Potential Air Bag Tear Raises Red Flag For Mercedes-Benz

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 29, 2019 – Mercedes-Benz is recalling hundreds of its sports cars due to the potential of the front passenger side air bag tearing upon deployment. Such a scenario could increase the risk of serious injury in the event of a crash. This 2018-2019 Mercedes-Benz air bag recall action is slated to begin in early fall, when the luxury automaker will officially alert owners of this safety issue. Motorists can take their vehicles to an area dealership so the problem can be addressed at no cost to them. 

The Defect

According to official paperwork filed through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mercedes Benz is pulling approximately 457 of its sports cars from circulation over the possibility that some of the installed air bags are flawed. At some point during the manufacturing or installation process, the problematic air bags may have been improperly sewn along the seams, which increases the risk that they may be unable to inflate once triggered in a collision. Here are the vehicles involved, each of which have model years between 2018 and 2019:

  • Mercedes-Benz AMG SL63
  • Mercedes-Benz AMG SL65
  • Mercedes-Benz SL450
  • Mercedes-Benz SL550

Of the 457 vehicles whose passenger-side air bags may be defective, the lion’s share – 232 – are SL450s. However, all the automobiles were built within the same time frame, stretching between March 20 and Nov. 22 of 2018.

Timeline of Events

The luxury automaker’s air bag supplier reached out to Mercedes-Benz in Sept. 2018 to alert the company that during testing of passenger side air bags, one broke apart. This led to a follow-up investigation a couple of months later to determine if this development was isolated or systemic. The inquiry ultimately concluded that “the potential for impaired air bag function could not be ruled out,” even though testing proved that the restraint function would not be fundamentally altered if a tear did occur.

The Solution

Mercedes-Benz plans on informing owners of this problem by first-class mail starting Oct. 1. Recipients of the notifications are asked to take their motor vehicle to an area dealership so a replacement bag can be installed as a precaution.

For more information on this recall or others involving Mercedes-Benz, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesPotential Air Bag Tear Raises Red Flag For Mercedes-Benz

Brace Bracket Design Flaw Results In Jaguar Recall

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 28, 2019 – A small-scale recall is underway at Jaguar Land Rover North America, as a few dozen 2018 E-Pace models may contain compromised brake systems that could lead to leakages in brake fluid. Braking system failure could dramatically increase the risk of an accident and resulting injury.

Motorists affected by this recall should have already received their notifications from the automaker. If you think you may be affected by the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace recall but aren’t certain, contact your dealer.

The Defect

According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 41 2018 Jaguar E-Pace crossover sport utility vehicles are under recall notice because certain automobiles may contain installed brake brace brackets that are not in line with the manufacturer’s design specifications. As a result, the poor fitting may allow the front brake hoses to come into contact with the tires, which increases the chances that brake fuel may leak out.

Without the proper amount of lubrication fluid, the brakes may increase chafing and take longer for the vehicle to come to a complete stop when the operator engages the pedal. This could potentially result in a crash and occurrence of injury.

Timeline of Events

This problem first came to light back in December 2017, when Jaguar’s product safety and compliance committee was alerted to the issue, which affected shipment of the models to dealerships. This forced Jaguar to reach out to dealers later that month, advising them to cease and desist selling any additional E-Pace vehicles, whose VINs all fell within a certain range. 

Safety testing was carried out two months later to see what, if any, consequences resulted from motorists using models with the improper brake brace brackets. The results showed that in a worst-case scenario, the brake flexi hose could come into contact with the tires when the full steering lock was applied. Jaguar’s recall determination committee decided in February that the potential for this issue to occur was high enough to warrant a recall, and subsequently informed NHTSA.

No accidents, fires or injuries related to the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace recall have been reported to either the NHTSA or the automaker.

There haven’t been too many Jaguar Land Rover safety recalls over the past year, but several affect more recently built models. For example, approximately 8,200 2018 Discovery Sport SUV were pulled from the marketplace in the early portion of the same year over defective fuel rail assemblies. The automaker determined that the offending end caps may not seal properly. A resultant leak could ultimately lead to an engine fire.

Meanwhile, Jaguar also recalled 3,083 2019-2020 I-Pace SUVs for potentially flawed regenerative brakes. A system failure would increase the amount of time needed for the vehicle to slow down once the brake pedal is engaged. Owners began to be informed of this issue by first-class mail July 1.

The Solution

Those that have received an alert pertaining to the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace recall are strongly urged to take their automobile to an area dealership so the brake flexi hose bracket can be more closely examined. If the problem exists, the issue will be corrected free of charge.

For more information on this or any other vehicle safety recall, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesBrace Bracket Design Flaw Results In Jaguar Recall

Audi Recalls E-Trons Shortly After Model’s Debut

Laguna Hills, CA – August 22, 2019 – Volkswagen Group says it will recall certain Audi E-Tron electric automobiles after discovering that the sport utility vehicle’s battery may pose a fire hazard. The problem is related to moisture-rich air which could seep into the structure that holds the battery and cause an adverse reaction. VW says it will reach out to owners to brief them of what they should do to resolve this issue when the time comes. 

The Defect

Volkswagen AG, the parent company of Audi, may recall an estimated 7,000 E-Tron automobiles worldwide due to fears that its onboard battery may start a fire, Bloomberg reported. According to the spokesperson Mark Dahncke, a small-scale voluntary Audi E-Tron recall was initially ordered – affecting 540 vehicles – but the company now believes the problem may impact more luxury models than it initially determined.

Triggering this decision are built-in flaws within the E-Tron’s cell wall. In certain circumstances, moisture – such as condensation – could come into contact with the battery through a wiring harness, which is believed to be the source of the issue, Bloomberg reported. Approximately 1,644 E-Trons were shipped from the company’s corporate headquarters, roughly a third of which have since been purchased by consumers, Dahncke stated. VW noted affected E-Trons that remain unsold will be fixed so the problem isn’t passed on to buyers.

Timeline of Events

The E-Tron SUV is VW’s very first electric vehicle offering, which went on sale in April 2019 in the U.S. It’s been a rather tumultuous first few months, however, as at least five instances have been brought to the company’s attention in which battery problems led to inexplicable “check engine” dashboard alerts for motorists. Because some of these reports emanated from outside the U.S., the Audi E-Tron recall may reach 7,000 globally, a substantial portion of which would likely affect customers in Germany, said Audi spokesperson Udo Ruegheimer. That said, the company is unaware of any accidents or injuries stemming from this issue.

As for Audi of America, the luxury automaker wants to get out ahead of this issue, indicating as such in a statement to Jalopnik.

“The recall is in response to a potentially faulty seal that may allow moisture to enter the battery compartment which could lead to a short circuit or in extreme cases to a thermal event,” Audi explained. We are applying an abundance of caution … The recall repair is expected to become available in August 2019.”

Audi and its parent company VW have a reputation to uphold with the E-Tron. The luxury electric SUV recently received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ designation, the highest rating possible. E-Tron scored “good” in several different crash testing classifications, include overlap front, driver-side small overlap front, roof strength, side, passenger-side small overlap front and head restraints. It also received a “superior” score for its automatic emergency braking.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group is dealing with other recalls beyond the most recent Audi E-Tron recall. In partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automaker pulled nearly 138,900 various Audi brand nameplates from the marketplace in July over defective air bags, including the A3 Cabriolet, S3 Sedan and RS3. Model years ranged from 2016 to 2019. Mailers informing owners were just recently issued.

The Solution

Although neither VW nor Audi know the precise date for when the recall begin, E-Tron owners impacted will receive a loaner vehicle and an $800 cash card to cover the cost of gas while their automobiles get serviced, Bloomberg reported.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesAudi Recalls E-Trons Shortly After Model’s Debut

Ford Recalls 108,000 Midsize Cars Over Seat Belt Failing

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 21, 2019 – Ford Motor Company says it will pull 2015 Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZs from circulation by the tens of thousands due to a seat belt pretensioner issue. Once the front-passenger seat belt is pulled from its anchor to lock into the clasp, the heat that’s generated over time can reduce the tensile strength of the cable. This could prevent the occupant from being properly strapped in. Riding unbuckled dramatically increases the risk of injury or death during a crash.

This recall will get underway soon, but the specific timeline for when owners will received word has not yet been disclosed.

The Defect

In a press release by Ford, the automaker plans to recall 108,000 midsize cars  – the 2015 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ – over a manufacturing flaw that affects the seat belt. In the problematic population, the high temperature generated from deploying the belt may cause the pretensioner to not perform its main function, which is to keep the belt taut and restrain occupants. Over time, the heat that emanates and causes wear could render the seat belt assembly useless.

Ford says it believes the automobiles that contain this flaw came from its manufacturing and distribution plants in either Flat Rock, Michigan or Hermosillo in Mexico. Additionally, the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles were developed between Aug. 1, 2014 and Jan. 30 2015 (Flat Rock) or Aug. 1 and Nov. 21 (Hermosillo).

Timeline of Events

This latest Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ seat belt recall appears to be an expansion of the original one, which occurred a few years ago. At that time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Ford coordinated to recall nearly 603,400 Fusions and MKZs also because of a seat belt pretensioner defect. This may have spurred the automaker to look into other models whose seat belt assemblies were potentially compromised. Typically when recalls are announced, NHTSA provides a timeline of events that led up to the action, but this wasn’t available at the agency’s website as of Aug. 21.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker has a separate seat belt recall underway affecting approximately 7,600 2019 Ford Rangers. The flaw involves the truck’s poke yoke fixture, a component that when compromised can prevent the seat belt from locking. This recall is already underway and began July 29.

Seat belts are proven to save lives – when there’s an issue with them, they almost always result in a recall. In 2018, the most recent year in which data is available, 89.6% of Americans used his or her seat belt while on the road, according to NHTSA data. Of the 37,133 individuals who died in car accidents the year prior, close to 50% were not wearing one at the time of the crash. Had they been, an estimated 2,549 lives might have been spared. 

States are serious about ensuring motorists buckle up, as 35 states have primary enforcement laws, meaning motorists can be pulled over and ticketed if they’re not wearing a seat belt. The usage rate is higher in states where these laws are in place, averaging 90% to 86%, NHTSA data shows.

Ford says it’s not aware of any fatalities linked to this seat belt issue but one person was injured, The Associated Press reported.

The Solution

To ensure drivers observe the law and stay safe, the automaker urges those that receive notifications pertaining to the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ seat belt recall to have an area dealer replace the unit with a fully functional one. This will come at no cost for the repair.

For more information, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesFord Recalls 108,000 Midsize Cars Over Seat Belt Failing

Daimler Orders Recall For Certain Cars Containing Wrong Manual

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 21, 2019 – Daimler Vans USA seeks to recall a limited number of Mercedes-Benz Metris vehicles due to the fact that some of the 2019 models were sold without the correct operator’s manual. These booklets contain key vehicle performance and functionality instructions, which if not followed may ultimately risk drivers’ or passengers’ safety should they encounter a crash.

Unlike other recalls, which usually entails a repair of some kind, the those receiving notifications for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Metris recall can simply stop by their local dealership to pick up the correct manual.

The Defect

Daimler Vans is recalling two 2019 Mercedes-Benz Metris vans over concerns the automobiles were sent to dealerships sans the proper manual that details the various care instructions, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Daimler Vans produces several different truck nameplates aside from luxury brand, including FUSO Freightliner, Western Start and BharatBenz. The Mercedes-Benz Metris has a booklet, but the company determined that a select number of those manufactured between Jan. 16 and March 29 contained an earlier version of the operator’s manual, as it has apparently been updated since the first one was produced. 

The fact that the Metris van doesn’t include the right owner’s manual, of course, doesn’t pose an immediate threat to safety, but relying on the wrong information to address problems with the vehicle could lead to the improper operation of the car, thus raising the risk of a crash.

Timeline of Events

The quality control division of Daimler’s production plant learned in March that some of the Mercedes-Benz Metris cars delivered to dealerships had the wrong paperwork. Upon further review to confirm whether these initial reports were accurate, Daimler confirmed as much but also said that these incidents were highly isolated. More to the point, the problematic population was likely in the single digits.

Ultimately, Daimler determined July 17 that an official Mercedes-Benz recall was the best path forward after comparing the two versions of the owner’s manual and finding that the accurate one contained “necessary warnings that were not included in” the earlier manual issuing, as detailed in NHTSA’s Part 573 Safety Recall Report.

This isn’t the first recall for Daimler in 2019. In June, the company announced the recall of 253 commercial trucks related to an air brakes defect. All 2019 models, they included Freightliner 108SD, Business Class M2, 114SD, Cascadia, Western Star 5700, FCCC XCL, FCCC XCM, FCC XCR and FCCC XCS. Prior to that, Mercedes-Benz USA pulled close to 288,800 that contained defective air bags, part of the massive Takata air bag recall that involved tens of millions of automobiles. NHTSA puts the number at roughly 41.6 million vehicles and 56 million air bags.

The Solution

As for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Metris recall, the fix is simple. Daimler says it will replace the wrong informational package with the correct one free of charge. Owners may receive it in the mail subsequent to the notifications pertaining to this issue, which the automaker says will commence most likely in mid-September.

For more information on these and other new and previous recalls, visit MotorSafety.org. Enter your VIN to find out if you have a car that’s under recall notice and what to do if that’s indeed the case.

Sean ReyesDaimler Orders Recall For Certain Cars Containing Wrong Manual

Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviators Recalled Over Missing Covers

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 21, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling over 14,100 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator sport utility vehicles after discovering that some of the models may be missing a piece that goes over the manual park release component. When this cover is missing, it can increase the risk of the lever being unintentionally manipulated, which could cause the SUV to move from its parked position and crash.

Given that most of the affected Explorers are in inventory, the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator recall action primarily impacts the automaker’s dealerships. When this action will take place has yet to be determined.

The Defect

In a release made available on the company’s website, Ford plans to recall a combined 14,135 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs over the possibility that the manual park release component may be missing its cover. This is in violation of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Under normal circumstances, these covers should only be removable with a tool.

Additionally, Ford noted that the problematic Explorers and Aviators may have settings that remain in factory mode that could prevent the accurate display of gear positions when manipulated by the operator of the vehicle. These positions are represented by a letter ( “P” for Park, “R” for Reverse, “N” for Neutral, etc.). The display of these gear positions is also required by law under the FMVSS.

Timeline of Events

Automakers typically coordinate with the NHTSA for car safety recalls. However, given the recency of this announcement – Aug. 7 – the associated documentation detailing when Ford first learned of these issues was not available.

It’s been a busy summer for Ford recalls, as the Dearborn, Michigan-based brand has pulled from the marketplace hundreds of thousands of vehicles unrelated to the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator recall. For instance, in late July, approximately 7,579 Ford Rangers were pulled from the marketplace because of seat belt functionality issues that prevented the belt buckle from latching. Additionally, 57,500 Ford Focus and Focus ST sedans were recalled over defective engine software.

A month earlier, Ford announced the recall of 1.1 million Explorers – from model years ranging between 2011 and 2017 – due to a rear suspension system flaw affecting the toe links. In all of these instances, the vehicles were recalled because the problems risked riders’ safety.

While the chronology of events leading up to the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator has yet to be determined, what is known is where the potentially flawed models were built and where. The vehicles were put together at one of the automaker’s Chicago-based locations between March 27 and July 24 for the Explorer, and April 10 and July 24 for the Lincoln Aviator.

Ford said it’s unaware of any consumer crashes or injuries stemming from this flaw but also stated there was an incident that led to cosmetic damage, which occurred at some point during the manufacturing process. No workers were hurt.

The Ford Explorer is one of the nameplate’s longest-running model types, introduced back in 1990. Lincoln Aviator is also a veteran model but first hit the showroom floor roughly a decade later in 2002. 

The Solution

Ford Motor Company is in the process of informing dealerships that may have received some of these potentially compromised vehicles. Dealers will examine the manual park release to see if the cover is missing and whether the PRNDL gear positions remain in factory mode. 

For more information on this or any other automotive safety recall, enter your 17-digit vehicle identification number at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesFord Explorer, Lincoln Aviators Recalled Over Missing Covers

Nissan Altimas May Need Repairs Due To Corrosion

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 16, 2019 – Nissan North America is launching a service campaign that involves close to 200,000 Altima midsize vehicles whose suspension systems may be compromised prematurely because of corrosion. Although this action does not yet rise to the standard of safety recall, it may eventually be an official Nissan Altima recall after the investigation is completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the meantime, Nissan is in the process of informing owners about this issue and urges those contacted to bring their automobile to an authorized dealership so the suspension component vulnerable to corrosion can be replaced. This repair will be free for those affected.

The Defect

According to The Associated Press, Nissan plans to conduct a wide-ranging repair initiative that pertains to its Altima midsize vehicles from the 2013 and 2014 model years, nearly 200,000 of which may be installed with a suspension component that can come loose due to the damaging effects of corrosion. 

Thanks to advancements in technology, automobiles are increasingly resistant to corrosion, but not completely, especially during winter when road salt latches into the undercarriage of passenger vehicles and trucks. When road crews spread this substance onto highways to improve traction, it can lead to rust formation by interacting with metal and moisture. According to AAA, rust repairs cost motorists more than $15 billion over the past five years, or what equates to $3 billion per year.

As the AP reported, the 200,000 Altimas involved are located in 22 states and the District of Columbia. These same states typically experience snow and ice in the winter months, so drivers of these sedans are more vulnerable to this issue.

While the NHTSA has yet to declare a recall on these automobiles, the agency is investigating over 2 million vehicles over this same problem. The government organization’s findings may lead to a Altima recall, but the automaker is confident it won’t come to that because “the subject control arm failure does not pose “an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety,” the AP reported.

Timeline of Events

This issue first entered Nissan’s radar, as well as NHTSA’s, in 2018, when the company received dozens of complaints regarding cracks occurring in the control arm portion of Altima suspension systems. Although no injuries or crashes were ever reported, at least 139 complaints were filed as of Aug. 1, according to the AP.

Meanwhile, Nissan dealers continue to book appointments from customers to fix problems associated with recalls. Last September, the automaker recalled 1,600 Inifiniti vehicles because of faulty air bag modules. More recently, Nissan expanded a recall that began in 2008 after realizing the original problem that led to the recall was found in additional models that were not named at the time.

The Solution

Nissan is in the midst of informing Altima owners about this problem, but believes that it only affects a small number. Nevertheless, the company reminds its customers to be watchful and to bring their car to a dealer if they experience any performance issues.

For more information on whether this problem will eventually result in an official Nissan Altima recall, stay up to date at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesNissan Altimas May Need Repairs Due To Corrosion

Mazda3s Recalled For Possible Detachment of Rearview Mirrors

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 15, 2019 – Mazda North American Operations recently announced the recall of tens of thousands of 2019 Mazda3 automobiles over an apparent problem that affects the model’s manual dimming mirror. In certain units, the adhesive that connects the rearview mirror with the unit upon which it’s affixed may not suddenly detach due to an assembly flaw. An inability to see what’s coming from behind can lead to an accident and thus warrants the Mazda3 mirror recall. The automaker says it will replace any flawed units for free, as soon as owners make an appointment to have this issue addressed.

The Defect

According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mazda plans to recall 22,571 Mazda3 vehicles over built-in defects with the manual dimming mirror. In certain instances, the mirrored glass that connects to the backing plate was improperly bonded at some point during the manufacturing process. Officials can’t point to a narrow window of time in which this issue originated, but are confident it occurred between Sept. 25, 2018 and June 24, 2019.

Unlike other vehicle-related failures in which certain sounds or circumstances may portend that there’s an issue (e.g. brakes pads that squeak when applying the brake pad), there are no obvious indications as to whether the rearview mirror unit is defective, according to NHTSA’s Part 573 Safety Recall Report.  

Timeline of Events

The first time the automaker was alerted to what would eventually become a Mazda3 mirror recall was Feb. 20, wherein a customer contacted Mazda about the mirror randomly detaching from the unit that holds it. The part supplier figured that the easiest way to remedy this issue – assuming it was isolated – was to manually apply pressure to the glass and the backing plate by pressing the two together. When this didn’t work, Mazda opened up an investigation and determined March 9 the original problem stemmed from poor bonding.

At the time, Mazda had reason to believe this issue was isolated to a vehicle assembly plant in Japan and made the appropriate manufacturing adjustments to prevent something similar from happening again. However, the automaker was alerted to several similar manual mirrors detaching from their housing units in other parts of the world, such as Mexico. These field reports came in sporadically from April to June. Once the necessary corrective countermeasures were implemented in Mexico, Mazda convened a meeting July 23 and determined a more wide scale recall was in the company’s – and passengers’ – best interest.

Mazda has several recall actions in place prior to this most recent announcement, including a separate one that also affects the Mazda3 sedan. Approximately 17,000 2019 Mazda3s may have dashboard assemblies that provide wrong information to operators regarding the automobile’s diagnostics. Mazda3 owners were first alerted to this problem starting July 13. Meanwhile, in June, a recall action moved forward on 49,300 Mazda6s, which related to the premature development of corrosion and how that could impair the sedans’ power steering functionality . This problem affected owners in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

The Solution

As for the Mazda3 mirror recall, the automaker knows how this problem can be remedied. As such, it’s encouraging those that receive a notice by first-class mail to take their sedans to their nearest Mazda dealer, where a replacement rearview mirror unit will be installed. Dealers are receiving their alerts presently and customers should start getting their notifications no later than Aug. 30.

For more information on this or other recalls, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesMazda3s Recalled For Possible Detachment of Rearview Mirrors

Nissan Yanks Titan Trucks Over Alternator Harness Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 15 – A wide-reaching recall is underway on 2017-2019 Nissan Titan pickup trucks, after the automaker discovered damaged alternator harnesses were installed in certain cars. The impairment is believed to have occurred during the manufacturing process, but it’s not clear how. As a result of this flaw, an electrical short may occur while the vehicle is on the road, which would could cause the engine to stall and potentially lead to an accident. The Nissan Titan alternator recall is also being ordered over the risk of an engine fire.

The Defect

According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 91,319 Nissan Titan pickups are being pulled from the marketplace due to the potential for an electrical short to occur in the vehicle’s gasoline-powered engines (as opposed to diesel). The flaw affects the light duty truck’s alternator harness, which is a wiring cluster that attaches to the alternator itself. This portion of the engine is what charges the battery when the ignition is turned on and is what generates power for the electrical system.

As referenced in NHTSA’s Part 573 Safety Recall Report, at some point during assembly, the harness was damaged and the fraying may cause contact with the square edge of the truck’s metal frame bracket. In doing so, it could result in the harness having relocated from where it’s normally positioned. The harness that’s still in contact with the square edge may lead to a breach and damage the wires to such an extent as to cause an electrical short, which may prevent the battery from functioning. 

Timeline of Events

Typically, NHTSA and the automaker in question provide a chronology that details what led to the recall and when the events occurred. Those specifics have not been made available as of yet but the company says it will provide the particulars pertaining to the Nissan Titan alternator recall “when it is available.”

For the most part, Nissan North America hasn’t had many recalls to speak of in 2019, but the automaker did provide an update on a voluntary recall that occurred around this time last year. In September 2018, roughly 1,600 Infiniti QX50s were recalled because of an air bag module defect that raised the risk of the passenger-side knee air bag detaching during deployment. Such a scenario could worsen the effects of an injury if the crash was impactful enough for the air bags to release from their holding units. Separately, Nissan also recalled an additional 200,000 EX35 sedans, which were originally pulled from the market in 2008, over a faulty passenger-side air bag sensor.

The Solution

On July 23, Nissan began notifying owners and dealers have also been made aware. Motorists who receive mailers should have their pickups examined by an authorized Nissan dealer so a repair can be performed if necessary. Only 1% of the 91,300-plus Titan are believed to contain the flaw, so an adjustment may not be needed. If it is, however, owners will not be charged for parts or labor.

For more information on the Nissan Titan alternator recall and other recalls that are in progress or soon will be, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesNissan Yanks Titan Trucks Over Alternator Harness Defect

Seat Defect Spurs Recall of BMW SUVs

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 12, 2019 – BMW of North America is recalling a small number of predominantly X3 and X4 models whose seat assemblies may suddenly fold while someone is seated and the vehicle is in motion. The confluence of this scenario and a crash could lead to injury for the passenger. The BMW passenger seat recall is limited in scope and no injuries have occurred thus far, but owners notified should nonetheless schedule to have the seat replaced by an area dealership.

The Defect

According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, BMW plans to recall a combined 20 X sport utility vehicles over a seat installation issue that may have occurred at some point during the assembly process. The model types involved are:

  • 2018-2019 X3 sDrive30i
  • 2018-2019 xDrive30i
  • 2018-2019 M40i
  • 2019 X4 xDrive30i
  • 2019 M40i

As noted in the Part 573 Safety Recall Report, certain front seatbacks’ frames were not welded in accordance with the manufacturers’ specifications, and as a result, they could fold either forward or backward, depending on the circumstances of the moment and how the person seated is positioned. This could dramatically increase the risk of injury if motorists are involved in a collision.

Although highly rare, passenger seat failures have led to tragic deaths in previous years. In 2018, for example, a Ohio teenager was killed after becoming trapped in the third row bench seat of a Honda Odyssey, a story which made national and international headlines. The 16-year-old called 911 but tragically, the boy died of asphyxiation before responding officers were able to locate him.

Such a scenario is isolated, but nevertheless, it speaks to the gravity of what can happen should foldable seats release from their anchors.

Timeline of Events

Officials first got wind of what would ultimately lead to a BMW passenger seat recall when the company received word of an incident affecting a customer in China July 17. The owner noted that at some point during the course of travel, the seat folded downward while someone was positioned in the chair at the time.

BMW launched an investigation of this issue immediately thereafter and discovered that the customer’s front seatback frame may have been assembled during a time at which some of its AI-powered robots were malfunctioning. Further inquiry determined the manufacturing period in question was somewhere between May 29 and June 10 of 2018.

No one was harmed during the aforementioned incident, but nonetheless, BMW deemed it appropriate for a voluntary safety recall to move forward, which occurred July 24. NHTSA acknowledged and officially approved the precautionary measure Aug. 8.

Several separate recalls are now in effect for the German automaker. One involves approximately 2,000 X7 and xDrive 40i automobiles, whose air bags may be improperly installed. Another BMW recall, which officially got underway July 2, affects 5,000 2019-2020 models whose knee air bag assemblies were not folded away correctly.

The Solution

As to the BMW passenger seat recall, the front seat will need to be replaced to ensure this problem doesn’t occur. As such, the company will notify the 20 owners about this issue via first-class mail. They’re encouraged to take their vehicle back to the dealership – or any other BMW dealer, for that matter – so the front seat structure can be swapped out for one that’s fully functional. Motorists can expect to receive a notification alerting them to this starting Sept. 23. Dealers have already been informed.

For more information on this or any other automotive recall, visit MotorSafety.org and enter your 17-digit VIN.

Sean ReyesSeat Defect Spurs Recall of BMW SUVs