rebecca

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

GM recalls Chevrolet and GMC vans for fire risk

Warren, MI – April 13,  2021 –General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 10,154 cargo and passenger vans whose batteries may short-circuit, which could cause a fire under the hood. The recall includes:

  • 2021 Chevrolet Express vans
  • 2021 GMC Savana vans

The affected part is the positive battery cable, with multiple part numbers, including 84911210  and 84911211.

Recall summary  

The recall centers around the vans’ battery cable terminals, which connect the car’s electrical system to its battery. Certain tabs on the terminals could touch other parts of the car, causing the battery to short out. If that happens, drivers may get a  “low battery voltage warning or experience a dead battery.” It can also lead to a fire.

The affected cars are equipped with 6.6-liter gasoline engines.

Risks

Car fires can pose a serious risk to drivers, passengers and nearby people and structures. GM has received at least three reports of fires related to this issue. To read more about the risks of vehicle fires, check out this article about  a recent Kia Stinger recall.

Safety tips

Just like in the recent Chrysler and Hyudai recalls, the manufacturer and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend to NOT park the car close to structures and “flammable materials” – such as houses, garages and “vegetation” – until the issue is resolved. If you do not feel comfortable driving the car and it is still within warranty, contact your dealer to arrange for courtesy transportation.

Other GM recalls

2018-2021 Chevrolet Express vans are part of a recent recall concerning tires that were left to “cure” for too long, making them brittle and prone to breakage.

The repair

GM dealers will trim away part of the tab on the battery cable terminal so that it is no longer at risk of touching other parts of the car. However, if the tab has been trimmed down too much in a prior repair, the whole battery cable will be replaced. Both of these services are free of charge. Recall notifications with more details about when and how to seek repairs will be sent out to owners starting May 3.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 10,000 vehicles are included in this Chevrolet/GMC recall. To see if your van is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGM recalls Chevrolet and GMC vans for fire risk

Mercedes-Benz recalls cars for fly-away sunroofs

Jacksonville, FL – April 12, 2021 – Daimler AG (NASDAQ:DDAIF)– which owns the Mercedes-Benz brand – has recalled 15,096 vehicles whose sunroofs could fly off while the car is in motion, creating a road hazard. The recall includes 76 models that have previously had the sunroof repaired:

  • 2017-2020 Mercedes Benz C300 Coupe
  • 2017-2020 Mercedes-Benz C43 Coupe AMG
  • 2017-2020 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG
  • 2015-2020 Mercedes-Benz C300
  • 2016-2018 Mercedes-Benz C350e
  • 2016-2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 Coupe AMG
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG
  • 2015-2019 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
  • 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450
  • 2015-2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG
  • 2016-2020 Mercedes Benz GLC300
  • 2017-2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC43 AMG
  • 2017-2019 Mercedes Coupe AMG GLE43 
  • 2016 Mercedes Coupe GLE450

For a  complete list, please visit the following page.

The affected component is called the “Cover OSR” and has multiple part numbers, including A1177800022 and A1567801200.

Recall summary  

The sunroof in these vehicles is bonded to the car with a front roof panel that is adjacent to the windshield. Dealers did not attach the panel to the car correctly during a prior repair, making the panel and sunroof prone to falling off the vehicle while it is moving.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received seven complaints concerning the “the detachment” of the panel while driving.

Complaints

A driver of a C-class vehicle complained last year that the sunroof no longer closed and was shaking and rattling, creating a potential “safety issue during a possible rollover.”  Another said that his or her car got wet after a piece of sunroof “flew off.”

Warning signs

Before the panel detaches, the driver may notice “excessive wind noises in the area of the sunroof while driving” or notice that the panel is partially separated from the vehicle.

Risks

The flyaway roofs pose a safety risk to the driver and other motorists, who may crash as they try to avoid the debris or if the panel hits them. You can read more about the dangers of road debris in our recent article about Land Rover’s fly-away spoiler recall.

The repair

Mercedes-Benz dealers will replace the front roof panel with a new one, using the correct process and chemicals to adhere it to the car. Owners who already paid to have their roof panels re-attached may be eligible for reimbursement. More information about when and how to seek repairs will be sent out to owners in the week of May 14.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 15,000 vehicles are included in this Mercedes Benz recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandMercedes-Benz recalls cars for fly-away sunroofs

Ford recalls Lincoln Aviators over faulty backup camera display

Dearborn, MI – April 9, 2021 – Ford  (NYSE:F) – which owns the Lincoln brand – has recalled 34,952 luxury SUVs  whose backup camera displays may stop working. The recall includes the 2020 Lincoln Aviator and the 2021 Lincoln Aviator.

The affected part is called the “Image Processing Module – B” and has multiple part numbers, including  LC5T-19H423-AF and LC5T-19H423-AG.

Recall summary  

The image processing module helps process everything the backup camera is “seeing” behind the car, displaying it on the screen up front. Due to a software issue in the recalled Aviators, the module might fail to transmit the video feed to the car’s display screen.

As a result, the driver may see a “blank” or “distorted” image.

Risks

A rearview camera that fails to display what is behind the car reduces the driver’s rear visibility, increasing the risk of a crash.

All cars built after mid-2018 are required to have functioning backup  cameras.  Read more about backup camera safety in this article about malfunctioning cameras in Nissan cars.

Other Ford backup camera recalls

In September, Ford recalled over 600,000 vehicles for a similar issue, as reported. The recall included Lincoln Nautilus crossovers and Lincoln Corsair compact SUVs.

The repair

Ford and Lincoln dealers will update the image processing module’s software for free. Ford will send owners notification letters with more information about when and how to get the repair starting May 19.  

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 35,000 vehicles are included in this Lincoln recall. To perform a Ford recall check, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandFord recalls Lincoln Aviators over faulty backup camera display

Honda recalls over 600,000 cars that may stall

Torrance, CA – April 6, 2021 – Honda (NYSE:HMC) has expanded a previous recall to include 628,124 of additional vehicles with faulty fuel pumps that may cause the car to stall. The pumps are manufactured by Denso, (OTCMKTS:DNZOY) – an auto parts maker that forms part of the Toyota Group – that is behind this and other recalls by major car manufacturers starting last summer.

 This recall includes:

  • 2019 Acura ILX 
  • 2019 – 2020 Acura MDX
  • 2019 – 2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid
  • 2019 – 2020 Acura RDX
  • 2019 – 2020 Acura TLX
  • 2019 – 2020 Honda Accord
  • 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid
  • 2019 – 2020 Honda Civic
  • 2019 – 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback
  • 2019 Honda Civic Type-R
  • 2018 – 2019 Honda CR-V
  • 2019 Honda Fit
  • 2019 Honda HR-V 
  • 2019 – 2020 Honda Insight
  • 2019 Honda Odyssey
  • 2019 Honda Passport 
  • 2019 Honda Pilot
  • 2019 Honda Ridgeline

Recall summary  

The Denso fuel pumps at the center of the recall have a small plastic component, called an impeller, that sucks gas from a car’s fuel tank to pump it into the engine. Some of the impellers were manufactured in a way that can cause the plastic to weaken and become misshapen, causing the whole fuel pump to malfunction. Without a pump moving fuel into the engine, the car might not start or could stall while driving.

Background of the recall

The original Honda recall was announced in May of last year and included some of the model and model years listed above. Overall, Denso had manufactured over two million defective pumps which has caused Toyota. Honda and Subaru to recall their cars starting last summer.

Warning signs

The driver may be alerted to the fuel pump malfunction if he or she notices that the malfunction indicator light (MIL) or the master warning indicator come on. Additionally, the engine may run “rough” when the car is started or idled. This means that you may hear weird noises or feel the car vibrate or shake. Take the car in for repair as soon as you notice these signs to keep the situation from getting worse.

Risks

You can read more about the risks posed by these faulty fuel pumps in our article about Toyota’s Denso fuel pump recall.

The repair

Honda and Acura dealers will replace the fuel pump assembly for free. Notifications with more information about when and how to seek repairs will be sent to owners starting on May 18.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 628,000 vehicles are included in this Honda and Acura recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandHonda recalls over 600,000 cars that may stall

Volkswagen recalls over 153,000 Audis due to airbag malfunction

Auburn Hills, MI – April 2, 2021 – Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY), which owns the Audi brand, has recalled 153,152 Audi A3-generation cars whose passenger-side airbags may deactivate while someone is sitting in that seat, increasing that passenger’s risk of injury in a crash. The recall includes the following convertibles, sedans and crossover SUVs:

  • 2015 – 2020 Audi A3 
  • 2016 – 2018 Audi A3 e-tron
  • 2017 – 2020 Audi RS3 
  • 2015 – 2019 Audi A3 Cabriolet
  • 2015 – 2020 Audi S3 

The component in question is the “repair kit for passenger seat occupant detection,” part number 8V0898522.

Recall summary  

This recall addresses an ongoing problem with the Passenger Occupant Detection System (PODS), which senses when there is a passenger sitting in the front seat. The PODS is supposed to deactivate the passenger airbag when the seat is empty, but in the case of recalled cars, the airbag “turns off” even when the seat is occupied, increasing the risk of an injury to the passenger in a crash.

The deactivation may occur sporadically and “for a limited amount of time.”

Previous recall

A previous recall for this issue was conducted in 2019 but failed to fix the issue as the manufacturer kept receiving reports that some repaired PODS have continued to malfunction. 

Recent customer complaints about this issue highlighted that this was a “known problem” for “many Audi models, not just A3 and S3” and that, in addition to the airbag issue, some of these models also experienced a seat belt malfunction. The seat belt warning kept going off even though there was no one in the seat.

Risks

Data shows that airbags reduce crash fatalities by 11%, but they can only protect people if they actually deploy. Deactivated airbags cannot protect passengers in a crash. 

Safety tips

Vehicle occupants need to pay attention to the airbag indicator light, which will illuminate if the airbag system has been deactivated. Along with the light, the occupants should also hear a chime and see an error message in the instrument panel. If the warnings come on:

  • Have the front passenger sit elsewhere in the car.
  • Do NOT use the front passenger seat going forward.
  • Take the car to the nearest dealership as soon as possible.

The repair

Audi is still investigating the problem and has not determined what the repair will be.  Owners will receive letters in the mail with more information about the recall on May 21.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 153,000 vehicles are included in this Audi recall. To see if your Audi is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandVolkswagen recalls over 153,000 Audis due to airbag malfunction

Ford recalls vehicles in search of 19 faulty Continental tires

Dearborn, MI – March 25, 2021 – Ford (NYSE:F) is recalling 15,769 vehicles to find 19 Continental brand tires at risk of rupturing. The recall includes 2019 Ford Escape compact SUVs and Ford F series trucks, specifically:

  • 2018 Ford F 150
  • 2018 Ford F 250 SD
  • 2019 Ford F 250 SD
  • 2020 Ford F 250 SD
  • 2018 Ford F 350 SD
  • 2019 Ford F 350 SD
  • 2020 Ford F 350 SD 

The affected part is Continental tire with multiple part numbers, including CJ5C-1508-AA and JC3C-1508-ZA.

Recall summary  

The Continental tire recall has recently affected several major car manufacturers, including General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan.

Due to a manufacturing error, these tires were cured for too long, making them prone to rupturing. Curing is what sets rubber tires in their final shape. 

This recall follows on the heels of a recent Nissan Continental tire recall where the manufacturer has also recalled a large number of cars to find just a few defective tires.

Risks

In addition to rupturing, the tire tread, which touches the road, could also split off from the rest of the tire. Both of these events could cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash, especially if they occur at highway speeds.

Warning signs and safety tips

Other automakers recalling Continental tires, like Mercedes-Benz, have said a bulge, or a “bubble” on the tire tread is a sign of a problem. For information on what to do if you notice a bulge or if your tires blow out while driving, please refer to this article about Nissan’s Continental tire recall.

The repair

Ford dealers will inspect numbers on the tires’ walls and replace any that match the list of suspect tires from Continental. If the dealer finds a match, they will also replace the tire on the opposite of the car and move the newest tires to the rear axle. Owners will be notified about the recall the week of March 29.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 15,000 vehicles are included in this Nissan recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandFord recalls vehicles in search of 19 faulty Continental tires

Nissan recalls nearly 127,000 cars in search of seven faulty tires

Franklin, TN – March 24, 2021 – Nissan (OTCMKTS:NSANY) is recalling 126,809 cars and trucks to find seven faulty tires that could rupture or break apart. The recall includes the following pickup trucks and light vehicles:

  • 2019 Nissan Altima
  • 2020 Nissan Altima
  • 2021 Nissan Altima 
  • 2018 Nissan Titan 
  • 2019 Nissan Titan 
  • 2020 Nissan Titan 
  • 2021 Nissan Titan 

The affected component is Continental tire with multiple part numbers, including 40312 EZ41D and 40312 EZ40C.

Recall summary  

The seven tires, which are part of an ongoing series of recalls of Continental brand tires, were “cured” for too long during manufacturing. 

The curing process is what makes the tires hold their shape when on the road. However, when the process runs for longer than necessary, it makes them more susceptible to breaks or ruptures. As a result, the tires can go flat. Additionally, the tread —the part which touches the road— could separate from the rest of the tire, resulting in the so-called belt separation.

Warning signs

One of the warning signs, as reported in our recent article about a similar Mercedes-Benz recall, is a bulge in the tread area.

If you notice a bulge, do NOT drive on it. Call a tow truck or use your spare tire to drive to your mechanic to have the tire replaced.

Risks

Flat tires and belt separation can cause drivers to lose control and crash, particularly if they happen at high speeds. 

What to do if your tires blow out

If your tires blow out while driving, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following

  • Stay calm and do your best to keep the vehicle balanced. 
  • Do not slam on the brakes or suddenly take your foot off the accelerator. Both of these could cause you to lose control of the car. 
  • Slowly ease off of the gas.
  • Gently “correct the steering” to regain control of the car.
  • Once the car is stable, continue to slow down until find a safe place to pull over and call for help.

The repair

Dealers will inspect recalled vehicles’ tires to see if identifying numbers on the side match one of the seven defective tires. If they find one, they will replace it with a new tire. Inspections and replacements will be free and the spare tires should be “readily available.

Nissan will notify owners about the recall on April 28.

Recent Nissan Altima and Continental tire recalls

2013-2018 Nissan Altimas were recalled in May of last year for an ongoing hood latch problem that has been the subject of three other recalls. According to Nissan, the issue has led to 16 “minor” crashes or injuries.

As for Continental tires, this is the fourth recall over the last couple of months.  Earlier this month, General Motors recalled 33,000 vehicles due to this  “overcuring” issue.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 127,000 vehicles are included in this Nissan recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandNissan recalls nearly 127,000 cars in search of seven faulty tires

Ford and Mazda begin 2.6 million-vehicle-strong Takata airbag recall

Dearborn, MI and Washington, D.C. March 23, 2021 – Ford (NYSE:F) and Mazda (OTCMKTS:MZDAY) have begun recalls of 2,608,515 vehicles equipped with potentially dangerous Takata airbags whose inflators could explode, injuring or killing drivers and passengers. This latest Takata airbag recall includes:

  • 2007 – 2011 Ford Ranger pickups
  • 2007 – 2009 Mazda B Series pickups
  • 2006 – 2012 Ford Fusion sedans
  • 2006 – 2012 Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ sedans
  • 2006 – 2011 Mercury Milan sedans
  • 2007 – 2010 Ford Edge SUVs
  • 2007 – 2010 Lincoln MKX luxury SUVs

The vast majority of the recalled vehicles are Fords; the Mazda models in this recall were built by Ford due to a past relationship between the two companies.

Recall summary  

This Takata airbag recall is caused by faulty airbag inflators that can degrade over time and rupture when the airbags are deployed, sending shrapnel flying into vehicle occupants. Worldwide, these explosions have killed 27 people and have injured over 400.

The recall follows on the heels of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rejecting the automakers’ petition not to recall these vehicles.

The inflators explode because of repeated exposure to high humidity and “high temperatures” and despite the addition of a desiccant, or a drying agent, that is meant to minimize the risk.

Risks

The risks involved in this recall are similar to those in a recent Volkswagen Takata airbag recall, which we cover in this previous article.

Other Takata airbag recalls

Over 66 million Takata airbags have been recalled in recent years in what amounts to the largest recall in the automotive history up-to-date. Just this year alone, General Motors recalled 6 million vehicles equipped with these potentially lethal airbags. 

Some of the cars involved in earlier rounds of recalls should NOT be driven at all. See the full list here.

The repair

Ford, Lincoln and Mazda dealers will replace the defective airbags with one that does not contain ammonium nitrate. The dealer will not charge for this service.

It is not clear when the parts will be available.

Ford and Lincoln owners should receive recall notifications with more instructions as early as April 1; Mazda owners can expect theirs to arrive by May 9. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 2.6 million vehicles are included in these Ford and Mazda recalls. To do a Mazda or Ford recall check, enter your VIN into MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandFord and Mazda begin 2.6 million-vehicle-strong Takata airbag recall

Kia recalls Cadenza and Sportage over engine fire risk

Irvine, CA – March 19, 2021 – Kia  (OTCMKTS:KIMTF) has recalled 379,931 cars whose engines may catch fire due to an electrical issue.  The recall includes the following mid-size cars and compact SUVs:

  • 2017 Kia Cadenza
  • 2018 Kia Cadenza
  • 2019 Kia Cadenza 
  • 2017 Kia Sportage
  • 2018 Kia Sportage
  • 2019 Kia Sportage
  • 2020 Kia Sportage
  • 2021 Kia Sportage 

The 2020 Kia Cadenza and 2021 Kia Cadenza are not included in the recall. The affected part is the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU), which is part of the anti-lock brakes’ system (ABS). The part numbers are 58920-D9100 and 58920-F6210 for Sportage and Cadenza, respectively.

Recall summary  

The recall stems from an electrical issue in the HECU, a component of the anti-lock braking system, which ensures that the car maintains contact with the road and prevents the wheels from locking, as reported.

A short in the wiring of the HECU may spark a fire in the engine compartment. The recall has been issued for cars sold in the United States and South Korea, where Kia is based. Kia said in recall documents that they did not know what was causing the short-circuit in the HECU.

Ongoing fire issues

Shorting in the ABS system seem to be an ongoing issue for this manufacturer.

In the past five years, Kia and its parent company, Hyundai, have recalled over 2.5 million cars due to fire risks arising from ABS problems. Kia is also subject to an ongoing investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) looking into the frequency of vehicle fires in Optima, Sorento, and Soul vehicles.

Warning signs

The driver may be alerted to this issue if he or she notices the illumination of “tire pressure,” ABS or the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) warning lights. The latter is also known as the “check engine” light. 

Additionally, the driver may smell “burning [or] melting odor” and see “smoke from [the] engine compartment,” according to the manufacturer.

Safety tips

Kia has advised that owners should park their recalled cars outdoors and away from structures until they have their cars repaired.

Read more about the dangers of vehicle fires and what to do if one occurs in this article about a recent Kia Stinger recall.

The repair

Kia dealers will replace certain fuses in the car’s electronics to prevent the HECU from short-circuiting. Certain vehicles will also receive a software update. Both repairs will be conducted free of charge.

Owner notifications with more detailed instructions will be sent out on April 30.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 380,000 vehicles are included in this Kia vehicle recall. Want to check for Kia recalls? Use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandKia recalls Cadenza and Sportage over engine fire risk

Volkswagen recalls Atlas SUVs as part of Continental tire recall

Auburn Hills, MI – March 17, 2021 – Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY) has recalled 2,535 SUVs equipped with problematic Continental tires that may break apart or rupture. The recall includes 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Volkswagen 2019 SUVs and concerns 255/50 R20 and 245/60 R18 105 T CrossContact LX Sport tires.

Recall summary

When tires are manufactured, they have to be “cured” inside a mold to hold their final shape.  The tires used on the 2019 and 2018 VW Atlas were accidentally cured for longer than necessary, making them more brittle and susceptible to breakage.

The tires are part of a larger problem with Continental brand tires, which has led to recalls by General Motors and Mercedes Benz in the past month.

Risks

The tire rupture could take place in two possible ways:  the tire wall may burst, causing a flat. Alternatively, the tire tread – the part that touches the road – could separate from the rest of the tire. Both could result in the car spinning out of control, raising the risk of an accident.

Although VW recall documents do not specify any warning signs that drivers should look out for,  Mercedes Benz’s recall of the same tires on their GLE SUVs says that the following may be signs of trouble:

  • Visible wear of the tire tread
  • A bulge in the tire tread area
  • Excessive vibrations of the car

The repair

Volkswagen will inspect and, if needed, replace vehicles’ tires for free. Owners will be notified with more information about the recall starting on May 4.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 2,500 vehicles are included in this Volkswagen recall. To see if your SUV is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandVolkswagen recalls Atlas SUVs as part of Continental tire recall