rebecca

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

Tesla investigated over distracting video game feature

Washington, D.C. – January 15, 2022 – The U.S. Government’s auto safety regulator is investigating Tesla’s “Passenger Play” feature which potentially allows drivers to play Tesla video games on the front console while on the road. The feature – which increases the risk of an accident – is present in the following models :

  • 2017 – 2022 Tesla Model 3
  • 2017 – 2022 Tesla Model S
  • 2017 – 2022 Tesla Model X
  • 2017 – 2022 Tesla Model Y

Recall summary  

The government regulator, NHTSA, opened an investigation in December of last year following a complaint alleging that interactive video games and live internet web search are available on the Tesla center console while the car is in motion

Before December 2020, video games in Tesla vehicles could only be played when the vehicle was parked. But an update has allowed games to now be played while the car is in motion, requiring the player to only press a button confirming that they are not driving. NHTSA’s investigation will evaluate the “distraction potential” of this feature.

Risks

NHTSA is concerned that the availability of gameplay “may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash.” Read more about the dangers of distracted driving in this article about a 2020 Chrysler recall.

Other Tesla investigations

This summer, NHTSA opened a broad investigation into Tesla’s autopilot system after at least 11 cars crashed into parked emergency vehicles. 

The autopilot system has also come under fire for not ensuring that drivers continue to pay attention to the road while autopilot is engaged, as intended. Other types of driver-assist, like GM’s super cruise, use infrared cameras to monitor drivers’ eyes to make sure they are still watching the road. Tesla’s high-tech vehicles do not include this type of monitoring.

Is your vehicle part of a Tesla recall?

An estimated 580,000 Teslas could be subject to a future recall. Check your Tesla for open recalls using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandTesla investigated over distracting video game feature

Ford driveshaft issues prompt F Series recall

Warren, MI – January 1, 2022 – Ford (NYSE:F) has recalled 184,698 F-series trucks whose driveshafts – one of the most important components of a car – may fracture. This increases the risk of stall, loss of vehicle control or a rollaway.

The recall includes the following pickups:

  • 2021 Ford F-150 
  • 2022 Ford F-150 

Recall summary  

The recall centers around the trucks’ underbody insulation, as well as their driveshafts. The insulation helps dampen road noise and protect the undercarriage from moisture, scratches and salt to extend the useful life of the vehicle. Driveshafts are critical components that transfer power to the wheels, enabling the vehicle to move.

Due to a supplier error, the insulation may become loose and sag, rubbing against the driveshaft, eventually causing it to fracture.

The underbody insulator is the component in question with part numbers ML3B-1611205-AC, ML3B-1611205-BA, ML3B-1611204-AD and ML3B-1611204-BB.

Recall risks

A fractured driveshaft presents a number of concerns—the car may stall or the driver may lose control if the driveshaft snaps and drags on the ground.  The vehicle may roll away if the parking brake is not applied. All of these scenarios increase the risk of injury or a crash.

Warning signs

Drivers may notice loose underbody insulation (which looks a bit like a foil-covered mat) and hear a rattling, clicking or clunking noise. Looking at the driveshaft, they may be able to see “marking or scoring” where the insulation has been touching it.

Other Ford recalls

This is at least the second F-150 recall in the past six months due to driveshaft issues. In June, Ford recalled close to 5,000 2021 F-150 trucks due to driveshaft separation that could also cause the vehicle to roll away or stall, as reported.

Separately, in October, the manufacturer told owners of 2021 F-150 Super Cab pickup trucks not to drive their vehicles pending an inspection because of potentially faulty seat belts that may fail to provide adequate protection in the event of a crash.

The repair

Dealers will inspect the driveshaft for damage and “properly attach” the insulators. These services are free. Notifications with more instructions will be sent to owners by mail between January 31 and February 4, 2022. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 180,000 trucks are included in this Ford F-150 recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to perform a Ford recall check.

Rebecca RandFord driveshaft issues prompt F Series recall

US government investigates fly-open hoods on Nissan Pathfinders

Washington, D.C. – December 25, 2021 – The U.S. government is looking into problems with Nissan (OTCMKTS:NSANY) vehicles whose hood latches may not close, causing the hood to fly open while driving.  If the investigation leads to a recall, it may include 325,512 cars. 

The investigation covers the following models:

  • 2013 – 2016 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2014 – 2016 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid

Investigation summary  

On December 9, the regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation based on 15 reports of the hoods becoming open while driving.

The complaints describe hoods opening while driving at medium to high speeds, obstructing the driver’s view and sometimes smashing the windshield or breaking the fenders. The government has not yet identified the root cause of the problem.

Risks

According to government investigation documents, “sudden and unexpected opening of the hood can startle drivers, block their visibility, and could lead to a crash into other vehicles or objects.”  

Other Pathfinder recalls

Pathfinders have been plagued by other hood-latch issues since 2015, when a 2013 – 2014 Nissan Pathfinder hybrid recall targeted an issue with the hood latch release cable, which was causing the hood to fly open.  The 2014 model-year, as well as the 2015 one, were among cars recalled in October of this year because of software issues causing stalling .

Another October Nissan Pathfinder recall targeted over 10,000 of the 2022 model-years because of loose headrests, as reported.

Will your vehicle be part of a Nissan recall?

This investigation may eventually lead to a Nissan Pathfinder recall, possibly affecting over 325,000 cars. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandUS government investigates fly-open hoods on Nissan Pathfinders

Volkswagen and Audi to p​​ay $42 million Takata airbag settlement

Miami, FL – December 19, 2021 – Volkswagen and Audi (OTCMKTS: VWAGY) have agreed to pay out $42 million dollars in a settlement with current and former car owners whose vehicles were built with potentially deadly Takata airbags. 

The settlement includes  some of the following vehicles:

  • 2009 – 2017 Volkswagen CC
  • 2012 – 2019 Volkswagen Beetle
  • 2006 – 2013 Audi A3
  • 2005 – 2008 Audi A4 Avant
  • 2007 – 2009 Audi A4 Cabriolet
  • 2005 – 2008 Audi A4 Sedan
  • 2010 – 2012 Audi A5 Cabriolet
  • 2006 – 2011 Audi A6 Avant
  • 2005 – 2011 Audi A6 Sedan
  • 2017 Audi R8 Coupe
  • 2008 Audi RS 4 Cabriolet
  • 2007 – 2008 Audi RS 4 Sedan

Settlement summary  

The $42-million dollar settlement was reached in November and is the result of a 2014 class action lawsuit against Volkswagen and Audi for selling or leasing vehicles built with defective Takata airbags. The lawsuit sought to recover damages for the risks and costs owners and lessees incurred during Audi and Volkswagen airbag recalls. 

The settlement affects current or former owners or lessees of the vehicles that were all subject to the infamous  Takata airbag recall, which has affected about 100 million airbags worldwide.  The current owners must have bought the car by November 10, 2021 while the former owners must have sold or returned their vehicle after February 9, 2016.

All cars must have been bought or leased in the U.S. or a U.S. territory. For a full list of vehicles, please visit this page. To check if your car is subject to a recall, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

The settlement

To receive settlement funds, you will need to fill out a claim form and send it to a settlement administrator. The form, and more instructions, can be found here.

The settlement is still subject to a final approval by the United States District Court in the Southern District of Florida. The hearing to approve it is expected to be held in early March.

The payment

Those who had to pay for transportation, towing, childcare or lost wages during the Volkswagen and Audi airbag recall may be eligible for reimbursement and potentially two payments of up to $250 later on. Those with no expenses are still eligible to receive up to $500.

Risks

Takata airbags contain an inflator that is at risk of exploding when the airbag is deployed. Exploding inflators pose a serious threat to the safety of car occupants, sending sharp shrapnel flying at drivers’ and passengers’ bodies. Reuters reported that as of September this year, Takata airbags had killed 28 people and injured over 400 worldwide. 

Other Takata airbag recall settlements

Audi and Volkswagen are not the first automakers to settle a suit over the defective airbags. The following car companies have settled class action lawsuits with current and former owners:

  • BMW, $131 million
  • Ford, $299.1 million
  • Honda, $605 million
  • Mazda, $75.8 million
  • Nissan, $97.7 million
  • Subaru, $68.2 million
  • Toyota, $278.5 million

Is your vehicle part of a recall?

According to court documents, 35% of recalled Takata inflators in Volkswagen and Audi vehicles still need repairs. To see if your car is one of them, run a VW recall check with MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandVolkswagen and Audi to p​​ay $42 million Takata airbag settlement

Honda recalls over 700,000 cars whose hoods may fly open

Torrance, CA – December 11, 2021 – Honda (NYSE:HMC) has recalled 724,826 vehicles whose hoods may become damaged and fly open while driving, blocking the driver’s view of the road. This increases the risk of a crash and subsequent injury to the occupants of the car and other motorists.

The component in question is the hood, whose part number is  60100-TG7-A91.

The recall includes the following SUVs and pickups:

  • 2019 Honda Passport
  • 2016 – 2019 Honda Pilot
  • 2017 – 2020 Honda Ridgeline

Recall summary  

The recall stems from a gap in the seal between the Honda’s hood and grill, which allows air to get inside while driving. The aerodynamics of this gap cause the hood to vibrate when the car drives at high speeds, which could eventually cause a stress fracture in the hood’s latch. If this occurs, nothing is holding the hood shut and it could fly open while driving, blocking the driver’s view.

Recall risks

Driving with an obstructed view is extremely dangerous and could quickly cause the driver to crash. 

Warning signs

Drivers may be able to hear the hood vibrating and should also keep an eye on the hood to see if it seems loose

Other Honda recalls

The manufacturer was recently affected by a Honda Insight, Honda Accord, Honda CR-V and Honda Ridgeline recall over issues with securing child safety seats. 

The repair

Depending on the condition of the hood latch, Honda dealers will either repair the hood by adding a striker support plate or will replace the hood entirely. All repairs will be free of charge for Honda owners. Honda will notify owners about the recall by mail starting on January 17, 2022. Owners who had to repair this issue on their own dime before the recall was announced will be eligible for reimbursement.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 700,000 vehicles are included in this Honda recall. To see if your car is one of them, do a Honda recall check using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandHonda recalls over 700,000 cars whose hoods may fly open

Stellantis recalls RAM trucks following government investigation

Auburn Hills, MI – December 5, 2021 – Stellantis (NYSE:STLA), which owns the RAM brand, has recalled 222,410 RAM trucks that may stall due to a defective high pressure fuel pump.  The issue increases the risk of an accident and injury.

The recall includes the following trucks:

  • 2019 – 2020 RAM 2500
  • 2019 – 2020 RAM 3500
  • 2019 – 2020 RAM 4500
  • 2019 – 2020 RAM 5500

Recall summary  

The fuel pump may fail and generate debris, which could clog up the whole fuel system. This starves the engine of fuel and causes the truck to stall. The reason for the recall is not explicitly stated but appears to be connected to the pump itself, as well as the powertrain control module (PCM), which is the brain of the car that controls over 100 elements and also transfers power to the driving wheels, as reported.

The affected part number is the “engine assembly” with multiple part numbers,  including R3041229AA and  R3041230AA.

The recall follows on the heels of a government investigation into stalling RAM trucks. However, the recall documents do not link the two and the investigation is still ongoing. 

Recall risks

Stalling on the road is dangerous, especially at high speeds, because a stalled car could get hit by faster moving traffic behind it. Read more about what to do if your car stalls on the freeway in this article about a Toyota Denso fuel pump recall.

Warning signs

Drivers may notice any of the following signs: 

  • A malfunction indicator light turning on 
  • A fuel leak
  • Abnormal engine noise
  • Change in drive quality

The repair

RAM dealers will replace the high pressure fuel pump and update the powertrain control module (PCM) software, and will inspect and replace additional fuel system components, if necessary. Notification letters with more information will be sent out starting January 1, 2022.

Recent RAM truck recalls

RAM recently recalled 2021-2022 RAM 2500,3500,4500, and 5500 trucks over a risk of engine fire. The 4 million-vehicle RAM PCM recall continues as well — as of January last year, a little over 1 million cars had yet to be repaired.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 222,000 vehicles are included in this RAM recall. To do a RAM recall check on your car, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandStellantis recalls RAM trucks following government investigation

Honda recalls over 4,000 cars over child seat safety issue

Warren, MI – December 5, 2021 – Honda  (NYSE:HMC) has recalled 4,346 vehicles with a defective seat belt locking mechanism for securing children’s car seats.  The issue ups the risk of an injury to the child in the seat in an accident.

This is part of an ongoing recall with multiple manufacturers affected due to faulty parts supplied by Swedish-American manufacturer Autoliv.

The latest install includes includes the following models:

  • 2021 Honda Accord
  • 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid
  • 2021 Honda CR-V
  • 2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid
  • 2022 Honda Insight
  • 2021 Honda Ridgeline

Recall summary  

The seat belt retractor is what tightens the belt. There are two types of retractors – an emergency one that only tightens when there is an accident and an automatic one – known as the automatic locking retractor (ALR) –  which will lock up once it is spooled out.  The ALRs is one of the two mechanisms used to secure a child seat. 

The recalled vehicles have faulty ALRs which may deactivate without the driver’s knowledge, leaving the child loosely secured.

The component in question is the “second row center seat belt assembly” with multiple part numbers including 82480TLAA012M1 and  82455TVAA111M1.

Recall risks

If the ALR deactivates, the child will be able to move around freely, increasing the risk of injury to the child in the seat.

Safety tips

For safety tips, please visit this article.

Not just a Honda seat belt recall

These faulty seat belt assemblies made their way into thousands of cars, causing recalls of several car brands including Volvo, RAM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford, BMW and Audi.

Other Honda Accord recalls

The Honda Accord is currently under a pre-recall investigation over reports of steering failure. Honda also recently recalled 18 models, including the Accord,  with fuel pump issues.

The repair

Honda dealers will replace the second row center seat belt assembly with a new one free of charge. Honda will notify owners of the recall by mail starting on January 17, 2022. Any owners who noticed the problem and replaced the center seat belt assembly on their own dime may be eligible for reimbursement. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 4,300 vehicles are included in this Honda recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandHonda recalls over 4,000 cars over child seat safety issue

Tesla recalls Model X and Model S over torn airbags

Palo Alto, CA – November 27, 2021 – Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has recalled 7,600 luxury electric cars whose driver-side airbags may tear during deployment. The issue increases the risk of driver injury in a crash.

The recall includes:

  • 2021 Tesla Model X
  • 2021 Tesla Model S

Recall summary  

Tesla’s Model X and Model S recall centers around an issue with the door that covers the driver-side airbag compartment.

Due to a supplier error, the airbag door may have a piece sticking out that catches on the airbag as it goes off, which could cause the airbag to tear.

Recall risks

Like a leaky air mattress, an airbag with a hole will not provide the same firm cushion to protect the driver during a crash. This increases the risk of injury to the driver. Read more about the importance of properly functioning airbags in this article about a recent Volvo recall.

The affected part is driver airbag assembly with part numbers 1625769-72-D and ​​1625769-71-D. 

The repair

Tesla dealers will replace the driver-side airbags in all the recalled cars for free. The new airbags will have a reinforced patch to prevent it from tearing. Owners will be notified about the recall by mail starting on January 7, 2022.

Recent Tesla recalls

There was a Tesla Model S recall earlier this month due to the possibility of cars braking unexpectedly on their own or activating false forward collision warning. The recall was limited to “fully self-driving cars” and also included Model 3, Model X and Model Y vehicles. Most vehicles involved in that recall have already been fixed thanks to an over-the-air (OTA) update. 

To read more about this and other recent Tesla recalls, please visit the following article.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

This Tesla 2021 recall includes over 7,500 vehicles. To do a Tesla recall check, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandTesla recalls Model X and Model S over torn airbags

Mazda recalls cars with defective fuel pumps

Washington, D.C – November 24, 2021 – Mazda (OTCMKTS: MZDAY) has recalled 121,038 cars that may stall due to a defective fuel pump. Stalling increases the risk of an accident while driving.

The recall includes:

  • 2019 Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover SUVs
  • 2018-2019 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover SUVs
  • 2018-2019 Mazda CX-9 mid-size crossover SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Mazda2 subcompact cars
  • 2018 Mazda3 compact cars
  • 2018 Mazda6 sedans
  • 2018 Mazda MX-5 sports cars

Recall summary  

This recall continues a series of recalls centered around defective fuel pumps manufactured by Denso. 

The fuel pumps contain a plastic impeller, which works by sucking fuel from the tank to the engine. The plastic impellers made by Denso may weaken and deform after spending a long time soaking in fuel, eventually breaking and rendering the fuel pump inoperable. Without a functioning fuel pump, gas cannot get to the engine.

The affected part is the fuel pump with part numbers PE03-13350, PYFL-13350, and P54P-13350.

Risks

Starved of fuel, engines cannot run and the cars stall as though they were out of gas. 

Stalling on the road, especially at high speeds, can be dangerous, as a stalled car could get hit by faster moving traffic. Read more about what to do if your car stalls on the freeway in this article about a Toyota Denso fuel pump recall.

Warning signs

Drivers may see the check engine light turn on or hear the engine “running rough.” The car also may fail to start entirely.  Learn more about what fuel pump failure looks like in this article about repairing a bad Mazda 3 fuel pump.

The repair

Mazda dealers will replace the fuel pump with a better model for free. Mazda will send owners recall notification letters starting on January 11, 2022. Owners who already replaced their own fuel pumps before the recall started may be eligible for reimbursement.

Recent Mazda recalls

Earlier this month, Mazda issued two recalls with one being for CX-9 vehicles whose second-row seats may slide forward in a crash.  The second one included MazdaSpeed6 and RX-8 sports cars that were recalled because of a fuel leak that may lead to a fire.

A Mazda CX-5 recall was issued in February of last year because the cars’ daytime visibility headlights might not work. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 121,000 vehicles are included in this Mazda recall. To do a Mazda recall check on your car, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandMazda recalls cars with defective fuel pumps

Daimler recalls new Mercedes-Benz s580 cars that may stall

Jacksonville, FL – November 21, 2021 – Daimler (OTCMKTS:DMLRY), which owns the Mercedes-Benz brand, has recalled 9,120 cars that may stall due to a computer issue. This increases the risk of a crash.

The recall includes:

  • 2021 – 2022 Mercedes-Benz s580 sedans
  • 2021 – 2022 Mercedes-Benz s580 4matic sedans
  • 2021 – 2022 Mercedes Benz Maybach s580 sedans

Recall summary  

The engine control unit (ECU) is a computer inside the car that ensures engine’s performance. Due to a software issue caused by the supplier of the unit, the affected s580’s may suddenly stall, without warning, after the car is started

Drivers may not be able to restart the car after it is stalled.

The ECU at the center of this recall has with multiple part numbers, including A1779023611 and A1779023911.

Recall risks

Stalling unexpectedly can increase the risk of a crash for the driver and surrounding vehicles. Read more about how to handle a stalled car in this article about a recent Chrysler recall.

The repair

Dealers will update the software in these vehicles free of charge. Drivers will be sent letters with more information about the recall before December 28, 2021.

Recent Mercedes-Benz recalls

In September, Mercedes-Benz recalled over 4,000 vehicles over a child car seat issue. In July, 2020 Mercedes GLB 250 SUVs were recalled because of a water leak.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 9,000 vehicles are included in this Mercedes-Benz recall. To do a Mercedes-Benz recall check, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandDaimler recalls new Mercedes-Benz s580 cars that may stall