedans
  • 2020 BMW X3 crossovers
  • 2020 – 2021 BMW X4 crossovers
  • 2019 – 2021 BMW Z4 roadsters
  • 2020 – 2021 BMW 745Le sedans

The faulty component is the Engine Management software.

Recall summary  

The recall addresses problems with the cars’ brake assist function, which helps stop the car faster in an emergency. The brake assist uses the force of a vacuum to boost the brakes’ power, giving them more stopping force when a driver slams on the brakes in an emergency. Normally, the car uses the tandem oil/vacuum pump to suck all the air out of the brake assist’s booster, creating a vacuum. 

However, if the driver presses the start button twice in rapid succession or only lightly presses the brake pedal when starting the car, the software may cause the pump to become damaged, causing the booster to lose its power.

Risks

With the loss of brake assist, the car will have “mechanical braking” but will have a longer stopping distance, increasing the risk of a crash. You can read more about the signs and dangers of brake assist failure in this article about a similar General Motors recall.

Safety tips

According to recall documents, drivers can avoid damaging the tandem oil/vacuum pump by:

  • Firmly pressing and holding the brake pedal when starting the engine.
  • Pressing the “start” button only once. (Don’t quickly turn the car on and off). 

The repair

Dealers will update recalled vehicles’ engine management software for free. Owner notification letters with more information about when and how to get this repair will be sent out by October 1, though BMW has said the remedy is already available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 50,000 vehicles are included in this BMW recall. To do a BMW recall check, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandBMW recalls Toyota Supra and 27,000 BMW cars for brake assist problem

US government investigates rollaway Mercedes ambulances and Amazon trucks

Washington, D.C. – August 30, 2021 – The arm of the U.S. government that regulates vehicle safety is conducting an investigation to determine whether Daimler’s (OTCMKTS:DMLRY) will have to conduct a recall of its Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans that may roll away when the vehicle is in park.

The investigation focuses on 19,000 vehicles of the following models, specifically those configured as ambulances or Amazon delivery vans:

  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz  Sprinter Vs30
  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500
  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500
  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4500

 Consumer complaints

On August 3, the regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened this investigation based on 11 reports of vans rolling away after the vehicles were put in park. One owner of a fleet of Mercedes 2500 Sprinter vans complained that the vans rolled away after 10 minutes of idling. Other complaints described vans rolling away not long after the driver had gotten out, crashing into other parked cars, and even a house.

The potential defect already resulted in one injury, according to NHTSA’s information.

Risks

Rollaway vehicles with no driver at the helm can crash into pedestrians, other vehicles, or buildings, making this a significant safety hazard to people inside and outside the vehicle. NHTSA is aware of eight crashes and one injury related to this issue. 

Read more about the process NHTSA uses to evaluate these risks in this article about the administration’s ongoing investigation into Dodge and Chrysler minivans.

Prior Mercedes recalls of Sprinter vans

In December 2020, many of the same Sprinter models were recalled for a brake fluid leak that weakened the vans’ braking power, increasing the risk of a crash.  Sprinter vans were recalled again in June over faulty side airbags.

Will your vehicle be part of a recall?

Around 19,000 vans could be implicated in a future Mercedes Sprinter recall. To see if your van is one of them, bookmark MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool and check back for open recalls in the future.

Rebecca RandUS government investigates rollaway Mercedes ambulances and Amazon trucks

US government scrutinizes recent Ford rearview camera recall

Washington, DC – August 27, 2021 – The arm of the U.S. government that regulates vehicle safety is conducting an investigation to determine whether Ford (NYSE:F) timely and adequately handled a recent recall related to faulty rearview cameras.

The investigation is examining all models included in the original Ford recall of 620,246 cars, which launched in September of last year:

  • Ford F series trucks, including the 2020 Ford F-150, F-250 SD, F-350 SD, F-450 SD, F-550 SD trucks
  • 2020 Ford Explorer SUVs
  • 2020 Ford Mustang vehicles
  • 2020 Ford Transit vans
  • 2020 Ford Expedition SUVs
  • 2020 Ford Escape  SUVs
  • 2020 Ford Ranger trucks
  • 2020 Ford Edge SUVs
  • 2020 Lincoln Nautilus crossovers
  • 2020 Lincoln Corsair compact SUVs

Summary  

The regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened an investigation on August 3 to evaluate the “timeliness and scope” of Ford’s recall process, as well as whether the company complied with all the reporting requirements mandated by law. 

Prior to the investigation and the original September recall, NHTSA received 14 complaints alleging rearview camera malfunction on Escape, Lincoln Corsair and F-150 vehicles. It is not clear whether these vehicles were included in the original recall or what specifically prompted the regulator to open the investigation.

Long wait for repairs

Owners, however, have been complaining about long wait-times for repairs, and several drivers allege that their Fords have identical backup camera problems, but their vehicle was not included in the recall. Both sets of complaints point to potential issues with Ford’s ability to offer repairs to all the right cars in a timely manner.

The parts for some of the vehicles included in the original recall were on the back order as recently as this month, despite the fact that Ford announced that the repair was available last November.

Vehicle ‘full of gremlins’

At least one owner alleged that the failure of the backup camera system also caused “the forward-collision warning [turn] on by itself, ​​causing the vehicle” to abruptly stop in the middle of the road. Another driver succinctly summarized the issues he or she was having by stating that the vehicle was “full of gremlins” and needed to be “heavily watched.”

Next steps

NHTSA will investigate whether the recall needs to be expanded or adjusted. The agency did not disclose how long this process is expected to take. If NHTSA decides the recall took too long or failed to include all the cars in need of repairs, it may issue fines against Ford.

Original recall

The original recall concerned the back-up camera display, which would sometimes go blank and fail to show drivers what was behind the car, as reported. As of July 23, 2021, close to 289,000 recalled vehicles were repaired, according to information provided to NHTSA by Ford.

Other Ford recalls

In April 2020, the company recalled Ford Rangers because the gear position display may be inaccurate, which could cause a crash. The company recalled Ford Mustangs five months later over an issue with faulty brake pedals.

In 2019 and 2020, there were six 2020 F-150 Ford recalls –  apart from the one that is being investigated – including one “reduced seat back strength” and faulty daytime lights, according to NHTSA records.

Is your vehicle part of this recall or a future recall?

Over 620,000 vehicles are implicated in NHTSA’s investigation into Ford. Check back for any updates using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandUS government scrutinizes recent Ford rearview camera recall

Ford recalls Lincoln Aviators for risk of electrical fire

Dearborn, MI – August 26, 2021 – Ford (NYSE:F) has recalled 33,298 luxury SUVs with a wiring issue that could cause an electrical fire. The recall includes 2020 – 2021 Lincoln Aviator SUVs with 3.0L gasoline engines and concerns a faulty wiring harness.

Recall summary  

The recalled Lincoln Aviators use something called a wiring harness to secure the many wires in the car so that they do not rub against one another or other parts of the car or get bent out of shape. This makes sure the insulating rubber does not get worn down, exposing live wires and damaging various electronics in the SUV. 

Due to a design error, one of the wiring harnesses in the recalled cars might not be secured properly, potentially putting the wires in contact with the compressor of the car air conditioning (A/C) system, which is one of the most important parts of the A/C.

This can result in the damage to the A/C and also cause a short-circuit that can grow into a car fire.

Lincoln and Ford recalls

This is not the first batch of Ford or Lincoln cars recently affected by faulty wiring harnesses. About two years ago, the automaker recalled over 10,000 2020 Ford Explorers for a near-identical issue with the wiring harness and the air conditioner pulley. Lincoln MKX and Nautilus cars were recalled a year ago for a wiring harness defect affecting the airbags.

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator has been recalled ten times in total, including this recall. Prior to the wiring harness issue, the car has been recalled for the loss of the rearview camera image and due to the risk of rollaway, fuel leaks and fire, as reported.

Risks

Read  more about the risks of vehicle fires, and what to do if one occurs, in this article about a fire-related BMW recall.

The repair

Ford and Lincoln dealers will install a tie strap to secure the faulty wiring harness out the way. Dealers will also check the wiring harness and air conditioner compressor belt for damage and repair them, if needed. All these services are provided free of charge. Owners should have been notified by mail between July 30 and August 6.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 33,000 vehicles are included in this Ford Lincoln recall. To see if your SUV is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandFord recalls Lincoln Aviators for risk of electrical fire

US government investigates Tesla autopilot crashes

Washington, D.C. – August 19, 2021 – A United States auto safety regulator has opened an investigation into Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) autopilot feature over concerns that it may not stop cars from crashing into parked emergency vehicles. Collisions with civilian vehicles represent one of the leading causes of death for first responders and this investigation was opened on the back of 17 injuries and one death.

The investigation could implicate 765,000 vehicles and covers the majority of Tesla models that have been made in the U.S., including:

  • 2017 – 2021 Model 3 sedans
  • 2014 – 2021 Model S sedans
  • 2015 – 2021 Model X SUVs
  • 2019 – 2021 Model Y compact SUVs

Summary  

On August 13, the regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened an investigation based on 11 reports of Tesla cars crashing into first responders’ vehicles parked at emergency scenes on the road.  

All the Teslas involved were using autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) features when they crashed and most crashes occurred at night.

The Teslas, which use eight cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors to monitor the road, did not stop driving, despite many visual signs of an emergency scene, including cones, flares and flashing lights on emergency vehicles. At least in one case, the car only detected the emergency vehicle just 0.49 seconds before it made impact.

Scope of the investigation

The investigation will look into Tesla autopilot’s ability to respond to these scenes on the road and will also focus on how Tesla vehicles make sure that drivers are actually paying attention when autopilot is on. 

Tesla’s autopilot is not the same as a self-driving car and drivers are still supposed to watch the road while driving. Tesla’s manual instructs owners to keep their hands on the wheel while autopilot is on. However, Tesla’s autopilot only requires drivers to occasionally tap the steering wheel to keep the autopilot running.

At the same time, some autopilot systems, such as GM’s super cruise, use infrared cameras to monitor drivers’ eyes to make sure they are still watching the road.

Safety tips

If you see an emergency vehicle, please slow down and move over to the right so that the vehicle can respond to the incident as soon as possible. Do not try to beat an ambulance or a police car at a light and keep your eyes on the road while driving. Keep in mind that your car is likely soundproof and you may only have a couple seconds to react to an emergency vehicle before it is too late. Do not engage in conversations with your passengers and try to avoid eating and drinking while driving.

Investigation process

The safety agency’s investigation is currently in a preliminary stage that usually lasts under four months. If evaluators find a safety defect, the agency will escalate the investigation to decide whether to mandate a recall. This typically takes up to a year to complete.

Tesla recalls in 2021

Earlier this summer, Tesla recalled Model Y and Model 3 cars first due to potential loss of tire pressure and then because of faulty seatbelts. In February, the manufacturer issued a Tesla Model S recall over impending loss of essential safety features due to a memory issue. In addition to Model S vehicles, this recall also included Model X crossovers.

Will your vehicle be part of a recall?

Around 765,000 cars could be involved in a future Tesla recall. To see if yours is one of them, bookmark MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool and check back for open recalls in the future.

Rebecca RandUS government investigates Tesla autopilot crashes