rebecca

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

Own or buying a used car? Three things you must do to check for recalls

Pleasanton, CA – June 16,  2021 – When recalls affect brand new cars, car manufacturers are required to have the vehicles repaired before selling them to customers. Efforts must also be made to contact owners after cars leave dealers’ lots.

However, due to legal loopholes and loose regulations, in some states used car dealers can sell cars without fixing recalls first, and used car owners might not be informed when their car has been recalled.

Here are a few things you can do to learn about any safety defects your used car has to protect your health and well-being  and that of your loved ones.

1. When you are buying, search for open recalls using the car’s VIN

Use a tool like Motorsafety.org’s recall lookup and plug in your vehicle identification number (VIN)  to find out if your car has any recalls that need fixing.

To find your VIN, check out this resource.

2. Update your registration

Auto manufacturers use the contact information listed in vehicle registrations at the DMV to track down the current owners of a vehicle under recall. Make sure the address listed on your vehicle’s registration is current so that recall notices will be mailed to your address.

3. Register directly with the manufacturer

Many manufacturers have an “owners” page on their website that allows owners to register their vehicle with them even if they bought it used. (For example, this is Toyota’s page.) They can use your registration information to contact you if your car is ever recalled.

Over 54 million vehicles were recalled in the U.S. last year and more recalls are issued every week. Check your car for unrepaired recalls using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandOwn or buying a used car? Three things you must do to check for recalls

US government investigates Porsche Taycan battery issues

Washington, D.C. – June 9, 2021 – The arm of the U.S. government that regulates vehicle safety is conducting an investigation to determine if Porsche (OTCMKTS:POAHY) will be required to recall 12,146 2020-2021 Porsche Taycan electric cars for battery issues that can cause the car to stall.

Investigation summary  

The regulator – the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – opened the investigation on May 17, after receiving nine Taycan owners’ complaints that described the cars’ stalling without warning, sometimes while driving on a freeway.

The cause appears to be the shutdown of the vehicle’s electrical system potentially brought upon by the loss of charge of the car’s 12-volt auxiliary battery, which normally powers headlights and climate control. Indeed, all drivers who submitted complaints saw an error message about a “battery fault” on the car’s display.  

Complaints

This issue potentially represents a serious safety hazard. One driver complained that not only the car stalled, but it also locked him or her inside while on a freeway. Six owners stated in their complaints that they were not able to restart their cars.

Risks

Stalling turns your car into a road hazard that other faster-moving cars may hit. Read more about the dangers of stalling, and what to do if your car loses power, in this article about a recent Jeep and Ram recall

Next steps

NHTSA is currently investigating the “scope and severity” of the Porsche Taycan’s issues with its battery. This process – called preliminary evaluation – usually takes about four months. If NHTSA finds a possible safety defect, it will conduct the so-called engineering analysis to see if a recall is warranted.

Recent Porsche Taycan recalls

The 2021 Porsche Taycan was just recalled for a separate issue with its suspension, which may break, causing the vehicle to lose control. Read more about it in NHTSA’s official recall documents.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 12,000 vehicles are implicated in this Porsche investigation. To see if this Porsche battery issue affects your car, bookmark our MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandUS government investigates Porsche Taycan battery issues

US government opens probe into Ferrari fuel leaks

Washington, D.C. – June 4, 2021 – The arm of the U.S. government that regulates vehicle safety is conducting an investigation to determine if Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) will be required to recall 4,849 for Ferrari 458 issues involving leaking fuel.

The leak can lead to a fire, greatly increasing the risk of bodily injury and property damage. The potentially affected cars include the following:

  • 2010 – 2015 Ferrari 458
  • 2010 – 2015 Ferrari 458 Italia
  • 2013 – 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale
  • 2014 – 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A
  • 2012 – 2015 Ferrari 458 Spider

Summary  

The regulator – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – opened the investigation on May 17, after receiving three complaints that described fuel leaking out of the car’s capless fuel filler. In contrast to many other cars, these Ferraris use capless fuel fillers that use self-closing flaps instead of the more traditional gas tank cap.

In the three incidents above, the leak resulted from the damage to the fuel filler. This could in turn allow fuel to slosh out during left turns, according to NHTSA.

Preliminary phase

The investigation is currently in its preliminary phase. If NHTSA finds information that “suggest[s] that a safety defect may exist,”  it will proceed with the so-called engineering analysis, which may result in a recall.

When and if this would occur is not clear at this point.

Risks

While NHTSA has not yet outlined the safety hazards in their investigation, fuel leaks pose a serious fire risk. Fuel is highly flammable and exposure to heat or sparks could cause it to ignite, possibly causing a car fire. 

For tips on what to do if your car catches fire, please refer to our recent article about a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport recall.

Will your vehicle be part of a Ferrari recall?

Over 4,800 cars are part of this Ferrari investigation, but it is not yet known if they will be recalled. In the meantime, check for any other open recalls on your Ferrari 458 using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandUS government opens probe into Ferrari fuel leaks

‘Of its own accord’— US government investigates Honda Accords’ phantom steering

Washington, D.C. – June 2, 2021 – An arm of the U.S. government that regulates vehicle safety is investigating Honda (NYSE:HMC) after reports that certain 2013-2015 Honda Accords are experiencing sudden steering failure, greatly increasing the risk of an accident.  Up to 1,120,470 vehicles are potentially affected.

The investigation could eventually lead to a Honda Accord recall, but it is unclear when and if this would begin.

The investigation 

The regulator, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened the investigation on May 6, after reviewing a total of 32 complaints of steering failure in 2013-2015 Accords. The complaints indicate that the cars may “veer or jerk out of the intended path of travel,” without any input from the driver or warning signs. 

Background of the investigation

The investigation comes on the heels of a petition by Terrie Haggey, a 2013 Honda Accord driver who petitioned NHTSA to look into an “alarming pattern of power steering failures.”  The related repairs are currently not covered under Honda’s current warranty policy. 

In response to Terry’s request, NHTSA asked Honda to provide additional information and found out that there have been 77 instances of power steering failure stemming from this issue. The agency is currently conducting engineering analysis, a stage of the investigation process that may result in a recall. 

If a recall is initiated, any necessary repairs will be free for drivers.

Terrifying driver experiences

Drivers have been narrating their personal experiences related to this issue since at least 2018. According to one complaint, a driver “collided with the guard wall” after being unable to control the car, which veered “in and out of lanes sharply” on its volition. The driver suffered physical injuries and continues to be haunted by the accident. “Worst of all,” the complaint letter stated, “I suffer from nightmares and I have difficulty sleeping.” 

Another person observed the steering wheel turning “really fast on its own to the left” when he or she let go of it.

Crashes and injuries

According to NHTSA, the “phantom steering wheel” has so far led to at least two crashes and several injuries.

Previous investigation

Starting in November 2014, NHTSA led a separate investigation of the 2013 Honda Accord over reports of power steering failure, with some reports also describing the steering wheel jerking left or right, veering off-course. That investigation, however, did not result in the 2013 Honda Accord recall as NHTSA deemed that the steering failures were “rare” and that the rate of failures was declining. 

Recent Honda Accord recalls

In December, over 235,000 2013-2015 Honda Accords were subject to a different recall due to a potential loss of power.  It is not clear if the recall included 2013 Honda Accord Sport, 2013 Honda Accord Coupe, 2013 Honda Accord EX L.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 1.1 million vehicles may become part of this recall. Bookmark our free vehicle lookup tool to check back later or use it now to find if your car needs a repair now.

Rebecca Rand‘Of its own accord’— US government investigates Honda Accords’ phantom steering

Nissan recalls 2021 Rogue SUVs for brake fluid leak

Franklin, TN – May 20, 2021 – Nissan (OTCMKTS:NSANY) has recalled 14,054 vehicles that may leak brake fluid. This may cause the brakes to stop working properly, increasing the risk of a crash. It can also lead to an electrical short, upping the risk of a fire.

The recall includes 2021 Nissan Rogue compact SUVs. The components involved are the right- and left-hand brake caliper assemblies, with part numbers 44000-6RA0C and 44010-6RA0C, respectively.

Recall summary  

The recall concerns the rear brake calipers, which help clamp down on the wheels to slow the car down when braking. The calipers in the recalled cars may be missing a small part that helps make sure the brake fluid stays sealed inside the brakes. Without it, the fluid may leak out, reducing the brakes’ ability to stop the car and possibly causing an electrical short.

Warning signs

According to Nissan, a warning light would appear on the dashboard in the case of an electrical short, but would not warn drivers of weakened brakes.

Risks and safety tips

An electrical short can lead to a fire, increasing the risk of death or injury for the people involved. For tips on what to do in the event of a fire, please visit our recent article about a fire-related Hyundai recall.

For tips on what to do if your brakes fail, please refer to this article about a recent Ford Edge recall.

The repair

Nissan knows the serial numbers of the affected calipers, but not precisely which cars they were put into. To find the defective parts and see if a replacement is necessary, dealers will scan the QR code on both left and right rear brake calipers. The inspection and any replacements will be free. Owners will receive information about when and how to seek repairs starting June 10.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 14,000 Rogue SUVs are included in this Nissan recall. To see if your SUV is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandNissan recalls 2021 Rogue SUVs for brake fluid leak

Stellantis recalls Jeep Cherokees for transmission fluid leak

Auburn Hills, MI – May 15, 2021 – Stellantis (NYSE:STLA) – which owns the Jeep brand – has recalled 18,800 2021 Jeep Cherokee SUVs that may leak transmission oil, creating the risk of fire.

The component in question is called “3.2L TOC Hose,” with multiple part numbers, including 68399015AA.

Recall summary  

The oil cooler is a component of the engine system designed to keep the engine from overheating, while curing is a process that is used to give final shape to some parts of the car, such as rubber hoses and tires.

Due to a supplier error, the oil cooler hose – which carries lubricating oil from the transmission to the oil cooler – has been cured for too long, making it weak and prone to breaking.  

Risks

The weak hose may rupture, igniting the oil and resulting in an engine fire. Vehicle fires are extremely dangerous, putting occupants at a serious risk of injury or death. Read more about what to do in case of a vehicle fire in this article about a recent Kia Stinger recall.

Warning signs 

The manufacturer says there are no warning signs. If your car is part of this recall, take it in for repair immediately! 

Complaints

Stellantis acknowledges that it knows of four customer assistance records, 160 warranty claims, and seven field reports related to this problem. The automaker estimated that 1 in 10 of the recalled vehicles contained a defective hose.

The repair

Dealers will inspect the transmission oil cooler hose and replace it, if needed, for free. Drivers who paid to have this issue fixed before the recall may be eligible for reimbursement. Owner notifications with more information about when and how to seek repairs will be sent out starting  June 23.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 18,000 vehicles are included in this Jeep recall. To see if your SUV is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandStellantis recalls Jeep Cherokees for transmission fluid leak

Ford recalls Explorer SUVs for fly-away roof rail covers

Dearborn, MI – May 12, 2021 – Ford (NYSE:F) has issued a recall of 616,967 SUVs whose roof rail covers may detach and fly off the vehicle while driving. Ford is recalling these vehicles:  

  • 2016 Ford Explorer
  • 2017 Ford Explorer
  • 2018 Ford Explorer
  • 2019 Ford Explorer

The affected part is the “roof rail cover,” with multiple part numbers, including FB5Z-78551A46-BA.

Recall summary  

The recall concerns the roof rail covers, which partly cover the roof rails used to hold cargo (such as a kayak) on top of the car. The covers, after being exposed to sunlight and other wear and tear, may detach from the car and fly off into the road, creating a road hazard for other drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) brought the issue to Ford’s attention a year ago, after receiving 11 complaints of roof rail covers falling off. 

Footnotes

According to Ford, some Explorers have metal plated roof rail covers that do not have this problem. Those vehicles will not be recalled. To see if your 2019 Ford Explorer Limited, for example, needs to be repaired, use our VIN lookup tool.

Warning signs

Drivers with insecure roof rail covers may notice louder wind noise or squeaks and rattles while driving. 

Risks

If a roof rail cover flies off the car while driving, it may force other drivers to make quick maneuvers to avoid it, increasing the risk of a crash. Read more about the dangers of road debris in this article about a recent Land Rover recall over fly-away spoilers. 

Other Ford Explorer recalls

The 2016 Ford Explorer was recalled in November of last year because of a defective part that connects the engine to the front axle, which “transmits the power from the vehicle to its wheels,” as reported.

 The issue can result in the car stalling or losing its ability to stay in park, increasing the risk of death or injury for the car occupants, other motorists and pedestrians.

The repair

Ford or Lincoln dealers will use plastic pins to secure the roof rail more tightly to the roof of the car, free of charge. Owners will receive more  instructions by mail between June 28 and July 2. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 617,000 vehicles are included in this recall. Use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to do a Ford recall check.

Rebecca RandFord recalls Explorer SUVs for fly-away roof rail covers

Mercedes-Benz recalls SUVs for electrical short

Jacksonville, FL – May 6, 2021 – Daimler AG (NASDAQ:DDAIF), which owns the Mercedes-Benz brand has recalled 6,331 SUVs that may experience an electrical short due to a water leak. The recall includes:

  • 2021 Mercedes Benz AMG GLE 53
  • 2020 Mercedes Benz GLE350
  • 2020 Mercedes Benz GLE450
  • 2020 Mercedes Benz GLE580
  • 2020 Mercedes Benz GLS450
  • 2020 Mercedes Benz GLS580

Recall summary  

The recall centers around an issue with the air conditioning drain hose, which may be installed incorrectly. Just like how water beads up on the outside of a glass of ice water, cool air from air conditioning causes water to condense into droplets inside the air conditioner. This water has to drip somewhere, and the drain hose is supposed to move that moisture out of the car, away from sensitive wiring and electronics.

In the recalled vehicles, the incorrectly installed drain hoses may cause water to leak down into the floor of the car. The electrical wiring there is not waterproof, and the water could cause an electrical short, creating the risk of a fire. 

Previous recalls

This recall builds on two previous ones by Mercedes Benz, who recalled 18,392 vehicles in 2019 and 3,615 in 2020 for the same issue in other models. Mercedes blames the loosely connected drain hoses on a “deviation in the assembly process” during manufacturing.

Warning signs

If the air conditioner drain hose is leaking,  drivers and passengers may notice the carpet under their feet is wet, or that the windows are fogged up.

Risks

This water leak poses several risks. The various electronics that may be damaged by the water can disable features related to safety, like the emergency call system that alerts first responders if a crash is detected, and the door locks (which may hinder first responders from opening the doors in an emergency). If the vehicle is suddenly forced into a decreased power mode, the car may slow unexpectedly, creating the risk of a crash. 

Lastly, the risk of fire is serious, and puts passengers at risk of inhaling toxic fumes, getting burned or dying. Read more about the risks of an interior car fire in this article about a recent Hyundai recall over fires caused by the 12-volt “cigarette lighter” outlet.

The repair

Mercedes Benz dealers will check the air conditioner drain hose and make sure it is installed properly, free of charge. Owners will be notified about the recall with more information about when and how to seek repairs starting June 22.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 6,000 vehicles are included in this Mercedes Benz recall. To see if your SUV is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandMercedes-Benz recalls SUVs for electrical short

Volkswagen recalls Audis for broken suspensions

Auburn Hills, MI – May 5, 2021 – Volkswagen  (OTCMKTS:VWAGY) – which owns the Audi brand – has recalled 40,993 Audis, including a number of 2021 Audi SUVs, because a part of the suspension may break. The recall includes:

  • 2020 – 2021 Audi A4
  • 2019 – 2021 Audi A5
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi A6
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi A7
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi A8
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi Q5
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi S4
  • 2019 – 2021 Audi S5
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi S6
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi S7
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi S8
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi SQ5
  • 2020 – 2021 Audi S5 Cabriolet
  • 2021 Audi Q7
  • 2021 Audi Q8
  • 2021 Audi RS Q8
  • 2019 – 2021 Audi RS5
  • 2021 Audi RS6 Avant
  • 2021 Audi RS7

The component name is ”Lock nut M14x1,5,” part number WHT 007 610.

Recall summary  

The recall stems from an issue with a single nut in the car’s trailing arm suspension. The trailing arms is a type of suspension that helps keep the rear wheels aligned properly. 

Due to a supplier error, the nuts used to connect the trailing arm to the rest of the car were not manufactured “according to specification.” As a result, certain batches of nuts may get corroded or damaged, causing them to break.

Risks

When the nut holding the trailing arm breaks, the rear wheels could become misaligned, changing the direction the car is moving in. “It cannot be completely ruled out that [the car] could suddenly and uncontrollably move in the wrong direction at higher speeds,” Volkswagen says in recall documents. If this occurs, the driver can lose control and crash.

Warning signs

Drivers with a broken trailing arm nut may notice the steering wheel is not aligned when they are driving or that the vehicle lists to one side when they hit the gas or brake. Volkswagen knows of two incidents of this kind; both took place outside the US.

Other Audi recalls

Volkswagen recently recalled over 150,000 Audi A3-generation cars for faulty airbags. These passenger-side airbags are prone to deactivating while someone is sitting in the seat, upping that passenger’s risk of injury in a crash. 

The repair

Volkswagen and Audi dealers will replace the defective nut and will check for existing damage. If the part is already damaged, the whole screw connection will be replaced. Both services are provided for free. The repair is not yet available, but owners will receive more information about the recall by June 25.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 41,000 vehicles are included in this Audi recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandVolkswagen recalls Audis for broken suspensions

GM recalls pickups for power steering problem

Warren, MI – April 30, 2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 60,678 pickup trucks that may lose power steering on “startup or while driving,” increasing the risk of a crash. The recall includes:

  • 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickups
  • 2015 GMC Canyon pickups

The component in question is the “electric power steering rack,” with multiple part numbers, including 23228020 and 23228019.

Recall summary  

Power steering is a feature that makes it easier to turn or maneuver the vehicle.

The recall is an expansion of a previous recall conducted in 2016. It stems from an issue with the trucks’ power steering gears, which translate the turning of the steering wheel into the turning of the tires.  

Because of certain electrical connections being corroded or damaged within the gears, the  gears may lose power and shut off the power steering.

Warning signs

If the power steering is deactivated, the driver will hear chimes and see the malfunction indicator light (MIL) come on.

Risks

With a heavy car like a pickup truck, losing power steering can make it difficult to maneuver the car, especially at lower speeds. This augments the risk of an accident.

Read more about what to do if you lose power steering in this article about a similar Mercedes-Benz GLC recall.

The repair

Dealers will replace the faulty part with an improved model, free of charge. Drivers who repaired this issue on their own dime before May 10 are eligible for reimbursement. GM also said “courtesy transportation is available for customers whose vehicles are involved in this recall and are within the warranty coverage period for the warranty which is associated with this recall.”

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 60,000 vehicles are included in this General Motors recall. Want to do a GM recall check? Use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check for open Chevrolet recalls and GMC recalls.

Rebecca RandGM recalls pickups for power steering problem