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

Dashboard Lighting Issue Prompts Ram 1500 Recall

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 13, 2019 – The latest 2019 Chrysler recall affects the Ram 1500, ordered after the automaker learned the lighting for the dashboard cluster may short circuit, causing it to become non-operational while the truck is in use. This could increase the risk of a crash due to distraction or prevent the operator from being alerted to “check engine” warning lights. Chrysler says it will inform those affected via first-class mail to this safety issue starting Sept. 13. Their nearest dealer can determine if a fix is necessary. If so, it will come at no charge.

The Defect

In documentation submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Chrysler is recalling certain 2019 Ram 1500 models due to a circuitry issue, which may prevent motorists from seeing their speed, odometer, gas consumption or other critical details in their dashboard instrumentation cluster during the evening hours. Number 101 of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard concerns “Control and Displays,” which details a series of compliance protocols automakers must abide by before vehicles can go to dealerships. The failure of the dashboard to properly illuminate – or function at all – may lead to an accident and the potential for injury.  

Timeline of Events

This issue first came to the automaker’s attention Jan. 25. The engineering division of Chrysler informed NHTSA official that instrumentation clusters in certain models – specifically the Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Chrysler 300 – may fail without warning. The confirmation on test vehicles led to voluntary recall on March 7. Approximately one month later, however, Chrysler discovered Ram 1500 clusters were experiencing some of the same issues as those observed in January. An inquiry determined that they were fitted with faulty software at a component manufacturer. In follow-up testing that occurred in May and June, Chrysler determined that the incident level for Ram 1500s was highly isolated, potentially involving a mere handful. Chrysler contacted dealers and confirmed with NHTSA that a voluntary recall was the best path forward, which the government confirmed Aug. 5.

2019 Chrysler recalls have been fairly frequent through the first half of the year. In late May, the company announced it was pulling 198,730 Chrysler Pacificas from the roadways due to the potential for power steering units to malfunction, power down or cause the vehicle to stall. A month before that, close to 300,000 Dodge Dart passenger vehicles were recalled over defective transmission shifter cables that could detach, preventing drivers from switching gears in stick-shift vehicles. That same month, Chrysler also recalled a total of 52 2019 Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 vehicles over improperly machined steering columns.

The Solution

Chrysler knows how to fix this issue and will proceed with the recall order starting Sept. 13 by contacting the affected motorist by mail. Presently, the automaker believes only one Ram 1500 is installed with the flaw, but the recall could expand should the company or NHTSA be notified of other instances. The owner(s) are urged to bring their vehicle to a local dealer so the cluster can be swapped out and replaced with a fully functional one. This service will be for free.

For more information on this latest 2019 Chrysler recall or any others you may be wondering about, please visit MotorSafety.org. Locate  your VIN to see if a recall applies to your car.

Sean ReyesDashboard Lighting Issue Prompts Ram 1500 Recall

Fire Hazard Leads To Honda CR-Vs Recall

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 14, 2019 – The CR-V is one of Honda Motor Company’s most popular automobiles, but a select number of 2019 models are being pulled from the marketplace due to a welding issue that affects the fuel tank. Should the weld not hold up, a leak may develop that could increase the risk of a fire and accompanying accident or injury. The 2019 CR-V recall is expected to take place in mid-September and owners are urged to keep an eye out for a mailer, which will inform them if they may be affected. 

The Defect

Honda seeks to recall 134 2019 Honda CR-V models, pursuant to federal law, due to a safety issue that may have originated at some point during the manufacturing process, according to documents submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It appears certain fuel tanks may be insufficiently welded onto the framing of the vehicle itself. Due to the makeup of roadway surfaces (e.g. potholes, divots, gravel, etc.), not to mention the winding nature of many of them, the fuel tank could detach over time, causing a leak. Fuel is flammable and may ultimately lead to an engine fire.

Timeline of Events

The vehicles believed to be the cause of the 2019 CR-V recall were all manufactured between Dec. 13, 2018 and June 27, 2019, according to NHTSA records. May was the first time Honda became aware of the problem after receiving its first claim on the last day of the month. The company immediately launched an investigation. Once the failed part of the original leak was sent to the supplier – Yachiyo Inc, based in Marion, Ohio – it determined the leak stemmed from faulty vapor return line joint connectors. Apparently, quality control failed to notice the flaw before the CR-Vs were shipped to dealerships.

Approximately two weeks after the supplier identified the flaw, Honda corroborated the component manufacturer’s assessment and decided to move forward with the recall. Honda said it’s not aware of any injuries or fires, as no one has reported such scenarios to the company as of July 25.

The 2019 CR-V recall is only the latest one for Honda Motor Company. In May, the company coordinated with NHTSA after determining certain models may have metal burrs lodged inside the steering column. In the event of an accident and the subsequent airbag deployment, these shards could cause injury. The recall involved 118,598 CR-Vs.

That same month, Honda issued another recall involving air bag safety, but this one was attributable to a faulty air bag inflator. Close to 19,100 models of various types were included in the recall, among them the Civic Hybrid, Accord, Fit, Insight and Pilot.

The Solution

Despite no reports of injuries or accidents, Honda says it will inform CR-V owners of this latest recall by first-class mail. Dealers have already been notified and drivers will receive word officially beginning around Sept. 16 at the earliest. Honda says that upon receipt of the potentially defective automobiles, the offending fuel tank will be replaced, at no cost to the owner. The 2019 CR-V is under warranty, but even if it was not, the fix would be free of charge.

Did you know that more than 25% of vehicles on the road today have recall order out on them that haven’t been addressed? Yours could be one of them. Find out by entering your car’s VIN at MotorSafety.org

Sean ReyesFire Hazard Leads To Honda CR-Vs Recall

Chrysler Recalls SUVs Over Faulty Fuel Level Indicator

 

Laguna Hills, CA – August 12, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recently announced its recalling more than 21,900 Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Alfa Romeo Giulia SUVs as a result of a fuel indicator issue that may misinform motorists regarding how much fuel is in their tank. Such a misidentification could cause an accident should the vehicle stall or suddenly turn off while in operation. The Chrysler SUV recall is fixable, however, and operators are urged to take their vehicle to their nearest dealer so this problem can be addressed at no cost.

The Defect

According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Chrysler will recall 21,915 sport utility vehicles because the body control module, which measures the fuel amount in the tank, may be defective. In vehicles that contain this problem, the gauge reads that the reservoir is fully supplied, when the opposite may be the case.

[This] may cause the customer to run out of fuel even though the indicator shows that there is still fuel in the vehicle,” Chrysler explained in a press release distributed to FCA dealerships.

The following are the potentially defective vehicles in question, including their model years:

  • 2018-2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia
  • 2019 – 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

As noted in the release, there are certain conditions in which the fuel level may read wrong. One such scenario is if the SUV is parked at a 10 degree angle for 30 minutes or more. Depending on how full the tank actually is, the onboard computer may misidentify whether or not it went through a refuel and the fuel level indicator may move higher, suggesting it’s fuller than it actually is.

“Inaccurate fuel indication may increase the risk of an engine stall due to fuel starvation, and can cause vehicle crash without prior warning,” the statement further read.

Timeline of Events

What ultimately led to this Chrysler SUV recall was a communique the company received June 3 from an Italian supplier, informing FCA of multiple reports related to Giulia and Stelvio vehicles stalling. Two days later, Chrysler opened an investigation to see if it could pinpoint the nature of the problem. By June 12, the product development team confirmed the issue was related to faulty software, which caused the instrument panel to misidentify the amount of fuel remaining in the reservoir.

Approximately five weeks later, Fiat Chrysler determined that a voluntary recall was necessary and went through the proper channels to inform the NHTSA. The government agency confirmed the automaker’s intentions Aug. 5. Neither NHTSA nor Chrysler is aware of any accidents or injuries that trace back to this issue. Only one warranty has been filed through July 19.

The Solution

The automaker says it will notify registered owners of the Chrysler SUV recall starting Sept. 13 by first-class mail. Owners are strongly encouraged to have their vehicles checked out by an area dealer so the body control module software can be properly updated. Chrysler believes that virtually all of the 21,900-plus SUVs included in the recall likely have the suspected defect in question.

For more information on this or any other automotive recall, visit MotorSafety.org. Check our section on all the most recent Chrysler recalls as well. You can also take a look at recalls grouped by month

Sean ReyesChrysler Recalls SUVs Over Faulty Fuel Level Indicator

Half-Million Volvos Recalled For Flaw That Could Cause a Fire

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 2, 2019 – Over half a million Volvo vehicles are scheduled for a worldwide recall after the Swedish automaker discovered some engines in certain models may be catch fire due to a faulty component. This issue affects several models and of various years, all manufactured between 2014 and 2019 with 2-liter or 4-cylinder diesel engines. Models include the S60, S80, S90, XC90, XC60, V40, V60, V70 AND V90.

Volvo says it plans to inform all affected owners by mail of this recall, several of which have already been informed. The company says it will repair the vehicles that contain the flaw for free, even for those cars that are no longer under warranty.

The Defect

A routine examination of the Volvo vehicles in question determined that some of the engines may include a component that could lead to a conflagration of the engine, Bloomberg reported. Volvo spokesman Stefan Elfstrom warned of this risk in a statement emailed to the news provider.

“In the very worst case, there is a possibility that a localized engine bay fire may occur,” Elfstrom explained.

Here’s a list of all the vehicles whose engines could be compromised, all of which were assembled from 2014 to 2019:

  • S60
  • S80
  • S90
  • V40
  • V60
  • V70
  • V90
  • XC60
  • XC90

While no accidents, injuries or fatalities are known that trace back to these engines – all of which have 2-liter or 4-cylinder diesel engines – Volvo says it is aware of “a few” fires that have affected customers, The Guardian reported.

“We take this situation very seriously and are working to finalize a fix for the cars,” Elfstrom said.

This isn’t the first recall this year related to engine fires. Fiat Chrysler coordinated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concerning a fuel line leak, which was also announced in July. No injuries or accidents were reported in these instances either.

Timeline of Events

NHTSA typically releases a chronology of events that lay out how safety recalls came to light, but no documents are available at this time. This may be because the manufacturer has not yet determined the appropriate fix.

The Solution

An investigation is underway to assess how this flaw can be ameliorated. But in the meantime, Volvo says motorists are safe to continue using their cars, so long as no indicators of a problem present themselves, which may include check engine lights or sudden loss of power, The Guardian reported.

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

Sean ReyesHalf-Million Volvos Recalled For Flaw That Could Cause a Fire

Toyota recalls vehicles with defective brakes

Laguna Hills, Calif. — July 31, 2019 — Toyota Motor North America has recalled almost 7,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective brakes, according to an organizational press release. The safety action affects multiple models across the Toyota and Lexus brands, including:

  • 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid sport utility vehicles
  • 2019-2020 Toyota Prius Prime sedans
  • 2020 Toyota Prius sedans
  • 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid sedans
  • 2019 Lexus UX 250h crossovers
  • 2019 Lexus ES 300h sedans
  • 2019 Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h coupes

The Japanese automaker has yet to speculate just how many of the recalled vehicles could actually contain the defective components.

The Defect

The affected vehicles could come equipped with brake assemblies that have improperly manufactured and failure-prone booster pumps. Should these features falter, both the brake assist and Vehicle Stability Control modules may also stop functioning, drastically reducing vehicle drivability and increasing the risk of an accident. And in addition to posing an immense danger to owners, occupants and pedestrians, the defect creates a condition that violates Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 126, which requires “electronic stability control systems on passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 Kg (10,000 pounds) or less,” according to the NHTSA.

Timeline of Events

Toyota has yet to release more specific details on the investigation that lead to this recall.

The Solution

The automaker has directed dealers to assess all recalled vehicles and, if necessary, replace their brake booster pumps at no cost to customers. Toyota intends to notify owners throughout the month of September 2019 via first-class mail. Those in need of more immediate assistance can connect with Toyota customer service personnel by calling (800) 331-4331, or reach out to Lexus staff at (800) 255-3987. Owners can always contact the NHTSA directly by using the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236. 

Sean ReyesToyota recalls vehicles with defective brakes

Volkswagen recalls vehicles with defective airbags

Laguna Hills, Calif. — July 31, 2019 — Volkswagen Group of America has recalled almost 28,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective air bag control modules, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The voluntary safety action involves 2015-2016 Volkswagen Tiguan sport utility vehicles produced between March 12, 2015, and Dec. 19, 2015; along with 2015-2106 Volkswagen CC sedans produced between May 6, 2015, and Dec. 17, 2015. The German automaker suspects just 1% of the recalled vehicles actually contain the defective components.

The Defect

The models involved in the campaign could come equipped with air bag control modules featuring faulty capacitors.  These problematic components can cause air bag deactivation or lead to unexpected deployment and seatbelt pre-tensioner actuation. Both of these outcomes increase the likelihood of an accident. The defective parts therefore pose serious risks to owners and occupants. That said, the vehicle manufacturer has yet to receive reports connecting the defect to any collisions or injuries.

Timeline of Events

Volkswagen personnel in September 2017 received a single field report detailing an instance in which a customer’s air bag system had activated unexpectedly. The automaker’s air bag module supplier, ZF Group, based in Germany, investigated the incident and presented its findings to Volkswagen officials in January 2018. These individuals reviewed the supplier’s analyses and requested that it embark on an extended climatic test to collect more conclusive results. 

In May 2018, Volkswagen received a second field notification recounting a scenario similar to the one covered in the initial report. ZF Group again investigated and reported in July 2018 that the Equivalent Series Resistance reading for the air bag control module installed in the vehicle was out of specification. Volkswagen was then notified of a third field case in September 2018. ZF Group reviewed the report and in February 2019 revealed that the ESR reading for the air bag control module in the vehicle was not up to factory specifications. This prompted Volkswagen and the vendor to embark on a root-cause investigation to determine the mechanical origin of the air bag issue and its frequency and scope across all customers.

The joint investigation concluded in June 2019, at which point the personnel involved presented their findings to the Volkswagen Product Safety Committee. The group requested additional analysis upon review. Between June 21, 2019, and July 10, 2019, Volkswagen and ZF Group technicians conducted an in-depth review of the applicable air bag control modules, assembled a list of potentially affected VINs and cataloged the possible customer consequences. The subsequent findings went to the VPSC again on July 10, 2019. The committee ultimately ruled that a voluntary recall was necessary.

The Solution

Volkswagen has directed dealers to flash the air bag control module software in affected vehicles with new programming that can detect increases in ESR. If this test shows heightened ESR levels, dealers are required to replace the air bag control modules free of charge. The automaker intends to notify dealers Sept. 13, 2019, according to NHTSA documents. It will reach out to owners on the same date, via first-class mail.

However, those in need of more immediate assistance can connect with Volkswagen customer service representatives by calling (800) 822-8987. Callers should use the recall identification code 69Z5. Owners can also contact the NHTSA directly using the Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesVolkswagen recalls vehicles with defective airbags